Grace held a blade at the back of Ambassador Pria as they walked the streets of Xylon toward Krumb’s old base. Sigthyme, Tak, and Juniper walked with them, doing their best to not draw extra attention to themselves. On the plus side, it was still relatively early in the day and the streets weren’t full of too many people. The ones that were in the streets seemed to be more focused on themselves rather than the group.
“You know, when I don’t return promptly to the Emissary, people will start worrying about where I am. You’ll start a panic,” Pria said while keeping a calm demeanor.
“Then we better walk a bit faster,” Grace said as she pressed the tip of the blade into Pria’s back.
“No need to poke,” Pria said as she gritted her teeth.
Sigthyme and Juniper exchanged looks, both unsure of the situation as it was unfolding. Juniper had agreed with this makeshift plan because she knew she needed to track down Riffen, while Sigthyme didn’t know what else to do.
“Maybe be a bit nicer with the Ambassador,” Sigthyme said.
“Yeah we don’t want to hurt her,” Juniper said.
“Nothing bad will happen unless she does something stupid,” Grace said as she concentrated on Pria.
“Right,” Juniper said with a faint smile.
“It’s not too late for the three of you, you know? If you let me go, I’ll tell the guard that she pulled the dagger and you stopped her,” Pria said. “No harm will come to you three.”
“Shut up and keep walking,” Grace said.
The group made their way with their hostage to the alleyway leading to Krumb’s hideout, but they immediately ran into an issue. There standing in the hallway were four city guards.
“What now?” Juniper asked.
“I’m sure we can talk about it,” Sigthyme said with a nervous laugh.
“Don’t do anything stupid,” Grace told Pria.
Two members of the city guard began walking over to the group.
“Good morning Ambassador,” One of the guards said. “What can I do for you?”
The guard looked over the group before his eyes met with Pria’s.
Pria gave the guard a friendly smile.
“Good morning. We are here to check out the house once again,” Pria said.
“We’ve been given strict orders to keep all civilians away while the investigation happens,” The Guard said.
“I understand that,” Pria said. “You’re right. It is quite silly that we came here.”
There was a moment of silence and you could feel the tension in the air.
“Are you alright, Ambassador?” The guard asked as his eyes surveyed the group again. This time his hand rested on the hilt of his sword.
“Absolutely fine,” Pria said while keeping eye contact with the guard.
The second guard, a Dwarven woman, let out a small cough and the two guards in the back began walking their way toward the group.
“Go now!” Grace shouted as she shoved Pria forward.
Pria stumbled forward slamming into the first guard, knocking them both to the ground. Seeing this, the other three guards began pulling their weapons and ran toward the group.
“What now?” Juniper asked.
“Get to the passageway,” Grace said.
“But don’t kill them,” Sigthyme added.
“Find Riffen!” Tak yelled as pulled his war hammer and charged.
The war hammer wielding goliath intimidated the city guard enough that they slowed their pace. Tak lowered his shoulder and slammed into one of the city guards knocking them into the alleyway’s wall.
Sigthyme was next. He looked over at Juniper.
“Just run. They won’t be able to catch you,” He said before waving his hands and whistling a small tune.
Purple sigils hung in the air for a second before vanishing. Both Sigthyme and Juniper vanished from sight, completely invisible.
The guards looked bewildered as both Sigthyme and Juniper began running past them toward the door of Krumb’s former base.
“They are magic users!” The head guard yelled as he stood up and helped Pria to her feet. “Stop them!”
Grace ran forward and pulled a second dagger from her belt. She clashed with one of the guards who managed to pull a short sword.
“Tak! Get them!” Grace yelled.
Tak switched from one guard to the one engaged with Grace. He roared and slammed his body into the second guard, knocking them into the third.
“Now run!” Grace yelled out.
“Run,” Tak nodded and they ran toward the door.
“Don’t let them get away!” The head guard shouted as his fellow guards slowly got up from the ground.
The Dwarven Guard pulled a crossbow from her side and shot a couple of bolts at the group. One flew wide and struck the wall while another landed in Tak’s shoulder.
He let out a small growl, but continued to move toward the door.
“Hurry, hurry,” An invisible Juniper shouted as the group made their way into house that served as Krumb’s base.
Tak and Grace ran in, and Sigthyme slammed the door behind them.
“Hurry, Tak, grab the table and shove it up against the door,” an Invisible Sigthyme called out.
Tak quickly grabbed the table and shoved up against the front door as the guards slammed against it.
“Break down the door!” The guards yelled from outside.
Sigthyme dropped his spell and Juniper and him became visible once again.
“We need to act fast,” Sigthyme said.
“Our best hope is to escape down below,” Juniper said. “Pria said that there are caverns we should be able to hide in.
“Hold door,” Tak said as he held the table against the door.
“Keep doing what you are doing, big guy,” Sigthyme said, giving some magical encouragement.
“I’ll get the secret door,” Grace said as she ran over and pulled the metal lantern.
The secret stone door opened revealing the secret passageway.
“Ok let’s go into the caverns,” Juniper said.
“You three go, I’ll pull the chain and then slide under the door,” Grace said.
“Are you sure you’ll be able to do that?” Sigthyme asked.
“I can do it, just go,” Grace yelled.
Sigthyme and Juniper ran through the passageway first. Then Tak took a step backwards and gave Grace a nod.
There was another heavy slam against the door as it splintered and opened a small bit. Then Grace pulled the chain and started sprinting across the room. The stone door began to close as Grace ran and there was another loud slam against the door.
“Stop! Stop!” A guard yelled from the crack in the door, but Grace kept running.
She turned her body and slipped through the small sliver of space as the stone door shut behind her.
There was a small moment of calm as the group stood in a new place. This was a stone corridor which lead to a stone staircase leading downwards.
“Well…that wasn’t too bad,” Sigthyme said with a small laugh.
However the laughter was cut short as they heard a large thudding sound of a wooden door shattering and city guard members entering the room on the other side of the stone door. They heard a loud chorus of voices of many guards shouting at one another.
“I think they have reinforcements,” Juniper said. “We need to keep running.”
“Small space,” Tak said as he brushed up against the low, stone ceiling.
“Sorry big guy. Hopefully the caverns are bigger,” Sigthyme said.
“Hurry, let’s take the stairs,” Juniper said as both her and Grace ran toward the stairs.
Sigthyme and Tak followed without hesitation and all four of them began quickly descending down these stone stairs, leaving behind the shouts of chaos.
As they traveled downward, the cut stone steps gave way to more natural carved stone and eventually they found themselves in the natural tunnels of the underground caverns. Knowing that there is possibly a party of city guard behind them and others searching the caverns, they found a small offshoot cave in the caverns where I could stop and rest for a minute.
“Well that’s not how I thought our day was going to go,” Sigthyme said as he took a seat on a large rock.
“Me neither,” Juniper said as she pulled the crossbow bolt from Tak’s shoulder and started to bandage the wound.
Sigthyme looked over at Grace who stood at the doorway of the cave, keeping an eye out for any signs of city guard.
“Please tell me that was the first time you’ve pulled a blade on a high ranking government official,” Sigthyme said.
Grace just let out a small sigh.
“Not exactly,” Grace said.
“That was extremely risky,” Juniper said. “Actually it still is very risky. Now we have the entire city guard looking for us.”
“We might be the second most wanted people in the city,” Sigthyme said.
“We just need to bring in the most wanted person,” Grace said as she turned back to the group.
“Find Riffen,” Tak said as he sat on the cave’s floor.
“I believe Riffen is the way we get out of this,” Sigthyme said.
“What do you mean?” Juniper asked.
“If we find Riffen, save him, and take down Krumb, that might be enough to save ourselves from finding the gallows,” Sigthyme said.
The group fell quiet with an uncomfortable silence.
“I’m sorry,” Grace said in a quiet voice. “I just did what I thought I had to do. I didn’t want us to be taken to that emissary.”
Juniper walked over to her and pulled her into a hug.
“It’s alright, Grace. Your plan worked. We’re here. Now we just need to find Riffen,” She said.
“Don’t worry too much, Grace. I know we’ll be able to find Riffen. Plus since he’s a Prince, I’m sure we can get us out of any trouble you got us into,” Sigthyme said.
“Find Riffen. No trouble,” Tak said with a big toothy grin.
Grace wiped her eyes and gave the group a slight smile.
“I’m glad I can rely on you guys,” Grace said.
The group sat together for a moment catching their breaths and tending to any wounds. As Grace sat there, her thoughts drifted from this group to another group.
A group of individuals she ran around with in Sand Pile. Them breaking into they mayor’s office in the middle of the night. Them finding the Mayor, working late at night. A struggle as the Mayor tried to grab them. A knife burred in his gut. Blood covering both the blade and her hands as the Mayor fell to the ground. The other kids yelling and telling her she had to flee the city.
All of these moments flooded her memories as she looked down at the daggers in her hands.
“This is a very dark path you walk,” Pria’s words echoed in Grace’s head as she saw a bit of reflection in the shiny surface of the dagger.
Header Photo Credit to The Forgotten Realms Wiki