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Rats of Tanglethorn Pt.14: Wicked Blades

A readied blade whooshed past Wufcor’s head. Afheesh (played by yours truly) charged the human fighter one of his paired psi-like weapons parried easily as the second found its target. The human fighter winced trying to back further into the room as the ratlings flooded in. Sikeek (played by Jenn) dashed into the gap and buried her dagger to the hilt in his side. Blood ran all over the floor even so the fighter in bronze plate gritted his teeth, stopped, and stood his ground.

Wufcor (played by Isis) leapt back in and caught him under the arm blood spurting everywhere as the evil ratling laughed. The fighter swung his sword desperately at Sikeek who was still angling for an opening in her opponent’s defenses. He missed by a hair. Again, Afheesh jumped in one of his weapons getting clinched by the fighter’s longsword the other, however, rammed into the human’s throat. As a result, the fighter dropped immediately to his knees as a pained expression came over his clean features. Afheesh tore his weapon free; the fighter dropped dead face first into a sea of his own blood. Sikeek rushed to the door and shut it.

Sikeek: “Well, we need our privacy!”

Wufcor: “Yeah, we need to take our time and REALLY rip this place off GOOD!”

Afheesh (motioning towards the two shut doors to the left and the two openings to the right): “Shhh! Let’s do this.”

Subsequently, Afheesh prowled gracefully to the nearest opening and peeked around the jamb. Inside the other well-lit room sat a table spread with three still steaming plates of food, each meal lying partially eaten. After that, Wufcor glided up to the next opening finding the kitchen and the cook cowering in a corner. Before anyone could say a word, the vicious ratling slit the rotund and elderly man’s throat.

Jenn (frowning at Isis): “Y’know sometimes you make me wonder about you.”

Isis (laughing evilly): “WHAT!? Wufcor’s EVIL! He LOVES to slit throats and smell the blood!”

Me (highly focused on the mission): “Besides it’s witness elimination. HE wasn’t who I’m lookin’ fer.”

Jenn shook her head.

The fiendish group of thieves then turned their attentions to the two doors. Both locked. So Wufcor went to work on one and Afheesh put Sikeek to work on the other. Soon enough, Wufcor got his door open and found behind it an expensively stocked study. Meanwhile, Sikeek opened the lock on the door in which Afheesh was interested. The scrawny saloon bum stepped aside and Afheesh excitedly kicked open the door finding a bedchamber. Hiding under the bed Afheesh found his target, a terrified young woman. He withdrew a small vial of sleep toxin and tipped one of his weapons with the noxious oil.

Before long, the prize was unconscious and slung over the surprisingly muscular shoulders of the villainous Afheesh as he lowered himself into the streets via a rope through a window. He left any booty to be found in the apartment for the others to despoil. Anyway, they were  too focused on a strange chest in the study to even notice his leaving.

Later that night, Afheesh waited as the fearsome shadowy form of the troll known as Snotnack rose from the mouth of the Green Well. Shortly the troll was inspecting the sleeping woman the ratling had at his feet.

Snotnack (all the while sniffing her): “Hmmmm, this very fine woman little ratling. She is high quality.”

Snotnack immediately turned to the ratling with one greasy lice-sprinkled black eyebrow raised.

Snotnack: “Where you get her? Huh!? She no wizard woman huh!?”

Afheesh (very nervous): “No no, she’s alone, her um betrothed was a warrior, I killed him. Heh heh.”

Snotnack (stroking his gross chin): “Hmmm. Okay, here.”

                The troll tossed the ratling a small bundle. Grabbing up his prize Snotnack slunk back into the depths of the Tanglethorn underworld. Afheesh was long gone for the reason that he did not want the troll to change his mind. When he though he was far enough away to be safe the ratling criminal undid the bundle and found a pair of highest quality, heavy, razor-sharp, serpentine bladed hook-guard knives. The wrap on the grips was some sort of exotic leather, he guessed human though he did not know for sure. Most notably, the exquisitely balanced troll-make blades each had a nasty butt-spike. Expertly, the ratling twirled his weapons into their sheathes.

                Now, utterly self-satisfied, Afheesh finally strolled to the Dancing Rat tavern where he met up with Needles (played by Natalie). He sidled up to his new and often-absent recruit at the bar and called the runt “a loser”. Needles suddenly leapt onto the bar as he had done when they first met and performed a perfect backflip, he even managed to easily avoid Afheesh’ attempt to hook his ankle and trip him. The slight ratling even convincingly lied telling Afheesh that he had been drunk before. Afheesh was puzzling over what secrets the “fodder” might harbor as he drank his tankard. After finishing a single round of strong ale, Afheesh left to retire to his room.

Come morning and another predictable shift of guard duty above the gate Afheesh lined up for his previous shift’s pay at the bursar’s office. After several minutes of waiting, he had finally come to the bursar’s desk and had just received his pay when he consequently noticed a large wanted posted pasted to the wall behind the desk. The poster boasted drawings that had a passing resemblance to both Sikeek and Wufcor.

 The quickling inquired about the poster. Apparently, those two were wanted for attempted burglary, murder, and the suspected kidnapping of a Mage of the Red Robe’s mistress. The pair had been caught by the mage in question trying to push a rather large and heavy spell-locked chest out of a window. Fortunately, the incompetent thieves had gotten their ill-gotten gains stuck. They got away with nothing. Hence, the reward was currently at 500 gold pieces.

The Stacks highlighted in gray.

“Useful information”, Afheesh thought to himself briefly having weighed the profits of betrayal against his companions’ current value to his plans. He thanked the bursar and ran to join a patrol in the Stacks, the stacks being large blocks of tall apartment buildings in the northwest and northeast corners of the city and the known territory of the Roaches street gang. He needed some intel on the Roaches.

Later that evening, while Afheesh stripped off his uniform and geared up for the streets he contemplated some newly acquired information. There were two leaders in the Stacks, Ikeek a double-cutlass wielding Mantck and Phenor the Knife. The latter was a human who rarely ventured out from Roach territory. Either could be found around the East Stacks with the other at the West Stacks on a typical night. Ikeek often hung at the East Stacks near a large tree extorting the local merchants that had to pass through there.

It was not long after that Afheesh was dragging his lackeys to the East Stacks in search of a fight.

To Be Continued…