Going Rogue - Silver lined short stories

Mithrildir ‘Silver’ Moonrunner

The Blackwood Chair

“I am Mithrildir Arphenion Sterling of Clan Moonrunner, and the Noble House Ravensbooke. 6th Baron to sit on the Blackwood Chair.”

SIlver felt the weight of those words, and the unexpected discomfort. He pulled at the newly fitted crushed black velvet long coat, and fidgeted with a silk neckerchief. Clearly over dressed on such a warm summers day, but at least the Black Lantern entourage felt the same. One pudgy guard looking like he might actually faint.

“It is I, and my esteemed comrades in arms, who have liberated you from the oppressive rule of the red baron. Whose name shall be forever erased from the history of these lands.” The crowd cheered.

“Ah, enough of this ceremony, this is not who I am.” Silver nodded to the guards, took off his sweltering jacket, then sat cross legged on the makeshift stage. “Yes, to answer those inquisitive stares, I am indeed half-elvish. The first to sit at the head of House Ravensbrooke if I am correct.” Enna smiled warmly at the newly minted noble, pride in her elegant features.

“But we have ended the reign of terror, and as kinsmen without prejudice we will rebuild, and thus elevate Ravensbrook back to grandeur. Beginning this day. The scribe here, will take an account of your business requirements, and the house will endeavor to aid you in your professions and contributions to the regions…”

“He means gold!” Squawked a burley woodcutter, and the sizable crowd swarmed the startled thin man clutching a ledger and quill. “Form an orderly line! Oh dear…”He yelped. SIlver winked at the man, jumped to his feet, and whistled for Jackpot. The gleaming black warhorse cantered upto him, pushing a few Black Lantern guards to one side. In one practiced move the rogue mounted the steed, and left the chaotic scene behind him.

A few yards down the beaten path a pale horse caught up alongside him, Enna Moonrunner in the saddle. “The house is the other way” She quipped, with not a hint of curiosity.

“Thank you mother, you have missed your calling as a Lurkwood ranger.” Jackpot didn’t alter course, and continued towards a small inn just outside of town. A few Black Lantern guards tried to keep pace, but Silver had one speed when on horse back – as swift as possible.

Enna smiled, but with concern in her eyes. “Very well, but the locals will question why the new Baron resides in the inn and not the house. Your choice of course, but they will already be uneasy about your mixed heritage.”

“I am aware of that. But you of all people must understand why mother. Besides, the debris of battle is still being attended to. Workers crawling everywhere.” Silver sniffed, fully aware he couldn’t ever deceive his mother, despite trying every now and then.

“Indeed. Well, the guild wishes to display their thanks this evening. Don’t expect a feast to end all feasts, but their gratitude is genuine, I assure you. If you should require their…particular skills…they would no doubt answer the call. Until this evening then. " And with that she pulled away and disappeared down another dirt path.

Sins of the past

Silver approached the Nevermore Inn. It wasn’t the most refined place, but the landlord had been most accommodating, and honored to house the new Baron. The quartet of Black lantern guards trotted past,heading towards a nest of tents on the out skirts of the village. Their presence here was a reassuring comfort, until Ravensbrook could muster it’s own brave defenders again. Borgin was no doubt happy to have the region back in the hands of an honest baron. The rogue smirked to himself, before pausing to reflect on what his mother had said. Instead of entering the inn, he turned and made for Ravensbrook House. Just to see how things were going.

Riding through the estates garden, he was once again flooded with memories and emotions. Arriving at the court yard, he recalled those many years ago when Vermillion had beaten him to within an inch of his life. Even now those wounds gave a up a twinge. Dismounting his horse he strolled up to the impressive main door, where a few workers were sitting taking a much needed break in the sun. At the sight of the Baron their eyes widened and they scurried inside to return to work. Silver had called in an old favor with a builder in Neverwinter, getting a decent discount and a batch of laborers to help with clean up and a few repairs. But Silver had the real clean up on his mind.

Several times he had attempted to rest there, but had found it impossible to do so. In the aftermath of the battle, he and the party had explored the house. They found all manor of dark paraphernalia, writings, and vile evidence of base activities. Vermillion was prideful, and did little to hide what he was within the confines of his personal chamber. In here Silver and Tim had uncovered a series of scrolls, books, and artifacts that together outlined what dark schemes the Baron had been weaving. Tims knowledge of the infernal was most beneficial here. It was an intricate plan dedicated to symbolism and power that would please Vermillions foul masters, with Dorn Ravensbrook at the center. Silver and Enna were simply pawns to draw him out. It was a chilling and horrifying scheme that made the rogues skin crawl.

Of the Order there was very little, SIlver presumed Vermillion contacted them through untraceable avenues, and there was nothing on their location, structure, or machinations. But the house reeked of their influence, Vermillions reign overshadowing the glories of the past. The prize SIlver had coveted for so long was akin to an apple filled with worms.

“Ah, master Silver, I was wondering when you would show up” The gravely voice of Solan Stoneshield momentarily disturbed the rogues thoughts. He turned to see the dwarf rune smith approaching, and shook his soot covered hands.

“is it done Solan?”

“Ay, it is, but it was no mean feat. You did the right thing lad. That mine cannot be allowed to fall into the wrong hands. Although that Tiefling friend of yours was lurking around quite a bit. Took a shine to the place did he?”

“I am eternally grateful, and yes I believe it was the right course of action. Oh and indeed, he does lurk quite a bit, you didn’t give him any more of the stuff did you? SIlver asked with real concern.

“Nay, I did not. But you know he does seem to disappear and appear at will. But ay, the mine is now closed by a sizable amount of solid rock.” The dwarf rubbed his beard with a proudness in his smile, the mine held ill memories for him as well. He had been more than happy to aid Silver in sealing the place, until at least the rogue could seek greater knowledge and direction. A gaggle of Black Lantern guards also patrolled the outskirts for good measure.

“Solan, I wonder, are you an acquaintance of any skilled Clerics by chance?”

“Hmm. Not personally no, but my brothers talked of a man called Elias of the Burning Candle. I couldn’t tell you where he resides mind, but maybe the name might spark something in the bigger cities. Why do you ask?” The dwarf pulling out a small flask, and downed it as the sun beat down on the courtyard.

“This place. It needs…assistance. One beyond a black sword, bow, and nimble fingers. But my thanks, I will enquire after this Elias. Please, don’t suffer the heat any longer. I must check on proceedings inside.” The dwarf nodded, as the rogue swung open the main doors and entered.

The Future

Inside carpenters and laborers went about repairs and clean up work. Doing their utmost to wipe away the decades of filth, and at least attempt to restore the house to a fraction of it’s former glory. But make no mistake, this was still a formidable strong hold, with an inspiring history of resolve and perseverance. It was of tremendous value to Neverwinter, the Black Lantern, and the group of adventurers who had freed her.

Silver walked into the main hall where the Blackwood Chair resided. The echoes of conflict still rang out in his mind. Flashes of arcane bolts, clanging great blades, and the roar of battle cries. It was all still there, even if the chaotic aftermath had been physically removed. The Lurkwood rangers had taken the god corpse back to its rightful place in the forest. But the rogue could still see Vermillion pulling the black spear from its still form, taunting him. The Red Barons corpse had been disposed of correctly, Fiinley recalled a book in the The Finley Davies Eaton Carnahan wing of the research library in Phandalin. Consumed entirely by fire from a carefully prepared holy oil, the previous baron was truly gone. But would these vivid images ever leave him? Pondering, he sat in the ornate chair, steepling his fingers and watching the workers scurry about. Another familiar face popped into view. Walking with purpose, all decked out in the livery of the Black Lantern.

“Silver, beg your pardon, I mean…Baron Ravensbrooke. A moment if I may?” The military man all too well known. Sgt. Graves stood to attention before him, still beaming from his own promotion within the guild.

“Ah, Graves. Of course, how can I be of assistance?” Silver had known Graves since the very beginning of his time with the Black Lantern. And enjoyed toying with the rigid man for his own amusement. But the reality was he respected him, and was glad to have his professionalism leading the guilds business here. He had been promoted for exemplary service in Phandalin and beyond, and Borgin thought the new Baron might appreciate a familiar face to deal with. He was right too. SIlver was not a military man, and with the corrupt forces of Vermillion scattered, the borders of Ravensbrook were vulnerable. The task required a dedicated individual. A human the locals could rally to. Graves was a salt of the earth soldier, who could both relate to the every man, and organize the guilds forces in the region.

“My thanks your lordship. I have a list of things I’d appreciate your eye on. I do realize you are busy nowadays though, hob-nobbing with the other nobles, and fending off eligible maidens looking to wed?”

“Graves, you know I only have eyes for your wife. She makes the best breakfast.” The soldier scowled slightly, his color rising. But quickly cooled on seeing Silver crack a smile. “Ha! You nobles do enjoy a jest. Mrs Graves is a find mind, I remember the time we…” SIlver cut him short with a raised hand.

“But no, in truth Graves, recent events have seen me duel with my cousin – who was in fact a devil, and kidnapped my mother. This, on the tail of the discovery my dead father wasn’t dead at all. Oh and lest us not forget dragon arrows falling from the heavens obliterating cities. So I assure you, I would dearly love to reside in the bosom of a wealthy maiden, drinking her wine and tinkling her treasure. Or conversing about the latest scandals with the blue bloods. But since joining your guild my peace of mind has been anything but peaceful. So please, DO burden me further…”

“I’ll just leave the list at the inn then…Additionally, the dragonborn has drank the place dry. Good day Baron. " Graves saluted, puffed his cheeks, and departed the rogues company. SIlver sat back down in the black chair. Indeed a lot had happened, and he was still processing most of it. The art thief had not transitioned as smoothly into the Baron as he always thought he would. The guild were lending a significant hand, but many decisions could only be made by him. Yet there was much more that preoccupied his thoughts.

Esvelle had escaped. She would no doubt be slightly upset by the death of her lover. He had no idea where she would hide, or how to track her. Then there was Vermillions mother, he shuddered to think what hell spawn she could be, and what nefarious plans she brooded over. And what of the Order? Yes they had lost the Barony, but Silver doubted they would just accept that. Would the fight inevitably have to be taken to them? Thoughts for another day maybe. The rogue had concluded he would need to keep his skills sharp, and aid the companions who had so bravely assisted him in taking Ravensbrook. He owed them all a debt, and each of them had their own specters to face.

He would however, need to dedicate significant time to Ravensbrook in the future. While the pot of gold was substantial, there was so much to be done in order to bring the estate back to fruition, and adequately protect it’s borders. On top of that, Silver would need to build alliances with those knowledgeable enough to combat the Order, that would cost coin and time. Vermillion had the Judges and Esvelle. The new Baron would need something more too. Simple guards could not go toe to toe with what they had faced. No, he would need to imprint his own personality and craft onto likeminded individuals. Pulling a vial of sickly green liquid from a back pocket, he toyed with it. Time though, these things always required time and gold.

Allies reminded him of Phandalin. He wondered how his new store was doing, and how Ash was settling in. The place had become a real home, and despite its rough edges he honestly missed it. The store at least would bring a touch of class to the town, but behind the scenes it would of course be dealing in the gray areas of the law. Once a rogue, always a rogue. Ash would need more training too, and guidance. Field work then, the elf girl would no doubt relish getting out there and risking life n limb. If she paid attention to the hushed movements of himself and Ellywick, she too could become one with the night.

“What of this place then?” He said out loud. A worker stopped hammering, and looked down from the ladder with confusion. Waving him on, the rogue proceeded to stroll back out towards the main door. Greeted once again by the summer rays, he whistled for his horse, who was busy munching on expensive flowers. In the courtyard, a stone mason yelled directions at a team of workers hefting a huge circular stone into place. The area was getting a new addition at the request of the Baron.

“Good tidings my lord, a while longer for the monument itself, oh and my thanks for the sketches. The sculptors are busy with it as we speak. I thought it best to get the base in place though.” The man wiped a cloth over his flush brow.

“It will be perfect, of that I am sure.”With that SIlver leaned closer to read the inscription on the grand stone base.

‘The Liberators of Ravensbrook’. Silver nodded pleasingly, and patted the man on the back. Leaping on Jackpot, he spurred the majestic warhorse into a gallop, there was merriment to be had, maidens to be wooed, nobles to be fooled, and treasures to be taken… A Baron yes, but still a rogue to the core.


The best laid plans

Silver needed air. The interrogation of the crazed noble, Oskar Oaken, had left him feeling uneasy. He lacked the stomach for such things, but noted the importance none the less. That brute Forath was better suited, or of course Tim would delight in it. In truth though, part of him enjoyed having the upper hand on an opponent who hours earlier had threatened his very existence with purple eldritch fire. The foul master Oaken serves had imbued him with formidable power. Silver hadn’t been so close to breathing his last for quite some time, and Oskars maniacal expression would be with him for all his days. At least the truth serum had pulled something from the captured man, but it’s value was debatable.

The door bearing the Brass Lantern sigil swung open, Silver shielded his eyes as light and noise assaulted his already tired senses. Bells clanged amidst screams, crying, and yelling. The cacophony of sound from the turbulent streets of Neverwinter left the half-elf feeling even worse. He saw over worked guards rushing to put out fires, while clerics tended to the wounded. Crowds of wide eyed citizens huddled together looking like their world had been turned upside down. It had. The attack at Oakens party was just one of many, formulated by this new Abolethic Sovereignty to rock the city and its inhabitants. The guards and the men of the Black Lantern were weary, tired, and stretched thin. Every scrap of help was desperately needed.

He kept walking, pulling the hood of the long cloak up, and avoided eye contact with a guard who could of used a hand. In hindsight he should have asked Glim to do that disappearing trick on him, but instead he drew on his own skills and vanished down a back alley. The sound dulled somewhat to a low buzz, but the smell of smoke, and heavens knows what else still clogged the air. And just what was that questionable liquid oozing through the cobbled street stones? He had to get away. In one swift acrobatic leap he left the drama behind, climbing up the side of a house, and finally onto it’s roof. A portly woman screamed, slamming the window shutters shut, as she caught sight of the uninvited figure scaling her home.

The rogue slinked along the roof tops into an area of the city he was quite familiar with. Finally reaching an old abandoned guard tower, which the guilds sometimes used as a dead drop. Climbing through the ruined window a trio of startled pigeons fluttered past. In the gloom, an old rickety stair case spiraled up to the vertigo inducing top. So treading carefully he ascended, desperate to put some distance between himself and the drama he now found himself in. Pushing open a small square door he hauled himself up onto the towers lookout. Finally taking a deep breath, and surveying the misshapen skyline of a troubled city. Pillars of smoke billowed up into the tormented sky, and a few fires still raged with primal intent as they chewed up old buildings. But it was to the south where he looked with utter dread. Waterdeep, or rather the lack of it. The destruction caused by the Pando dragon arrow was unthinkable. An entire city gone.

Cross legged the rogue perched on the edge of the outer wall. Shuffling his thoughts like a well used pack of cards, searching in vain to find a hand that made sense. This was all new, and he didn’t like it. The events of the previous night returned to him in strobing vignettes of terror. They had believed it to be an easy job, but was there any such thing where the clean cut dwarf was involved? Still, a ball they said. Just bring back the noble, maybe have a glass or two of the ‘79 then bop him on the head and rustle him into a cart. Certainly the proceedings had a disturbed edge with the masks and gowns, but nothing that indicated what was to come. They should have spent more time looking around. Maybe a stealthier path was there to be taken… if the two gnomes hadn’t got in a fuss with that guard, thus requiring SIlver to step in. Dueling without their weapons was a foolish endeavorer, well perhaps except for the groups monk, Ellywick. But damn, if only he could have smuggled the hemlock in successfully. Maybe. Just maybe, he could have incapacitated Oaken before the horror show. Biblios played his part very well, it was the rogue who slipped. Maybe he should have taken notice of that ill omen.

But just like the ball, Silvers world had swiftly got complicated… and ugly. His secure pocket of reality was being savagely invaded by larger schemes in play. His own plans edged aside, as he got sucked into events he would rather side step or ignore. Yet the gash in the sky jutting down to where Waterdeep used to be was very real. He had gotten used to the dragon arrows orbit, and on more than one occasion contemplated painting it. Never once did he consider it would be brought down to earth to obliterate an entire city. Like the ball, he didn’t expect gibbering mouthers to burst forth from the casks at midnight and devour the partys elite guests. The thought of those things made him shiver. His fellow adventurers had fought with true bravery as the plan went south. Biblios carved mighty blows into their perverted gaping forms, Ellyewick engaged several creatures at once, while the spell casters hurled arcane bolts for all they were worth. Oaken had shown himself to be more of a foe than they ever expected. His attacks caught them completely off guard, and just when they thought he was down the bastard came back from the brink. What foul pacts allow a man to defy death? He recalled Glims words as the master wizard unleashed a powerful chromatic orb, challenging the noble to face a true master of magic. Finley and Tim had their own struggles, fending off clawed assailants with dazzling spells. At one point Finley even grew in height. He concluded stress of combat must do strange things to the gnome anatomy. Thankfully the valiant efforts were enough, Silver having the pleasure of cracking Oaken out for the count. They survived then.

Many didn’t, as the image of poor Lilya Haldenfrond filled his mind. He had failed her, failed all of them, but then wasn’t it just the plan that failed? Maybe he was just getting slow, unfocused, and off track. Straying too far beyond his comfort zone. Vermillion would’ve seen the writing on the wall where he had not. Is that why he lost out to his insufferable relative all those years ago? Failing to see the bigger play until it consumes you. How different was Baron Vermillion Ravensbrook to Oskar Oaken? Both hiding behind the masquerade of nobility while they craft nefarious plans in the dark. The rogue raised an eyebrow. Was his cousin just lounging around the Ravensbrook estate drinking wine and laughing with his cohorts? No, he wouldn’t be. Shuffling his thoughts faster now, like an elaborate card trick as the plan began to take shape. Oakens words zig zagged in his head. It would be no stretch of the imagination to link his cousin with the machinations of the crazed noble. Hell, there might even be truth baked into it somewhere. Borgin could event be persuaded to lend considerable Black Lantern resources to avoid another evening like last night. Vermillions laugh emanated from the depths of his memory like a choking fog. SIlver knew his cousin would also look to gain from the misfortune of others, further adding to his domain and power. With haste SIlver stood up on the wall, a bit to quickly, and for a wavering moment lost his balance. Loose bricks tumbled many feet to the courtyard below. The rogue regained his stance and gracefully stepped down off the wall. A plan made in haste often failed. He would need time.

Again he looked in the direction of Waterdeep. The people of that city had lives, plans, and fortunes. They were no doubt just going about their day, when just like that – everything was snuffed out. The nobles of Waterdeep surely had tremendous power and wealth, maybe even fantastical magical artifacts. Yet they were ultimately powerless to stop the fate thundering from the heavens. Silver hadn’t really thought about what would happen should he actually wrestle back control of his family estate from Vermillion. Dread filled him, as he imagined sipping wine while a dragon arrow desolated his newly acquired land. Or legions of abominations rampaging through wonderfully maintained gardens. Priceless art being eaten by slimy mouthers. Rude, he sighed. It would be impossible to sleep under silk sheets knowing such menace was at large.

Could a power like that be confronted and stopped though? The cards shuffled in his thoughts, throwing down each of his companions. Glim had grown tremendously in his mastery of magic. The rock gnomes selection of spells never ceased to amaze, ready with the solution to any situation. Ellywick was a dynamo of shadowy destruction, her blows sharper and even deadlier than before. She was also a monk, dedicated and unwavering in the task ahead. While Biblios rage fueled attacks were even more fearsome than when they had first met. The dragonborn had the courage to take on any foe, no matter the size, and often coming out on top. Tim the tiefling differed in his approach to the arcane, but his power had grown rapidly of late. No doubt the warlock had even more devastating spells hidden up his mysterious sleeve. Then there was the most recent gnome recruit, Finley the wild sorceress. Unpredictable, yet unquestionably bright in the most testing of predicaments. All his companions had performed admirably as Oakens surprised them with his evil schemes. The Black Lantern itself was also a force for good, no doubt. And though he was yet to see them fight, he knew Borgin, Itham, Forath, and who ever else they recruited were capable combatants. Silver had also improved, the art thief adding extra layers to his repertoire of skills. Enough most times to keep himself alive, and plant a bolt or sword thrust where it is most effective. Indeed it was a strong hand from the deck, maybe even a winning hand. Time would tell.

Yet there was still Vermillion. That most personal of thorns in his side. Time was essential to weave a robust plan, and the Black Lantern would be busy patching up the city for a good while. The rogue knew of a few select places he could unwind, that hopefully weren’t either burning or out of wine. A sprinkling of pretty faces wouldn’t hurt either to wipe away the ghastly images imbedded in his head. With that he was gone, slipping down from the tower and looking for yet another pocket away from reality. At least for the time being.

Machinations

The fire crackled, and the eerie sounds of the swamp carried on the night air as all was still within the camp. The half elf couldn’t sleep so opted to walk the perimeter, silently stepping past a snoring Biblios as he slinked away into the black. He hated it here, and wondered if that smell would ever leave his clothes by the time they got back to civilization. Funny how that thought occupied him, instead of the terrifying ordeal that had been the gargantuan snake. One made of bone and evil magic no less.

The wand sitting in his inner pocket gave off a now familiar hum, and the faint smell of ozone as it recharged. Silver despised the wand, but had become used to it’s workings, attuned was the word Glim used. Whatever, he thought. Just a tool, but quite the light show. When faced with a bone snake a smile and wink don’t cut it. Which reminded him just how far removed he was from his old world. A distinct lack of rooftop chases with bungling guards, or wooing impressionable rich ladies of distinction. No trying to remember dance etiquette of the south, or the exact combination to a lock. No, now he faced the stuff of nightmares instead. But that wasn’t why he couldn’t sleep.

He paused to sit on a dry-ish looking log under a gnarled tree. A lizard scurried away with a hiss as it was disturbed. Silver hissed back, then reached into his pocket. pulling out a small, but thick, leather bound note book. It’s pages dog eared, and filled with scribbles, drawings, and other oddities. All coded in a method of SIlvers creation, with maybe the odd Elvish word recognizable. He flipped past diagrams of Ravensbrook estate, a sketch of the family crest, names, and even guard patterns. Until he reached a fresh page where he had recently made notes. In detail was all the information he had gleaned from the insufferable Herman Albrecht in Neverwinter. The rogue sighed, it wasn’t a lot for the coin and time he had spent buttering up the fool. But every little part was important, and again the mystery of the Ravensbrook mines played with his thoughts. Even powerful men have secrets, and secrets can often be used as…leverage.

His cousin, Baron Vermillion Ravensbrook, was unequivocally powerful. At that thought SIlvers body and mind ached from ghostly wounds that were long gone. A reminder if anything that caution was essential this time. Caution, patience, and resources were required. Which is why this city rogue found himself in the middle of swamp waving a magic stick at bone snakes and man-frogs. The book in his hand was purpose, a reminder of the bigger tapestry. He flicked a few more page and stopped on one with numbers. The gold count was growing nicely, despite urges to throw a raucous ball or fund a well equipped heist. No, this gold was the axe to make some changes to the family tree.

A sound to his left broke the silence, and in one fluid motion he swept into a guard position with his dagger drawn. A wet warble was followed by a rustling sound, as what ever creature it was carried on with its evening. The rogue half convinced it was Tim lurking again, sheathed his weapon and slowly strolled back towards camp. And what of the Tiefling, and his fellow adventurers. These individuals too chased their own goals, be it coins in the dark, dusty tombs of the arcane, or the thrill of chaos. A motley bunch thrown together under the badge of the Black lantern. He barley knew them, it had only been two months since he signed up for the promise of easy gold. The rogue disappointed in himself for failing to read the small print that no doubt mentioned the cannibals, giant crabs, drow, and other vile creatures. And what of the dragon arrows? His mind flicking back to wave echo cave and the attack. What mastermind sat behind it all, but more importantly, what powerful treasures would such an individual covert. What treasures to…steal.

The camp drew into view as the dawn seeped through the gloom. The group were mostly awake now. Ellywick practicing with fluid moves the eye couldn’t follow. After making the mistake of interrupting her before he nodded and continued past. What secrets lurked in her past he wondered, he knew very little of shadow monks. Biblios was still out cold, no doubt feeling the after effects of combat. The dragonborn a juggernaut in any fight, not a fellow to be crossed he noted. But the barbarian had shown true courage to recuse poor Boris. Tim zapped small creatures with controlled bolts from his outstretched fingers, the odd gleeful cackle emanating from his mask. Tieflings, he thought, never trustworthy. But the warlock had saved them above once, maybe just for the thrill of it. Then there was the newcomer Finley, who sat playing a cheerful tune on her pipes. But did she have the same control over her wild powers, a query for Glim he thought. And where was the gnome wizard, no doubt somewhere not smelling of swamp. or more worryingly digging into some knowledge he should know better about.

He had fought side by side with these folk, surely that earned them a degree of his trust? Silver thought that an answer for another day, and perhaps a page in his notebook. The rogue chuckled, the irony of a thief and trust not lost on him.

The Red Baron

Silver gazed blankly into the taverns flickering fire, and quietly sipped at the establishments best wine. Which of course was horrendous, but it did the trick to relax the troubled rogue. Who was spending a few moments away from his fellow adventurers in order to collect his thoughts.

His coin purse was heavy, and in the past that would have been enough for Silver to crack a smile and congratulate himself for a job well done. But that was another Silver, from a simpler time. That was before the encounter with his cousin, the Red Baron, Vermillion.

The rogue took another sip of wine, and reluctantly let his thoughts flicker back to that ill fated encounter years ago…

The fog draped the Ravensbrooke estate like a smokey cloak, emphasizing it’s impressive architecture rather than obscuring it. Fine stone work danced around its grand structures, and a gleaming family crest nestled proudly above it’s majestic main door. It was an imposing site, even without adding the guards and vast surrounding wall. But the rogue was not easily intimidated, and while certainly not lacking in intelligence he was often reckless. This was one such moment he thought, as his feet landed silently on the other side of the wall. The fog seemingly wrapping itself around him to avoid detection.

It had nagged at him for months, ever since discovering that he was the rightful heir to this very estate he now trespassed on. He had spent weeks hanging around the village, impersonating a traveling merchant and gathering any information he could on Ravensbrooke. Including the dreaded stories of the mine, and the wicked other worldly power the Baron supposedly held. But townsfolk were often foolish, and easily rattled by nonsensical tales obviously used to keep them in check.

How does one tell their cousin that they should pack up and leave. To their face obviously, Silver had concluded, as he slinked in between gnarled trees towards the west wing. The Baron would obviously be a spoilt silver spooned wretch, who would be easily fooled. After all, that is what SIlver excelled at. This would be no different to any other con job, yet the prize was personal and immense.

The west wing was under minor repair, and the scaffolding formed a convenient way up to the higher levels. Where the Rogue could then make his way to the Barons quarters by way of the servants passages. Information that hadn’t come cheap or easy, but SIlver had been patient and determined. The window gave an unexpectedly loud creak, which caused a nearby guard to peer up with his torch. But the guard just shook his head and continued his patrol with a loud yawn. Either he was a terrible guard, or knew that trying to break in was both insane and impossible.

SIlver felt warmth on his face and carpet underfoot, as he carefully closed the window behind him. Then with haste made his way through the winding servants passages, which were thankfully vacant at this time of night. Moving inwards and dodging the odd lamp he eventually arrived at the Barons bedroom door. A hand hovered over the handle, and he briefly thought how strangely easy all this was. But then quickly dismissed it and carefully opened the lavish door.

“Do come in” said a commanding yet smooth voice from the room. Silver actually froze, then contemplated turning and running.

“I’ve asked the guards to give us a few moments to chat. The wine is also quite excellent.” Silver was completely wrong footed, was his intel purposely fed to him?. Obviously the Baron was expecting him, and by the bouquet also had exquisite taste in wine.

“Do take a seat and pour yourself a glass. Clearly we have much to discuss.”

SIlver entered the room and saw his cousin for the first time. The Baron was fitted with expensive clothes, a high collared shirt framed his angular pale face, while a lengthy black coat accentuated his already impressive height. His deep red hair was cropped short, allowing piercing blue eyes to scrutinize the impostor in his lair. And there was something else that Silver just couldn’t pin point. Like his very soul was being gripped and inspected by icy cold hands. The air also felt frigid, despite a roaring fire illuminating the room. The rogue pulled up a chair anyways, and sat down.

" I do so love these little family reunions, of course many of our line has disappeared over the years unfortunately. But I digress. Did you try the wine?"

“I’m trying to give it up” Silver quipped and tightened the grip on his concealed blade. Yet clearly he had little grip on the situation.

“Well dear cousin, you’ve broken into my house in the middle of the night, so obviously have something on your mind. Now are you after the house safe, or do you have more nefarious plans in mind concerning that dagger of yours? Come now, let nothing come between kin.” The Baron sat down facing Silver, and casually sniffed at his goblet of wine.

SIlver had gone over what he would say a hundred times, but instead remained silent then pulled a document from his pocket and slid it over to Vermillion. Who raised an eyebrow and opened the papers with an exaggerated expression of surprise. The document was of course Silvers legal claim to the Ravensbrooke estate, being the sole son of it’s original master. Delivered to the Rogue by a Ranger fulfilling his late fathers wishes.

“Well, that is a turn up for the books. You know i had to practically murder my own father to get my hands on this place, before he drained the family of all it’s coin. While your father hid like a coward in the woods, unable to face his fate like a gentleman. Under my gaze Ravensbrooke has flourished, and been pulled back from the brink. So do tell why I would hand over the keys to a two bit thief with a worthless piece of paper?”

Silvers mind raced, he had obviously underestimated his cousin who was no spoilt noble easily fooled. Vermillion also had the upper hand in knowing his families past, knowledge he would dearly love to discover. On top of that he was stuck in the middle of a fortified building, with fifty or so guards patrolling close by. He had been in worse situations, having grown up amongst the wrong kind of people. Yet his mind could not seem to find a solution, as if an invisible hand kept diverting and confusing his thoughts. There was a long silent pause, as the two glared at each other. But before Silver could react his cousin spoke again.

“Clearly cousin, we must settle this matter as our family has in generations past. A gentleman’s duel. And with my bountiful generosity also offer a way for you to clear your fathers blackened name in the eyes of his accusers. The Order does not know you exist yet, and their law dictates the crimes of the father are passed down to the son. Someone hid you well, but then you came right out the wood work when you sniffed gold. So, to the courtyard, this is a priceless carpet i’d rather you didn’t soil.” The Baron stood up, and two guards were suddenly in the room ushering the rogue out.

The courtyard was illuminated by torch light, which lit up the many gargoyles snarling at the scene below. The barons guards formed a circle around the two cousins as they stood facing each other in the wintery night. One walking up to Vermillion and taking off his long coat, before handing him a pair of black fencing gloves.

In any other situation like this the rogue would just take his leave and bolt for the rooftops. But his thoughts felt like they were being slowed down by a spectral chill. He hadn’t taken any of the wine, so clearly wasn’t poisoned, yet he was somehow robbed of his quick thinking and guile. Words wouldn’t form, and bizarrely the baron appeared to have gotten taller.

“Well now, it is customary for the challenger to select their weapon first. Do go ahead sir.” A guard presented a large case of assorted weaponry, from wicked looking knives to bludgeoning maces. Silver selected a rapier, a weapon he was actually accustomed to using. Vermillion also drew a rapier, but from a different case embellished with the Ravensbrooke crest. He swished it back and forth in the air and ran his eyes along the blade. " This one has been in the family for centuries, ah if it could only tell of the bloodshed. Anyways, shall we?"

Vermillion raised his blade to his face before crisply bowing to his opponent, as did Silver albeit with less ceremony. The rogue acted first and dashed forward. Covering the gap with surprising speed, he thrusted the blade at the barons heart. But the baron simply wasn’t there, as SIlver caught a glimpse of a blur to his left. A hot spike of pain swept out from his side as the barons sword ripped across him. Vermillion spun and adjusted his stance ready, a brief smirk upon his face. Silver staggered, and tightened the grip on his rapier, feeling blood trickle under his shirt. He lunged at his cousin again, this time feinting low but altering his blades path at the last breath. Vermillion ducked with ghostly speed, and in the same motion swept his leg viciously to send Silver spinning to the ground.

“Well, I had expected more fight to be truthful. You come all this way just to roll around in my dirt. I’m disappointed cousin. " The rogue picked himself up and shook his head, still the frigid hold on his thoughts persisted, Vermilion’s voice distorting just for a moment. He took up his stance once again, but this time rushed with a low ugly swiping blow knowing Vermillion would dodge it. As he did so, Silver swung his other hand with the concealed dagger in a glittering arc, catching the baron across the shoulder. Vermilion was there for a moment, then he was gone, appearing a few feet back with a grin on his face and unharmed. “Good! You have found your purpose at last, but sadly too late, as we must conclude this affair. More pressing matters require my attention.”

Vermillion was one and several at the same time as he ripped towards Silver with savage velocity. His blade was like a thousand stars as it moved faster than any eye could follow. The rogue was consumed by a keen edged hurricane, as the baron whirled into him. Finishing with an open handed push from his off hand, that hurled SIlver back into a group of guards.

“Listen well cousin. No half blood will ever pollute this noble line. You are a mistake, a smudge that will never be recognized or allowed. I am not without mercy, yet in truth you are not worthy of the meager effort required to end you. This evening will linger with you for all your days, that in itself is sufficient punishment. You know not what you meddle in, but set foot in Ravensbrooke again and I will decimate you and all you hold dear with total finality. " The barons voice taking on an otherworldly tone. Even his own guards took a step back from him, as he loomed over the broken rogue. "We are done here, remove him from my presence and return to your duties. "

At some point Silver had lost conscious, and time seemingly spun off its course. Hours or weeks, he wasn’t sure. Voices were muffled, and words tumbled in an unrecognizable mess. Vermilion’s words would mix with them, and as they did so his body would again feel pain. It was in fact months before he was conscious, and years before he truly felt normal again.

“Can I get you another dear?” Silver snapped back to the present, and he noted that the Folly had started to fill up with locals making merriment. “My thanks but no, a gentleman must get his beauty sleep.” He said with a wink, then up and left. Memory lane was often perilous for the rogue, and it never paid for him to dally there for long, lest something follow him out. It had been years, and he was not the foolish youth who confronted Vermillion. Yet that ill fated night had given the rogue an unprecedented focus and ambition. Dangerous ambition, some would say. The smaller cogs and schemes all turned for the one inevitable fact. That one day he would return to face his cousin again, and reclaim what was rightfully his. Silver just hoped he wouldn’t have to become a monster to vanquish one.


A Good Vintage

“That makes no sense…”

The light from the fireplace lit up the puzzling expression, extensive makeup, and heaving bosom of the lady as she stared at the gentleman next to her.

“I mean, why would you want to break into a prison?”

The gentleman looked from side to side and drew closer to the ladies ear, as if he had something of extreme importance to tell her. Then whispered.

“Well, that is just what I heard from a friend. And I could enlighten you my dear, but information is never free is it? That was the deal?” Said the man with a wink.

The lady scoffed and re-adjusted her gaudy hair piece, before taking a long swig from her wine glass. Which was not her first of the evening, if the glazed look in her eyes was any indication. Then after a long pause she furrowed her brow and turned back to him.

“Ok fine, I’ll tell you what I know if you spill the beans on how the bugger did it”

The man smiled, leaned back in his chair and steepled his fingers.

“Well, all we have is hear say, so we must mine what truth there is from the tale. But it began with a cruel prison warden, who had cheated at cards to take home an extremely desirable vintage bottle of port.

Now, the Warden was a man who liked fine things, but didn’t truly appreciate their value or beauty. He just accumulated them in order to appear more important and cultured than he really was. His prison had the most horrid reputation, and he boasted that no one had ever escaped. In general the man was an utter arse."

The lady giggled and hiccuped before allowing the gentleman to continue his tale.

“Now, after a few shady arrangements my friend had allowed himself to get caught for a minor crime, and found himself in a dank and leaky cell. But this was no ordinary cell, but one the thief had managed to leverage through a favor. You see a guard on the inside had been tipped off that his wife was having midnight relations with the Warden. So the guard ensured the thief occupied the pent house suite of cells during his brief stay, and also that he was alone. It was no accident that this was the closest cell to the stairway leading to the Wardens quarters.

The scoundrel, faced with a locked door, had managed to smuggle in a single lock pick. Via a place that I couldn’t possibly discuss with a lady, but rest assured he was relived to recover it and ready it for use.

Then when all was quiet, he worked the lock with practiced ease and silently pushed the door open, before slinking out into the gloomy passage. Keeping to the shadows and cat-walking across ceiling beams he avoided a guard who was busy cleaning his nails with the tip of his sword, and another who was napping against a wall. But then he came to a real obstacle…"

The lady raised an eyebrow. “What?”

“A door with no key hole or obvious lock… A magical door. "

“Blimey. Now he’s screwed.” She cackled, and readjusted her puffy dress.

“Well, yes and no. You see while it was undoubtably a challenge, this was no run of the mill thief stealing trinkets. This was a heist many weeks in the planning, and the magical door was indeed expected. The Warden often boasted about how the finest Wizard money could buy had constructed this door. But what he didn’t know was that said Wizard also had a inkling for rare artifacts. Artifacts a gentleman thief might be able to acquire in exchange for information on how one might proceed past a door of magical qualities.

So after a few glances over his shoulder he whispered the key word in Elvish, and the door opened. A stairway spiraled up and he made haste with muffled footsteps to the top. He allowed himself a wry smile as he surveyed the inner sanctum of the Wardens quarters. Which was decadently decked out in numerous rare pieces of art and glittering trophies. But it was the ominous black safe that drew the eye of our intrepid hero…"

The lady interrupted again. “Wait, where is the Warden in all this?”

“Ah, good question. The Warden had followed up a mysterious love note that invited him to a midnight rendezvous. Being a pig ugly brute, the idiot had fell for it and was probably standing in the middle of a forest with a wilting flower. So our light fingered friend was left to his own devices, and approached the safe.

Which of course was a monstrous thing, that only a master of the night could possibly have a chance to best. But amusingly the Warden had written the code down and kept it within a secret compartment in his desk. Which the thief knew about thanks to a talkative carpenters son in need of advice for the fairer sex. "

The lady interrupted again. “My-my, your friend knows a fair few folks.”

“Indeed” The man smiled a wolfish smile and continued.

“So with the safe easily beaten he eyed the prize, and then made his escape. And here is where the story really falls apart i’m afraid, as the exact details of how on earth he got back out are somewhat murky. People do so enjoy playing with the facts.

Some say he jumped out the window and rode away on a giant eagle, or that he just walked out the front door dressed up as the Warden himself. Or did he gracefully descend the outside walls with breathless acrobatic ability? We just don’t know…"

The gentleman shrugged and then held out his hand to the lady. “You did enquire as to only how he got in though, so I believe my part of the bargain is complete.”

The lady narrowed her eyes, smirked, and whisked a piece of paper from her cleavage in an irritated fashion.

“You Rogue. I guess a deal is a deal, so here you go. This is all I know, so make of it what you will”

“My thanks!” He said, and kissed her hand in an exaggerated manor, before rising from his seat with barely hidden haste. Then made for the door with quick feet.

“Oi! I never got your name!?” she yelled.

“No, you didn’t did you”. He said as he pulled on his hood. And then the gentleman was gone into the silvery moonlit night, which to him was still young and very much full of opportunities….


A Worthy Cause

The lady let out another desperate sob, and blew hard into her monogrammed silk handkerchief. The man sitting opposite her shuffled uncomfortably in the plush high chair. He so hated woman crying, and just wanted to get the facts down so he could get on with his job.

The lady finally composed herself somewhat, helped by a whiff from a petite antique box she had pulled from her purse. Some kind of smelling salts one would imagine, noted the man.

“Well you see he was just so irrsestable, and after my husband passed away I got so awfully lonely in the evenings. Just me in this big old house, with all these priceless cold things. They don’t keep your heart warm, I tell you. " The man nodded and did his best to raise a sympathetic expression.

“I see, so how did you meet?” He asked, and hovered his pen over note paper with an ornate letterhead.

“Cards. I just love cards, despite being so dreadful at them. I often throw parties and have a few fellow gamblers over. I don’ t recall how he even got in, as i’m very selective who I invite, but he was so charming that I must have overlooked it”

The man almost visibly started to twitch, and really wanted to just get up and leave, but then felt the weight of the coin purse in his pocket.

“I see, so despite not knowing him or how he got into your party, you decided to let him stay a few nights. Is that correct?”

“Well yes, when you put it like that. But you must understand I thought I was doing a good deed. We chatted for hours, specially when he told me about the cause. "

The man perked up, finally something. " Oh yes? and what cause was that?"

“Oh my goodness, it was so heart breaking you see. He told me how his father is a king. but is a wicked man that was doing great harm to his kingdom and it’s people. It was his princely duty to fund the secret resistance movement, but couldn’t use his own wealth to do so for fear of his father knowing.” She dabbed her puffy eyes, and looked wistfully out the huge gold framed window.

The man rose from his chair, his fine black leather armor creaked a little as he did so. His entourage of guards stiffened to attention, and he casually waved his hand for them to relax. His hawkish face housed intense wise eyes, with a steely will behind them. Running fingers through his short grey hair he began to pace the room.

“Well, sadly you are not the first to be taken in by this confidence trickster. I presume he showed you forged documents affirming his status?”

The lady beckoned her maid over, and pulled several sheets of paper from a gold tray. She glanced at them again, sighed, and handed them to the man. Who studied them, licked the ink, then nodded to one of his men.

“You don’t understand, it’s not about the money, I have plenty of that. I was just, well…very much in love. I am a fool for the exotic types, him being half elf and all. "

“Yes well, this half breed must be brought to justice, and believe me I am closing the noose. Now, you said a painting was stolen too?”

The lady blew into the hanky again, and then pointed to a blank space on her wall, that had clearly once displayed a painting. "Yes, for some bizarre reason he took the painting of my deceased husband. It was done a few months before the fateful incident with that boar. It has no value really, but he did show interest in the pendent my husband was wearing "

The man, flicked back through several pages in his notes, showed the lady a sketch, and she nodded.

“That’s interesting” he said. “Very interesting indeed”

“My husband was into all sorts i’m sure, the brute was never around to see to a ladies needs, always at that club house of his.”

“Yes, well, he was a law abiding citizen who paid his taxes. I’m sure he was due privacy with his own time” Said the man, as he gave the signal to his guards it was time to leave. ’Now, who was the last to see him leave?"

“Mary, my maid” She hurried Mary over, who was a pretty lil thing with a twinkle in her eye.

The man glared at her intensely. “Which way did this villain go Mary?”

“Oh, well, it was dark see, but the moon was full that night. So i’m best be sure it was westward the gentleman headed. in full flight no less.”

There was the smallest smile on Marys face, and a moment where she seemed to be recalling a fond memory of sorts. But the man missed it as he was busy tracing a finger over a map.

Then he was gone, muttering rushed words of assurance to the Duchess as he left. Who once again broke out into uncontrollable sobbing. Mary just smiled to herself, and gentled patted the lady on her shoulder.

’It’s okay miss, i’ll make some tea shall I…"


Bad Apple

Silver couldn’t move. The rogue willed his body to rise out of the chair, but it stubbornly refused. He could however still move his head, and glanced around at the room he was in. It was a basic room of sorts, a lone candle working hard to push back the gloom. The rooms one window was wide open, and a cool night breeze carried the sounds of a bustling city. While muffled sounds and cheers emanated from below the creaky wooden floor. An inn maybe, SIlver mused, trying to make sense of his predicament.

He looked down and noticed he was sitting at a table, with a plethora of dangerous looking vials and bottles laid out in front of him. Sickly colored powders sat alongside oily liquids and dried plants. Poisons he noted, although he lacked the skill to recognize them exactly. Had he taken some kind of hallucinogenic, or maybe accidentally come in contact with a toxin that was now slowly draining his life away. Why wasn’t his brain working, and where on earth was he?

“You must have a lot of questions” Said a silky voice from the corner of the room. Silver peered into the shadows, picking out a figure casually lounging in a grand but aged chair. They wore fine dark leather clothes, imbued with subtle but intricate needle and metal work. A hood hid the stranger face, who was slicing into an apple with what looked like a throwing knife.

“Who sent you, what did i steal, or whose daughter did i supposedly sleep with? And what did you do to me?” SIlver asked, knowing he wouldn’t get any answers, except maybe the throwing knife to his head. The stranger sliced another piece of apple and it disappeared into the hood.

“Ah, stealing. Stealing things was so simple. After all, a filthy rich noble wouldn’t miss one painting or a stack of bonds. No one really got hurt did they? It was just money. But then… what if you steal a life?” Another piece of the apple was sliced. If Silver could move he would’ve shuffled uncomfortably. Words also wouldn’t come out now, as the figure continued. “I mean, it was self defense with the gang members. And those cultists were clearly out of their mind. Then the monsters were just that. Monsters. This job got complicated fast, and you just had to stay alive… right?”

The rogue had many enemies for sure, but he was careful to always cover the tracks and remaining one step ahead. He was exceptional at it. But maybe had made a fateful mistake somewhere, and now here he was at the hands of a poetic enemy. Who sounded familiar somehow.

“Yes. The job got complicated. But I, sorry I mean ‘we’, saved lives in the process. It’s not always black and white as to how you save them. " The rogue said defensively. The stranger chuckled, and turned the apple around in his hand. “That is indeed true. But your motives weren’t to save them, that was just a result of your actions. In truth, you wanted the pay day, and to see what was in this’ cave’. To see if it would give you the tools and power to take back your stolen inheritance. That’s what drives you. Not rescuing damsels and dwarves in distress” Another slice disappeared into the hood.

Silver narrowed his eyes. " We all have ambitions. I want back what is rightfully mine."

“Ey, and you’d be surprised at what you would do to get it. And what paths you would take. Dark paths. Well I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” For a moment Silver was surprised. He knew very little of his father, other than he was a noble who had been wrongfully disgraced and lived out his final years in exile. He yearned to know more. Specially if it would help him reclaim his stolen inheritance, and remove his despicable but powerful cousin in the process "

“What do you know of my father?”

“I know enough.” The stranger said. Almost with a sad tone." But the son is able to take a different path, should they choose it. And hear this Mithrildir Moonrunner, you are at a cross roads. One path will be bloody and almost impossible to correct, you will yearn for the days of fleecing wealthy women. Oh you will get what you desire, but the cost will weigh heavily on you. "

Now SIlver was certain he had taken some kind of hallucinogenic. Or some lunatic magic wielder had broken into his room to drug him and spout nonsense. Either way, he was ready to be done with the conversation and face what ever fate awaited. “And why should I listen to a stranger eating an apple in my room in the dead of night?”

The stranger got up from the chair and walked over into the candle light, then pulled back his hood. Silver shrieked and his eyes widened with shock. The mans face was his own, but aged with a scar, and hair that was was streaked with a few dashes of grey. "Because you should listen to your conscience before it is too late. " he said, and placed the apple core on the table.

Silver bolted upright out of his bed, sweating and taking deep breaths. He could move again, it was just a dream. The green forest canopy replaced the gloomy room, and daylight streaked through the trees. Looking around he could see Gorum was still sound a sleep, while Glim and Zahn conversed over breakfast around the camp fire. The gnome looked over. " You look like you’ve seen a ghost, rough night?" The rogue nodded.

“It must have been something I ate last night” Silver muttered as he rose to his feet. Glim laughed. " Well we did tell you not to eat fruit from this forest, you insisted your elf side could handle it". Silver looked down, and at his feet he noticed a brown apple core. “Must have been a bad apple” Zahn said. “Indeed” he replied. But the half elf was more than a little rattled by his dream, even if he didn’t show it. He hoped it would be a quiet day, but then the morning stillness was abruptly disrupted by something moving quickly through the trees…


Broken Arrow

Silver wondered casually through the bustling Phandalin market, enjoying the sights and sounds on a crisp sunny morning. Traders bargained with merchants in a chattering cacophony that filled the air. While builders and craftsman hammered away, constructing even more structures in the growing town. It was a far cry from when he and his fellow adventurers had arrived looking for danger and coin. Many new and interesting people were finding their way here, and one such individual suddenly caught his eye.

A fiery elven girl was caught up in an animated discussion with Andre Rene the clothier merchant. She wore animal hide leathers that complimented her coppery skin, while hair the color of autumn leaves danced in the breeze. Certainly beautiful, but with a wild and rugged look in her eye that intrigued SIlver. So he ventured over.

“That is an insult and you know it! These skins are worth triple that amount!” She exclaimed before swearing in elvish under her breath.

“Oh my, I do believe this lady to be correct Andre. These are some of the finest skins I have seen, no doubt you would certainly make a profit? SIlver quipped as he butted in. Andre went red slightly, then dramatically threw his hands up in the air.

“Fine! You people want to see me go bust!? I’ll give you what you ask. " Before handing the elven girl a bag of coins. “Now be gone, i have work to do!” SIlver smiled and gestured for the girl to join him as he left Andres store. The elf just glared at the rogue, before walking straight past him. “I don’t need favors” she said.

SIlver followed. "No favor, I just don’t like to see people get robbed…And they really are sublime quality, you must be quite the skilled hunter. " The girl turned, and was about to let rip with an insult, but abruptly stopped mid sentence. Staring intently over Silvers shoulder she tilted her head slightly. “Where did you get that?” She asked, curiosity cooling her stormy mood.“Get what?” he said, looking back. " Your bow, did you steal it?"

“No, this was actually one thing I didn’t steal, why do you ask?” Silver smiled. The girl shook her head, then swore again. " You know I can understand that, and i’ve never done that with a cow." SIlver replied, this time in elvish, and pulled back his hood slightly so she could see his ears. " A half blood!, oh this just gets worse" She continued in elvish as well. “Do you even understand the markings?”

He drew out his bow, and ran a finger along the intricately crafted markings on it. He had always presumed they were just ornate decoration. And indeed it was a splendid work of art, in addition to being an effective ranged weapon. It also bore a few nicks and scrapes that SIlver often wondered how his father had got them.

“It was my late fathers, so you could say I inherited it. " The elf looked at him intensely. “So your father was Or-tel-quessir?”. He shook his head." No, he was human, but my mother is Or-tel-quessir." She raised an eyebrow. " The markings, they cannot be copied by a human hand. They are as unique as a signature, and each lúva curu herdir has their own. They also do not part easily with them, specially to outsiders. To us our weapons are not just simply tools, they become extensions of who we are, almost absorbing our personality. So either your father stole it, or was shown great honor. It will have a name, here let me see"

As her hand touched the bow she immediately grimaced and pulled back, like she had just grasped hot coals. " This one is not right! Like an eagle feather dipped in ink!" Her eyes wide she stepped back slightly from the rogue. “What?! What is wrong with it, what do you mean?” " This one has a reckless and wayward spirit, it has absorbed many dark memories. It will not shoot true for you!" Silver shook his head and returned the bow to his pack. " It works just fine, you can ask a few hobgoblins with new air holes in their heads."

“A bow of the lúva curu herdir will only ever fire true for its original master. You may have hit your target, but that is because the weapon hungers selfishly, not obeys. Only us Or-tel-quessir understand. Maybe half of you understands then. When you need it most, that weapon may desert you”

“An Or-tel-quessir ranger delivered it to me on my fathers wishes. If the bow was broken, why would he do that?”

" I do not know, and neither do I have time to stand here wasting good hunting daylight. If you have questions, you must seek them out. Obtain a bow that is one with you, if you are lucky. Which I sense maybe you are, who knows." And with that she threw her pack over her shoulder and began walking away.

“Wait, I never caught your name…?”

“I am Aranel” and with that she was gone.

Going Rogue - Silver lined short stories

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