After learning from Leila’s vision of a mysterious shadowed figure named Blackfire in a room within the noble district of Igstanpur, a storm brews as factions may soon collide. Leila and Zeke seek to stay ahead and find the thief Azmal before the Nest of Shadows, the Inquisitors, or Drakka’s employer. The duo traverse quickly through the sewers down below, unaware of the danger that looms ahead. 

Part 9/All Other Anthologies

Zeke traversed through the sewers behind a mystified Leila, after nearly an hour of twist and turns, Leila stopped looking up through a grate. She motioned him slowly forward, both of them listening intently for any passing sentry. After a moment of silence, they both stealthily emerged through the sewer grate. They both outside within a small grove with tall bushes, a white pagoda sat in the middle, the intricate woodwork portrayed the district’s affluence.

Across the bright green grass to a clay-tiled porch, the both of them kept close to the window edges to avoid direct sight. The estate was not boisterously large compared to many of the other manors in the area, but it was still large enough to house half a dozen families inside if needed. The interior was decorated armors and paintings, elaborately detailed wooden furniture were arranged in large rooms with 15-foot ceilings. No sound, no one was seen inside.

Let’s split up, Zeke mouthed silently to Leila. She gave a quick nod and pointed upward towards the second landing. Zeke replied and propped himself against a wall and cupped his hands as leverage. A quick sprint start and Leila managed to grab the edge of a window sill, using the rest of her strength to pull herself up. She got a grip of the wall with her boots, giving her enough time to gently lift the window panel open. Zeke took his cue and entered through a side door without a creak.

Leila found herself in a small study, she clawed her way through the window and eased her foot onto the wooden floorboards. There were several bookshelves, a desk opposite from the window, and a door nearby. She unsheathed a thin dagger and kept it close by as she peeked past the crack in the door. No one. Carefully, she opened the door wider and checked down her blindspot down the hallway before advancing further. Following the images from her vision, the tiles on the floor were indeed marble-like in appearance, but further inspection proved it to be a false clay duplicate. It felt surreal, the imagery from her vision began to overlap the reality before her.

As Leila steadily approached the doors from her vision, she steeled herself for the possible encounter. Silent as shadow, Zeke made his presence known which almost startled her but quickly rebounded from it. She glared at the warrior for his indiscretion. As the two approached closer, the sound of a muffled voice could be heard from behind the closed doors.

What do we do? Leila mouthed to Zeke. The young warrior tensed while staring off toward the doors, he brandished his metallic arm and positioned himself for a full charge. Leila followed suit by unsheathing her blade and readying herself as well. The both of them charged at full speed toward the door, Zeke went first and reeled his arm with a closed fist at the door. The full force splintered the door which gave Leila enough breadth to dash through with her long blade thrusting forward.

She saw her target, a black cloaked figure with a kukri at their side, and a cowering tiefling with ripped garb. The figure quickly turned and parried her blade, before he could riposte, Zeke managed to land his metallic fist into the assailant’s side. The blow pushed against the wall.

“Get him out of here!” Zeke shouted. Leila did not waste time, hurrying to Azmal’s side to lift him to and out of the room.

“You should not have done that fool, now you shall burn by the black flames,” the hooded figure hissed. The voice was dark and spectral, face shrouded by black smoke. Zeke kept his distance, unsure of the assassin’s reach and potency.

Another kukri was withdrawn, Blackfire lunged at him, the blades became wrapped in black flames. Zeke parried one of the blades with his metallic arm, the other caught the edge of his cloak which began to burn. He quickly ripped part of his cloak with his metallic arm, it showed no tear or mark from the unholy flames.

“You’re full of surprises.” The assassin scorned.

Zeke unsheathed his blade with his other hand, he took a stance with the blade resting on the metallic arm. It was a defensive stance, he had to stall for time, give Leila and the thief enough time. He knew that the assassin would figure out the ruse or better yet try to end this encounter quickly. He whispered a soft phrase, an old limerick used to ascertain focus and precision. His eye began to inspect the stance and armor of the assassin, looking for weak points and openings.

There were very few. Blackfire was a trained assassin of the Nest of Shadows, well-trained to be exact. Zeke knew it would be hard-pressed to exploit any openings from the hooded man. If you could call him that.

“You will not deny me, my prey.” He bellowed, erupting into black flames before vanishing into the ether.

Zeke stared intent where the assassin once stood and surveyed his surroundings to ensure it was not a ruse. There was no pain from his left eye, the coast was clear. He rushed out of the room and quickly headed towards the sewer grate they arrived from earlier. There was no time! He needed to find Leila quickly before the assassin showed up.

Alright, that’s it for this installment of Anthology from the Land of Magic. Thanks for reading along! Please like, comment, and share if you liked our tale. If you want to follow along with my antics, follow us on Facebook and Twitter. We also have a donate button and an Amazon store page for your D&D goods, a little bit comes back our way to run the site. We have an Instagram to follow some behind-the-scenes pics for Team BAJA and any board game related posts. Thanks again and we’ll see you soon!