Leila and Zeke managed to find Azmal but was confronted by an assassin from the Nest of Shadows, known as Blackfire. Zeke held off the assassin while Leila and Azmal made their escape. A daring duel between the young warrior and wetworker ensued with Zeke’s metallic arm versus the fanatic’s black flames. Sensing the stalemate, Blackfire erupts in a column of black flames and disappears from the estate nowhere to be seen, Zeke quickly ran out to find Leila before the assassin found them. It was not over yet.

Part 10/Other Anthology Episodes

Zeke ran out of the estate and down the sewer grate they had come from earlier. He had to hurry, before Blackefire found them. An assassin from the Nest of Shadows always finished their contracts, no matter what. He had expected a few magical trinkets or armaments, not black flames summoned on command. Such a high tier assassin, Zeke thought, meant a high bounty to be paid. Something was not adding up. The Eyes of Ashara were supposedly a divine relic to the Inquisitors, even Leila expressed some significance to the relic. The item was stolen, from Leila who stole it from the Inquisitors. Even Blackfire would be no match in a direct assault against the Inquisitors of Igstanpur, something was missing and weaving events together, playing everyone for fools.

Zeke did not like where those thoughts strayed. The sound of splashing water from his running strides echoed across the dimly lit sewer tunnels. He had to hurry. Passing through a few tunnels, he found himself in a large underground hall that separated into three more tunnels. As he approached the center, he spotted Leila off behind a column not far from him.

“Were you followed?” She asked.

“No, he left in a ball of flames. It’s not over yet, he’s still after him,” Zeke nodded off the tiefling, Azmal. “We need to find a safe haven.”

“Where can we go?” Azmal nervously asked.

Leila remained silent in thought, her fingers curled around her red, crimson hair. Zeke decided to keep watch over their surroundings, in case the assassin made an appearance. As for the tiefling, he still had an air of paranoia over him, occasionally Zeke spotted Azmal trace his hands over the left breast of his jacket. Undoubtedly the Eyes of Ashara, Zeke thought, or a very bad habit.

“I have an idea,” Leila announced. The both of them looked over to the dazed woman, still removed in her thoughts.

“Do you care to share?” the tiefling nagged.

“You may not like it,” she answered. She glanced back at Zeke, her eyes asked for trust and belief. The young man silently nodded to her. “We take the Eyes to the Inquisitors.”

“WHAT?! THe whole point was to take it from them!” Azmal protested.

“We both took the job believing it was just some trinket of value, we could have handled the Inquisitors even. But now that the Nest of Shadows is involved, this can’t be a coincidence. There’s something going on with the Eyes of Ashara.” Leila guessed, she became flustered in the effort to piece together a seemingly unlikely scenario.

But Zeke knew better. There was definitely something happening in the shadows. They needed to find the answers before they died for nothing. Preferably avoiding death.

“She has a point,” Zeke affirmed. Taking another glance to the tunnel where he came from, didn’t hurt to be cautious now. “Right now, we have an assassin from the Nest tailing us, we’ve become the prey. We presently only have two real choices.”

“Run and hide, or fight.” Leila finished.

“So the best idea is to run and hide to the Inquisitors?” Azmal snarled.

“Would you rather face the assassin?” Leila retorted.

The tiefling fell silent, his hand traced along the lining on his jacket. Zeke did not notice at first, but the tiefling was rather small compared to most average ones he had come across in his travels. A reddish leather jacket with a plain white tunic underneath, brown breeches and boots to match. There were no weapons, but no doubt they were hidden underneath the jacket or a pant leg. He had tanned skin, black hair with bits of facial hair on his lean face, along with a set of small ram horns protruding out toward the back of his head. His eyes were amber in color and glowed in the darkness of the sewer tunnels. He surprisingly had no tail, unlike the few tieflings Zeke had met once or twice.

“The Inquisitors will buy us some time while we figure out a way to smuggle the Eyes out of Igstanpur.” Leila assured.

The tiefling nodded in agreement, though still uncertain of the plan itself.

Zeke walked over and nudged Leila softly whispering into her ear, “we need to talk.”

Both of them walked off to the side, their face were close now. Leila had not notice how much taller Zeke was relative to herself, she could see bits of the scars underneath the piece of cloth he used a a makeshift eye patch. There must have been a story, she thought to herself before looking at his one good eye.

“I know that this job is on a need-to-know, I would like to know why you both tried to steal the Eyes of Ashara from the Inquisitors.” He whispered calmly. He stared into Leila’s purple eyes like vast pools of amethysts.

“There was interest over the item, a woman had approached Azmal and myself. She said she represented someone who was willing to pay good coin for it. It was a simply job, it didn’t much to sneak into their enclave, stealing it without them noticing was no small feat. We had help on the inside too. Managed to get out with it in hand, until Azmal decided to betray me.” Leila glanced back at the tiefling, making sure he didn’t leave her sights.

“A woman?” Zeke asked worriedly.

“Gods, what was her name? She was blonde and also had purple eyes like myself. She wore dark brown leathers, a gray cloak–”

“Her name was Cecil.” Azmal called out, the both of them turned suddenly to the tiefling. He tucked his hair to reveal long ears hidden underneath.

A look of dread and fear fell on Zeke’s pale face, Leila looked at him worried. Up until now, even though the Nest of Shadows proved to be daunting obstacle, the young man was seldom afraid.

“What’s wrong?” Leila asked.

“It’s not her, it’s her employer. A powerful man, powerful enough to combat against the Nest of Shadows in almost every endeavor. That’s why the Nest sent an assassin, it wasn’t for a bounty, you were already marked as an enemy. There is no safe place from either of them.” Zeke divulged, he seemed distant and gone.

“I’ve heard the stories too, same person who is helping Drakka if I recall,” the tiefling confirmed.

Zeke turned to Leila again, a look fear struck at the young man, “the Inquisitors may not be enough to hold back both of them.”

“I would like to see they try and beat the Inquisitors,” she mocked and walked off to a nearby sewer tunnel. Both Zeke and Azmal glanced at each other in bewilderment, the tiefling shrugged and followed behind Leila. Zeke sighed and followed along, unsure of their prospects now that the pieces were now in play.

Timeaus Randor, he silently said. A name he hoped to never revisit again, fate had other plans.

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