While Leila and Azmal remained in their holding cells within the Inquisitor’s Central Didact within the inner wards of Igstanpur, Zeke turn to hunting underneath the half-moon night sky. Following the trail of whispers and rumors, the lone warrior had traversed through various streets and taverns to find his prey. He was close now, as he continued to stalk the corners of the streets, ever vigilant of the assailant in the shadow.
The looming half-moon glistened across the night sky, there were no clouds, Lystrata perhaps blessed the hunt for the truth. Zeke knew better than to rely on the gods, but their influence was always appreciated when in one’s favor. The nights in Igstanpur were cool compared to the scorching day, the crowds of merchants had closed their shops and move into their inns and homes to drink and dine. The other face of Igstanpur emerges once the sun sets, a face that Zeke was quite familiar. He had no doubt that this was also Leila and Azmal’s world as well, but to avoid drawing unwanted eyes, a plan was proposed and enacted. By now, Leila and Azmal were most likely resting in a holding cell within the Central Didact, no doubt toying with the Inquisitors as they tried to pry information from them.
Sooner or later, the young man thought, the Inquisitors would learn of the Nest of Shadows’ interest in the Eye of Ashara. No doubt they would question the validity of such a notion, thankfully, the Inquisitors would test it and find that statement to be true.
I wonder how blonde boy is going to take the news? Zeke thought.
After navigating through several city streets, he finally found what he was looking for. It was an unremarkable building, there were hardly any sigils or banners to denote its significance. At least to the untrained eye. Zeke’s left side underneath the eye patch burned again, he was close. His right eye eventually noticed the irregular coating on the side of the door to the building, he took his metallic arm and gently traced the invisible image. This was the place.
He slowed his breathing for a few moments, preparing both mind and body for what lay ahead. Zeke listened to the wind and air, determining the presence of other bodies within the building, their relative heat amidst the cold starry night. There were a total of seven inside. A fair challenge, Zeke told himself. Preparations were complete.
With a sudden jolt, the hooded warrior barged through the door, sending splintered wood and loose bits of iron outward in a loud crash. Two guards stood at the door’s threshold and were quickly met with a swift kick and a metallic fist. A large half-orc and a dwarf, both down on the ground with seconds. A duo of humans clad in black leathers emerged from a side room with blades brandished. Zeke easily parried their blades with his metallic arm, a swift kick and punches to the gut were more than sufficient to knock them out. After defeating them, a man with a crossbow emerged, thankfully his aim was off and missed the young warrior. Zeke rushed the bowmen into the nearby wall, he was unconscious from the impact.
“Would you kindly stop tearing down the place?” A female voice demanded from the other room.
Zeke turned to the familiar voice and saw a blonde woman with purple eyes in black leather armor. She had a green cloak draped over her form, a thin blade rested on the side of her hips. Another man with a crossbow stood behind her, his face covered with a leather mask and decorated in the same color leathers.
“You didn’t like the way I knocked on your door?” Zeke sneered.
“Hardly. I figured you would come here sooner or later. I have a room ready for us if you wish to be civil for a change,” the woman recommended while gesturing to a large door down the hall.
“This isn’t a social call, I simply came to procure some information on your latest business activities.” Zeke spoke coldly.
The blonde woman’s eyes narrowed as she studied the young man, “we heard reports that you have stumbled upon the group tasked with acquiring the Eye of Ashara. I take that you are also here because the Nest sent an assassin to spite us and slaughter your friends. No doubt seeking our aid or at the very least information on the assassin.”
“Always on point, a feature I detested but admired.” Zeke sighed.
The blonde woman grinned, “as a matter of fact, we have procured an interested buyer but will need the item delivered to our final courier within the next three days to be shipped out of Igstanpur. We cannot spare any men at the moment, besides I think you’re more than enough to defeat your flaming pursuer.” She tossed a slip of parchment over to Zeke who caught it without blinking.
“I’ll be taking my leave then,” he declared and began to turn towards the broken doorway.
“Shall I add this to your ever-expanding tab?” The woman commented.
Zeke paused at the threshold, “your boss still owes me, don’t forget. I’ll consider this part of his payment owed.” The young warrior tightened the hood of his cloak and departed from the building. But not before a golden bolt of light flew across the building to the door, which was quickly met by Zeke’s metallic arm. The golden bolt began to sizzle and dissipate as if stopped by an invisible barrier. The bolt was no more, only the fierce expression on Zeke’s face as he met back the blonde woman.
She grinned gleefully, “good to see that you’re as sharp as ever.”
Zeke scowled and turned back to the dark night streets of Igstanpur. He would need to return to Leila and Azmal soon, before Blackfire found them, for he doubted that even the Inquisitors could hold off the Nest for long.
I don’t have friends, not anymore. This is a promise to one, and I intend to keep it. The thought burned in the back of Zeke’s mind as he continued with his hunt.
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