Mol, 2 Milos, 3E1000
The Heroes 4 Hire awoke to a beautiful spring day aside the White River, and found Half Point’s staff already buzzing with the day’s activities. Alton Beeblebrox spent the day teaching more martial arts in Training Room in the basement of the Heroes’ Haven guildhall, while Lt. Diplo Norixius shared his time between cooking in the kitchen and preaching in the Chapel. Alyn Quinn and Mahim “Mayhem” Dwalin met with the remaining Hereos… Illyia Baham, Naïlo Thia, Ryoun Rodri, Karraway, Greves and Calyx Siannodel… to report on business matters at Half Point and the Hardin Mine, the latter of which was of some concern to her due to their lack of communication in a significantly long time.
South in Anchorhead, Smedley “Deadly” Hampton spent the day doing ‘odd jobs’ for the Suippes, and managing to stay out of sight of the authorities while doing so. In the late morning, Brancis Bowe pulled him aside and informed him that a Suippes branch in the far west of the Caledonia had received a request for an assassination contract on all ten of the founders of the Heroes 4 Hire, and that the Suippes had offered to take the contract for the other eight, but that two of the Heroes were ‘family’ and were therefore immune to Suippes targeting. When the Suippes refused to contract all ten, the requester rejected the idea and stormed out in a huff, saying, “The Suippes are not the only game in town.”
Smedley thanked Brancis for the heads up that someone, presumably The Dark Priest, Lord Daemonne , was trying to put a hit on them all, and decided to write a letter disclosing this information to Illyia. Smedley put the letter in the post inside the hour, assured Illyia would get the warning the next day by noon. He then returned to his ‘odd jobs’.
Meanwhile in Tingerhof, Allendretta’s Library divulged a few more things Dajjal didn’t know yet, including rumor of an ancient ritual being developed by an Etran researcher that sounded a lot like Slaggoth. He spent whatever time he could spare with Allendretta, enjoying the company of a fellow bookworm and arcanist.
While Alyn and Mahim were discussing business matters with the residing founders, Thia and Thalolan invited Illyia and Alyn to a ‘friendly little dinner, just the four of us’… a prospect that brought an immediate blanch, then a blush, then a blanch again to Alyn’s face. Illyia, for the first time in the more than year he’d known her, saw something resembling attraction in the tall, lithe woman’s eye. She shakily agreed, and he did as well, bringing giggles of glee from the two forest elves. Thia and Thalolan rushed out to arrange everything, including conscripting Diplo, the guild cook and several of the waitstaff into their soiree.
As sunset slowly descended onto Half Point, Illyia dressed in some of his finer haberdashery and met Thia, Thalolan and Alyn downstairs in the guildhall lobby. Alyn was dressed in a beautiful velvet dress of navy edged in gold lace, floor length and off the shoulder, and peeking from her bodice on a delicate silver chain was a small, silver charm of a crescent moon… a symbol Illyia recognized as that of the goddess, Sehannine Moonbow. The two elves led them out of the Heroes’ Haven and along the footpath into the stone druid circle in the center of the property, where they found a candlelit table had been appointed with the finest accoutrements and set for an exquisite but intimate meal for four. Aside the table, Diplo and the one of the waitstaff from the Blind Boggle Inn stood ready to serve and pristinely dressed, him in his white Chef’s Gear of Quality and her in her blue and white maidservants uniform.
The foursome were seated and five delicious courses were served, and the evening was spent in pleasant conversation as the night sky deepened into ever darkening hues of indigo. The four barely noticed Diplo and his assistant had disappeared at some point after dessert was served, and the night breeze was warm and hinting at the soon approach of summer. The conversation turned to details of Alyn’s history, how she got started in the hospitality profession and what ultimately led her to taking the job as Half Point’s steward, and Illyia found her stories enthralling. At a moment, the two realized that they were alone, the two elves managing to somehow disappear into the evening without notice. It was getting rather late into the night, so Illyia escorted Alyn back to the Heroes’ Haven, up the colonnade to the second floor and the door of her room, and said goodnight with a gentle kiss.
Once Alyn safely retired into her chamber, Illyia returned to his basement bedroom with an added spring in his step, excited at the prospect of this new romance. Little did he know or notice, that villainy was already afoot in the Heroes’ Haven.
0200, Zol, 3 Milos, 3E1000
Illyia’s Noae Elithor was proceeding happily and deeply, when something moved in his room next to him. He brought his trance to an end as quickly as he could, but as he groggily awakened he saw a shadowy figure move with lightning speed and a flash of steel. He tried to roll out the bed to his left, but in his slumber he was too slow, and the felt anguish as two blades found their mark in his chest. He then noted a third sensation as the venom from the assassin’s poisoned weapons began to spread from his wounds, a burning sensation making ever more difficult to breath. He was far too familiar with this tactic, and had used it many times himself. He was, convinced, a dead man.
As darkness closed in around him, the shadowy figure sat down on the bed beside him, rested his hand on Illyia’s chest for a moment, and then grabbed his chin to turn his head to face him. The man was dressed head to toe in black, and the his head was covered in a wrapping leaving only an eye slit exposing the almond shaped eyes of a person of Shou or Mulan descent.
“That door was a pain in the ass. I expected the Arcane Lock. I thought the mechanical lock back up was a bit of overkill. I can’t believe I missed the needle trap…” He pulled his right glove of his hand, exposing a serious gouge in his middle finger, which he put in his mouth, sucked at and spat a wad of blood out onto the floor.
“Drow poison? Really?” He leaned into the blanched, slack face, centered in Illyia’s last view. “No matter. Lord Daemonne says, ‘Goodbye’.”
The shadowy figure stood and walked casually out Illyia’s door into the hallway beyond. And the universe went black.
Meanwhile and elsewhere in the Heroes’ Haven, Beeblebrox awoke suddenly as a shadowy figure standing over top of his bed suddenly lashed out at him with twin shortswords. The nimble monk rolled off his bed in a flash, one of the attacks finding their mark in his back. He felt the surge of the poison from the blade, but his Stout heritage coupled with the constitution built from years of monk conditioning allowed him to resist its effects. He got a hand on the assailant, flipped him clean off his feet, jumped on top of the ninja’s chest to pin him to the ground, and proceed to pummel the assassin to death. He then slipped through his secret door and down the ladder to the Heroes’ Haven hidden escape tunnel system.
Thia and Thalolan were snuggled together in their bed when the attack came, two shadowy figures flanking the bed and aiming for each of them. Thia rolled off the bed as Thalolan gave her a solid push, trying to keep her from the brunt of the blows. The ploy worked, mostly, as only one blade found its mark, the poison and the edge wounding but not killing her. Thalolan then rolled the opposite direction to no avail, and both of the assassin’s strikes struck home, leaving him sick and bleeding but on his feet… barely. Thia cast a Fog Cloud that filled her room while she and Thalolan dashed toward the secret door into her private room, and as she did she mentally commanded the illusory ceiling to generate a thunderstorm… completely harmless, but a hopeful distraction for the attackers who were already lost in the fog. To add to their problems, Thalolan cast Spike Growth as they crashed through the secret door and barred it behind them, filling the already fog-filled room with floor and walls of nothing but razor-sharp brambles.
The two elves rushed down the escape ladder and along the hidden passage to the end, where a secret door and hidden peephole exited into the basement hallway heading towards Illyia’s room. They looked a moment before bursting into the hall, and saw another of the assassins walking across the basement training room toward the stair. He heard them and turned, a look of recognition on his face at seeing Thia, and moved towards them to attack. Thalolan Wild Shaped into a lion and pounced, tearing the ninja limb-from-limb. Thia mentally called Potema, ordered her to call the pack and come join the fight. A moment later, Beeblebrox burst from the secret door to the other set of escape tunnels and assisted the Thaloloan-the-lion in dispatching the assassin. Once the attacker was dead, he grabbed his Earring of Communication and transmitted, “Heroes’ Haven is under attack.”
0300, Zol, 3 Milos, 3E1000
Will the Heroes 4 Hire survive the assassins’ attack on the Heroes’ Haven? What else does Lord Daemonne’s wrath have in store for them? What is the fate of the other residents of Half Point?
Find out next week, on “TGC: Heroes 4 Hire!!”