The Silver Tower Chronicles Adventures in other worlds, other times, and other realities

1Jan/14Off

Enzi’s Irregulars #0079

Gharaf Targata was a very happy man. Two members of Enzi's Irregulars were definitely slain. That helped his mood a little. What made his ecstatic was the dragon. The commander in charge of the drake corpse was a member of Unity. There were sure to be many valuable things to come out of such a dragon. The hide and bones were known to be of great strength. While it no longer had any supernatural power, it was still an impressive set of materials.

Gharaf wondered how many fantastic sets of armor and powerful weapons they could make out of the dragon. Several of the other parts would easily sell for top coin on the black market as delicacies. Certainly a lot of alchemists would love to get their hands on some dragon parts to test new elixirs. All Gharaf could think of was the sheer amount of money he would have access to after dicing up the dragon parts to the highest bidder. Obviously Unity would have a share, mostly by taking the bones and the hide, but Gharaf had plans for the rest.

He would become the most powerful merchant outside the Rava Coast Trading Company. Unity had some connections inside that powerful company, but having other options never hurt, as long as the competition did not turn violent against Unity's establishment. If bad things happened to the Rava Coast Trading Company, that was fine as long as it did not come back to bite Unity. Just being a powerful merchant outside the consortium the Ravaleians had formed would make him a target, but he planned to remain strictly black market as much as possible.

As far as Enzi's Irregulars went, the dwarf had been badly wounded and the Nuvroci had drug him off. His sources told him that his left leg had been 'degloved'. Gharaf did not know what that meant, but it from what his sources had said, the dwarf would not be returning to battle anytime soon, if ever. It had taken powerful magical healing just to save his life. The vodyanoi, lycanthrope, and Enzi himself were still a potential problem, but he was hoping for word on that situation soon.

A face had poked into Gharaf's tent to speak, “A man has arrived from the Disputed Lands with a message from Center Point.”

“Excellent, I have been expecting news,” Gharaf said.

A Kurrot stepped inside and handed a sealed message tube to Gharaf. The messengers of Kurrot were amazing. They had trained for long distance endurance, and could run for miles upon miles without tiring. They made excellent messengers, as their stamina was far beyond even the greatest steeds of Agon. A horse might be faster in small bursts, but nothing ran for long distances like the messengers of Kurrot. Gharaf tore open the tube and yanked out the note inside.

He smiled as he read the message it contained. It seemed that the vodyanoi had indeed been slain. Naphar had gotten some information on that, but Gharaf loved to see confirmation. The lycanthrope Mayitso, however, had disappeared after leading the other lycanthropes into a conflict with the troglodytes of the marsh. Enzi had also disappeared, there was no news of what had happened to either of them. That worried Gharaf, but it sounded like the group had fallen apart. Enzi's Irregulars was no more.

***

The lizardfolk had turned back. Their forces had been badly hurt. They would not dare an attack again. The lycanthropes had decimated the troglodytes. Devis Lane smiled. Plenty of time had passed, he was sure that Mayitso leaving now would be of no consequence. As expected, the alpha of the lycanthropes came to see the man that had disguised himself as Enzi Cala, a man who had died many months before. The Rakshasa no longer had any need or use for charm.

“Ah, Mayitso. Good job. The troglodytes will not be a danger to the innocent humans of Feergrus any longer. You should hurry to deal with the dragon now.”

“What of you?” the lycanthrope asked after he shifted to his pale human form.

“What of me? Everything that is important is taken care of. The affairs of Agon do not concern me. I have bigger concerns here at home. I wish you good luck in slaying the dragon, if it has not already been slain by the army. I would rather it not reach this far.”

Mayitso snorted, disappointed in Devis' obvious indifference. The lycanthrope shifted to his wolf form and ran. He ran as long and hard as he could. He did this for days on end, hoping to find Eurysa. When he finally reached the southern front, he crept around and listened. He was able to learn that the dragon had been slain, though little else. He did not understand enough languages to learn more. However, he was able to pick up on the smell of a former ally. Ritter the Halz was convalescing nearby.

The lycanthrope transformed to his human form and crept over to speak to the dwarf, “Ritter.”

“What? Who?”

“It is Mayitso. I search for the others.”

“Late. Too late. Dragon dead. It killed Aldebaran.”

“Eurysa?”

“No. A human got her. One in white robes. Where is Enzi?”

“Enzi will not come. He does not care about anything except his Feergrus now. He has abandoned us. He kept me from being here. Now so many are dead. I should have seen through him earlier.”

“No,” Ritter coughed, “It was nothing of your doing. It is the humans. They... They are broken. I had thought Enzi to have honor, but even he has shown his true colors in the end.”

“I must go,” Mayitso said, his eyes filled with rage, “There is something I must do.”

***

Naphar Bura laughed heartily. The ale helped with that. The head of a gorgon was the centerpiece of the tavern at the moment. Tales of the death of the dragon and the slaying of a supposedly mythical creature that could turn men to stone with her gaze had given the Cleanser a great many free drinks. He had picked out a nice town on the border of Agon and the Disputed Lands to celebrate in until they got tired of him. Then he would move on.

Free drinks and meals suited Naphar Bura. He had rid the world of a dangerous menace. The Cleanser from Kurrot had decided to ride on his success as long as he could then he would return to Kurrot with his trophy. It would sit in a place of honor in the secret halls of the Cleansers. His name would go down in history as one of the greatest monster slayers of all time. He just wished that he had been able to get the minotaur as well. It would have been easier to string alone the local townspeople.

A loud crash was not enough to awaken most people from their drunken stupor. Naphar looked in the direction of the noise and saw a huge wolf. The huge beast seemed to be staring at the severed head of the gorgon. The creature turned its one rage filled eye towards the Kurrot wearing the white robes. The patrons near the instance were beginning to realize something was off. Even through their drunkenness, something about a feral animal breaking in could bring back awareness.

They grabbed whatever they could and took swings at the massive wolf. The weapons bounced harmlessly off the side of the scarred beast. Something had taken the creature's left eye and left a terrible jagged scar. Naphar knew instantly what he was dealing with. Luckily he had been showing off his collection of exotic weapons to the locals. Naphar grabbed his silver dagger. The giant wolf leapt at Naphar, focusing only at the Cleanser. The silver dagger sank cleanly through the supernaturally enhanced hide of the lycanthrope.

Mayitso's jaws clamped down on the throat of the Kurrot. He did not care about the pain of a dagger being repeatedly thrust into his side. He only cared about the death of the one who killed Eurysa. The two warriors sank to the floor, their blood pooling beneath them. Neither would leave the tavern alive that night. The townsfolk started screaming and beating on the corpse of the lycanthrope. Finally they separated the two. Then they began to debate what to do with their new-found treasures.

The corpses of a hero and a lycanthrope, the severed head of a gorgon, and a collection of exotic weapons from the slain hero now sat up for grabs. The town decided to put the lycanthrope and the severed head on public display. They would make an interesting tourist attraction. The head had already been taken care of with taxidermy, but the wolf would need to be taken care of soon. For the moment, they displayed what they had. The town leader took the weapons, storing them until the townspeople decided what to do with them.

The town was buzzing with turning the fight into a holiday. Many lost perspective that two creatures had lost their lives. Many had quickly seen this as a way to change from being just another poor town full of equally poor people into a thriving community. The thought of prosperity turned many a mind to greed with little regard to the life of an outsider and a monster. The work on the proud display continued through the next day. That night, however, turned in a different direction.

The night was dark and the two moons shed little light on the land below. Numerous dark shapes surrounded the small town. They could see the disgusting display. They had watched the people and their activities during the day. Then one of the shapes raised its maw towards the sky and howled. One after another, the chilling howls filled the night. It was enough to awaken the townsfolk. They milled about, wondering what was going on. The town leader scrambled to get the silver dagger out of storage.

Then the shapes moved. Dozens upon dozens of lupine forms rushed across the plains and swarmed into the town from all directions. The night was soon filled with a different kind of howl, the screams of death. After two hours, a solemn procession left the town, carrying the slain body of Mayitso and the severed head of Eurysa. When morning came to the town, all that could be found within was gruesome. Gore covered the streets and the walls. Not a single living human remained.

The town had become a ghost town, a monument to revenge. The lycanthrope pack returned to their homelands to bury their great alpha and the one he loved. Unfortunately, their peace did not last. They found themselves embroiled in a long term conflict with the lizardfolk. It seemed that Devis Lane had been busy, planting evidence that acquitted the Feergrus of any crimes, and placing the blame on the pale races. While technically true that it was a pale race that took the egg, the troglodytes saw little difference between the Tarvoni, the Shimese, or the lycanthropes.

While it was certain that news of the death of the dragon would come to the lizardfolk soon enough, it was uncertain what effect that would have upon them. Certainly not all of the troglodytes worshiped the dragons, but it was impossible to see if peace would ever come. If Devis Lane had his way, peace would only come with the death of all those who had not become part of Feergrus. The Rakshasa had now set in motion another conflict where his potential opposition fought each other.

The lycanthropes had no idea that the shapechanger had caused the current shift in the lizardfolk's priorities. They merely had to deal with the backlash. The troglodytes had been hurt bad enough that there was no open war, but the sneak attacks on the lycanthropes had caused several problems. It only fueled the anger of the mighty wolves, who then caused problems for the lizardfolk. The cycle of violence continued as each side felt justified in vengeance for what had been done to them.

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