The Unnamed Saga
Tin's Fevered Juxtaposition
The walls of the barracks were closing in; dark, dank walls of solitude pressing down on Tin’s lungs. Blood red streaks filled his vision and he clawed silently at the thick air as if his halfling hands could slash away the inexorable pressure that was building and building around his chest. Fierce pounding laid waste to his fears and although he felt as though he were dying, he also felt a sense of glory and triumph. His nares flared and the song of ecstasy scoured his veins of any trace of misery as he reflexively sucked in each labored breath after the next.
He had felt this way before — never again, he had vowed. Not after what had happened.
“You’ve got to try it; night-brace is the stuff of dreams, that’s word on the streets. if we’re going to be arc-dealers, we’s got to know the goods, that’s how we’ll make it.” Reggie spoke with a languid drawl. Tin’s compatriot often began his latest get-rich-quick schemes with such a phrase that without fail, landed them in more trouble than it was worth. Still, Night’s Embrace was the latest and greatest in Waterdeep and what’s more, arcane users seemed to be very interested in what it had to offer. It sharpened the mind, brought clarity and focus to thoughts and the mere touch of will and desire made dreams come true. At least, that’s what they heard. The going rate in the black market was more than a platinum per grain but no one knew who was the producer. No one, except Tin and Reggie, that is. Though silent stalking, bribery, wheedling and flat out bouts of larceny, the traced it all back to — surprise of surprises, one of the nobles, a man by the name of Rayniere McWands. Not only that, but they managed to lift a bag of the stuff off of one of the carriers. Pure platinum. Their ticket to the top.
Sweat broke out across Tin’s brow and he howled in triumph at the prey that was laid before him, filleted in twain by his twin iron claws. The dull roar in his ears blocked the concerned voices of his party members and he whirled to face them, one by one. Once he had seen them as honor-bound friends. Now, all he saw was the blood pooling in their flesh, ready and waiting to be spilled out into the open air, tantalizing him with it’s rich earthy iron scent. He could taste triumph in the air.
Reggie and Tin slipped past the clay golems as they clumsily tried to smash the black rats that skittered and scattered across the floor. The twin sneaks exchanges silent smirks, relishing in the knowledge that for all the magic that went into such animated works, they could still be so easily flummoxed by common riffraff. Which is exactly what they were to McWands… But with the power of night-brace flowing through their veins, they knew exactly what to do. They padded into the dark depths below the soaring mansion into his dungeons. Breaking through and invisible force as if a soap bubble were stretched across the door, they suddenly heard bone chilling screams. Wails and weeping echoed through the tortuous halls. Cries and begs for mercy in many tongues. And rumbling below the rest — the ritualistic chanting of McWands, comfortable in his domicile. And just as suddenly, the wizard was alerted to the presence of two little intruders into his domain. Startled, both parties halted their illicit activities and regarded each other.
Feral tackled the frenzied Tin and forced him to the ground and pink froth and spittle flew from his mouth. "I’ll never submit! No more evil rituals, never again! NEVER!!!!" His voice reached a fevered wild pitch as he twisted and strained to escape the grasp of the hairy shifter. His snarls turned to whimpers as the healer, a crippled and obsessive but normally kindly fellow towered over him and bit off the remnants of his fingers and spit them into a fire and blew the smoke over Tin. Screams of terror erupted from him as unholy forces tore his soul apart.
Those slow clay golems were built strong as the halflings found, struggling to no avail against the kiln baked shells hardening around them. Rayniere thrummed his fingers together, eager to start his work. "Normally I transfect the Spellplague on the goblins and kobolds my minions capture from the Undermountain, but since you little sneaks are here, I’m sure you’ll make a wonderfully potent batch of N-brace. To be honest, it never occurred to me to use thieves and criminals for my works so I must thank you both".
Tin looked in horror at the other creatures in the chamber, deformed beyond recognition — violaceous rashes breaking their skin asunder, acid and ichor dribbling from all orifices, and holes drilled into their skulls as brain fluid was extracted and pumped into a bubbling central vat. The caster towered over him and pulled off a glove, revealing a clawed purplish tentacled hand swirling with chaotic energies. Small hungry thorny tentacles greedily reached out to his halfling head. Screams of pure fear gibbered out from his mouth as arcane spellplague wracked his body; throwing him into fitful seizures.
The calm willful words of Night’s-Embrace released by the mental anguish of hundreds of minions made it suddenly clear to Tin. What he had to do.
Survive. And he would do anything he could. Even if it meant Betrayal.
Tear stained eyes blinked clear the red mists of werewolf-lunacy. Tin stared shellshocked at his combatant and overheard the Wizard.
NO. NEVER. He would do whatever it took to escape. Betrayal happened to be an old friend. And there was no justification for it. He was a coward. He was a survivor.