Hunt - Chapter Thirty-One
~ 31 ~
27 Arodus, 4692 AR; Grey Garrison 1st Floor, Kenabres

The garrison had become eerily quiet. The only sounds that could be heard were the various booms and cries from outside the garrison, the building’s great stone walls blocking most of them out. This time, though, Shayliss found it comforting. After half an hour of fighting with little rest, she was ready to crash.

Apparently the rest of the group agreed with her. Kaira and Blueeye were across from the broken in doorway, sitting against the wall and ready to attack if a sudden attack occurred. A quick look at her quiver revealed that she was literally at two arrows left and the fact that she was not making more meant that she did not have the materials to do it. Mordria, one of the two members of the group who had been constantly on the front lines immediately collapsed to the floor, letting out heavy breaths and closing her eyes. Strune and Snaga retreated further into the room, investigating it.

Now that they had time to breath, Shayliss found that they were in a desecrated temple to Iomedae. Blood and filth smeared the floor of the elongated room. Six white stone statues of famous heroes lined the fall. Each statue bore deep gashes from claws, bloodstains all over and a few had limbs or weapons that were smashed apart. At the far end of the hall, a raised dais held an upturned alabaster altar. Sitting atop the altar was a hideous mass of severed limbs that have been stitched together into a monstrous insectoid shape. Surrounding the dias were seven ratty bedrolls.

Strune immediately moved to the altar, working with a grimace to clear and clean it. Because of her near obsessive need to keep the group’s armor and weapons clean, she had cleaning supplies with her. She pulled them out and went to work, muttering a prayer while she did. Holy light glowed from her hands and infused into the stone of the altar. Snaga instead walked around the room, looking around and muttering to himself. After a minute of that, he sat down in front of one of the statues which depicted a woman with a floating spirit, and pressed his forehead against its base.

Shayliss left the group to their rest and turned to find Irabeth stepping into the adjacent room where the tiefling alchemist came out of. Curious, she followed the half-orc.

The room was once a priest’s chamber. A long table and six chairs were pushed against the western wall. On the opposite wall, a tapestry depicting a map of Mendev hung from a silver rod. Long slashes and splatters of filth left it in ruins. A bedroll sat on the floor, and on the nearby table were an array of alchemical devices and a long wooden sword case wrapped with cords, as if it was ready for travel.

Irabeth looked around and let out a growl. Instead of saying anything, she continued her observations, moving toward the bedroll and map of Mendev. Shayliss stepped toward the alchemist table, interested in its contents. She pulled out drawers to find various tombs and parchment on magic. Quickly glancing through each of them, she found one that, while not exactly what she was looking for, sounded like it would put her on the right path. The rest she set aside to give to the Crusaders to deal with as they pleased.

That done, she turned her attention to the sword case. It was a simple wooden case with rusted silver hinges and lock. Taking a few seconds to try, she could not open it on her own, so she grabbed one of the alchemist tools on the table and slammed its butt against the lock. It took two solid hits and five glancing blows to finally destroy it. At this point, Irabeth was looking over her shoulder as she set the tool down and pulled the case open.

Inside was a beautifully crafted sword in pristine condition. The handle was a simple cylindrical shape wrapped with strips of cloth on top of leather. Its pommel was a rounded nub that protruded only an inch or so from the handle. Attached to the handle was a thin hilt that curved upward slightly toward the blade. A triangular piece rose up from the hilt to help keep the blade fastened firmly to the rest of the sword. The blade itself was simple but beautiful. It was wide at its base, rising up to a point. Four feet in length, the blade had an edge that looked sharp enough to cut a feather falling on top of it. A grove was set into either side of its flat, lessening the weight and providing a means to etch in the enhancements which helped keep its sheen. A blade made simply to kill demons.

The reaction from Irabeth was immediate.

She let out a surprised gasp and Shayliss could feel the woman’s shaking. Shayliss stepped aside to let her pick up the blade by its handle. There was a light in the half-orc’s eyes that she had not seen before and the beginning of tears swirled in her eyes, “I thought I’d never see you again.â€

Shayliss tilted her head, “You have seen it before?â€

Irabeth failed to blink the tears away, “It used to be mine.†She turned her wrist, examining the blade from all angles, “I sold it with to get Anevia a gift. Essentially it was her engagement ring. I believed that my father led me to the joy of my life, so I no longer needed his blade and the support it gave. I was wrong, and I did not think it would be so great to see it again.†She looked around her, “But how did it end up here?â€

In the corner of Shayliss’s eye, she noticed the sword case again. Looking, she found the sheath of the blade laying in the case, under where the blade would be set out for display. Attached to the sheath was a note. From her position, she could clearly read what it said.

“Lord Staunton,

I believe you will find the enclosed weapon to be a singular and familiar delight, for it once belonged to your old â€~friend’ Irabeth. She sold it to Kandro Nyserian, of all people - I’ve no idea why Kandro’s been sitting on it for years - still would be, except his home got smashed by an ulkreth. Shame. He managed to save the sword and same here, begging for an escort north to Drezen, doubtless so he could give you the sword and weasel some cash to help him set up a new home. I hope you don’t begrudge the creativity I took - our friend Nyserian serves now as a warm suit for a vermlek as punishment for only revealing the sword now instead of when he first acquired it. I suspect the blade will take to your brother’s touch nicely!

Your loyal servant,

Irabeth apparently read it too and let out a growl, “Another one I thought I had dealt with.â€

“Staunton?†Shayliss asked, “The name sounds familiar.â€

The half-orc nodded, “He is a fallen paladin and the reason Drezen is no longer occupied by the Crusaders.â€

Shayliss’ mind raced, trying to remember what she had heard about him, “He let the demons in, right? They could not break through the barrier around Drezen but he let them in.â€

“Yes, and because of him, a great artifact of the Crusaders was lost to the demons.â€

“I see.†She said, “This’ll be good for later. Right now, we have a task to do.â€
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