Private Tales Blood on the Crossroads

Faurosk

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Hamvir's Rest, The Allir Reach


Another night, another body. This corpse had once belonged to the local librarian, though to call his place of work a ‘library’ might be a bit of stretch. He had operated out of the first level of his two-story hovel, lending books to the uneducated masses of Hamvir’s Rest to grant them a chance at a better life than they’d been dealt.

The moonlight sloughing off of the waxing gibbous overhead reflected hauntingly off of the pooling circle of crimson where the man’s head had once been whole. The cap of his skull had been removed with incredible precision, and his brain was similarly missing. His face was frozen in an expression of absolute shock, as if he’d only become aware of his doom in the very moment of his death.

The first to come across his body was a young farmhand, though she had ran from the premises to get help as soon as she’d confirmed his fate. She practically flew to the town’s sole tavern, the only place with any lights on so deep into the night. Her entrance would have been more than loud enough to wake the dead, let alone the inn's residents for the night. Faurosk had shrugged on his robes and equipment as quickly as he could, and he all but ran to where the farmhand had said the body would be.

There he stood, a heavy leather tome held open in one hand and a quill in his other, furiously taking notes over the body. He stood far enough away to avoid staining his boots in the poor man’s accumulating blood, but the light of arcane energy floating a foot off of the magician’s shoulder was more than enough to illuminate the horrid scene.

The details were much the same as the previous nights, but he could already see a trend forming in the data. Three educated men, all dead in as many nights. No trails leaving their bodies, save for their own bootprints. All killed on public thoroughfares.

Faurosk cast wary glances over both of his shoulder before continuing to take notes on the scene, though a chill still managed to work its way up the back of his neck. Perhaps it was just paranoia, but he could swear he felt eyes on him from each shadow his magelight cast against the nearby fences and the fields beyond.
 
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Imamu

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You'd think, Sparhawk thought, that if you wanted to have a quiet drink anywhere in Arethil, it'd be at a quiet Pub in the Reach. A few beers, a nice conversation, perhaps a bowl of stew, and a soft bed to sleep in.

Clealy, Sparhawk had thought wrong.

He hadn't been in the Reach for long. In fact, he'd only made it their that Evening. He'd travelled long from Elbion; after his Quest for the Toad Temple, he felt he needed to travel, as it was always something that helped clear his mind, and give him perspective on what to do next. And, of course, a beer or two helped him too. Sparhawk found it funny, he'd never really been someone who drank a lot before he journeyed with Gerra. Funny, he hadn't done a lot of things before he started travelling with him...

"Gods... It's-" Still lurching over the bar with his drink, Sparhawk heard someone shouting behind him, before promptly dropping their mug, the sound of the shattering glass echoing across the timbers of the tired old Tavern.

Sparhawk turned from his seat, the door of the Pub wide open, but whatever had happened was too far away for him to catch a glimpse of.

"What are you gawking at!" Sparhawk bleated through the air. A woman came rushing through the still-open door of the Tavern, whispering to the various bystanders, still sitting down with their drinks in their hands.

"Excuse Me- what's going on?" He said, quieter this time, not wanting to create a scene in the already small Bar.

"Ar' you Wizerd' Folk sir?" She asked Sparhawk, her strong accent coming through prominently. Sparhawk gave her a tired look, the night already weening.

"Yes. I am a Wiz- A Sorcerer, yes. But what's- Oh forget it!" Impatiently, he picked up his staff, and quickly left the bar, his drink still teetering on the edge of the table.

He made his way out into the cold, dark that was the Reach at Night. It carried an odd Beauty- The Reach. At night, it seemed the puddles on the Stone roads were set alight by the reflections of the moon off their surface. The air was still thick with the smell of the Tavern; hops and stew emitted and stuck to the place like a group of flies on rotting food. Raising his staff, a mage light raised from the stone that sat upon the tip of his staff, giving the area he roamed sufficient light to see where he was going.

As he made his way forwards towards where the woman had come from, he began to notice a body in the distance, crouching above another. He couldn't tell what was going on; perhaps a friend trying to help his friend up from a drunken dispute? Someone had lost their way and fallen to the ground. It did strike Sparhawk as worrying however, that when he attempted to sense what was going on in front of him, he could only detect the life of one, and not two. Which left only one other conclusion:

One of them are dead.

He hurried, the scene coming into sight now. Luckily, it seemed the man crouching over him hadn't been the murderer, but was a fellow Mage. Not only was a mage-light set in the air, but he wore clothes reminiscent of a Mage- even the way he seemed to carry and wear it suggested he had a burden of great knowledge, as any good Sorcerer should.

As he stepped to close in on the two, he looked at the body. It looked as if-

Please... We've surrendered!

Can't you see we're in retreat! RETREAT!

I- I can't brea- I...
Images seemed to flicker through Sparhawk's memory. He felt about ready to vomit, and quickly made eye contact with the Sorcerer.

"Sorry, I saw something was going on from the bar Due South, and thought i'd offer my assistance. But you seem- uh, to have... whatever this is under control." He tried to put on a smile, his shoulders feeling as if they'd weighed far less at the bar.
 
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Faurosk

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If Faurosk had been tense before, his stress doubled at the sound of approaching footsteps. He cast one last glance to his note, where he'd hastily scratched out as much as he could gather from the brutal scene before him. The book succinctly clapped shut in his hand, and the mage quickly clipped it to a pair of hooks on one of his many belts as he raised away from the corpse. The mage turned to identify the approaching stranger, realizing promptly that he didn't know the man. Still, the robes he wore as well as the faint let at the end of his staff told Faurosk a great deal about the unknown man's occupation.

As Faurosk got a sense of Sparhawk, so too could Sparhawk get a sense for Faurosk. His eyes were tired, as if he hadn't had a good night's sleep in a number of days. The robes he wore were a touch rumpled at the joints, and they'd fallen out of fashion more than a few decades ago. The mage cast his hand aside to where he'd discarded his own staff before stooping to examine the body, muttering a quiet pair of syllables. The subtle spell spurred the air around the staff into motion, causing the arcane focus to erupt from the ground on a pillar of wind and fly elegantly into the mage's waiting hand.

"Nothing to apologize for, friend." He gave Sparhawk a tired smile that wasn't quite convincing, eyes somewhat bleary in their spells' combined light. "And as a matter of fact, well..."

He turned back to the body, smile faltering into a stony expression at the grisly scene. "... I would hazard to say that this situation is quite out of control."

The orange light telltale to lanterns approached from around the corner of a building far off into the distance, heralding the approach of the meager town's guardsmen. It would be some time before they made it to the scene of the crime. Still, Faurosk sucked air in through his teeth, donning a pained expression of sympathy for the townsfolk. "Poor bastard's haven't the faintest notion what's going on around here. To be fair, though, neither do I."
 
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Imamu

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It was quite clear to see that Faurosk was a similar Sorcerer to Sparhawk. Most wizards that reached Adept level of the basic magics usually went on to become Scholars, professors, or Lord's Court Mages. Not poorly-paid occupations mind you, but few had the experience that a travelling mage had. There skills were built on time spent in the field, using practical magic, and studying the higher arts hands on. The Wizard seemed to share the same tired, restless Expression that Sparhawk had also grown accustom to as he got older.

Sparhawk stomached looking back at the body. It was horrific. A sprawled body; the expression on the man's face was of immediate terror, as if he had only realised what was going on when it was far too late for him to be saved. A pool of blood had formed where his head rested, or - more accurately, what was left of it.

What struck Sparhawk as odd was not so much the precision of the cut - there were many great assassins and killers who were extremely precise in their art, and he'd seen similar work when he travelled through Molthal. What was odd, was the contents taken.

It was unusual for someone to take the brain of a victim. To an ordinary man, it serves very little purpose. Even selling it on the black market in Alliria wouldn't fetch for that high a price. Now he thought on it however, the only thing it could serve useful for was perhaps Dark Magic, or even Necromancy.

It wasn't time to think on that now. The guard were coming.

"I haven't the faintest idea what is going on, But i do hear footsteps growing closer. If the guard see two cloaked figures over... this, they may get the wrong idea." Sparhawk stated, worried. The mage-light on the end of his staff dissipated, sparks dissolving into the air.

"In any case, we should act with haste."

Faurosk
 
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Faurosk

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Faurosk let out a long breath through his nose, thinking on what Sparhawk had said for the duration. The lights around the bend of the far off building grew stronger, and the sound of footfalls grew closer. Surely their presence would only incriminate them to the recent string of deaths, and Faurosk couldn't have that. It's awfully difficult to solve a crime while serving a sentence for it.

"Agreed," he said with a sense of finality, reaching up to his side and surreptitiously squelching his own floating magelight in his fist. The pair, now left in the sort of darkness only made possible by the abrupt absence of light. "Let's go, ah, this way."

Faurosk took two backwards strides away from the approaching guardsmen, leaving a confusing trio of footprints in the relaxed dirt. He then turned around and began an abrupt gait away from the body, casting a glance back over his shoulder at the other mage. "If we're to be stuck in this situation together, we'd best get acquainted. A drink?"

The mage's strides gradually carried him closer to the fence of the neighboring field. Upon arriving astride the small wooden wall, more meant to show the edge of someone's property than to keep beasts of burden in, Faurosk took a small run-up and leapt over the fence. His boots landed with a quiet 'shtck', and he found himself squarely in the center of a small mud puddle. He didn't let this slow him down, though, and simply continued further from the road with a muttered expletive.

Maho Sparhawk
 
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Imamu

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As the Sorcerer put out his mage-light, the pair began to make their way away from the scene, hoping to not be blamed for the horror they had witnessed in the middle of the road. Coveted by darkness, they quickly ran, making their way across a field, it's dirty exterior muddying their boots.

"If we're to be stuck in this situation together, we'd best get acquainted. A drink?"
"Yeah... that sounds like a good idea- a great idea." A smile struck itself across Sparhawk's face. If there's anything he'd like right now, is a good conversation, along with a fantastic drink. And, although it may not taste fantastic, it will after he has had enough of them.

As they ran, Sparhawk began to ask himself an important question;

Where are we going?

He hadn't been to the Reach in a while, not since he'd come there after leaving Elbion, and he had only gone to one bar since he'd arrived, so he didn't really know where he was going. He simply followed this Wizard he knew nothing about, and hoped they were heading in some direction that would lead them to a warm pub, and - hopefully - a cold drink.

"Do you know where we're going... I apologise, i do not know your name. You are?" Another good question.

Faurosk