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The Tale of Thunder - Chapter Three (Uprising of the Shadows - Part Two: Shadows in the Palace)

Author: 
Thunder Kayowen(Ryan Goodrich)
Old Vault Category: 
fanfiction
Old Vault ID: 
226

Thunder shut the door to his chambers as he entered the halls, saddlebags slung over his shoulder. He had not been sure as to what had happened between Helm and himself, just that when he accepted to carry out the mission, his mind was suddenly full of maps and locations, most likely for his quest. All that had happened earlier that day and the sun was already beginning to set. He had to move with due speed because what he sought was an important relic made by the elves tens of thousands of years ago.

Thunder was so caught up in his thoughts about how important the relics were and how fast he needed to move that he nearly didn't notice a dark shape disappear down a hallway. Loosening his sword in its scabbard, he hurried up to the hall and peered around the corner.

A man was laying flat against the wall, his face hidden under a hood. He was dressed in all black clothes and moved with serpentine grace. A nightcloak! As the nightcloak hurried up to a door, Thunder wondered what a nightcloak was doing in the Palace of Waterdeep as well as what course of action he should take.

Thunder ducked back behind the corner when two more nightcloaks hurried silently up to the one at the door. Listening vainly, Thunder could only hear that they were whispering to each other. He then suddenly heard soft knocking before the sound of a door opening and then closing. Thunder peered around the corner cautiously. The hallway was empty.

Moving as silently as he could with a chain armor shirt on, Thunder crept up to the door and looked into the keyhole. He could see the backs of the three nightcloaks, all facing a desk. The person at the desk was hidden by their flowing black cloaks. They were talking, but Thunder could only hear bits and pieces of their conversation with how quietly they were talking.

"�while he is still here," a nightcloak was saying in a low and oily voice. "One� my," the nightcloak paused. "�informants tells� plans on leaving tonight."

"Then� now," a familiar voice said. Thunder suddenly recognized it. Morgans from Calledor Nujaal! "He suspects us. I know it. He� closest to the boy. You� what to do. He must live."

It was when one of the nightcloaks shifted, giving Thunder a clear view of the man at the desk. He nearly gasped with how startled he was. Lord Piergeiron sat at the desk, leaning back in his seat. The strange thing was his complexion was darker than it had been when Thunder first met him. Other than that, he looked everything like Piergeiron.

Thunder stood up straight and hurried away from the hall. Nightcloaks in the Palace of Waterdeep! Piergeiron himself a nightcloak! Thunder would have to do something about this. But that would have to wait until later. His quest was more important and could not wait another day.

As Thunder made his way back to Waterdeep on Misty, he could not help but wonder who they were plotting against. Part of him seemed to shout out it was he they were plotting against.

*******

Lyman watched Thunder over Piergeiron's shoulder as he headed through the main gates for Waterdeep. Lyman had been Piergeiron's advisor for the last four years and had never had a bad feeling about one of his ideas in all that time. He most certainly had a bad feeling about what Piergeiron had plotted.

"Are you sure this is a good idea, My Lord?" Lyman asked cautiously. "How can we know if Thunder will return?"

"When an advisor starts questioning his leader," Piergeiron said in his cold, hard voice. "that means it is time to get a new one. That is what I always say."

"Forgive me, My Lord," Lyman stepped away from Piergeiron, dropping his head to stare at the floor.

"Yes, it is wise advisor," Piergeiron answered, still watching Thunder's departure. "He leaves to find a powerful artifact. How he came to hear of it I would kill to know. It seems he recognized me when he first came here. Then he listened in on our conversation. I had thought to keep him as something against our young Forger when we battle. When he returns, he shall be arrested and the artifact brought here. Should he come in search of it, he will never leave the palace again."

"What of the young Forger's two friends down in our dungeons?" Lyman said. "I had thought those two would be our trump cards?"

"Those two are for Farseer Theodin to decide the fates of," Piergeiron answered.

"Yes, My Lord," Lyman said.

*******

"Hold on a second," Ashford said, leaning forward in his seat. "Where does this Lyman come in? How is it you know what is happening with him?"

Killian halted in his story telling and blinked. "Oh. That. He comes into the picture later. I don't mean to spoil the story, but when I took over Waterdeep, Lyman actually became my faithful advisor when Piergeiron disappeared denouncing his allegiance with the Shadow and now walks in the Light."

"Ohh," Ashford said, then smiled. "Well, that sure gives the whole plot away."

Killian laughed. "Not in the slightest. That is still a good ways into the story. If I may continue?"

Ashford sat back in his seat and nodded.

*******

Thunder inhaled the sea air deeply as a strong breeze blew over him. Dengar walked up to the ship's railing and leaned over, emptying his stomach. When he stood and stumbled away from the railing, Thunder caught the words "bloody ships should all be burned." Chuckling slightly as he looked out into the depths of the Trackless Sea.

The man he'd spoken to in the temple had indeed been Helm. Thunder knew it had been. When he'd received images of maps in his head, he instantly knew.

The isles of Moonshae were known as a cold cluster of rocky islands cloaked in mists and deep woods. The Moonshae Isles were under the rule of two human folk. The northern section of the isles were ruled by seafaring Northlanders, while the darker-haired and darker-skined Ffolk controlled the southern half. The two people were constantly at each other's throats, thus making it necessary to step lightly with a cranky Northlander and Ffolk around.

The captain of the Sea Lion was a Northlander and had refused to take him to any of the Ffolk controlled islands. Thunder's destination was luckily on one of the Northlander isles. He was actually looking for the ruins of a city of the isle of Alaron where the capital Caer Callidyr was located. According to the maps in his memory, the ruins were a good one or two days' travel away from Caer Callidyrr.

"Land, ho!" a man shouted down from the crow's nest.

"Finally!" Dengar growled, stepping up to Thunder's side.

Girishin and Kyrian both appeared on the deck and stepped up to Thunder.

"Where are we going anyways?" Lavinia asked, popping up next to Thunder.

"I'm not sure," Thunder sighed.

When Thunder had left the Palace of Waterdeep, he had not been sure the others would have been willing to go with him. Dengar had been found in a bar drinking beer with a barmaid on his knee. Lavinia had been found cheating at cards, except the other players hadn't known that. Girishin and Kyrian seemed to have been the only ones not reluctant to go.

Caer Callidyrr quickly came into view, the Callidyrr Palace spires towering over the city itself. The Sea Lion swiftly reached the docks and set anchor. Thunder thanked the captain of the Sea Lion and got off the ship. Once the horses had been unloaded, they headed into Caer Callidyrr.

With great effort, Thunder managed to keep Dengar and Lavinia close. The two were already ecstatic in anticipation of battle. It wasn't long before they left Caer Callidyrr, heading west into the wilderness. The forests they entered were fairly thick, nearly blotting out the sun entirely.

After a few hours of traveling through the woods in silence, the forest began to thin out. A thick mist seemed to settle in as the trees got sparser and sparser. The only sign the sun was still up was how bright the mist was. Thunder could make out vague humanoid shapes at the edge of where the mist grew too thick for him to see. They looked like lizardmen with how they were hunched down, how their legs bent, as well as with the long tail they had that dragged along behind them. There were only four or five to a group, yet they kept their distance from the adventurers.

As it got darker and darker around them, Thunder began to worry if they'd find any cover when night finally came. It was impossible to tell how many lizardmen were out and about, but Thunder knew there would be a lot more when night came. Dengar had his axe out and was running his thumb along its blade, blood beginning to trickle down his finger. Lavinia had her crossbow out and loaded, ready to shoot at a moment's notice. Girishin and Kyrian both sat calmly as usual, although Thunder noticed Kyrian's hand occasionally stray towards his hand axes before grabbing a hold of his horse's reins again.

Thunder was startled when a large city wall suddenly became visible to their right. Thunder had the party halt and had Lavinia go up and check the wall out. Several moments passed before Lavinia's voice called out from the depths of the mist. Thunder had them all hurry in the direction of her voice. Lavinia was on foot standing in front of an enormous gate.

Thunder quickly recalled the images of the maps in his mind. The map of Alaron was the most detailed map he had ever seen. They were in the Misty Forest which extended for another thirty miles. The map showed three ruins of cities, the one they sought farthest to the southwest of the other two. Thunder guessed they were in the ruins closest to Caer Callidyrr.

"Tis gettin' late, paladin," Dengar said, looking up into the misty sky. "We should be findin' a place to camp. This town seems ter be the safest spot at the moment."

"Aye," Lavinia nodded, looking into the surrounding mists.

"If'n we plans on campin' in there tonight," Dengar said, hefting his axe. "We gots ter get in first!"

There was a large lock and chains around the two gates. The lock looked worn with age as did the chains. Dengar lifted his axe and swung hard, blade creating sparks as it skidded across the lock. Strangely enough, the lock still remained in one piece. Dengar looked at the lock incredulously. Dengar took another swing, this time at the chain, still producing the same result.

Thunder grabbed Dengar's left wrist, stopping him from another swing. "It is most apparent that is getting us nowhere."

"Whoever put these here must not want whatever is in there to get out," Lavinia said.

Suddenly, Lavinia and Dengar's gazes locked and they both said in unison, "Treasure!"

Thunder sighed in disgust as the two hurried through their bags looking for some of their things. Normally he was able to keep his emotions more in check, but these two were really trying on his sanity.

"We're going to need ropes in order to scale this wall," Thunder said, walking past the gate to the walls left of the gates.

"Way ahead of ye, paladin," Dengar said eagerly, tossing him some coils of rope.

Thunder caught the ropes. A grappling hook was already attached to one end. Thunder swung the end of the rope with the grappling hook round and round before finally letting it fly. The grappling hook flew well over the top of the wall. Thunder pulled it in until he felt it catch on something. Thinking quickly, Thunder focused on the horses, murmuring the words to a spell of invisibility which he had learned. The horses disappeared from view where they'd been left. There wasn't much chance of them being able to get the horses to the other side of the wall. Giving the rope a few more experimental pulls, Thunder finally began climbing the wall. Thunder was pretty strong for his size and bulk, yet the thirty-foot climb winded him slightly. As soon as he was up, Dengar began his quick ascent.

Thunder took a moment to look about. He was standing on a small walkway that ran along the parapets along the walls. It was wide enough for two people to stand side-by-side, yet was covered in a thick layer of dust, a sign of how old it was and a sure sign no one had been here in a long time. Beyond the wall were the remnants of an abandoned city. Many of the buildings still stood, but several had collapsed. The streets were covered in shrapnel and other rubble. Other than that, the streets were eerily empty. Thunder had a bad feeling about this place, an itch along his spine. Thunder had become wise enough to know where and when he should be wary. Where was here and when was now.

Once everyone was up, they started along the walkway, searching for a staircase to the city floor where they could set up camp. They passed several staircases which had collapsed before finally finding one that was still intact. Once they had gone down the stairs, they made camp in a small area that was clear of rubble.

Thunder was getting ready to lay down on his pallet and go to sleep when Girishin spoke. "Thunder, come here. There is something you must see."

Girishin and Kyrian were a dozen or so yards out from the camp, both crouching over something. Thunder knelt down next to them. Without a word, Girishin pointed down at the ground. Wolf tracks. The strange thing was the wolf footprints stretched out to be half the length of a human's foot.

"These tracks are new," Girishin said. "Less than an hour since these were made."

"And we've been here for an hour at least. We must be careful then if whatever it is is still around," Thunder said before standing. "Keep your eyes open."

Girishin and Kyrian nodded before standing. Back at camp Dengar was sprawled out across his sleeping pallet, snoring noisily. Lavinia lay on her pallet as well, her crossbow loaded and in her grip. Thunder took off his belt with his sword still on it and layed it town on top of his chain armor shirt next to where he was sleeping.

Suddenly, a wolf howled eerily in the distance. Lavinia and Dengar were both instantly awake, instinctively reaching for their weapons. Two more wolves howled in reply, these ones sounding dangerously close. Thunder pulled his sword out of its scabbard and looked about.

It was dark, yet the moonlight far above seemed to light the ruins up. Thunder scanned the buildings along the street they were at the head of. Something suddenly caught his eye. A humanoid being suddenly rushed out to the center of the street. Its legs looked to have two joints from the way it stood/ It was extremely broad across the shoulders, its head hunched forward. Its glinting red eyes made Thunder grip his sword tightly.

Dengar stepped up to his side and stared at the creature, strangely enough remaining where he stood, rather than racing towards the thing.

"We do be in a dangerous place, paladin," he said, gripping his axe tightly. "Ah kin see why this place was locked up."

"Look out!" Lavinia yelled from behind them.

Thunder turned to see another of the creatures racing towards him, two bolts protruding from its side. Thunder leapt aside, sword swinging. The creature howled with pain as his sword opened a large gnash in its side. It suddenly pivoted and slammed its shoulder into Thunder's stomach. Thunder grunted as the air left his lungs and he flew through the air. His flight was suddenly cut short when he slammed into one of the city walls before crashing to the ground.

When Thunder looked up from where he lay, he saw Dengar battling with the creature. Dengar was swinging his axe with deadly accuracy, opening deadly cuts in the beast. Thunder suddenly gasped. As soon as the creature received a wound, it healed over as if it had never been there before.

Thunder leapt to his feet and grabbed his sword from where he'd dropped it.

"For Helm!" Thunder shouted as he charged into the fray.

 

The Tale of Thunder: Chapter 3 - Uprising of the Shadows - Part 2 Shadows in the Palace © Thunder Kayowen(Ryan Goodrich)

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