The Spike
The Middle Realm
The God's Plane
The Bard's Corner
Richard Fenner
Gian Gero
Martin Laurie
Wesley Quadros
Herald's Cry
Cross Roads

Alkothi Tales
Deville's Tales
Krarn's Tale
Onslaught's Tales
Sheng Seleris' Tales

Meeting the Natives - Part 4

"Stop pacing Governor and relax. You'll wear a hole in the carpet, it's very expensive too." Deville relaxed further into the divan and sipped contentedly on a chilled glass of wine. Hrothmir and Trask stood nearby, against the walls of Deville's rooms, both armed, both watching the Governor's escort like Vroks.

The Governor was angry but plainly dismayed at the same time. Radak, who glowered beside him was just plain angry. Devilles occasional smirking glances to his iron-shod boots did nothing to calm him down.

"Stop pacing!? Stop pacing? I'm surprised I have any hair left, I've been pulling it out by the roots! Do you have any idea what you've done?" He thundered.

"Done? I merely fulfilled my function and removed a threat to the Empire, I fail to see why you are so irate." Deville smiled pleasantly.

"Forty-seven dead!? Forty-bloody-seven dead! Six houses destroyed or severely damaged! You call that "fulfilling your function"?" Sor-eel was beginning to go red again, rather the same colour as his cloak, thought Deville. How fetching.

"My dear Governor, they were all Hazia users or suppliers or guards of suppliers or criminals. They deserved to die. I'm sorry about the property damage but one cannot invade Sartar without killing Sartarites." That comment actually gained a grunt of agreement from Radak.

"Eight of those "criminals" you so casually burnt to death were members of the Lunar Administration, valued members!"

Deville threw his wine glass aside and gained his feet in a swift, graceful movement. His face was no longer smiling, it was a snarl. "Valued members?" He growled. "The moment they let their corrupt souls gain ascendancy over the Righteous Ways of the Goddess they were cursed to the Hells. I only wish I could have made their suffering greater." Deville stepped closer to the Governor, within striking distance, his face as cold as ice. "Do not try to gain sympathy from me for the likes of those men and women. At least the Orlanthi are true foes who hold hard by their principals and beliefs, no matter how erroneous. These scum who ride on the backs of the Empire while indulging their own selfish desires are nithings!" Deville's use of the Sartarite word brought a rare smile from Trask Two-Swords and a deep scowl from Radak.

Sor-eel looked into Devilles stormy expression and the fierce determination blazing in those eyes and knew he'd misjudged this man very badly. He was no Heartland fop, for all his appearance and manner. He was a fanatic who would stop at nothing to fulfill his mission. Worse still, he was a highly intelligent fanatic with immense power, personally and behind him politically. He won't be intimidated, he'll be impossible to stop through the binds of the system and killing him would create more problems than it solved. Besides, he had a feeling that it would take a fair few of them to do that anyway.

Sor-eel did the only thing he could do in the circumstances - he backed down to fight another day. "Very well Deville, you've heard my protest at your methods but I will cooperate in your mission as much as possible." He even bowed, ever so slightly.

Deville lost his cold look. "No need to be apologetic Governor, I understand your position and wish to cooperate in any way I can. However, you must remember that if I see a threat to the Empire, whether from external or internal sources, I will strike immediately." Deville moved back to the divan. Lissus brought him another drink. He picked up Fluffy, his white cat and placed him in his lap and began stroking the purring animal.

Sor-eel felt defeated for the time being but made one more effort. "Perhaps then, you could meet the various groups that have begun complaining about your presence in person?"

"I don't see why not, I do so like to meet the natives."

Sor-eel looked dour. "Yes I'd noticed, they don't seem to like meeting you much though. I'll arrange a meeting with you at the Headquarters. You will be informed." Deville nodded and Sor-eel left, still seething, with Radak in tow.

Nolon Darkwalker opened the door with a jerk then ducked and rolled inside, to the left. He rose up on his feet for a mere moment then subtly changed his balance and rolled back the other way to the door's right. A crossbow bolt hit the wall where he'd just been shooting sparks onto his black clothes.

During the roll he'd felt the bolt coming and gauged the direction it came from. A throwing knife was in his hands as he came out of the tumble. His arm straightened out, along with his body, the whipcord effect adding power to the throw. There was a thudding noise and a yell of pain, but Nolon was too busy rolling back to the other side of the doorway to pay attention.

As he rose out of his third roll he leapt high into the air, using his momentum perfectly. His foot lashed out, the razor sharp Iron spurs along the edge of his boot opened up the face of an axe weilder readying to attack. He spun in the air, slashing two more men as he landed, both fell with torn jugulars, pumping blood as they died. Another knife left his hand while he drew his sword simultaneously.

His senses were hot, expanded by the adrenalin blasting through him but endless training focused that wild power and turned him into a precision machine of destruction ready to fight his foes to the end.

There were three left, four bodies littered the room. These three would be the best, they moved as one towards him, swords drawn. One still had Nolons last throwing knife embedded in his left shoulder.

Nolon dived and rolled to the left, under the swing of a broadsword, to bury his blade in the wounded mans guts. The man screamed when Nolon tore the blade out as he turned to block a slash to his neck from a heavily built warrior. He smashed the big mans kneecap with a down-striking foot but he didn't go down, he traded blows with Nolon with an insane look in his eyes. Spittle frothed on his mouth and he roared with primal anger.

Oh, great, a Berserker, thought Nolon but he quashed his concerns as the other remaining opponent leapt over his gutted friend to engage Nolon on his flank. Nolon moved with a side-step to keep the others blade occluded by the Berserker as he continued to parry the frenzied slashes.

He didn't quite make it and he felt the tip of his new opponents weapon slice into his shoulder. He clamped down on the pain, no trace of it appeared on his face, he was above such things. He forbade his allied spirit to heal the wound. This would be a fair test. They had no healing, neither would he.

The Berserker, possibly a Storm Buller kept coming as Nolon dodged the hurricane attack with consummate skill while striking again and again at the man. The Berserker made no defence in his fury, wounds littered his bulky body but he seemed not to feel them. Going for the kill, Nolon punctured the ribcage over the mans heart with a strong thrust. It was a fatal blow and in that moment Nolon transferred all his attention to the second and final man.

The Berserker, ignoring the fact that he was dead, cut Nolons left arm off at the elbow as he fell to the floor, a puzzled look on his face as if bemused that his body had failed him. Storm Bull received him well for that final blow.

Nolon almost died then when the shock of his lost limb took him but somehow he parried the last mans attack and leapt back out of range. The man was smiling now and he looked capable, very capable. Nolon had to finish this fast or he'd be unable to re-attach his arm in time. Clamping down on the pain he moved back into range. The stump was still clamped shut but that wouldn't last and he was in real danger of bleeding to death if the fight became prolonged.

"You're going to die assassin." Snarled the swordsman, a Sartarite by his accent. From his moves and style, Nolon placed him as Svenstown Humakti, a tough and skilled opponent in a straight blade match.

Of course, Nolon wasn't into straight blade matches.

They clashed, the Humakti boring in, teeth bared, using every ounce of his great skill to finish his foe to earn his freedom. Nolon parried hard and countered well but allowed a modicum of desperation to enter his stance and bladework. Finally, panting hard, he left an opening.

Grinning, the Swordbrother took the bait. His arm swept the blade down for a head cut but Nolon axed his foot up and out blocking the blow at the wrist, his boot blades severing the tendons in a spray of blood. The Humakti knew he was destined to meet his God and smiled as Nolons blade took him in the throat. He went unafraid, glaring into the eyes of his enemy until the light of life dulled forever.

Nolon moved quickly and put his arm back on with a powerful healing as the doors to the room opened. The men that came in were darkly clad like himself and they busied themselves removing the bodies. A tall thin man wearing a black velvet mask followed them in. Nolon bowed to him.

"You fought well Darkwalker, your skills have matured considerably."

"Thank you Lord Blackfang. It was a hard test, they were worthy opponents."

"They best I could find from among the Frees we had imprisoned. Warriors all, dedicated and skilled yet you slew seven of them in mere moments without magics or help. A great feat but now I have an even harder test for you Darkwalker." Said the Blackfang solemnly.

"You have but to give me a target my master. I am yours to command."

The Blackfang gave a hollow laugh. "Indeed you are but you will need help on this one."

"I need no man's help Lord of Knives! Your foe is already a dead man, thought he knows it not." Nolon said with ironclad certainty.

"Beware overconfidence. You will need help and you shall take that help, that is an order." His voice was tinged with threat.

Nolon bowed his acquiescence. "Who is the target my Lord?"

"A great foe of mine, my most deadly foe. A man called Morthander Deville." He almost spat the name, such was the hatred in his deep voice.

Nolon nodded. What a target! A true test of his abilities indeed. He felt a rare feeling in himself, it was fear. The thrill of fear was what made him alive. Nolon Darkwalker smiled. "Thank you master for this chance, Morthander Deville is as good as dead."

Morthander Deville sat heavily on his chair, a hard day listening to the whines and whinges of the city council, merchants and other "interested" groups had left him feeling drained. He stroked Fluffy absentmindedly. He glanced at Trask Two-Swords who was eating his simple evening meal on the table. "You know Trask, I sometimes get the feeling that I'm not wanted around here."

Trask spat food all over the table with ironic laughter. A few seconds later Deville joined in too.

<< Part 3 | The Deville page | Part 5 >>

May 31, 2000

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