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Cloak and Dagger: A Spy Game

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D&D PHB, DMG, Monsters Manual v3.5, Complete Divine, Complete Warriors, Eberron Campaign Setting published by Wizards of The Coast, 2002-2004.

 

Like many stories before it, this one started in a dark alley during a rainy night. Since the past few days, the rain has been steadily flooding the streets of Siltar and forced the majority of its inhabitant to stay in door. Yet, in the darkness of the night, a shadow can be seen moving through the muddy streets of The Slum, a poor and dangerous neighborhood located in the western side of the city. The hunched form moved slowly and wearily from one street to another taking no care to protect itself from the rain. It looked quite miserable and any person who might have come across it would probably have dismissed it as a lonely and drunk beggar trying to find shelter from cruel Mother Nature. And they would’ve been wrong.

 

After a few streets, the hunched figure came in front of an abandoned house, one of many in this part of the city. It stared at it for a few seconds, looked suspiciously left and right and opened the door.

 

“Good evening, what kept you?” asked the voice of another dark figure sitting in the back of the room. It was a strong and powerful voice, the voice of someone used to give out orders and have them obeyed.

 

“Business, as usual..." the hunched figure said cryptically then straightened up and pulled down its cloak. And as if on cue, a flash of lighting and the subsequent thunder blasted outside revealing the shape of a woman with hair neatly tied in a bun behind her head. Not much beside that can be discerned of her in this lighting. “I’m sorry I’m late Jorel but I had to take all the precaution necessary to ensure no one followed me.”

 

“Forget it; I was merely kidding with you, my dear friend Analyn.” the man called Jorel answered and stood up lighting a small oil lamp. “It’s been so long, it’s good to see you again” he smiled at the young woman who he considered as a little sister.”

 

“Indeed it has been long.” She agreed sadly. For half a year now, Analyn and a small number of agents (unknown to her) has been sent to Siltar and ordered to mitigate with the rest of the population, and investigate the mounting concerns of the Council about this new Black Dagger organization. Now that enough information has been gathered to confirm those concerns, the Council sent Jorel, the spymaster to finally take action.

 

“Yet we have a job to do.” The spymaster said, breaking the awkward silence. “You must have already suspected that you’re not the only agent the Council sent. We have more sleepers waiting and we shall wake them up soon enough”

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In another part of town, a more respected part by far, Alfirin finished her performance at the Fauka Mellonea earning great applause from the audience, who like her happens to be of elven blood. Smiling radiantly at her fans, she gracefully retreated to her room upstair where she found a small envelop slipped under the door.

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Kyra, though known on stage as Alfirin, stops to retrieve the envelope. She is quite used to the occasional letter from a fan so she thinks nothing of it. She enters her room which she rents out from the bar keep and begins to remove her heavy make-up and costume. Only a select few know that her real name is Kyra and she has blonde hair instead of brown. She likes it that way, however the reason is not to separate her personal life from her professional. Kyra has lived a dangerous life with many secrets. Though this life was her past, she knows that one day, her services will be needed again.

 

Once she is back to her normal appearance she sighs, lets see who this is from, she thinks as she begins to open the letter. Amator? Or maybe Thamior this time...

 

As she opens the envelop a pair of emerald earrings fall out. She immediately recognizes these from her past, but if that signal was not enough, the note inside confirms it. "The sleep is over," Kyra reads. Yes, well I was only wondering how long I'd have to wait.

 

She puts the earrings on immediately as she knows if "they" needed to talk to her, the earrings must be in place.

 

I assume others have been awaken. Kyra thinks as she burns the letter in the flame from her small vanity candle.

 

There is much preparation to be done before meeting Jorel at the Slum. And I only have a few days...

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The carriage ride was bumpy and slow. The driver kept his horse in a steady gallop due to the slippery road. In the back of the carriage, a figure sat under the canopy, sheltered from the rain. Vincent looked outside the carriage window at the houses and streets of Siltar, his mind pondering on this new contract. He reached into his coat, and pulled out a folded letter along with a small emerald ring. Vincent looked at the ring for a second, then opened the letter and read through it again.

 

He was going to retire. A near-lifetime of working as a hired killer had made him weary. Besides, he earned enough to buy himself… a small farm? Maybe a little store in a peaceful village? He could have settled down, and maybe raise a family, or something. Anyhow, this last offer for a contract appeared out of nowhere. He wouldn’t have accepted it either, but the reward was high, and it seemed too tempting to refuse. His last contract…

 

It almost sounded sad… almost.

 

The carriage finally stopped in front of a small inn. A large wooden sign hung above the doorway, the letters “Maltese Hawk” carved onto it. Vincent paid the driver, then grabbed his large trunk, and climbed off into the pouring rain. He made his way towards the door, and then walked inside. As he walked in, he shook the water from his coat. He turned around, and saw the innkeeper behind a bar. Vincent walked up to the man, and then smiled.

 

“Awful weather, isn’t it?” he said casually. “I would like a room. Would this be enough?” he said, and then laid three gold pieces on the bar. The innkeeper agreed, then handed him a key. Vincent nodded, and walked upstairs towards his room, carrying his trunk in one hand and the keys in the other. As he went inside, he locked the door behind him. He took off his coat, and then pushed his black trunk underneath his bed. He took one last look at the ring, noticing something very strange about it. He shrugged, and slid the emerald ring onto his middle finger.

 

Feeling quite tired, Vincent yawned, then laid down on his bed and fell asleep.

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The evening had started as do so many and yet ended in a unique manner. thought Shannon as she arrived back at her home, once inside she threw the money into her safe. Then she stipped her clothes off and washed. She looks at the emerald necklace knowing what it means "So Jorel you are finally ready and calling us all together are you ?" She thinks.

 

Pulling on a green robe she picks up the emerald pendant and then places it around her neck, immediatly she feels the magic within it and she knows soon Jorel will summon her. Shannon then heads for bed.

 

The next morning she sends word to a client that she is feeling unwell and won't be able to join him that night as she is feeling unwell. In the evening she dresses in clothes that seem far less suitable for someone living in the richest part of Siltar. But when heading for the slum it doesn't do to wear your best, far better to blend in and as she pulls out her matched pair of short swords be ready for anything.

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In the center of the city, a dark-hared dwarf is wiping down the bar of the Golden Boar Tavern. It's almost closing time, and he's looking forward to running the last of the miscreants off and going up to bed. He dosen't even look up when the door opens, he just states in a gruff voice "We're closing, so make it quick."

 

When the man orders Bloodale, the dwarf almost gives a start. Almost. Well, well, it's about dam-n time. He pours the rare drink, so rare in fact that this is only one of three bars in Siltus that has it, and hands it to the stranger, carefully not making eye contact. The man throws back the drink, slams some coins on the bar, tips his hat, and leaves.

 

The dwarf scoops the coins into his hand, careful so as not to let the few stragglers in the tavern to see his excitement. "Ok, everybody out! Closing time!", he announces. A couple of very drunk young men protest, but a hard glare from the diminutive barkeep silences them. They know his reputation, and they slink out the door without further argument.

 

Alone, the dwarf, known as Gund in this city, locks the doors and pulls himself a pitcher of strong dwarven ale. He sits at a table and pulls the coins out of his pocket. As he expected, there is a small emerald ring hidden among the silver pieces. He slips it on his finger and pours himself an ale. "Here's to you, Jorel. We walk down the path once more," he says as he toasts the air. I wonder who else has been awakened?

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Rain cascades off Oliver's weather-beaten cloak. "Protect the bow" runs through his mind. He has only a few more hours on his rounds, and he can get some sleep ....after studying the latest package of herbs and toxins sent by Skrzny......

 

Out of the corner of his eye, he sees a furtive figure. He follows discreetly. "I HAVE to be out here drowning on dry land....You don't" he thinks to himself....Finally, the small creeping human gets to his goal...the fine golden door-knocker of a merchant's townhouse.....Oliver watches, almost amused as the doorknocker quickly vacates it's usual home, and goes into a small bag.....and the thief takes off........

 

Oliver knows these alleys. The thief must be cutting left, then right then left. This will take him to the Quarter. Any other path will only lead him AWAY from the shelter of the Guild.....Oliver races ahead, jumping puddles and hurdling obstacles. He climbs a drainpipe onto a roof, and makes a few short jumps, then climbs back down, finds an awning, and readies his bow.....At last, the culprit is in site......and an arrow flies from the darkness.......sticking right next to the head of the thief....

 

"The next one counts.....Give me the door knocker, and come quietly....no one has to get hurt......"

 

The thief shows open hands, letting his sleeves fall back to reveal no hidden weapons...."I had to be sure. This was a test......this is for you." He hands over an envelope containing an emerald ring....."Now, I have a door-knocker to replace....."

 

Oliver puts on the ring, retrieves his arrow, and watches the "thief" leave the alley.

And still the rains fell.....

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I stumped into the taproom of the Partyng Kyss, my current home away from...

Oh heck, this fleabitten hole I've been stuck in for the past couple months. It's cheap, the food's not too bad, and the beds are usually clean.

 

Rickum, the Barkeep, hollered something at be about tracking mud all over his new straw. Cold and wet from the rain, I flashed him a gesture that indicated what I thought about his floor, and I started for the stairs. Rickum laughed and slid a steaming cup of rotgut down the bar which I snatched just before it skipped off the edge. It smelled worse than the half-orc he had as a bouncer, but it was warm. I took it and a chair by the fire and propped my boots on the table. Rickum's daughter came by and started fussing over me. I knew Rickum was watching, so I couldn't resist, and I grabbed her ample backside. She never reacted but Rickum's roar of outrage was enough to start his slobbering half-orc lackey out of a doze.

 

"I've told you a million bloody times Aerik, hands off my little princess. She's not going to fall for your charms. If you're coin wasn't so good, I'd have Kavik here toss your arse out in the street."

 

We both laughed. It had become a running joke.

 

Kavik no sooner stood up by the door then he realized he wasn't needed and fell right back to sleep. Good help is so hard to find these days.

 

I kicked my boots off so the mud would crust off and the leather would be dry by morning. Cute kid, Jenn grabbed them and offered to clean em up for me and make sure they dried all proper. She said they'd be at my door in the morning. Sometimes, I wondered if she realized I had no interest in her. She was sweet and all, but my life wasn't meant for running this joint when her old man finally took the long sleep.

 

Rickum brought me over a trencher of meat and an end of bread. "Try coming home at a decent hour some night Aerik, you might get to eat more than the scraps." I waved him off. It has been a slow couple weeks. I've had to spend that last few nights in some of the sleaziest dives in the city. Haven't been able to get anything terribly useful. None of my old Marks have come back to town. There were some rumblings of new work afoot, but nothing I could catch a scent of, mostly rumors and innuendo. Good for a tale over a brew, but not much for lining the old coin purse. If this kept up, I might need to expand my rounds.

 

"By the way, some guy came in looking for you. Said he was an old friend. I didn't like his look, seemed shifty," explained Rickum. He seemed nervous telling me.

 

"Really?" I asked. I wasn't expecting friends, so my hackles were already raising. "What did he look like?"

 

"That's the thing Aerik, I can't rightly seem to recall. He was a guy. Bout your height, give or take. Brownish yellowy hair. Looked like he'd been travelling for a bit. Never seen him in here before. Honestly, didn't think you even had any friends."

 

"Neither did I. Don't worry too much if there's some noise upstairs. You know I'll pay for anything broken." I didn't have any old friends. Usually when someone says their an old friend, it's the cousin or brother of some fool that crossed my trail and became prey. It never meant anything good.

 

"Dammit Aerik, I just got the new tables back from the carpenter, try to do this neatly." Last time, an old friend came by, I put his face through a table in the taproom. It started a little bit of a brawl. Kavik is still pissed because he wasn't allowed to toss me out with the rest of the rabble. Rickum's furniture was pretty flimsy it seemed. A pair of stools and another table later, the old friend decided he no longer wanted to come out and play. City Watch wasn't happy with me, but heck, I've bailed their arse out a few times. The guys were willing to cut me some slack, sides, I didn't start it.

 

I took the stairs silently, thankful that my boots weren't on, I was even quieter than an owl cruising in on an unknowing mouse. I got to my room. Checked the door over. Didn't seem like there was anything funny going on. Good thing too, if the motherless son of a goat did anything to Rickum or his kids, he'd become a freebie. I checked the lock. Still intact. I slipped my curved dagger from thin air, least that's what it looks like if you don't know about the sheath at the small of my back and took the latch. The door slid open and I was inside before the hall light spilled in. Nothing. This wasn't good. I scanned the room quickly, taking a mental image and comparing it to how I left it this afternoon. Nothing was amiss. This meant one thing only. My friend was good.

 

Or maybe I was starting to chase ghosts. I hope this wasn't the case. I was too young to start looking over my shoulder. I haven't pissed off enough people yet. Maybe my friend was looking for my services. Sometimes, you get someone too freaked out to go to the Watch. Sometimes, they're threatened that if they go to the watch, they'll be killed, or their family will be killed. heck it's too late to care now.

 

I hollered down to Rickum that I was fine and expected breakfast in the morning. I didn't hear a word, but presumed the old swindler was probably sighing in relief. Just because there didn't seem to be anything amiss, there wasn't about to start being stupid. I checked the locks on the door and barred the windows. I did another once over of the room and found nothing. Shrugging, I kicked off my breeches and tunic and hung the cloak over the chair. The dagger stayed in my hand. Just because you're not paranoid, doesn't mean people aren't out to get you. My head hit the pillow like a rock. I;ve always had the ability to sleep at a moments notice. Funny thing about hitting the pillow like a rock. I rubbed the welt on my head forming. What the...

 

I opened the pillow up, and swore silently. This explains a lot. I didn't need friends like this. I knew I had been grousing because work was slow lately, but I needed this job like a hole in my head. The money was always good, but the way these jobs went, I usually came closer to the hole in my head. I slipped the ring on. "Looks like you won't be sleeping for awhile now Aerik," I muttered as my head returned to the pillow. I'll deal with Jorel tomorrow.

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During your sleep, Jorel telepathically contacted all of you.

 

"Tomorrow night, The Slum, in the second abandoned house on Beggar's Heaven street. Come fully armed."

 

It was brief and to the point.

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Morning came upon Vincent as he slid out of his bed and stretched. That was the weirdest dream he has ever had, but it wasn’t a dream, was it? He took a glance at the ring on his finger and smiled.

 

So that’s what it does, eh?

 

Pulling the trunk out from under the bed and laying it on the mattress, he unlocked the padlock and took out a new change of clothing. With that, Vincent took the clothes, walked over to the small bathtub behind the screen wall, unbuttoned his shirt, and took a bath.

 

Later that night, after having drink downstairs, Vincent went back up to his room, and sat down at his desk by the window. He pulled the letter out from his coat, brought the oil lamp closer, then read through it again, making sure he didn’t miss anything important. Seeing that there wasn't anything he overlooked, he folded up the letter, inserted it into the little flame from the lamp, and left it burning on the stone alcove of his window. After the paper disintegrated in flame, he whisked away the ashes left behind, extinguished the light from the desk lamp, then walked over to his bed and trunk.

 

After opening the lid, Vincent ran his fingers along the inner edge of the trunk. He founded a small indentation, and pressed it lightly. An unlocking sound came from the trunk as he did so. He closed the lid, flipped the trunk onto its back, and opened the hidden compartment underneath. Inside was a metal rack where his weapons were clamped. The disassembled parts of his crossbow were clasped to the rack, along with several packs of crossbow bolts and a few bottles of potent posion. Folded neatly in one corner was his black uniform. Next to it was his prized treasure, his dual short swords in their black scabbards. Both swords had the death’s head sigil on the pommels, and engraved onto both of the blades was his assassin’s code in elvish. “Death’s Honor” he called them. He attached the scabbards to his belt, inspected the keen edge of both swords, and sheathed them. Pulling the crossbow parts, he began locking the pieces together. Then, he grabbed his uniform, and placed it in a small sack along with his light crossbow. He grabbed five packs of crossbow bolts, then shut the lid of the compartment.

 

Afterwards, he locked everything up, slid the case under his bed, then blew out his bedside candle. With that, he put on his coat, slung the sack over his shoulder, and went outside into hall. After locking the door, Vincent walked downstairs. Looking out of the front door at the rainy night, Vincent gave the innkeeper a nod, and went outside.

 

Last contract... this should be interesting.

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The flourishing economy of Siltar was based on trades which is rather convenient because the harbor city is the center point of many trading routes between its richer and more powerful neighbors. This economy was controlled by four powerful houses, and by order of influence, they are house Dallia, house Macara, house Forgehammer and house A’lma. Furthermore, the city is also controlled by various guilds and among the more notable ones are the Merchant Guild and the Fighter Guild.

 

Powerful as they are, none of them showed any interest in this part of town, The Slum. And this is exactly the reason why and where our shady band of adventurers and opportunists decided to meet up. And in this very house which is no more than a rat infested hole, and around this very table where our heroes are gathering, the very future of Siltar will be decided.

 

“It’s good to see all of you alive and well.” Jorel said as he wearily brushed away the wet damp (and more gray than brown) hair from his face. “But we won’t waste any more talk and niceties, we have job to do.”

 

“As you all know now, the Council has ordered us to take… a more aggressive course of action in Siltar.” Analyn, the little elven woman standing behind Jorel said. “But for that, we need to extend our reach.” She added and laid on the table a map.

 

tormon_mansion.jpg

 

“This small estate, located in Liberty district belongs to a smuggler, Termon Oreli who went into hidding a few months ago. Authorities believe him to be dead now but we, ladies and gentlemen, we know better.” She smiled slyly at her last remark. The little woman walked – nay glided around the table fully in balance and not making a noise. She wore simple black clothes that fitted closely around her lithe body. On her waist, she sported a snake-pummeled sword and a slender stiletto and around her shoulders were two bandoliers holding various throwing daggers.

 

“This little mansion will be our new base of operation. In the next week, your assignment is simple: go to the estate, gather information, infiltrate, do what you do best and when we’re ready, we will strike quickly and silently.” Analyn said darkly. “Any further question? Oh and by the way, Toman hires mercenary guards” she added as a side note.”

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Vincent sat in one dark corner of the table. In his hands were a feather pen, along with a paper notepad. Anything that seemed relevant, he scribbled down.

 

After hearing Analyn's words, Vincent looked up.

 

"Miss Analyn." he said.

 

"What are our current information about the mercs operating at the estate? Do we know how many they are, or their past reputation? Are they proffesionals? Are they just random amateur sell-swords? Anything?" Vincent asked.

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"We believe many worked for Tormon back in his years as a smugglers, they will not be missed." Anaylin answered the assassin. "On the other hand, some may only be simple guards from Siltar. They must be taken into consideration as we do not want crying widows peeking in. As for their numbers, we do not know precisely but a rough estimate would be a dozen with a handful for servants and maids"

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Vincent nodded, then jotted down more stuff on his pad.

 

"So what is our main goal? Elimination of this Toman guy? Do we want him still breathing or do we want him dead in the ground?" he asked again, ready to jot more notes.

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"Dead in the ground" Analyn said with finality. "As well as everyone in the estate at the night of the strike. We will replace them with our own agents."

 

That last statement caused some around the table to shift uneasilly.

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