Nilan sat alone in Vhaeraun’s temple pondering on the events of the night before, the raiding party he had led, of the orders Trobriand had given him, and of his “failure” to complete the task given. The web of deceit he was weaving was getting more and more involved with every passing moment, at times even daring to entangle him. Still yet, the assassin pondered over the information he had learned, information gleaned in a pact made to keep his people safe. A pact now, the drow was considering breaking in order to ensure that his people remain safe. But would the under races see as he sees or would they persist in the slaughter of this dragon and quite possibly endangering his people even further? Or worse, would his own people look upon him as a traitor, for his actions seemed to go against the goals of many? Attaining a portal to invade the surface, Waterdeep, or drow enemies was indeed a powerful item. But the assassin was not concerned with petty invasions or the brief glory those invasions might attain.
He looked toward the black altar of his god an uttered a cold whisper, “Vhaeraun will not share his domain atop the pantheon with another god, even one bent on returning to these realms. So I shall see to it.” Nilan approached the black altar of his god, knelt before it placing “Shadow” on the marble floor in front of him and closed his eyes allowing the vivid conversations of the past weeks to once again filter into his mind.
The flesh trader grinned and nodded as the conversation with the assassin was drawing to a close. “My services for your master, in exchange for drow lands to remain secure,” the assassin had demanded.
“So long as our “alliance” remains a mutual benefit to us. The Master isn’t about to remove such a benefit of resource. Your race is known for its treachery, and I sense you are not placing trust in me, but we both understand the benefits of this arrangement….”, its thin whispery voice trailed off.
Nilan merely nodded and grinned thinking to himself “at least we understand each other.” The assassin added aloud, “I am most interested in learning of this Master, that seeks my services, and those of the under races. Invisible employers do not sit well with me.”
“The Master will reveal himself when ready, assassin.” And with that the flesh trader sauntered off.
Nilan blinked opening his yes to focus again on Vheraun’s altar. In this temple the assassin felt a certain peace, a certain freedom. Again he closed his eyes allowing himself to recall yet another conversation.
A sudden magical darkness and a wizard appeared before him. The same wizard Nilan had heard Wobb and Silvine speak of in their quest to retrieve a certain tome. Nilan eyed the wizard intently.
“We have been watching you, assassin. Your services are needed.”
Nilan fixed the archwizard a cold glare, “And our …. Arrangement?”
The wizard grinned nodding, “Secure”. He paused a moment before continuing. “Deliver this missive to the dragonman on the dragon plateau, see that he will work for us, he will translate the passage needed.” With that the archwizard, handed over a chest filled with gems and trinkets and the missive. “Don’t fail me, assassin, our agents are watching.”
Taking some powder from his robes, the wizard uttered a spell and disappeared.
The smell of incense within the temple caused Nilan cough lightly. Strong they were, yet soothing the longer one sat immersed in them. Nilan thought of the mission. He had tried to read the missive he was to deliver but it was magically sealed. Try as he might he could not seem to open it. His raiding party, all associates he had adventured with before, all very capable and skilled had entered the dragon plateau. Prior to reaching the dragonman, the great Silver Dragon had attacked. Nilan, Zathep, and the drow priestess Silvine, were thrown aside in a great wing buffet. The beast turned its attack on the drows in the room. Though none were killed, several, including himself suffered injuries. The dragon then took to the skies.
The dragonman desired nothing that was in the jeweled chest and instead spoke of a bracelet he desired. “Bring the bracelet and we shall talk of this….alliance.”
Twas then that Nilan, against the orders of the archwizard Trobriand, withheld the missive. At the time, more based on reason then any treachery on the assassin’s part. The assassin reasoned, the dragon would no doubt return, the missive, whatever it was would fall into another’s hand. With that, the drow secreted the missive in the folds of his cloak.
The dragon in fact did return, and while he and his raiding party were securing the bracelet, a huge burst of spells could be seen in the distance. When the raiding party returned to the plateau, the dragonman was dead, torn to pieces by the dragon, frozen chunks of flesh were strewn about the area.
They had failed…..
The assassin knew it was only a matter of time before Trobriand confronted him. Nilan already decided he would assume full responsibility for the “failure” and spare any wrath that the wizard might direct toward his people or his allies.
Trobriand appeared in a puff of smoke, anger building within him. The assassin bowed low. “Well well, I am wondering just what kind of alliance we seem to have, Chosen of Vhaeraun,” the wizard spat encircling the assassin.
Nilan growled at the magi, “It would seem you and your Master didn’t tell me everything. This missive, what was it exactly? It was magically sealed, thus I assumed it important in what you might have desired translated.”
Nilan watched as Trobriand seemed to fill with anger. “Why should I trust an alliance with you, who can not deliver a simple message!!! I can pay an urchin in Waterdeep five copper to deliver a letter, why are you incapable?”
Nilan glared suppressing a smile and bit back the words that had formed on his tongue, words he desired to utter but did not. “Because I have a different agenda wizard, one that does not include the petty promises of a portal in Waterdeep. But instead centers on stopping you, and a great evil from returning to these realms.” Nilan kept these words hidden in his thoughts.
Nilan bowed in forgiveness, “We were attacked by the Silver dragon. I had only thought to keep the missive because had it been delivered it would now be in the hands of the dragon, the surface, your enemies. Had I delivered your missive, your plans, the plans of your Master would now be known to many I’m sure your Master would not desire.”
Nilan emphasized the word “Master” each time he spoke it. It was clear the archwizard was growing more angered as this conversation progressed. Nilan bowed low.
The archwizard sneered coldly, rage building, “You presume to much assassin. I serve NO Master!”
Nilan looked up coldly his gaze fixed upon the wizard called Trobriand. “You are the Master then?”
Trobriand glared, “This conversation is at end. Soon all will learn of your failure, assassin.”
Nilan smiled inwardly recalling the glare on Trobriand’s face as he disappeared into his magical doorway. He knew he walked a dangerous line with the archwizard. That path now appeared to be placing him at odds with his people, even with the very raiding party he had assembled. He snickered recalling the dangerous web he was weaving and of how ironically it was trying to ensnare even him. “Vhaeraun watch over me, in “failing” I might very well have succeeded in keeping your people safe” he muttered and whispered a prayer to his shadowed god.
Rising to his feet and placing “Shadow” once again within its sheathe, Nilan stalked from the temple. The portal was not merely a portal, but a key….a key to unseal a greater evil, or to lock it in forever. Of that he was sure of. The words of the surface dweller Tene filtered into his addled mind….words spoken by the great Silver dragon, Tsakchanar.
“Seals set by gods are nothing to scoff at, and the Vile One has been unable to cause much mischief over the millennia. The ancient dragons slept, the heroes that fell were mourned, and the gods continued on their paths. Until one day two gods stole the tablets of fate. In anger Ao cast them out of the heavens and sundered their divine magic, resulting in the Time of Troubles. The seals on the Vile One’s prison are no longer secure. It remains just a portal, bound by powerful wards, but not so powerful s they had once been.”
A shiver went up Nilan’s spine as he realized Who was coming back to the realms. And Nilan, the Chosen of Vhaeraun, who not about to see his god share power with Lloth, Kiaransalee or any of the drow pantheon, was surely not about to see his god share power with a pathetic human god. Nilan stalked out of the city of the drow, and set off for the surface, to speak to a dragon, Tene, his lover, or any other that would listen.
“Vhaeraun watch over me”
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