Triozdinak's old title story

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Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:30 pm
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Triozdinak's old title story

Postby cherz » Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:35 pm

How's this for ancient: Triozdinak's title story! Only decrepit old has-beens will probably remember this. :D

Triozdinak knew there was something wrong before he even heard
the crunch. He didn't feel the satisfying resistance of drow flesh
give way before the points of his two daggers. Instead, his intended
target deftly twirled out of his reach just a splitsecond before both
of Triozdinak's daggers would have imbedded themselves in his back. As
a result, Trio lurched forward unexpectedly, completely losing his
grip on one dagger, and only grazed the target's ribcage with the
other. He briefly considered what might have given his presence away:
a pebble he had sent skittering while shadowing the man, or maybe the
slight breath he had taken just before he made his move. The Master
had warned Triozdinak about that. He had said that the intake of
breath Trio seemed to so desperately need before each backstab could
prove the difference between the successful completion of a contract
and death for the young assassin. "Doomdagger," the master had said,
"keep breathing like that and ye'll find soon enough that ye won't be
breathing at all."

But before he could consider that, the crunch brought him back to his
mistake in an instant. The crunch was actually the sound of the bone
around Trio's right eyesocket shattering as a sharp steel scimitar
drove through his bone and into his eye. The entire right side of his
head exploded in a fiery cataclysm of pain and blood. He staggered
back and to his left and by fortune's sake just barely sidestepped a
slash from a second scimitar which had been aimed at the exposed right
side of his ribcage. Trying desperately to regain control of his
addled senses and fighting through the horrific sizzling pain on the
right side of his head, Triozdinak grimly lifted his head and levelled
his gaze at his adversary.

The man was well-known to Triozdinak. Trio had accepted the contract
because, in the end, it mattered little to Trio who he killed or why
he killed them as long as the person who made the contract was willing
to pay and genuinely seemed to want the target dead. The second
qualification made Trio seem odd to most people - who ever heard of an
assassin who looked any further than the coins that were tossed his
way? - but he viewed it as a precautionary measure. Nobody loves an
assassin. He had heard of too many assassins who had been set up on
hits by the people they contracted for. Trio may have been reckless,
he may have thrived for the challenge of a difficult contract, but he
never forgot any of the Master's words about self-preservation. Some
of the scars on Trio's face were permanent reminders of those words.
"Ye should always know what yer getting into," he said one day after
Triozdinak had failed miserably in a lesson. "And ye should always
have a backup plan. Some of the people ye may be contracted to kill
will not be easy prey." So Trio always carefully screened his clients
for genuineness. More than once he had slid his daggers into the backs
of people whom he suspected of attempting to set him up.

He had not had any qualms with this contract, however. His client was
a woman for whom Triozdinak had worked several times before, and both
had been more than satisfied with Trio's work. Trio had actually
expected her to offer the contract sooner than she had. He made it his
business to stay aware of the general politics in all of the cities in
which he worked. This particular contract originated out of
Menzoberranzan. The woman's brother had been murdered as a etaliation
for some petty squabble. Drow justice dictated that if she were cught
paying retribution her own life would be forfeit, so over the year
she had come to rely on Trio. Triozdinak had expected her to coe to
him almost immediately, and when she did not he thought she my have
procured services elsewhere. That bothered Trio tremendously. He
viewed himself as a professional, capable of providing reliable
service time after time. He hated to lose clients.

But eventually, she came to him. No words passed between them; there
simply wasn't any need. She couldn't have called out to him anyway -
she didn't know his name. None of his clients did. They only knew him
as the "Shadow of Oblivion." But this drow knew Triozdinak's wants and
needs as much as he knew hers, and so all that was necessary was for
her golden-eyed gaze to meet his dull-red one. Their relationship had
changed over the years from assassin-client to something much deeper,
where their unspoken thoughts were almost always known to each other.
She had even offered herself to him on a few occassions, and it was
only by tenaciously clinging to his principles that he was able to
reject her. Liaisons with clients was against the Rules.

The Rules. His skill and reknown as an assassin were somewhat hampered
by the Rules. Still, Triozdinak was always very self-aware. The Rules
were more of a self-preservation tool than anything else, but they
gave him principles by which he could order his life, a life lived in
the perpetual chaos of the Underdark. The Rules were few and simple -
he dictated the price of all his contracts. He would refuse any
contract which was unwittingly offered in retaliation for a contract
he had earlier completed. If you wanted a kill in Gloomhaven, you had
better be sure to go through Trio - it was his town. If you didn't,
you could be sure you'd be the next hit. Surface kills were extra.
Other assassins were extra. Children were extra. No set-ups. No one
was to know his name. And perhaps most importantly, all business
relationships remained business relationships.

This last rule was not originally one of The Rules. It had only been
added after -she- had offered herself to him the first time. He had
never assumed it to be a necessary rule. In fact, he had never even
considered it. The nature of his profession was not one of honor,
bravado, or even brute strength or courage. To many, it was a
necessary evil and nothing more. Everyone turned their noses up at it,
especially the ones who hired him to murder others. They would always
approach him stealthily through the streets, heads low, furtively
glancing around to be sure that no one had seen them associating with
an assassin. And so Triozdinak had simply never even thought about
what he might do if a client fell in love with him. He hadn't even
considered it a possibility.

That's not to say that he hadn't considered marraige a possibility. He
did, in fact, eventually get married. Just not to a client. He chose a
very captivating young cleric, by the name of Kasmarlyia, as his
bride. He had been somewhat trepidant about the idea of giving
something of himself to someone else and actually just blindly
trusting that person, but in the end her charm won over his cold
assassin's heart and a wedding ceremony was scheduled at a picturesque
waterfall near the center of the Underdark. All of the evil races were
represented at his wedding, mostly out of curiousity. Many had never
been to a duergar wedding before; none had ever seen the marriage of
an assassin. It bothered him a bit that surfacers were going to be
there to share in a moment of weakness, but Kas wanted many of them
there, and others had just invited themselves, so he let it go. In
fact, Triozdinak had actually walked in on several trolls placing bets
as to how long it would be before Kas died by Trio's own hand, but he
didn't bother with bringing retribution to their slimy green backs. It
would take more effort than it was worth, and he had better things to
think about. At that point he was more concerned with his wedding
vows, even though most of their beauty and charm would be wasted on
the empty skulls of the trolls and ogres in attendance. He knew that,
but he didn't care.

When it came time for the ceremony, he was finally ready. A cleric
named Kaltinerak, who had worked long and hard to break through the
facade of death and indifference that surround Trio, presided over the
rite. When it came time for Trio's vows, he spoke with the passion and
strength of one who strove for perfection in everything he had ever

"By nature, I am not a man of allegiances or alliances. I am
cold-blooded and remorseless, selling my services to the highest
bidder. I view alliances as generally unnecessary and weakening.
Because of this, there were some who questioned my ability to be an
excellent husband. Including me.

"But then I met ye. At the first, I was struck by yer physical beauty.
Those beautiful eyes, that long, flowing black hair, the full
figure... but a poor assassin would I be if I acted like a sunstruck
youth every time a pretty girl passed by! How many tavern wenches I've
seen in my life... so I easily could have looked past yer physical
beauty and gone on living, and killing, as I had been. But there was
something else, something that can never be ignored or killed, not
even by a dealer in death like myself. It was yer being, yer
personality, yer soul.

"We know of no light in the Underdark. Drow treachery, duergar mining,
and illithid slave trading are all accomplished in utter blackness.
Yet as I spent more time with ye, my beautiful Kas, slaying giants and
dragons, a light grew in the Underdark, reflected in my face and yers.
The cloak of darkness, of the Underdark and of my life, was lifted and
replaced by the light of yer laughter and yer eyes.

"We know of no fire in the Underdark. Yet as I spent more time with
ye, my beautiful Kas, visiting other planes of existence and being,
the flames of my passion were ignited and consumed me. The assassin in
me cried out as I felt the bonds that were being formed between and
around us, even as the man in me basked in the warmth of your company. Ye were by my side, binding my heart as ye bound my wounds.
Taking a ring of pure fire from an inky black pocket, he finished
"Finally am I able to break free of the indifference of the assassn,
to accept yer love and return it. So take now this ring of fire. It is
the embodiment of everything we yearn for and have become. It shall be
the beacon of my love for ye, a reminder of the passion which burns in
my soul, a reminder of all of these thoughts, words, and emotions
during the times I cannot be there to reinforce them myself. Never
shall its fire die, so long as my love burns for ye, lass."

The eloquentry of his vows shocked many of the assembled wellwishers.
More than one illithid uttered remarks such as, "That Doomdagger is a
queer sort. An excellent assassin, but queer nonetheless." The trolls,
of course, stood around scratching their heads, with puzzled looks on
their faces. Trio took it all in, but he cared not. As long as they
accorded him most of the respect as an assassin that he deserved, that
was all he needed them for. He did not need them to validate his
existence, or even to understand him. In fact, he did not want them to
understand him. Few did.

It was that mystique about him which had helped propel him through the
ranks of lesser assassins and into the notoriety of the entire
Underdark though. There was something odd, or interesting, or maybe
even amusing about an assassin who worked according to rules and had a
wife. For many, it was compelling beyond reason, the way a scandal
burrows it's way into the psyche of a group of people and compels them
to watch as it unfolds. Many of the high houses of the Underdark began
to whisper his name when the need arose to hire an assassin. As for
the rest of the populace, most were extremely wary of him and a few of
the more squeamish were outright terrified of him. He would
occassionally be seen in places, like talking to the proprietor of the
local supply shop or downing a tankard of ale at a local tavern, but
no one ever saw him coming or going. Even to those whose eyes were
accustomed to spotting a tiny spider at fifteen paces in complete
blackness, it was as if the Underdark had completely swallowed the
assassin up.

"Damned backstabber makes me jumpy," a drow innkeeper hissed in a very low voice one night. "Always flitting about, never know when he's

"Some say he's the child of a devil," a particularly sotted young
warrior slurred.

"Bah, that's pure drivel, Villarzin. I'll rot with Orcus if it isn't,"
the innkeeper shot back.

Villarzin lifted his tankard in a mock salute to the innkeeper. "See
you on the other side, then," he stammered.

The innkeeper frowned. "I tell you, he's no devil's progeny - but
mayhap a shadow he is, or maybe something even less substantial than

"I assure ye, innkeep, I am flesh and bone like the rest of ye."
Triozdinak had seemingly materialized right next to the flustered
innkeeper. "Now take me to my room." It took a moment for the
innkeeper to gather his wits about him (and as he did he angrily noted
that Villarzin had bolted at the sight of Trio without paying for any
of his drinks), but he eventually did and led Trio to a comfortable
room near the back of the inn.

When he settled himself down for the night, Trio mulled over the
innkeeper's words. He had never really thought of himself as a shadow,
but rather just someone who was exceptionally good at his job. The
concept of oblivion fascinated him though. Oblivion - the point where
things become forgotten or unknown. He had to agree with the innkeeper
that the Underdark was the closest physical manifestation to oblivion
on Faerun. To be sure, it had its wonders, but on the whole was just
miles of tunnels through tons of rock. The only manner of survival was
to travel in bands, or not to travel at all and instead spend one's
whole life in the relative safety of a city. Those who ventured out
into the tunnels alone never came back and were always quickly
forgotten. Yet that was the nature of assassination - alone, unkown
and forgotten. He continued to mull the concept over that night as he
drifted off to sleep.

Over the course of the next few weeks, with the words of the innkeeper
fully in his mind, he resolved to change the way he worked. He stopped
referring to himself by name. Instead, when he accepted contracts, he
said things like, "Tell your master that the Shadow of Oblivion
accepts." Those who insisted on calling him by his name were summarily
executed - he had no patience for their slow wit. As life in the
Underdark goes, it wasn't long before most who knew him had been
killed by the rigors of everyday life or had been murdered by his own
hand. Those who remembered his name who were still alive found it
easier to forget his name. Others wanted to forget his existence
entirely. So it was that before long, most people knew him simply as
the Shadow of Oblivion.

Triozdinak didn't just promulgate that name, however. He continued to
earn it through his actions. Most people never even saw him coming,
before two razor sharp daggers were driven home. Not only was he never
seen, but most people, out of fear of becoming the next target, simply
forgot who they suspected of the murder or how it even happened.
Everyone knew who it was, though, especially in Gloomhaven, where Trio
had either driven all the other assassins underground or forced them
to ply their trades in other locales. It was the Shadow of Oblivion.

A voice snapped his attention back to the present. "The Shadow of
Oblivion is flesh and bone after all!" mocked Trio's intended target,
marveling at the messy hole that his scimitar had made in Trio's face.
"You're getting slow, duergar. In fact, I don't think you were ever
that great or fast to begin with. No duergar could ever best a drow
assassin. Drow are the masters of stealth and cruelty, as you will
shortly see. It is time for you to finally fade away into nothing. I
will be the Shadow now."

Trio constantly kept his guard up, looking for an opening even as he
inspected the point of his blade that had grazed the arrogant drow
assassin. A few faint traces of drow blood were mixed with a thicker,
clear substance carefully spread over the point. "I don't think so,"
Trio murmured. "Yer nothing more than a club, someone else's
instrument, an instrument which will be consumed by flames. Do ye not
already feel yer temperature rising?"

A few beads of perspiration had beaded together on the drow's
forehead. He nervously eyed the area, not sure that the overrated
duergar didn't have some trick up his sleeve, that maybe he really was
the child of Orcus and that Orcus, displeased that his child should be
hurt, had come to teach this uppity drow a lesson. The alley was
empty, however. But even as the drow looked carefully around, he
started to sweat more profusely and began to visibly shake.

"What's that, no more arrogant words? Ah, how foolish of me. The
poison must already be affecting ye more than I thought. Impetuous
fool. Didn't ye ever listen to the words of yer master?
Self-preservation is the name of the game. Even I'm not so cocky as to
not have a back-up plan."

"I would have just done ye quick and clean," Trio remarked as the drow
sank to his knees and moaned in pain, "but ye cost me an eye. For
that, yer gonna have to suffer some." Fairly confident that the poison
was freely coursing through the drow's body, Trio walked up to him.
"An eye for an eye," he snarled as he slammed his dagger into the
drow's eye, "and an ear for proof." With a deft twist of his wrist, he
sent the drow's left ear flying through the air. The drow couldn't
scream. He could only gurgle and froth at the mouth as the poison
worked its final effects on him. Bending over to retrieve the ear,
Trio placed it in a bag even as he took out a curved mithril dagger
and placed it on the ground next to the drow. The weaponsmith made a
fortune off of this practice of Trio, but Trio was too proud of his
handiwork to even leave the remote possibility that someone else might
claim it.

Later that night, Trio wrapped the ear in a bit of paper and sent it
off to his client in her heavily guarded noble house in
Menzoberranzan. When she received it, she grinned in satisfaction. She
glanced once at the paper, grinned again, and called for a servant to
arrange for Trio's payment. Another servant who happened to be
attending to the woman stole a quick glance at the note when the
mistress wasn't looking. It read: "The Shadow of Oblivion thanks you
for your business."
Posts: 45
Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2003 6:01 am

Postby bimble » Sat Dec 04, 2004 1:13 am

Nice post. my first days here I never left Waterdeep and followed ppl around the walls and on ships but didnt really level up and get involved socially. I rerolled Grimenkhan and played a Duergar in the UD. Thats where I was hooked, Trio and Kaltinerak dragging the noobs around and showing them the ropes. Clan Doomshackle!


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