The Cobra's Fang

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alendar
Sojourner
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The Cobra's Fang

Postby alendar » Sat Sep 06, 2008 4:33 pm

Fang of the Cobra

At the age of twelve, Mexlo’s mother was killed. Mexlo and her siblings (2 brothers, 4 sisters) were taken into custody of the priests of Oghma for their best interest. Mexlo told her oldest sister, Amberana to watch after the others and keep them together, she would return for them.
The nights in Calimport were cold, especially for a homeless, penniless twelve year old girl. Mexlo was used to it, her family had been poor. They lived in the alleyways in the warrens of Calimport with the rats and thieves. She had been stealing food, well since she was five or so. It didn’t take long for the rumors regarding her mother’s death to reach her young ears. The most predominate was that she was killed by another prostitute for working her territory. The most outlandish was that she was killed by the Sultan of Calimport himself, for over charging for her love. The young girl listened to every rumor and remembered them all. Her mother may have been a whore, but she was a loving woman to her kids and had no other means of support. As she walked back to her alley she found a dagger lying in the mud. She knew it would become useful one day, even if she had to sell it for food. As she approached the storm drain she had been sleeping she saw two females arguing. Being nosy, Mexlo snuck up and eavesdropped on their conversation.
“You’d better leave, this is my territory!,” the taller one shouted.
“You don’t own the street,” the other yelled back.
“I’ll kill you like I did the last whore to cross me,” the taller one screamed as she charged the other woman.
Could this be, Mexlo had found her mother’s killer? Fate brought her both her mother’s killer and a dagger for revenge. She watched the two for hours, finally the killer was alone. Mexlo slowly and calmly walked up to her.
“What you want?”, the killer sneered.
“This”, Mexlo said calmly as she thrust the dagger toward the killers face. The dagger entered just under her chin and found its home in the killer’s brain. Without a sound, the killer and the dagger both lay at Mexlo’s feet.
In Calimport, no one cares about the death of a prostitute, well no one that matters. Nothing was ever done about the dead whore found with a dagger in her brain.
A few weeks later, Mexlo was in the bazaar trying to “acquire” supper, and she was started by a noise behind her. “Psst, Kid”, a young handsome man whispered.
“What”, Mexlo answered, shyly.
“I saw what you did”, the man said. Mexlo turned toward him. She didn’t know whether to run or fight, which is just as well because her brain and other limbs weren’t communicating to one another at that time.
“Calm down. Your secret is safe with me. I just wanted to say I thinks you got talent. How many have you killed so far?”, the man ask.
“What do you mean how many”, Mexlo surprised herself by saying.
“Yeah, I mean that kind of skill doesn’t just happen. You have to have done that loads of times.”, the man pushed farther.
“That was the first and last!” she trembled.
“Well kid, if you ever change your mind, look me up. I gots friends that could turn your “little talent” into a very rich, by rich I mean profitable career.”, the man said turning to leave with a smile on his face as if he would see her again, soon.

Mexlo decided if the stranger had seen her crime. It was possible that more witnesses existed. She began the search for her sibling that day. It seems information in Calimport is easy to come by for the right amount of money. Which sadly, Mexlo had none. Convincing herself it was for the good of finding her family, she approached the handsome stranger.
“I knew you’d be back Kid,”, the man grinned,” My name is Aziz bin Azeh and you can call me Az (no relation).” “Heres the deal, I’ll talk to my friends and get you in, you’ll give me 10% of what ever they give you. I’ll look out of you and help ya hone your skills.”, “Deal?”
“Well just so you know this is temporary, until I can get enough money to find my family”, she answered.
With a nod, Az left.
A few days later, Az tapped her on the shoulder, scaring the hell out of her. “Come on Kid, we gots work”. They walked for what seemed like hours through the busy bazaar. Az stopped in front of a fruit stand. “You see the fat merchant wearing the white robe and blue turban over in that tent” pointing with his head. Mexlo nodded. “Ya see he has upset some of my friends, and well that aint smart nor healthy. Tonight he is gonna have an accident. It seems he is gonna fall on top of this dagger several hundred times, ya get me?” He then handed her a razor sharp dagger in a jeweled case. The dagger was shaped like a cobra. Az said “oh, and make sure you leave the case and dagger where everyone can see it.”
The first kill, well second kill is always the worst. Following the man to his residence wasn’t hard for a dirty poor twelve year old street urchin. She looked just like everyone else in this part of Calimport. Sneaking into his house wasn’t hard either, for he could not afford mercenaries to guard his house. The look on his face as the dagger entered his chest would haunt Mexlo for years. The dagger pierced both lungs and he never made a sound. As she would later tell Az, “He looked like a fish gasping for air on the dock”. She left the case on the dresser near his bed, the dagger in his chest. She calmly strolled out of the house and went to find Az.
“Hey kid” a voice from the darkness surprised her. “You done already?” She promptly as if commanded threw up on his boots. “HeHe, is that a yes?” he mocked. Handing her a rag, he said “come on I gots some people for you to meet.”
They traveled to a part of town, she had never been. Path of the Cobra was what AZ called it. Through several alleys and into a sewer grate, AZ led her. They climbed a ladder and were greeted by a huge monster (a hydra from what az latter told her). “Its ok kid, he is with us”, Az stated, “Its okay Fluffy, she is expected”.
“FLUFFY? FLUFFY?, you call that fluffy?” she squeaked.
“Yeah, his real name is too damn hard to pronounce”, Az smiled ear to ear.
The hatch opened up into a plush carpeted room with several exits, after hearing the hatch shut she looked and couldn’t even make out the outline of the hatch.
“Fellas, this is the kid I was telling ya about”, Az introduced her to the room.
A man, wearing black leather, sitting in an overstuffed ugly green chair adjusted himself upright. “I assume its done Az,” the man said almost bored.
“Yep, she took him in the bedroom, stabbed him in the lungs and dropped him without a sound.”, Az smiled (he seemed to smile an awful lot from what I remember).
“How did you know that”, Mexlo interrupted instantly feeling as if she should have kept her mouth shut.
“I was there, in a few years you’ll be able to spot things like that”, Az smirked.
“ I told you it was only temporary”, she said under her breath. Movement got her attention, something was flying at her. She ducked and caught a leather bag, which had apparently been tossed at her. It jingled and was full of coins, many silver and several gold. Az cleared his throat, and calmly picked out the gold coins.
A few hours later, she with the bought information was on her way north to the city of Baldar’s Gate. Once in Baldar’s Gate, she found another informant and got the whereabouts of the orphanage her siblings were taking. Once again, Mexlo was flat broke. She traveled to the only place in Baldar’s Gate she knew, the orphanage. She staked it out for sever days, not seeing any of her brothers or sisters. On the third night, she risked sneaking in, to find most of the children sleep on the floor in the common area. Lantern light leaked from under a closed door to the north. Quietly and without disturbing the children she looked at each one of them, not finding her siblings. She awoke one of the older looking children, with her hand over his mouth. “Don’t scream, Don’t speak, just nod or shake your head”, “Where are amberana, sasha, samela, aquila, nomana, and rebur?” The boy shook his head. “Do you know them”, he again shook his head. “How long have you been here?” Mexlo said slowly moving her hand from his mouth. “One month” the boy answered in a whisper. “This is only a dream, forget you have seen me”, Mexlo whispered as she disappeared into the night.
“Gone! Their all gone!”, she sobbed, trying to think of her next move. Information is never free, and without coins in her purse, it would never be hers. “Well,” she thought, “there is only one option”. She started stalking a sailor near the docks gathering information on ships headed to her homeland, Calimport. She stowed away on a ship called The Barracuda. Several days later, she was back in familiar Calimport and searching for Az.
Over the next few months, Mexlo’s life was pretty much the same. Az would approach her, give her a name and a goal. Sometimes the goal was an item, other times she was handed a dagger and she knew the goal. She didn’t mind stealing items from people. She didn’t care for collections of moneys owed to the guild. She didn’t much think about the nights in which she received the daggers. “For Family”, she would continuously think whenever Az approached her. Az was true to his word, he trained her while they weren’t working. She learned fast, she was stunned at all the things that she missed over the years. She now saw cutpurses measuring up their marks, Az was never able to sneak up or surprise her, she was not even able to sneak up on Az and play practical jokes on him (she once loosened his belt and he lost his pants in the middle of the bazaar.
Finally the day came when she had enough coins to buy the information she wanted. But, she had also learned that there were other ways to collect information. In the back of a seedy tavern in Baldar’s Gate, she learned the caretaker of the local orphanage had sold two children into slavery over a gambling debt. She also learned that all adoption records were kept in his locked office. She knew she had only one person to talk to about hr siblings.
She approached the orphanage just after dark. No guards patrolled the grounds (it was an orphanage for god’s sake). Just after midnight, a rider left through the front gate, by his size and description, Mexlo determined it was most likely the caretaker leaving for a night of cards and whores. She slowly and carefully entered the main building and found the office of Ortha Slythram, caretaker. The door was locked, but had not been trapped. She quickly picked the lock and entered the dark office, shutting the door without a sound. She searched the office, finding a filing cabinet and little else. The filing cabinet contained the records she needed and a few gems (probably for emergency funds). She left the office mostly untouched and locked the door behind her. She rented a room at the local inn, and began to read the files. It seemed the records were fairly up to date. The twins (sasha & samala) were adopted by a local farmer. Amberana was adopted by someone named Archmal of a village or town called BrynShar. Rebur, the youngest, was adopted by a Baron Marlmas De’ Keynes. There were no records of the other two children (aquila & nomana) ever been at the orphanage.
The next morning, Mexlo gathered information about the local farmer that adopted the twins. He owned a farm just north of Baldar’s Gate. She approached the farmer just after midday and he confirmed he did adopt the twins. He told her the twins were in the eastern fields working and she should stay for lunch, so she could meet them. As she waited, she noticed that although the farm house wasn’t a palace, it was very nice. The wife of the farmer was a very good hostess and very pleasant. Mexlo approached the farmer as he was about to ring the lunch bell and stopped him. “I have one question for you”, she peered at him with a clear, calm voice,” are the twins happy here”. The farmer nodded and said “as far as I know, they are hard workers and we treat them like they were our own.”. With tears welling in her eyes, Mexlo gave the farmer a bag of coins, probably more coins than the man would ever earn in a lifetime. ‘Thank you for caring for my brother and sister. Please be kind to them. Don’t take this as a threat but as a promise, if you ever cause them harm, I will be back and I will kill everyone you know”. With that she turned and left. The farmer never told the twins he had met their sister, nor did he tell anyone when he saw her checking up on them from a distance.
There was no sense in traveling to the far north to check up on Amberana, when she needed to find out about Aquila and Nomana. In a darken alley outside a seedy pub in the southern part of Baldar’s Gate, Orgtha Slytharm was found dead, his coin purse left untouched and a serpent shaped dagger protruding out of his chest. “Excuse me sire”, the young girl said. “What is it urchin”, the drunken man slurred. “I was wondering where my sisters might be, Aquila and Nomara?” the young girl asked. “What”, the drunken man said sobering up immediately. “I don’t know what you’re talking about”. “I think ya do. Give me their location and I shall kill you quickly. Otherwise, I shall leave you and tell everyone how you sold orphans under your care to cover your gambling debts”, the girl growled. “You kill me? Ha! Child I will beat you until you change gods!” the man cackled. Lightning quick, a dart sprung from the urchin’s hand finding a home in the man’s neck. He looked puzzled for a moment before falling to the ground.
“The paralyzing venom on the dart is taking affect”, she mused. “Now you were saying? By the time the venom wears off, I’ll have your skin flayed off, now you can do this the hard way or ….. well there is only the hard way.” Hour after hour, in a deserted warehouse, she poked and prodded the man. She even spent a 1000 platinum pieces on a cleric that could and would keep his mouth shut. Finally, Orghta told her the name of the man he sold her sisters, Janlar Stormseed. She thanked him and smiled. He returned the smile thinking she was finished with him. His smile faded as the dagger pierced his heart. She tossed him on her horse and carried his body back to the seedy tavern. She arranged him so he could be found, just not very quickly. She went back to the inn for a good nights sleep.
It took a week to find out where Janlar lived. It was only a few weeks and 4000 platinum coins later when she returned to the farm where her sisters lived. She had paid the debt of Orgtha and gotten the girls back, all the time disguised as a human merchant. The girls only knew they had been purchased and were going to a farm to work. The farmer agreed to raise the other girls as his own. Aquila, Nomana, Sasha, and Samala were reunited. The farmer told his wife only that he had saved the girls from a life as pleasure slaves, knowing she wouldn’t question his decision. The first package of gold coins arrived a few weeks later, and continued to arrive well into the children’s adulthood.
The journey to Bryn (as she had been told it was called) was long. The weather was hideous. It was cold even in the summer. It was like the cold desert night, except with snow. She got directions from travelers and villagers along the way. She arrived at the south gates just before midday and was greeted by armed guards. Spreading a little cash around at the open air market, she got the directions to the dress shop of Archmal. She rented a room as a base of operations and headed out to buy a dress.
Archmal’s was not very busy and judging by the prices didn’t need to be, Mexlo mused that only lord’s and ladies of great wealth shopped here and she stood out like a giant in a Halfling village. She approached the elderly man seated at the counter “yes, may I help you?” the man croaked, “your not one of my regulars, but that matters not. Size 3, black off the shoulders, room for 1 no 2 dagger sheaths, and a hidden pocket behind the back waist,” he said without waiting for her to speak. “Excuse me”, Mexlo said stunned. “Oh my apologies,” the man looked up from his notes, “I just thought you needed something formal for a job”. “I’m not here on business, I’m here to speak with you about Amberana, the girl you adopted in Baldar’s Gate”, she said with the forced politeness required not to offend but to insure they knew it was forced.
The man began to weep. Not tears of fear, for Mexlo knew the difference, but tears of loss. “Excuse me, I’m sorry, but it is still fresh. Amberana died last winter. The fever took her from me. She was a wonderful child and the clerics could do nothing for her. She passed quickly unlike many who get the “fever”, he paused trying to hold back the tears. “She was your sister was she not”, the man said, “I see her in your face and eyes”. “You have my condolences. She spoke of her other family in the orphanage and hoped one day to free them.”
“You have my condolences also, and not that it matters the others were freed save Rebur, the youngest. He will soon be rescued.” She said hiding the emotion. She turned and went back to the inn, to mourn her sister.
As she was finishing the last of her pint of some thick ale, a familiar voice parted the crowd, “Hey kid!”, Az beamed. He was far to happy for it to be so late and the room spinning so… “Az” she smiled looking up to meet his gaze, except the only thing she met was the table as she passed out. When she woke, she slowly realized she was back in her room, which luckily wasn’t spinning as back as the common room. She also realized she wasn’t alone. Rolling quickly out of bed, she found her daggers lying on top of a pile of clothes (hers). The dark figure seated with his back against the door didn’t move. As her eyes adjusted, she now saw the figure was none other than Az and he was asleep with his back to the door to prevent it from opening without his knowledge. She dressed quietly and left through the window. She ordered breakfast and tried to nurse her hangover, without much luck. A few hours later, Az joined her. “Window?” Az asked smiling. “yeah and quit shouting”, Mexlo grimaced. “What brings ya to Bryn” Az continued to shout. “I’d rather not say” Mexlo again groaned. “Your not working are ya? “ Az said looking around. “Nope. Are you?” she replied sipping her mead. “Kind of, but not really. I’m fetching supplies for the guild”, Az answered. After finishing their breakfast, they left the inn and said there goodbyes and parted company.
Mexlo headed back to Waterdeep. The journey was just as long and boring as it was early in the month. She hitched a ride on a ship to Baldar’s Gate and started the quest to find the keep of Baron De’ Keynes. After a mug of ale, a hearty meal, a dwarven cleric gave her a detailed map to the baron’s keep and a sketchy outline of the floor plan. Four days later, she jimmed the lock to the main door of the keep and snuck in. Dust had clamed most of the keep as its own. Following the foot prints in the dust, she arrived in the tower. The smell of death and decay was awesome. It seemed the Baron and his four servants had been killed. Upon closer inspection, she noticed that three of the servants were undead before becoming redead. Bone cages lined the walls, but they were empty. She searched the keep from top to bottom and found no trace of her youngest brother, Rebur.
Over the next decade, Mexlo searched the realms for Rebur. When she ran out of coins, she would head back to Calimport and the Cobras. She earned a spot as the most feared assassin in the Cobra’s membership. Over 100 assassinations and 500 plus other jobs, she was given the title of the Cobra’s Fang. She still searches for her brother. The payments to the farmer near Baldar’s Gate have never been late.
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Alendar -= The Black Ash of the Phoenix =-
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