The dean called from atop his high chair.
The drow crossed the wood planks of the deck to the turtledeck. There sitting like an monkey was Dean Flynn Dusk-Blade. Leader of their thieves charter, the halfling whom Uruzan calls “boss.”
He bowed low to him, knowing this would please the little bastard, his feet dangling 4 feet of the ground.
“Jadis and I were greatly displeased with your performance during the attack, however…” he paused picking something out of his teeth as if Uruzan just a bit of rotting meat in the little snakes jaws. “The attack was successful in planting our spies. Despite your incompetence my plan remains idiot-proof. Abyzou is already supplying us with information from our spies as we speak.”
Uruzan fought the urge to spit. The whole plan had been his from the start. He had explained he and the men would never make it back alive. Flynn took his plan and played with it and the lives of the League like a wooden toy. They should never have risked the lives of so many initiates. Only full members could come back, and he told him this. It burned him that this little monster was his boss and not himself. He swore he would kill him and piss in the little bastard’s skull someday.
“I am deeply sorry, your honor-”
“I’ve always hated that term. Your honor. We are thieves after all. Isn’t that what they say about us? No honor among thieves? No. You will address me as Master Flynn now. We are a long way from the Head Branch. Here on this continent I am League Master.”
Uruzan saw an opening, he tried to hold himself back but he couldn’t take this brat’s prattling anymore. “Are you certain about that? You wouldn’t want the The Left Hand of Darkness to hear about this.”
The halfing’s rage was so much his chair began to teeter, “My brother is thousands of miles away
from here. I was made dean of this branch and I am your Master here.”
Uruzan could feel the halfling’s spittle from here. He’d struck a blow. Now wary eyes of every league branch-member and initiate stared at the quivering halfling in disgust. That is when the bitch standing next to him finally spoke.
She put her pale hand on Flynn’s shoulder, righting him steadying him. She then pointed at the drow accusingly.
“Naive. You speak with a poisoned tongue to breed dissent against the Right-Hand instead of take it, rightly by the blade.”
Her blood red lips curled with the victory she and Uruzan knew was coming. “What irony that you can’t even keep your own blade, Uruzan. You should be Un-made for your foolishness and failure.”
Uruzan knew where this was going, and he didn’t like it. If he had any hope of replacing that imp he would have to play her game as well. “Very well. If I am unmade in the site of the Matron and the Right-Hand, then I volunteer to re-make myself. What would you have me do… Master Flynn.”
Flynn smiled coyly. He felt comfortable in his strength now. Uruzan was not at his mercy.
“Take a platoon of your best men, and explore the tunnels. Our copy of Mendoza’s Journal accounts for some sort of underwater city. Take a platoon with you and look around see what you can find. I’m sure there must be something we can use against the colony there. We may also need to assess any danger there.”
The halfling’s smile seemed to slice his head in half. Uruzan dreamed of doing it too.
Uruzan and 18 others wind their way through a labyrinth of tunnels. A sordid host of killers and freaks were in his party: Three were-rats and their pack of half a dozen dire rats; Rasputin, one of the coldest blooded killers in the league; Gurney, a dwarven archer, someone who shared Uruzan’s hatred of the halfling; 3 made scouts accompanied them; lastly nine neophytes.
At last they found an opening. A cave behind a water fall. When they stepped out of it they saw the expanse of a great city. In the center above canals was a floating crystalline tower. They forged ahead to try and approach it, but found no way in.
One of the scouts called from a perch atop the ruins of a broken down building. “Middle-Man!” the scout called to Uruzan, “Across the canal, there’s a tower high enough to get a better look at the crystal. Should we go investigate it?”
“Yes, but cautiously men.”
They made their way across a bridge span, towards the tower. Slinking from street to street. When they reached the tower, they examined the door carefully, all the way eyes peering in every direction, expecting something, and nothing. The neophytes looked over the door. It was then that Uruzan noticed too late, the draconic markings on the door. When the neophytes finally pulled the door open they were struck by powerful blast of energy that instantly killed two of them and bloodied several others.
“We have to get out of here.” Uruzan commanded.
“What are you talking about?” Rasputin said coldly as he pushed the rubble aside.
“We just disturbed a dragon’s lair, we have to run now before…”
The rest of his words were drowned out by the fierce roar of a dragon. The neophytes began to scatter. Uruzan was unfazed, but began pushing the troupe of thieves to flee to cover.
Rasputin scoffed, drawing his daggers. He screamed up at the heavens defying the dragon to face him. That was when they at last saw the dragon. It’s blue scales black, silhouetted against the distorted watery sky. He screamed down firing a blast of lightning at the band of thieves.
One wererat and three of his dire-rats were instantly vaporized.
Rasputin began to climb the tower. He had no fear, nor sense. A flaw that comes with the league’s power of resurrection. Uruzan held his ground, but maintained his cover. Gurney joined him.
“How much you willin’ to bet the halfling will pin the dragon as your fault.” the dwarf muttered.
“This is my fault gurney. I should have seen the dragon’s wards.”
The dragon swooped down, a streak of blue and lightning charring the street, and one of the scouts.
They fired arrows up at the beast as he swooped several more times trying to pinpoint them, waiting for his breath to recharge. Uruzan even struck the dragon with one of his curses. The dragon simply shrugged it off. Uruzan could not tell how old or powerful the beast was, but he knew it was cautious. It never gave them an advantage to fight him hand to hand.
Finally Rasputin reached a height he could reach the dragon. He made his leap, clinging to the back of the beast. Daggar in one hand, the other in his mouth. He managed stab the creature on it’s right shoulder, but with a single lash of his tale Rasputin was flung from the dragon and landed crashing into the canal. Dead on impact.
“Retreat!” Uruzan cried.
Those that remained began moving quickly to the east, trying to leave the dragon’s territory.
The dragon swooped down carrying off a second scout. This one he rammed him head first into a stone archway. As the dragon came around again, Uruzan threw up a veil of darkness to hide himself and a handful of his men. The dragon began picking off those remaining he could see. Three neophytes tried to fight him, but he quickly tore them to shreds. One last scout continued to run across the span, turning every few seconds to fire his crossbow.
The dragon flew passed him hurling a boulder at him which crushed his spine. The dragon began to fly around looking for any others. The dragon’s pattern changed, and he veered off to investigate something.
“Now’s our chance.”
Uruzan led the remaining thieves back across the bridge. When they came upon the scout, they found him still barely alive. Paralyzed. Uruzan grabbed a rock and bashed in the man’s head. Unsubtle but an effective mercy. Keeping their breakneck pace they made it through the tunnels back to their last encampment. Exhausted they collapsed. They lit a fire and settled in.
“We were lucky.” Uruzan said, “something distracted him.”
“What do you suppose it was?” Gurney asked.
“I’m betting we weren’t the only one’s down their today. I think there must have been some adventurers from the colony.”
“Do you suppose they saw us too?”
“Uruzan!” one the wererat’s called, “I see a light. Somebody is coming.”
“Quickly everyone, take positions. We will ambush them.”
They took positions. Uruzan, crouched behind a stalagmite, saw a beardless dwarf step out of the tunnel.
“Who goes there!” the were-rats called.
I know that face. Uruzan thought. And an anger began to boil inside him. Thoughts of his precious dagger, and being able to take it from the elf’s cold dead hands consumed him. But more than that, the thought of ramming it into the chest of that leering little joker, and that red-headed bitch excited him.
Now was his time.