The Lance of Marduk

Entry Fourteen

A Tiefling's Story

Well that did not go to plan… like, not one bit. I lost it… why the hell do I ever try to do anything? Every time I try to fix something, every time I try to help; the damn thing blows up in my face and I’m the bad guy. Fuck that. While waiting for the Kenku, a different sort had come: a man by the name of Edgar Dent, the go between who supplies them with their contracts. He was very steadfast in the “rules”, if you could even call them that, on how the Kenku operate their little gig here in the city. But something came over me. This was a man who supplied these assassins with contracts. This was a man who out of the virtue of association was responsible for an unknown number of murders. This was a man who made his money in the blood of innocent lives. There are those who say that it was going to be done anyway. There are those who believe that those lives did not matter. But, I have had all that I have ever loved taken from me, I cannot sit around when innocent people lose their loved ones over wealth and revenge. We’ve killed Kobolds for far less.
I struck out against the bastard, pinning his hand to the table with one of my daggers. I couldn’t break my gaze at him. I knew he was never going to tell us where the Kenku were… I didn’t care, I wanted this man dead. I don’t care who he is personally, I don’t care if he is a “nice guy”, this man has profited OFF THE DEATHS OF THESE PEOPLE! This is different from someone who crafts a sword; a sword is only as dangerous as the person who wields it. This was a man who had blood on his hands and he couldn’t be punished for it… Now with the contracts I can prove his involvement in the deaths of several of Milo’s citizens. We can turn him over to the local authorities; he’ll spend the rest of his sorry life in prison, if they find him of course. The Kenku are dead… but justice has not been done… yet… or…. Will it ever… once again here I am… alone in my convictions… alone in this world… Lily… Lily…
My comrades and I eventually discovered that there was a basement to the tavern, but it was getting far too late. We all went to bed. Phalanx slept outside, Bjorn and Aryawwn had the master suite, but apparently Bjorn slept on the floor as Aryawwn and the pig had the bed. Aryawwn… she is growing more distant… but it’s fine (it’s not)… no it’s not… Trestin is fine, but I feel that he is not… I worry of how this will affect her… I don’t think she could lose him again. What should I do? If I go now, there will be trouble, but if I stay there will be double.
I was crying again last night. Here I am, trying to do some good, leave this world better than the way I found it, but no matter what I do my plans and hopes backfire. The curse which has stained my flesh will haunt me until my death, I am a monster… I have no way around that. A Tiefling, a race cursed for their betrayals long ago, forever to live in shame and hatred. We are hunted and abused for the sins of Bael Turath, pushed through the ages by the blood of the fiends. We are treated as monsters and the only way to survive is to become one. Lily… Lily, I love you, but all those years ago, I told you that we were not the monsters those boys said we were, I told you we were good at heart. I’m not. I’m weak. I’m scared. I’m alone. This curse is only broken in death. I see the way they stare; I hear the words they say. Everything we do as is judged far more harshly than most others. In order for these people not to consider us cruel, we have to be six times more just. In order not to be considered vile, we have to be six times as kind. In order not to be considered treacherous, we have to be six times as loyal. Lily, it’s hard; it’s neigh impossible to ever live up to such standards and thus so many of us fall. We are struck down so hard, at we feel we must strike back… but in the end it is are kind that are the monsters. In order to survive in society we have to take a hit and not strike back, but in order to survive this world we have to strike first… we lose either way…
I had my own room, well no, not really. Sydienne was there, in her bestial form. I felt really awkward when she climbed up on the bed. She isn’t a pet, she is my comrade. She’s not even a beast, but an elf (half-elf, but you get the point). As weird as it was and as worried the questions were in my head, I felt comfort with her there. Her fur was soft and her body was warm. She licked my face when she saw that I was crying. The uneasiness left my body… I was happy. I’m not alone in this world. I have my friends. Well, I have most of them…
In the morning my spirits were lifted, Sydienne came down the stairs with me, still in fox form. She has been in that state for more than twenty-four hours now. I wonder about her, why she feels more at home as a pet than a person. What happened to you my friend? Maybe she’s just that way, but I sense something dark in her past. She fits right in to our sorry lot; at least Phalanx can go back to his wife. If she does have a shadow in her past then she doesn’t outwardly show it. She is happy and that makes me happy. My father always told me to be happy, no matter what Hells the world can conjure, face them with a gleam in your heart, be strong for those who need it. Nothing else matters if you can bring a smile to someone’s face. I wonder if it is just a Tiefling thing to have flap-jack philosophies or if I’m actually and truly psychotic.
We all were ordering breakfast, mostly Ham as it was the cheapest. Bjorn was helping Aryawwn with her hangover. Phalanx and I were sat at another table, and the Barkeep must have thought I was out of my mind when I pulled up a chair for Syd as he only assumes that she was a mere pet.
The party was all back together now, and we had to find the birds. The other day I had discovered that the Tavern had a basement yet no determinable entryway to it. There was only one door we hadn’t checked, the backdoor. I distracted the barkeep as Sydienne wandered into the back, she came back with a ham and I asked her, “Whatcha’ got there girl?” but this was actually a clever disguise for “what did you see?” at least I hope it was, Sydienne understood and that is all that mattered. We headed back upstairs and hatched a plan to get through the bolted door she found on the otherside. The plan didn’t go as expected as Bjorn just knocked out the barkeep and Phalanx scared a man into the pantry. The party split up to search, the bolted door hiding only a storage room, Bjorn and Phalanx were waking the barkeep to learn where the basement entrance was, I stationed myself at the pantry and talked to the kid. I learned his name was Felix, he was about sixteen or seventeen and this was his first job. He was pretty much shitting his pants as he had no idea on what was going on; he didn’t even know there was a basement. Poor kid, I talked with him to calm him down, I told him about my first job, killing rats in Greymont. After we had learned that the Basement entrance was hidden beneath the storage room, I unlocked the pantry door and followed the party down.
Kenku, there were seven of them, and they weren’t alone. They had a Krenshar with them. Krenshar are a relic of the past. Now found only on distant continents, deep within primeval forests, or in the possession of carnivals and mercenary gangs. I’m not sure where they got this Krenshar. As Kenku they could have easily brought it with them from that lost world in the east. They seem to be some kind of kin to Cats and Hyena, collectively Feliformia. Their lost world quality matched well with the Kenku, making their presence both earthly, yet otherworldly. We killed them all, and I collected the contracts they had from their table. Bjorn went into some strange trance, at first I didn’t realize because he was looking straight at me and said, “Oh, my queen!” I was dumbfounded and in my infinity density said, “Thank You,” in a slightly concerned voice. Then it hit me, he was speaking with Death… well one of the aspects of Death, specifically the Judge: The Raven Queen. We could only hear his side of the conversation, so Phalanx and I decided to get busy. We dismantled the tables and chairs in the basement to make funeral pyres for the Kenku, they may have been no-good assassins, but everyone deserves a proper send out. Phalanx and I left the basement when it was all said and done. Drawing one of Haurvatat’s symbols in the dirt and kneeling before it a gave out a short prayer under my breath, “Healing hands, look after these people, both those unknown to me and those I love. Master of the Wind, light my way, though the sins of my past can never be erased, may my future be bright”. Aryawwn came out of the Tavern shortly after, and I could see it in her eyes… she knew he was alive… I don’t know what will become of her. Please by whatever grace or devil controls her fate, leave her be… do not torment her like this. She deserves none of this; she doesn’t deserve to be toyed with. I know we will get through whatever horror is in store and I’ll fight for my friends and these people till the end, but I fear that she will not make it all the way through, not in one piece. No matter what happens little one, I’m by your side…
~Khuda Hafiz (Gods Preserve You)
Phenex Bat-Laylah



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