Tide Of Destiny by Slide



Chapter 21: …Comes around


The three who had been uninvolved in the robbery found the thieving trio relatively easy, as they were on the direct route to the Government District. Although ‘found’ is a slightly imprecise term, as they were discovered by Anomen tripping over Harrian’s prostrate body.

Jaheira had, for a brief moment, thought him dead, a notion that sent a bigger chill down her spine than she would have expected or admitted. But as Delryn sprawled a little, murmuring swear words no cleric should ever mutter, Corias let out a small groan.

The druid yanked him upright in seconds, ignoring the small moan he let out at the movement. “Harrian? By Silvanus, what happened?” she demanded, shaking him none-too-gently in an attempt to bring him to full consciousness.

“Our raven received quite a blow to the head,” a voice from further into the shadows declared, and they looked over to see Haer’Dalis leaning against the wall of one of the buildings on either side of the street. Yoshimo was starting to sit up, the bounty hunter’s expression less than happy.

“That is hardly the explanation, bard,” Anomen rebuked him harshly, having only just regained his balance. “How were you attacked? When? Why? By whom?” he queried, rattling off questions too fast for the recovering trio.

Corias paused, frowning a little. “We had the scroll,” he related slowly. “And ‘twas a right bugger to get the bloody thing, I’ll have you know,” he added, a little resentfully. He raised a hand to a cut on his temple as the blood streaming from it started to cut into his vision.

Jaheira removed his hand firmly and delicately touched the cut. She murmured a few words under her breath and the blue magical light that dictated a healing spell surrounded the injury. It was gone in seconds.

Harrian grinned brightly, wiping the remaining blood away with his sleeve. “My thanks,” he murmured softly, smiling at her.

Yoshimo gave them a brief look of indeterminate emotion, then decided to answer Anomen’s questions. “We had the scroll,” he related slowly, still gathering his wits about him. “And were returning to the Five Flagons when we were set upon by a group of dark-clothed people. They attacked us, then…” He looked over at Corias. “They took the scroll the moment you were knocked unconscious.”

Harrian grimaced. “They did? I can’t remember, everything just went black,” he admitted, struggling to his feet with Jaheira’s aid. “Bloody hell… does everyone have to put a damper on our plans? Who were these buggers, anyway?”

“I recognised their leader,” Yoshimo admitted quietly. “Though his name is unknown to me, he is regarded as one of the most dangerous ‘legal’ servants in Amn.” He smiled as Anomen bristled at the tone the bounty hunter used for the word ‘legal’. “He works for the Count Duchinov.”

“Duchinov? That man is nothing but a blackguard and a cheating, thieving liar!” Anomen declared with conviction. Everyone stared at him, and he shrugged. “My family have had some run-ins with him. He is not quite the greatest nobleman brigand in Athkatla, but he is one, and not a man to be trifled with indeed.”

“They never are, are they,” Haer’Dalis murmured. “This life of ours is beginning to read like a play – full of drama and unexpected twists, not all of them amusing,” he continued, brow furrowed a little.

“Thank you. That’s a helpful contribution,” Harrian declared shortly, clearly more than a little irritated at the whole situation. Jaheira could tell that, were the stakes in this situation not so high, he would be ready to turn his back on everything and condemn it to the abyss. “I don’t know about the rest of you, however, but I’m ready to go back to the Five Flagons and have a long, restful night if sleep before I worry how I’m going to cope with this little fireball that’s been dropped on my head!” he continued, raising his voice, clearly fit to crack.

“Harrian, calm down,” Anomen answered, a little dismissively. “This is something we shall handle. Duchinov is an influential man, but he has weak points, and he is most certainly one of the lesser enemies we have to face on our quest –“

“You mean he’s less powerful than a seemingly omnipotent mage, a whole legal organisation of wizards, a horde of the undead and an order of paladins?” Corias demanded, practically hopping with rage and frustration. “Oh, that makes him completely irrelevant, doesn’t it? Yes!” He stopped, and took a deep breath in an attempt to calm himself. “Now I am going to go and have a good, long rest. Do me a favour and see if you can spare me the trouble of thinking through this monstrosity of a situation?”

They all stared at each other as their leader glared at them, then turned on his heel and marched off, head held high, almost shaking with anger – not at them, but at the world in general and the situation in particular.

Jaheira frowned after his disappearing silhouette. “I shall talk to him,” she decided firmly, addressing the other bewildered four. “In the meantime, I highly recommend you do as he asked and find us a way to get the scroll back without placing pressure on him.”

Yoshimo and Anomen exchanged dubious glances in their first moment of any real camaraderie. Their expressions told volumes, and they didn’t need to throw the questioning glances at Jaheira they did.

The druid rolled her eyes at them and grimaced. “I do not care how or what you find, as long as it is substantial. Anomen, you have links to the society this Duchinov lives in. Yoshimo, you have links to his less-than legal activities. Talk to people, find things out. Find out something that shall help us.” Their expressions didn’t change. “Before Harrian loses his mind.”

“Aye, our raven seems to be standing perilously close to the edge of an abyss of insanity,” Haer’Dalis contributed helpfully, and with a tone of far too much cheer than was acceptable for the relatively morbid declaration he had made.

Jaheira glared at him. “Just… just do it,” she muttered, sagging with frustration as she turned and marched the same way as their leader, leaving the other four behind, a little bewildered and irritated.

They all stood for a moment, thinking. Then Yoshimo said: “So what do we do? We hardly have the links to get information on someone like Duchinov by ourselves, and the last of our money went towards paying Tellis.”

“Perhaps we could manipulate him into helping us? Seeing as we promised we’d pay him when we have the scroll, and we don’t have the scroll?” Anomen suggested uncharacteristically, Jaheira’s speech having left him a little flustered.

Minsc turned to face them. “All this talking is wasting precious butt-kicking time! Jaheira has said that Harrian needs our help and we will give it!” the mighty warrior declared happily, then set off down the road in the same direction as the druid.

“He talks sense, you know,” Haer’Dalis assured the other two, before smiling irritatingly at them and strolling speedily off after the giant so as to catch up with the ranger, leaving the other two even more bewildered than before.

“Unless we want the wrath of Jaheira brought down upon us, I highly recommend that we dedicate this night towards getting some answers,” Yoshimo said with a slight frown, but there was an air of amusement about him.

Anomen nodded. “The lady would doubtless not be happy if we returned before dawn,” he answered gloomily. It sounded as if this was task that would require talking to the Order at best and braving his father to talk to Moira at worst. “Let us commence.”