Archive for January, 2013

With all his known leads either dead or worthless, Lucius felt lost. He lay on his bed in the inn, milling through the events of the past few days, searching for answers. He thought of Thane, the burly head guard at the palace. Could he know more than he let on to during Lucius’ capture? He thought of Earl Fraser, the man who had hired him. Could he have decided Lucius was a liability which needed to be disposed of?  Who was the man who left Sebastian’s Villa in so much haste?As Lucius began to doze off, hoping something might come to him in the night, he heard a click. Someone was at the door! Thinking fast, he rolled over, pretending to be fast asleep.

The door slowly opened, first only a crack, then wide enough to let a man slip in. A figure appeared in the doorway, black as night itself, and stood there for a moment before entering. It slid through the room, quiet as death, before stopping at the side of the bed Lucius was facing. It hovered for a moment before drawing a long, black, dagger from its robes, and raising it above its head, preparing to deliver a lethal blow…


Jesters Blade Chp. 4

The next morning, Lucius lounged upon his bed, debating where to start his search. He though of Earl Sebastian, Fraser’s opponent in the grain negotiations. Sebastian may have feared he was going to lose the trade deal, and in an act of desperation, ordered a hit on the king. Even if he hadn’t, Sebastian was a man with connections, who may have information on who did frame Lucius.

A day later, Lucius rode toward Sebastian’s villa, an opulent 4 floor mansion a few miles south of the capitol. As he neared the mansion, he saw a hooded figure, clad in charcoal grey, ride out of Sebastian’s estate, galloping full speed due north. Sensing danger, He pulled off the road, and hid in a nearby thicket of aspen trees. The hooded figure flew past, not even glancing in Lucius’ direction. After a few minutes had passed, Lucius returned to the road, and headed for the Villa

He slipped past the Villa’s outer guards without being seen, and approached the main entrance to the mansion. Instead of attempting passage through the heavily guarded main doors, Lucius chose to go directly to the Earl’s bedroom, on the third floor. He ran up the wall, grabbing a nearby window-sill, and began his ascent.  After climbing past various windows, arrow-slits, and balconies, he arrived at the bedroom balcony

, and saw light filtering through the curtains of a nearby glass door. He strode to the door, to find it unlocked. How foolish, he thought, for such a powerful man to feel so secure.

He slipped into the room unnoticed, and crept to the Earl’s bed, drawing a knife. He sprang up, putting the dagger at the Earl’s (who had been sleeping) throat, and using his free hand to cover his mouth. ” Earl Sebastian, how nice to see you” Lucius whispered into the Earl’s ear. “if you would be so kind, would you join me on the the balcony?”

Lucius shoved the now wide awake Earl through the door, pressing him against the balcony’s sculpted edge. “If you don’t want to become a cobblestone, you will tell me what i want to know!” Lucius said menacingly to the Earl, who replied, terror in his voice “Anything! what do you want to know?” “what do you know of the king’s assassination?” Lucius said, pushing a little harder on the aging noble. “The king’s assassination? some jester did it… Oh! and the spy I placed in his courts has been arrested for apparently trying to kill that Jester. Thats all I know! I swear!”

Lucius pulled him away from the Balcony, holding him up by the scruff of his nightgown “If you speak of this to anyone, you won’t survive the week” He threatened, before shoving him back into his room, and jumping off the balcony onto a waiting horse.

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The next morning, Lucius awoke in the small room he had acquired in a nondescript inn in the countryside. Donning the new clothes he had also acquired, he went downstairs into the inn’s smoky, dimly lit, main hall. walking up to the innkeeper, he asked for a small meal, a mug of ale, and for the innkeeper to keep the room vacant for him, while handing over a small pouch of coin. After eating, he left the inn, and mounted a nearby horse, returning to the Kingdom’s capital city.

An hour or two later, as he rode through the city’s gate he saw a poster with an crudely drawn image of himself with the words “WANTED! dead or alive! reward: 50,000 sovereigns” written under it. He shrugged it off, knowing the guards would eventually discover the fact that his cell was empty.

He stowed his horse in a nearby stable, and walked to the “Gilded Dragon”, one of the city’s more famous inns. As he strode through the doors, he saw an aged, particularly pudgy, wealthy man sitting at a table and strode over to him. “Earl Fraser” he said quietly, slipping into an empty chair.  The man looked up, shock and confusion on his face, then exclaimed “Lucius! wha… how did you… never mind. Not here, this place isn’t safe. Meet me in my room in an hour, and make sure you aren’t followed.”

Around an hour later, Lucius snuck up to the Earl’s room, on the dragon’s second floor. He slipped into the room, to find Fraser sitting in front of a small fireplace. Fraser saw him enter, and got up, walking to him. “Lucius! I counted you dead for sure!” he exclaimed. “They’ll have to try harder than that to get rid of me” Lucius said, smirking. “Indeed…” the Earl retorted. “What were you thinking!” The portly noble said angrily as he shut the door “you were only supposed to spy on the king, gather information to help me get those grain trade rights, not kill the man!” “I knew my duties. I didn’t kill the king. someone framed me.” Fraser leaned back in his chair, stroking his small, white beard. “I see… Well this changes everything! If it wasn’t you, then who did kill our beloved imbecile of a ruler? And why would they want to frame you? Do they know of your true background, or were you merely a victim who was in the wrong spot at the wrong time?” Lucius looked at Fraser, cold, hard, determination on his face, as he replied “I do not know, but I intend to find out.”

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An hour or two later, Lucius lay in his dark, dank, pit of a cell, eating Darkmyre’s terrible attempt at food. As he finished the “meat” he saved one of the narrower bones.

Within an hour, Lucius had managed to whittle the bone into a knife, and attempted to pick the lock on his cell door. At first, the lock stubbornly refused to co-operate, nearly breaking the makeshift pick, but after an hour or two of poking in the keyhole, Lucius heard a small click. He pushed on the door, which without the lock restraining it, swung open freely. Without the door to blockade him, the only thing between Lucius, Son of Graf, and freedom were four hundred guards and the second thickest gates in the entire kingdom.

The young Guard stood at his post at the cell block door, fighting against the growing urge to doze off for a few hours. As he was about to lose the battle, he was suddenly roused awake by an odd noise on the wall. He turned to see what the noise was, and after peering over the edge for a minute, decided it was the wind. He turned back to his post, to find himself face to face with a mysterious man in hooded robes. “G’nite boy!” the man said, before slugging the guard in the gut, and following up with an elbow to his head

After gaining a set of keys off the unconscious Guard, the man raced down the cell block, looking for the cell of Lucius, son of Graf.

As he came to the row of cells which contained Lucius he halted, checking for guards. Seeing none, he drew a small, dark, dagger out of his robes, preparing to deal a killing blow. He sprinted down the hallway, throwing his knife into Lucius’ cell as he ran, hitting Lucius’ cot squarely in the pillow.

Instead of hearing the dying scream he expected, the man heard only a dull thud. As first shock, then worry, then fear raced through his heart, he grabbed a torch off the wall and thrust it through the cell’s bars, illuminating the dank room. He found nothing.

As Lucius slowly slid down the wall on his newly acquired rope (courtesy of the Darkmyre store room) he saw a light shining out of his cell. Realizing either his escape had been discovered, or far worse had happened, he hastened his descent, rappelling down the wall as fast as he safely could.

The man ran to the cell window, and saw Lucius descending toward Darkmyre’s courtyard. He grabbed his knife and began working on the rope that Lucius was suspended by, hacking wildly, out of desperation.

As Lucius was nearing the bottom of the wall, he felt his rope jerk, then snap, falling down toward him. He began to freefall straight toward Darkmyre’s stone courtyard, just barely grabbing a drain protruding from the wall. Now hanging just a few feet above the ground, he dropped into the cover of a nearby bush.

The man mumbled something under his breath as Lucius touched the ground, then raced off, hoping to catch him before he escaped the prison entirely.

Lucius looked around for some means of escape when he heard a nearby door slam. He whipped around, to see a prison cart begin to pull away from one of Darkmyre’s towers. He raced after it, barely managing to grab a hold on the back of the cart, and passed right through Darkmyre’s 40 meter thick gates completely un-noticed.

The Man burst through a door at the bottom of the tower, and raced out of the gate before it slammed shut. He looked down the road and saw a cart tearing along into the night, with a poorly dressed, haggard man hanging on behind. He strode away, wondering where he might “meet” that man next.

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As the king listened to the Earl’s proposition, which happened to be (as far as he could tell) about some grain shortage in one of the provinces, and another who could supply them, but refused to trade, or some such nonsense, he turned his attention to the court jester, a much more intriguing man. Having arrived only a fortnight before, the jester was the newest member of the king’s court, as well as one of the more popular. The jester, whose name was Lucius, was juggling some brightly colored balls in a figure eight pattern, while wearing a goofy grin. As entertaining as Lucius was, the king forced himself to listen to the pointless squabbles of the two nobles. As they quarreled on, he began to doze off, hoping they would simply be gone when he awoke. He had begun to dream of his villa high in the mountains, and his loving wife and four children, when suddenly he felt an excruciating pain in his side

The entire throne room went silent as the king slumped over, a dagger stuck in his side. As a guard ran out of the room, the color drained from the face of the Earl who had been arguing for more grain, while his adversary simply stared in shock at the murdered ruler. Within two minutes, the doors to the throne room burst open and every royal guard in the Castle poured through, surrounding the nobles, merchants, and performers, leaving no route for escape.

The head of the royal guard, a tall, burly, man by the name of Thane, strode up to the body of the king, ripping the small, gilded dagger from his side. He then ordered two of the guards to search all the court member’s belongings, as well as those of the various servants and entertainers. When one of the guards reached Lucius’ pack, he pulled out a small, decorated box and opened it to examine the contents. Inside the box lay five small, gilded daggers, exact duplicates of the one in the king’s side.

Thane strode over to Lucius, grabbed him by the scruff of his shirt, and pulled him up to eye level. “Lucius, son of Graf. You are hereby charged with high treason and murder of our beloved King Edric” He stated. “You are sentenced to be thrown in Darkmyre Dungeon until a new ruler is coronated, at which time a proper trial will be held”. “But… but.. Sire, I have done nothing wrong!” Lucius exclaimed. “Nothing? Are these not your knives?” Thane asked calmly, pulling out Lucius’ box “Yes sir. They are.” Thane then held up the dagger that killed the king “And is this dagger the same as those in your box?”  Lucius looked thoughtful “Yes sire, but I only own five of those knives” Thane suddenly became enraged, throwing the blood stained knife on the floor “LIES!” he bellowed “Guards! Take this traitor to his new home!” With that, two of the stronger guards under thane’s command grabbed Lucius and dragged him out of the throne room.


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