3: Sonata Feb 19, 2015 10:02:20 GMT -5
Post by vladtaltos on Feb 19, 2015 10:02:20 GMT -5
Bound for Corsica, ship and storm met less than an hour after setting sail, and for the past two hours you, Black Dahlia, have been tossed amidst the angry waves of the Ligurian Sea. You are waiting out the storm below decks with your colleague, a fellow guildsman of the Azzuri named Gyp, so-called for his propensity to cheat at games of chance, and profit from it. He’s a stocky, mean-eyed fellow with a quick trigger finger on his crossbow, and an eager short sword at his side.
Dog is here, too, in this small cabin, sitting on his haunches, watching you closely. Matching the storm that’s taking place above you is the storm that’s taking place within you. You’re not seasick, but perhaps you wish you were. Anything would be better than what you’ve endured this past week.
A contract on the life of Jean le Rond d’Iderot takes you to Bastia, Corsica. A mathematician and philosopher, he has gained renown for his theories and published works. A rival of d’Iderot’s living near Florence came to the Azzuri claiming his work had been stolen by the Corsican while the two worked together at the University of Genoa. At first the bosses declined, wanting nothing to do with the job, but gold talks, and when a price of a thousand gold was offered the decision was reversed.
For the transgression of intellectual theft it has been decided d’Iderot must pay the ultimate price. The Azzuri bosses have determined this contract is “exceedingly dangerous” and for that reason, two of you have been dispatched to conduct guild business.
But right now, the contract is less-than-important to you. A week of disturbing dream-images have intruded on your sleep, frightening scenes of violence and murder. Your murder. So profound are the scenes they’ve made you physically ill.
It is the shapeshifting psychopath you slew in Ciminian Forest that appears to you as you near sleep, when the mind is drowsy and sluggish and more susceptible to trespasses. His message is always the same. He vows to destroy you in ways far more grisly and heinous than his prior victims.
“How is she?” Looking up you see the grizzled, weather-worn face of the captain of Neptune’s Trident, the ship on which you’re sailing.
“Hell, she’ll be awright, just give ‘er some room,” Gyp answers. The normally murderous eyes of Gyp carry a flicker of concern. You can detect it; it’s there somewhere. “Let ‘er breathe.”
The captain and ship’s doctor leave. The captain to more pressing concerns of getting his ship through the storm. The doc lingers, but a dark glare from Gyp is enough to make any law biding man turn on his heels and depart.
When you’re left with your colleague, he says, “Listen ‘ere, Dahlia. You gotta snap out of whatever it is you got, see? We got tough work ahead. Killin’ this fella ain’t gonna be easy. They say he’s got magics working in those bleedin’ equations of his. I’ve never heard anythin’ like it. And his bodyguards, too, they’re somethin’ I’ve never bloody heard of. What’re they called, Balachs?”
Balachs are, indeed, his rumored protectors. Shadowy things summoned from other dimensions, they never return to their hellish domain until their task is completed.