The sun was setting in the city of Vendar
. The wind from the Nentir Vale
to the north east was biting. Raiza
sat completely still atop the Tower of Shadows, his mentor Taesan Dragoneater
stood across from him. Both were standing atop slender spires that ascended into the clouds some twenty feet over the top of the tower.. The slightest sign of fear or a false movement would have led to a dire fall. After a few hours of this, the two masters of balance and control headed off. With this, Raiza’ training was complete. He was ready for his first sortie.
The Guild of Shadows studied the arts of espionage and information-gathering from the teaching of Andruxil
, a mysterious woman who fought alongside King Kelvin the First
when he was but a provincial lord in the battles that freed Vendar and Nentir Vale from the vile creatures that ruled over them. It was now the mission of the Guild to seek out and then remove problematic individuals like cult leaders, rabble-risers, and crime lords with their skillful arts. Taesan was given the order to find such a man named Kalarel, a known priest of Orcus, and kill him before he became a problem for one of the small towns in the Nentir Vale. Raiza accompanied his mentor.
They tracked the priest to a small town known as Stasi just south of the Barrier Mountains. When they finally confronted him, they became quickly aware of the fact that they had been baited into a trap. Kalarel was joined by undead minions and another necromancer named Helvec
. Taesan sacrificed himself so that Raiza could flee. The changeling did not let the heroic act be in vain and fled to Sarthel, where he reported the events of the mission to the Guild contact there. Raiza was then given the order to remain in Vendar, where he would prepare as he waited for his next mission. Raiza hoped it would bring him to those he killed his mentor so he could exact a horrific revenge upon them.
After several months of waiting, Raiza was ordered to go to Fallcrest to meet a contact. Little information on the matter was given, but it was not his place to question. Once in Fallcrest, he waited at the Lucky Gnome taphouse, trying to remain in the open as much as possible so his mystery contact would approach. A group of laborers found him first and surrounded his table. Some folk in the area showed a bit of hatred for the outsider, as outsiders are often viewed skeptically in the frontier towns in the Nentir Vale. The leader of this band leaned over the table and grimaced at Raiza.
“I lost my coin purse earlier and I’m certain it was you
who took it! Give me all your gold and we won’t have to break you!”
“Certainly, you’ve got the wrong man. I’m an honest merchant,” Raiza replied. The laborers laughed and the leader replied, “No merchant is honest! Take us to your wares!”
The changeling headed out the door, leading them a ways. When the moment came, Raiza bolted for a nearby alleyway with yelling laborers giving chase just behind.
Raiza became like a shadow once they were out of sight and, when they came into the dark alley he fell into, focused on the leader of the ruffians. Confused and not knowing where the “merchant” had disappeared to, the man’s guard fell. Raiza capitalized on this moment by blasting the leader in the head with a heavy sap. The other would-be brigands tried to escape, but Raiza threw his daggers just right so the handle hit their crowns and knocked them out before they got out into the streets.
Upon completion of his work, the changeling noticed an elderly woman standing and staring at him with a completely calm and collected expression. He felt as if she had been there all along, yet he only now just realized it.
“Do you want to do the King’s work?” she asked. The changeling noticed the black disc tattoo in the woman’s palm that mirrored his own Guild tattoo.
“It depends on the work,” he responded coyly. She gave him the details of the work, then left the alley as strangely as she had arrived, like a smoky shadow.
“Don’t worry about them. We’ll clean up,” her disembodied voice guaranteed.
Raiza knew the road ahead was plagued with kobolds, goblins, and slavers, so he headed into town to another tavern to perhaps find some adventuring types to travel with him to the remote village he was heading to. This is how it came to be that Raiza would come to the place of the foulest black and rise to meet it…