Cutthroats in Felac'Delb

Chapter 18: Lord Protector

All is as it should be.

Amos says a final farewell to Hrabkuk and heads back to Damar to get passage back to Prack where he resolves to cross a few names off his list. When he gets there, a sweaty dwarf approaches him and tells him that a Gnome told him to look for a big one-eyed orc and to bring him to the clinic where the former is dying. Amos consents to follow but keeps his hand on his axe just in case. He enters and finds Aldebaran crazed from a fever and tied to a bed with a nasty infected wound on his leg. The clinician tells him that the gnome is done for, but The Cutthroat disagrees and Amos commands everyone else to leave while The Cutthroat manifests itself and begins its necromantic surgery on Aldebaran.

Once Aldebaran recovers, Amos shares that he went to The Devastation to receive a reward for the Cutthroat, which was given by some old dwarf surrounded by a bunch of Haxitumites lead by his son. Aldebaran picks up on who that might be, hoists his cane, and asks that they pay the old man a visit. After a return trip to the ziggurat, Aldebaran walks up in a pilgrims hood and is received by Hrabkuk, who identifies him. Aldebaran name-drops his whore mother’s name and Eoric comes down to see who it is. They have a very harsh reunion, and Aldebaran tears his father down while getting slapped around. After he’s gotten it out of his system, Aldebaran launches into a passage from Haxitumite scripture about those who don’t know their place, and when he’s done he’s gathered a crowd and The Cutthroat shadow-teleports Amos to Eoric, who he beheads with a swift blow with his axe, then disappears in shadow again. Aldy walks out and pats Hrabkuk on the back as he and his fellow Haxitumites process what just happened.

Arcady and the rest of the representatives continue to discuss matters at the negotiating table in the Kalashek camp outside Jera. The Kalashek reveal that the Hesca have simply disappeared and that their land is available for Dwarven colonization on the condition that they convert to the Kalashek Way, which they promptly refuse. Arcady brings up the territory that will be available once the Creythia Society is put down, which of course the elves claim as their own. Arcady asserts that it should belong to both of them to act as a memorial to the lives that were lost on both sides and an olive branch between the two peoples. Boss Fajo agrees, and the elves and dwarves grumble. After some more discussions they adjourn for the day, and Sir Chad Austin approaches Arcady, makes some small talk, then comments on the vile behavior of the Aurorans under Chief Doomhand and requests that Arcady allow him and a handful of Jomadean priests to consecrate the ground around Jera and call the souls of the fallen to their Lord. Arcady agrees in the name of religious tolerance, and within the hour, the priests show up and begin their rites, sending a river of blue and white pinpoint lights from the ground towards the sun.

The next day it is revealed that the Gjekrat Alliance has acquired Lady Autumnshade, leader of the Creythia Society, on intelligence provided by one Piko Ashrae. They are willing to extradite her to the highest bidder, which the elven and dwarven representatives both leap at. The argument gets too heated and they adjourn for the day. With time on his hands, Arcady reflects on the strange behavior of Boss Fajo, and concludes that he may be under some spell to forget that he handed his city over. Arcady hatches a plot to have Siobhan succeed him, transforms himself into Anzo the Apothecary, and heads off to talk to the formal ruling body of the city. He meets with the Magister of Laws, Master of Finances, and the Master of Armies, convincing them all with guile and fact that their Boss is being magically controlled, and the best solution is to back Siobhan and get her to assume power. They all put it together that he is an envoy of Arcady Longaxe, but they are convinced to see him as the liberator of their city from the clutches of Thranten Ias and the Creythia Society.

Amos and Aldebaran head over to pay a visit to Arando and consult him on some magical matters. Their next stop is the holdings of Lagto Wuruk and his master Thorrcha of the Foul Pit, whom they kill swiftly and mercilessly. Amos wants to pay Garza a visit back in Dharz’Dan, and they make the overland journey. The going is slow because of Aldebaran’s leg. One night in the foothills of the Yara-Mal mountains they hear the scraping of feet on rock, and awake to see a sickly looking Triona Sashentar standing over them. They fly into action, Aldy points out a shallow pool, and Amos forces Triona into it to drown her, though with her undead appearance, he’s not sure that it will work. She freezes the pool with a call to her lady Sheshtui Aldebaran finds a good sized rock and tosses it to Amos, who catches it and breaks Triona’s collarbone. In revenge she blasts off a chunk of the ice at Aldebaran, who falls to the ground riddled with ice shrapnel and stays down to keep from getting any more hurt. Amos and Triona struggle some more, but she escapes his grasp with some illusions, then come up behind him, pulls his knife and tries to stab him. Amos catches it with a minor cut on his arm. He grapples with her some more, and she gets him again with the dagger. Amos summons up all of his arbitrary hatred of Triona and throws her to the ground and beats her dead with the rock that Aldebaran had thrown him. He picks up Aldebaran and starts resumes his walk to Dharz’Dan.

Things go well with the negotiations and people actually start agreeing on things. One afternoon Grelka finds Arcady and she asks him to talk in private. In her tent she cuts straight to business and asks him if he’s gotten everything he needs from the New Entente. He says he has: Tagkra is secure under the Guarat Protectorate and Thranten Ias is dead. She tells him about how Doomhand is rallying his and Grelka’s people to take over the Entente to drive out the Kalashek from their homes. As Arcady has everything he wants, she asks him to leave her and Doomhand to lead it. Arcady rejects the offer out of frustration with Doomhand, and asks her where she can find him. Arcady marches off to the outer slums of Jera where the Aurorans have been hanging out terrorizing people. He clears a path through the rabble to Doomhand, who’s sitting on a bench wiping some blood off of his armor. Arcady challenges him to a fight to the death, which Doomhand really likes, and accepts. The people clear a space, and Arcady shows his true form to Doomhand, the massive and spiked blue Oni. Doomhand summons up Dumati power, but Arcady rushes in to grapple him. He delivers a quick and brutal headbutt to the human, who tries to taunt him by saying he’s had worse. Arcady laughs and slams him to the ground a few times, killing him. Everyone is aghast for a moment, then an Auroran hails Arcady Longaxe as his warchief, which Arcady more or less ignores. He goes into a speech about how the Aurorans are free to do as they please, though they are welcome to go with him to the Guarat Protectorate once the talks are concluded. Grelka takes command of the stragglers, and her and Arcady work out a deal where they will harass both the Kalashek and the Gjekrat Alliance in exchange for safety within the Protectorate.

Amos and Aldy arrive in Dharz’Dan and part ways, Aldy goes to the bar where Amos beat him a long time ago, and Amos goes back home. Only Garza is there, and he slips in while she is cleaning a wok. She is surprised at first, then asks him if he has killed Gjagk Mercy yet. He says he and Aldebaran are about to go, but that when they are done, one way or the other, he won’t be coming back. Garza is confused, and notices the cut on his arm and moves to bandage it. Amos shakes her off and unwraps his decaying body and explains the pact with the Cutthroat and how it saved him from Gjagk Mercy. She understands what he said about not coming back, and gives him a farewell and wishes that he will find a good death. They nod at each other, and Amos says goodbye to his wife.

Amos and Aldebaran meet back up and head out to where they know they will find Gjagk Mercy. They approach him openly in a clearing, and he has taken a monstrous appearance: all black skin with red eyes, and spikes bursting from his skin. He wields a spiked chain where he once had a garrote. Aldebaran makes a comment to Amos about how Arando better know what he was talking about. Amos grunts, and they charge.

In the months that follow, Arcady rules over Tagkra, taking in dwarven refugees and the houseless aurorans to his paradise. Lady Autumnshade is handed over to the Elven Archons, much to the chagrin of the Dwarven King, and sentenced to life in prison. More dwarven settlements are established: the land of the Free Cities, the former Creythia lands, southern Prack, and the Hesca lands. The Kalashek hand Crasshai back to the elves, though the resistance there against the Kalashek had done some damage to the city. The Dwarves end their sieges of the Free Cities and return home. One morning, Thagrosh informs Arcady that he has a visitor, and in walks Seeker Gillen, who tells him that he saw in one of his meditations that Amos Silenthowl and Aldebaran the Bastard had engaged their long-time foe Gjagk Mercy and slain him. When Arcady asks if his former associates had survived, Gillen replies that it does not matter, because Arcady will never see them again.

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