ShadowStalker - Treachery's Poisoned Blade (Part IV)

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Nilan
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ShadowStalker - Treachery's Poisoned Blade (Part IV)

Postby Nilan » Sat Aug 18, 2001 9:22 pm

Marcus encircled the still form of the drow assassin at his feet. He grinned triumphantly as Nilan groaned softly, fading in and out of consciousness. Marcus prodded the man's ribs with the toe of his boot to keep him from drifting off for good. "Whaddya say now, ShadowStalker," the wicked man gloated. "Hurts don't it?" Marcus bent low and yanked the leather thong that bound Nilan's wrists. Blood oozed from the torn forearm smearing the floor. Nilan clenched his teeth tightly to avoid crying out and glared into the eyes of the cruel man hovering over him.

"Coward," Nilan spat. "Untie me human and face me if ya dare."

Marcus snickered, "Ah, ya'd like that wouldn't ya. Ya'd like for me to kill ya quickly. No, ShadowStalker, I'll drag ya back ta Master Kang piece by piece if I have ta, but I will get my reward. I'll have yer rank, assassin, as soon as Kang rips yer bloody drow heart out."

Marcus released his grip on the leather thongs allowing Nilan's bound wrists to drop once again upon the bloodstained floor. From within the folds of his dark cloak, Marcus withdrew a long length of tightly woven leather. He slowly unraveled it allowing the tip to touch the floor inches from Nilan's face.

"This, assassin, is a tool of my own design," Marcus grinned smugly. "I have flayed the skin of many tougher than you, traitor." He boasted. "Even now my blood races in anticipation of hearing you scream. Beg me for your worthless life, ShadowStalker, and I might show you mercy." Snickering evilly, Marcus ran the tip of the whip across Nilan's cheek.

Nilan eyed the wicked thing intently. Interwoven within the leather whip were crude steel barbs spaced evenly apart. Nilan shuddered involuntarily and heard Marcus chuckle and back away. Turning away, Nilan pressed his cheek to the cold floor and closed his eyes. His body tensed reflexively. "Black hearted bastard," Nilan sneered through clenched teeth.

Marcus cackled sadistically and sent the cruel barbed whip lashing towards its target. The cracking sound it made as it whistled through the air caused Marcus' heart to quicken. Nilan cried out in pain as the cruel whip tore into the flesh of his bare back. His body shook as muscles contracted violently from the stinging lash. Marcus grinned as he tore the barbed leather free. Droplets of blood dribbled off the metal barbs and splattered across the wooden floor. Again and again Marcus swung the barbed leather with all his strength, basking in the cries of agony that split the night air.

**********************************************************************

Nitania quickened her pace hearing the tortured screams coming from up ahead. Gripping her daggers tightly, she approached the doorway. She noted that age had torn the door from its hinges and it now hung by little more than a rusted nail or two to the decrepit doorframe. Silently, Nitania edged closer to the opened door. Light flickered from within the home, presumably by a small fire or a few candles. Nitania cautiously peered around the broken doorframe. Her heart skipped a beat at the horror she saw. Bound and bloodied, a man with skin as black as night lay prone upon the dirt and bloodstained floor. She was unable to make out the man's face as he had turned away from his sadistic attacker standing over him. This cruel man had his back to Nitania as well, though she recognized him as Marcus. He was wielding a blood soaked whip and cackling maniacally, apparently enjoying the suffering he was inflicting. Nitania's stomach churned in sickness and anger.

"Beg drow, beg me for yer worthless life," Marcus sneered and sent the barbed whip lashing across the bound man's torn and bloody back.

Nilan did not respond but instead lay motionless at his feet. Marcus approached and drove his boot into the man's side. The force of the blow sent the bound man sprawling over to face his attacker. Nilan gasped and glared up at the vile assassin with pain-filled eyes.

"Ah, that's it," Marcus smiled sadistically, "can't have ya fading too quickly now, can we, Nilan?"

'Nilan'…Nitania heard the name and her heart sank. She looked hard at the bound man gasping for breath and struggling with the leather thongs that were wrapped tightly around his bloody wrists. Nitania noted the pointed ears that peeked out from a mane of hair as white as new fallen snow.

Nilan coughed and choked, trying desperately to breathe despite the kicks that thudded into his midsection. Blood flecked his lips and he groaned weakly. Disoriented he gazed up at his attacker, catching a glimpse of the doorway beyond. Nilan made out the shape of a figure standing at the entrance. Confused and dazed, he allowed his head to fall back upon the cold floor. He managed a small smile before Marcus's wicked boot stole his breath and a cry of agony burst from his lips. His eyelids fluttered weakly and gray clouds rolled in all around him.

Nitania could take no more. "Marcus!!!!" she screamed as she drew back the two fine blades she held in either hand. Marcus turned abruptly and wicked grin fixed upon his face. That grin was instantly replaced by one of shock, as two glistening blades thudded into his chest. Marcus fell to the floor, dead before his body hit the ground.

A soft moan drew Nitania's attention toward the semi-conscious elf lying besides her. Nitania dropped to her knees and placed a hand upon her friend's back in an effort to wake him. She quickly withdrew her hand. Her palm and fingers now stained with blood. A tear rolled down her hardened face as he looked upon Nilan for the first time in drow form. Gingerly she caressed his black skinned face. Her fingertip brushed over his thin lips. Nitania smiled at the thought. Her smile faded as she remembered Kang's order. ‘Bring him to me, Nitania.’ Nitania shuddered driving the thoughts from her mind. Her gaze took in the myriad slashes that covered Nilan's bare back. Blood slowly oozed from the jagged cuts where the wicked barbs had torn into the flesh, but to Nitania's relief most of the wounds were not too deep. Nitania placed her hand once again on the drow's back, her gaze drawn to the tightly pulled burned flesh that covered his right shoulder. Nitania winced involuntarily.

"Nilan," she whispered, her voice caught in her throat, "Nilan, wake up, your safe now, its me. It's Nitania."

Nilan stirred and groaned, struggling to regain consciousness. His eyelids fluttered weakly and he mumbled something in a language that Nitania could not quite make out.

Gingerly, Nitania gave the drow a slight shake. "Nilan," she whispered again, this time a little louder than at first.

Nilan moaned softly but otherwise remained in a semi conscious state. Nitania looked at her friend and stifled the tears that welled in her eyes. Gently, she allowed Nilan's body to once again lie face down upon the floor. Nitania took out a small knife and cut the leather thongs that bound Nilan's wrists. Both wrists and forearms were covered in blood and Nitania gingerly inspected them. She felt Nilan tense at her touch and her eyes focused upon a deep grisly wound. Nitania dabbed at the wounded arm with a cloth she had retrieved from her small pouch. Nilan flinched but otherwise remained motionless.

"Easy," Nitania grimaced.

Part of her wanted to place a dagger into the heart of the drow that lay motionless before her. She had heard horrors of the atrocities the murderous underdark demons had unleashed upon the surface world. What was even more unforgiving was the fact that this one had betrayed not only her, but the guild family as well. That was an act punishable by death. However, she found herself intrigued by the black elf before her. His form might be different, but what they had shared together would remain the same forever.

Nitania cleaned and stitched Nilan's torn forearm and wrapped a tight bandage over the wound. She drew her attention once again to the numerous bloody slashes that marred his back. With great care she stitched and bandaged the more serious cuts.

"Nilan, wake up, please," Nitania whispered, gently rolling the drow assassin toward her onto his back.

Nilan groaned and his eyelids fluttered open weakly.

"Stay with me Nilan," Nitania replied giving the elf a slight shake trying to bring him around.

Fighting against his clouded vision, Nilan found himself lying up against someone. He struggled to focus. As his vision cleared he made out the black leathers of an assassin. Panic consumed him and he frantically tore himself away from the assassin's grasp. Pain lanced through his forearm, grimacing he fought against the strong arms of the human that grappled with him.

Nitania tightened her grip on Nilan's flailing arms. She felt the drow wince. "Nilan, no!" Nitania shrieked pulling Nilan back in order to subdue him. "Hey, hey it's me. Nilan stop it, stop fighting, it's me Nilan, it's Nitania." Nitania hauled the wounded drow onto his back and grimaced inwardly when Nilan gasped and cried out in pain as he impacted with the hard wooden floor. "Stop it Nilan, don't fight me," Nitania panted and held her friend firm. The injured elf could do little to break the grip and his struggles gradually ceased.

"Nita," Nilan mumbled through clenched teeth. He didn't move but instead stared into the face of the human woman that had once been a friend.

The woman smiled. "Yes, it's me." Nitania choked on the words and managed a grin. With that, she released her hold.

Nilan turned away. He couldn't bring himself to look into the woman's eyes.

Nitania's heart sank. "Nilan what is it? What wrong?"

"I know why you are here," he said coldly without making eye contact. His strange accented voice was barely above a whisper, "Kang sent you."

Nitania swallowed hard. "Look at me, Nilan," she stammered.

Nilan struggled to his feet still refusing to turn and acknowledge the woman's presence. He heard Nitania sigh and rise to her feet. Nilan took a few steps but staggered and reached out with his hand to lean against the wall for support. He caught a glimpse of Marcus's bloody form lying in a heap off to the side. Wincing against the dizziness assaulting him he managed a small grin. He heard Nitania shuffle her feet behind him.

"Nilan, look at me. Tell me what's wrong," Nitania pleaded. "What's happened to you?"

Nilan snickered sarcastically but said nothing, his gaze still focused on the wooden wall in front of him.

"Damn you! Look at me." Nitania roared in anger, this time grabbing Nilan by the shoulder she swung him around and shoved him into the wall hard.

Nilan gasped on impact and Nitania's forearm drove into his chest holding him firmly against the wall. Clenching his teeth he glared into the eyes of the beautiful murderer. Nitania met his gaze and shuddered involuntarily at the cold hatred that lingered behind Nilan's black orbs. Still, she did not relinquish her grip. Nitania lowered her eyes suddenly, to the wicked jagged scar that ran from Nilan's left shoulder to the centre of his chest. The grisly mark of damaged skin caused her to grimace. "By the gods, Nilan, what's happened to you?"

Nilan glared. "You are nothing to me, human, I owe you nothing" he spat.

Nitania held the drow's cold stare, a silent rage building within her. She felt the injured elf's body tense suddenly, in a feeble attempt to push her away. Nitania held her stance, and pressed her forearm roughly against Nilan's chest. Nilan grunted, clenching his teeth and biting back the piercing pain that ran the length of his entire back.

"You don't mean that, Nilan," Nitania replied in a hurt voice. "We are…err..we were …family."

Nilan glared coldly into Nitania' eyes. "We … were never family." Nilan held his icy stare.

Nitania winced as if a dagger were thrust through her heart. Rage and anger consumed her and she drew her hand back into a tight fist. Nilan held his piercing gaze without flinching. Roaring in frustration Nitania's fist thudded into the wall, a mere inches from the drow's face. "Damn you, Nilan," she screamed. "I know after all these years we…err…I must have meant something to you."

Nilan's face offered little expression.

Nitania shoved the injured elf hard into the wooden wall and took a step back. She heard the drow gasp as he tried to stifle a cry of pain. Nitania winced inwardly, wishing she hadn't had lost her temper.

Nilan gingerly staggered to the pile of clothes and packs that lay in a heap against the wall. Wincing, he bent to retrieve his black leather tunic. His bare body shivered visibly in the cold night air. Nitania eyed him with bewildered interest. She watched as Nilan grimaced and fastened the leather ties of his tunic, hands shaking with the effort. Nilan returned her gaze and gestured to the crumpled form of Marcus.

"Thank you" he nodded and turned away suddenly. "Knowing what I am now, you must despise me," he muttered.

Nitania smiled, tightening her grip on Nilan's shoulder she gave him a playful shake. "No, Nilan, I don't hate you. I could never hate you. I just wish I had known. Maybe things might have been different for you, or for us. I am sorry."

Nilan nodded and managed a small smile. Lowering his gaze he pulled away. Nitania let him go and said nothing. She watched in silence as Nilan retrieved his pouch and dagger sheath and began fastening the myriad blades to his black leather tunic, leggings and boots. He slowly approached her, dagger in hand. "Now that you know what I am. What is it you plan to do, Nita?"

Nitania looked at Nilan sadly. "No," She paused. "I didn't come here to drag you before Kang only to watch you die. I could never live with myself knowing I caused that. I know now what you are, Nilan. But, I also know Kang's last days as Guild Master are rapidly approaching. Perhaps we can aid each other?"

Nilan dropped his dagger hand to his side. "Perhaps" was all he said.

Nitania merely nodded. "What will you do now? Where will you go?"

Nilan leaned heavily against the wooden wall and thought hard. "I can't stay here, Nita. I'm a drow assassin. Kang's Guild has sanctioned my death…it's only a matter of time before I'm caught and killed." He let the last word fade from his lips, resigning himself to that fate. "I shall return to my House. My mission is done here upon your surface world."

Nitania sighed and watched as Nilan gathered his pouches and fastened them to his waist belt. "Here, you might need this," she replied tossing him a dark green flask. "It's healing potion, drink it."

Nilan caught the vial in his left hand. He inspected the vial, and satisfied that he recognized the contents he downed the white milky fluid. Instantly he felt strength return to his battered body. The soreness in his ribs and back disappeared entirely. Nitania smiled at her drow friend. Nilan only nodded. Retrieving his black hooded cloak, Nilan tossed it over his shoulders and stalked towards the door.

"Wait," Nitania called to him. "Nilan, don't go!"

Nilan stopped in his tracks, but did not turn in the direction of the beautiful woman's voice. ‘Gods, why is she making this so hard’, Nilan thought, wincing inwardly.

Nitania shrugged away a tear that threatened to flow and swallowed hard. "Nilan," she stammered, her voice choked with sorrow.

Nilan shut his eyes. Slowly he turned, his gaze falling upon the assassin. "Thank you."

"For what?" Nitania asked, confused.

Nilan smiled, turned and walked away. "For giving me a chance."

Nitania watched as the assassin stalked out into the chill night air. A tear rolled down her cheek and she brushed it away. "I know we shall meet again, drow."

*********************************************************************

Nilan rested for a moment on the second-story rooftop to catch his breath. The north gates of Waterdeep were a short distance away. He scanned the roads below with a keen eye and spotted several black wisps melting in and out of walls, doorways, and the shadows cast by the flame of the street torches. There was no moon this night, but even in the darkest corners and alcoves he could see hints of movement from inky shadows that possessed a menacing life of their own. Nilan chewed his lower lip in anger and frustration, tasting his own blood. He felt more than saw the missile flying at the back of his neck. Nilan dropped and rolled backward as the missile whistled dangerously close to his head. Coming up into a half crouch, he spun on his heels and carried his momentum into a throw of his own. His deadly black dagger made no sound until it thudded home into his assailant's chest.

Another down, but many more would soon be upon him now that his whereabouts had been discovered. Nilan quickly judged the distance from the rooftop to the tower window of the northern city wall. He withdrew two small vials from a small velvet pouch and drank the strange concoctions. Dropping the empty vials on the roof, Nilan ran the few paces to the edge of the roof with blinding speed and then launched himself into the air with his enhanced strength. He arrowed swiftly across the distance to the window and melted into the darkness within the tower. He hid in the shadows of the stairway for a second to locate the tower guards. ‘Fools!’, he thought acidly. ‘Doom is under their protuberant guts and they are blissfully unaware.’

Nilan moved silently up the stairwell and onto the city wall. He knew that any guards spying him now would cause a delay that would likely mean his death at their hands or those of the assassins below. The end of a black silk rope appeared swiftly in his hands, and was dropped over the side of the wall. He tied off the end in a rogue knot and smoothly rappelled to the ground below, outside of Waterdeep. A quick snap of his wrist dislodged the rope and sent it tumbling to his feet. He dared not waste any time, and left it where it fell. Casting a final glance back at the gates and walls of the city, Nilan fled north into the night.

He hadn't gone much more than a mile before he sensed his pursuers. ‘Damn’, he cursed inwardly. ‘I should have known there'd be more outside, waiting to prevent my escape’. His enhanced speed was fading and he could sense the assassins trying to surround him in a net of death. With a final burst of speed, Nilan fled to a defensible position that he knew of just off of the Great Northern road some distance ahead of his pursuers. He had set the place up when he had first joined the Guild, to be ready in the event he had to flee from the Lords and Law of Waterdeep. How ironic it now had to be used against assassins, members of his own profession. He quickly activated the deadly traps and hid from view. Nilan was going to make these assassins regret the day they laid eyes on the ShadowStalker!

Multiple figures appeared along the edge of the forest. Nilan could make out heat emanating from their dark forms. The three forms flitted in and out of the shadows drawing nearer to him with each step. The drow patiently waited, expertly concealed, two fine throwing blades in the palm of his dark hands. Nilan scanned the forest floor, checking for any others he might have missed. Finding none, Nilan burst from the shadows with blinding speed. He launched the two daggers at the closest two foes. One dagger plunged deep into the man's chest piercing his heart and dropping him where he stood. The other caught the second assassin in the throat. Nilan watched as the pitiful human clawed at the blade in a futile attempt to pull it free. Dropping to his knees, the assassin doubled over, losing consciousness never to wake again.


Nilan focused his attention on the third pursuer. The man's eyes widened in fear as he stood to face the drow assassin. Nilan smirked and drew a stiletto dripping with poison. Instantly he was on the man, a series of feints and slashes drove the human back on his heels. Nilan dodged a slash at his midsection and parried another. The assassin screamed in pain as Nilan's blade pierced his side.

"Nilan, hold!!!" came the voice of a once familiar ally.

Nilan turned abruptly holding the dying assassin in front of him as a shield. Illreok stood before him, daggers in hand.

"Drow, you betrayed the Guild," Illreok growled vehemently.

"I have no loyalty to Kang," Nilan spat. "Nor do you, Illreok. Since when has Kang ever been a part of your family?"

Illreok took a step towards Nilan. Nilan glared coldly. The dying assassin flailed in his grip screaming in fear and pain. Nilan silenced the man forever, his dagger tearing into the assassin's throat. Grimacing, Nilan tossed the body aside and faced Illreok, a former friend and ally.

Illreok eyed the elf before him, still unable to believe that the human he had known as Nilan was really a drow assassin. Smiling, Illreok lowered his blade, chuckling to himself. Nilan stopped suddenly, taken aback by the assassin's sudden change in demeanor.

"You may not appear human anymore, Nilan," he grinned. "But under that black skin and snow white hair you are still the man I know and trust."

Nilan eyed Illreok, his face grimaced in confusion. Off in the distance, Nilan heard the sound of rapidly approaching feet. He knew Kang's assassins were closing in around him. Nilan tightened his grip upon his stiletto. Illreok sensed it too.

"You might be a drow and a traitor to the Guild, but never have you betrayed our family," Illreok nodded solemnly. "Go now, my old friend. Return to wherever it is that you came from all those years ago, go now, Nilan."

Nilan nodded but said nothing. He didn't need too, for Illreok understood. Pulling his black cloak around him, Nilan bowed low, and disappeared into the shadows of the night.






***********************************************************************

Kang paced the floor deep within the walls of his fortified compound in Southern Waterdeep. He spun abruptly on his heels and hurled a wicked dagger into the wall some twenty paces away from him. He watched intently as the blade quivered, the snake shaped pommel shined eerily as the torchlight caught the green gemstone in its mouth.
"Nilan, it seems I underestimated you." He snickered disdainfully. "A mistake I shan't make again, ShadowStalker." He chuckled at the irony of the whole affair. "Nilan…Nilan, ye elude me still." Kang muttered. "Ah, but for how much longer, traitor?" He held the vial of deadly poison up to the torchlight and watched as the red hued viscous liquid clung to the walls of the vial.

"Ye can't run forever, ShadowStalker. Forever ya gonna be lookin' over yer shoulder. My top killers have yer contract even now. So run drow, run while ya can." A wicked grin flashed across his cruel face and he licked his lips in anticipation. "Yer fear only makes the hunt more satisfying. I'll rip yer bloody heart out, Nilan. Yer gonna die slow, that much I promise ye." His face turned a dark shade of purple and a roar of anger and frustration erupted from deep within his throat. Kang slammed his fists down hard onto the table before him causing the wood to crack under the intense force and strength of the blow. "Yer mine ShadowStalker. Yer gonna see only me when you take yer last breath."
His maniacal cackle drifted throughout the dark corridors of the guildhall, chilling the very souls of all who heard it.

**************************************************
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I hope you all enjoy the story as much as I had writing it. This story was one of two endings I had planned for Nilan at the close of Sojourn. Here is to a new beginning in yet another of Nilan's many adventures.

Enjoy !!

Nilan Al'Shadrazaar

-ShadowStalker - Treachery's Poisoned Blade
Last edited by Nilan on Sat Aug 28, 2004 6:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
Dezzex
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Postby Dezzex » Mon Aug 20, 2001 9:06 pm

Great stuff Nilan. Image
Nekler BlazingWolf
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Postby Nekler BlazingWolf » Tue Aug 21, 2001 5:15 pm

Great story Nilan. I've always enjoyed reading your stories. I look forward to more. Image
Turxx
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Postby Turxx » Mon Sep 10, 2001 6:44 pm

top notch, 2 thumbs up, 5 stars, i loved it.
Korin
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Postby Korin » Fri Mar 29, 2002 6:56 pm

vera vera nice!! It's good to see old faces in the story Image
Nilan
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Postby Nilan » Wed Mar 05, 2003 7:47 am

Bumped up for you AShod, Enjoy

Nilan
Clan Blindhammer
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Postby Clan Blindhammer » Thu Mar 06, 2003 6:40 am

Ya know elf, yer always fer doin' thingies the hard way. Ye coulda jus' hollered me name and ye be knowin'

Ye always damned well be knowin..

That I've got me scouts eyein' yerself.

I'm still not fer trustin ye, ye durned black skinned orc kissin pointy earred bastard son of a gnoll, with yer purty stories an' yer blacken skin.

;)


Well done man. You know, I may RP that you're nothing but a thorn in my god damned side, (and you are you weasel) you know I'd have your back quicker than you could say Damn Drow Done Dropped Down Dat Dere Dark Hole 3x fast. Hell, I can't even say it once! (I like to give Arti a bit of time..he's slow and fat.)
King Artikerus Blindhammer
---------------
Kiaransalee responds to your petition with 'I have no opinion, keeps me out of trouble.'
Malar responds to your petition with 'you die more than a morigroup'
Kossuth responds to your petition with 'please go away :P'
Rillifane responds to your petition with 'be the nance.... you are the nance... you are one with the nance...'
Nilan
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Postby Nilan » Sat Aug 28, 2004 6:25 am

Just bumping it up as i did some editing and made it easier to read

Thanks

Nilan
Jhorr
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Postby Jhorr » Thu Sep 23, 2004 7:06 am

Fit for Hollywood: Betrayal, Love, Action, Adventure. Better than Titanic! 2 thumbs up! Write up the screenplay and send it to Peter Jackson @once!

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