Adventures of the Night Swords!

Move 23

To Strike a Bargain

Beneath the Blackwood Forest – Brevoy
(The 19th Day of Erastus, 4711 AR – late morning)

Albia steps from her post by the door (to be promptly replaced by Tanis) and makes her way cautiously to the very edge of the summoning circle. The girl within the ring stares at her hopefully, especially when Albia takes a moment to slam her sword back in its scabbard, and carefully set her shield on the floor nearby.

She then turns to the girl, and speaks in clear, unaccented Abyssal. “We are not fools, you know,” she begins. “You may regain your normal shape. Although I am no expert in such matters, I can only assume it must tax you in some manner to maintain such a disguise, especially considering your wasted appearance.”

The girl’s eyes narrow dangerously. “You are Chelish, yes? And carry the blood of the Infernal?”

Albia smiles. “As you well know.”

“Thrice be damned.” The girl actually pouts. “Very well, human. You have found me out.” With that her skin flows like water, blending, mixing, and changing abruptly. In place of the lovely young girl now stands a very similar figure to that which you saw before – save for the tiny horns, bat-like wings, off-crimson flesh and sinuous tail that clearly betray the woman’s demonic origins. Kyras gives forth a startled cry and grasps for his sword once more.

“Hold, Kyras. She still cannot escape from the Circle.” Iacobus carefully steps forward and leers openly at the now-nude figure of the ‘woman’ before him. “Greetings, My Dark, Infernal Lady. And salutations from my comrades and I, one and all! May I assume you have been trapped here for quite some time, ever since the demise of the Archmage Tumai?”

“I know not how long it has been.” The demon scowls. “He summoned me here, and bound me to this circle. But then he never came back, Indeed, no one has entered this chamber in all the years since.” She smiles coyly, and sensuously runs her fingers along slender curves. “Release me, human, and I shall show you sights undreamed of in the darkest paths of dreams, or madness!”

Iacobus grins at that. “Of this I have no doubt, My Lady. But no. I have a better idea.” He turns once more to Albia. “My dearest?”

“My Lord Iacobus.” Albia sketches off a shallow bow, and turns back to face the demon. “I was thinking of a bargain, My Lady. A formal pact, if you will. We release you from bondage in return for certain considerations.”

“What sort of considerations?” the demon wishes to know.

Albia pauses a moment, considering what to say next. “We are seeking treasure of a magical nature. A locket that contains hidden enchantments of some type. Tell us how to find it, and how to defeat any tricks or traps that keep it safe. Also, if you have information on the wizard who bound you here, I would like to know it as well.”

“Is that all?” she asks.

“That, and that you leave this place immediately upon gaining your freedom,” Akorian adds. He stands far back from the circle, bow in hands. “There are many places nearby where you may hunt. All we ask is that you promise to leave us unharmed, and never return.”

“I see.” The she-beast pauses to consider your words. “Very Well. I agree.”

You all wait impatiently as the creature swears the appropriate Infernal oaths needed to seal the bargain. “A locket, you say?” Again the demon pauses a moment to consider this. “I do not know anything of such a specific nature,” she admits. I was always just a prisoner here, in this chamber. But since I arrived I could feel something, a certain presence, that seems to pulse with a magic energy far beyond any common trinket or enchantment. An artifact of great power, as it were. If you stand facing me, the item is to be found far below us, and to the north.”

“How far to the north?” Talathel wants to know.

“Not far.” The she-fiend shrugs one shapely shoulder. “Two or three hundred paces due north, but far deeper than this level of the catacombs. As to what protections Tumai laid upon the thing, your guess is as good as mine.”

“And why were you originally brought here?” Iacobus asks.

“Tumai told me that he was concerned about the loyalty of his apprentices,” the demon replies. “One man in particular worried him, although I never learned his name. Only that the archmage was concerned for his safety, and wanted to use my… Gifts… to ferret out any hint of disloyalty amongst his proteges.”

“Where you given the chance to perform these, ah, duties?” Akorian asks.

“No.” She scowls. “The mage was called away shortly after binding me here, and never returned. I heard cries of alarm shortly thereafter, and a great deal of rummaging about. Arguing. Fighting perhaps? And then nothing. The place has been as quiet as a tomb ever since.”

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