"Crizon's Night Patrol"
In addition to his normal nocturnal business, Crizon would patrol some of the nearby areas that were often neglected by the town guard.
In addition to his normal nocturnal business, Crizon would patrol some of the nearby areas that were often neglected by the town guard. Little alleys and nooks that were easily overlooked but would make great places for a thief or bandit to assault a passing by towns person. Though the heroes of the city were not often seen as ‘heroes’ by some of the locals, Crizon did what he could to protect anyone who called Aftermath their home. But he did not do so alone.
A raven whose jet-black feathers gleamed with a purple hue called out softly as it circled from above and descended towards him. These intelligent and loyal birds were Crizon’s choice of animal to handle. Easily trained and devoted to their task, the ravens of this place were ideal for reconnaissance, much like the eagles of his homeland. Two more soft cries had come from the raven, now perched on his shoulder.
”That fool is up to no good again.”, Crizon murmured to himself and then gestured forward with his staff.
The purple hued raven took flight and clicked with its beak. From the shadows four more jet-black ravens glided silently in the noted direction joining their leader. Crizon smirked at the additional help his winged charge had gathered.
”Now for the fun part.”
Crizon loved any chance to be thematic when doing magic, even if no one saw him. Crossing his hands over his chest, Crizon’s eyes began to glow a faint purple as he muttered the words of power:
“I call upon the forces of the Earth to shroud me in mist.”
Starting with his feet, Crizon’s body began to dissolve into a white mist, his faint glowing eyes lingered for a moment before they too dissolved. The mist moved as if carried by a slight but swift breeze down the alley in the direction of the gliding ravens.
“Steady now”, said the bandit to his thug. “Don’t jump at her until I give the signal. She has to get closer.”
The bandit and his thug had been sitting still in the shadows of the alley in hopes that an unlucky passerby would venture close. This night seemed to be their lucky night. The young maiden had just left the Healer’s Guild and was most likely carrying healing potions, food, or coin, any of which could have been easily traded for a fair amount of Rat Bite in the slums.
“Get ready, lad.”, he sneered to his accomplice as the young maiden stepped near.
The maiden paused suddenly and gasped as she looked up at the rooftops towards where the sudden call of the raven had broken the silence of the dark street. Fluttering down, the raven landed a few feet away. It moved on the ground as if it were injured before rolling over onto its back, kicking its feet up in the air, and looked at the young maiden as it forced out a pathetic little “caaw”. Smiling, she stepped towards the winged creature and away from the alley.
“Hello there, little one.”, she bent down by the raven taking note of his purple hued feathers. “Have one too many drinks as the tavern?”, she laughed.
The raven cooed and fluffed his feathers taking on the behavior of a house cat more so than a bird. Hopping up on its feet the raven waddled off, away from the alley.
“Where are you off too, little one?”, said the young maiden as she followed behind the strange jet-black bird.
“Oh, no! She’s slipping away!”, said the bandit as he watched his prey stroll off after a ridiculous bird had stopped her short of being within their grasp.
“I say we run out and grab her. A pretty little piece like that’ll make a good slave for the right buyer, that is if she’s not damaged too much after we’ve put her to work for a while.”, said the thug as a sneer appeared on his face.
“Yea, think of all the Rat Bite we can get from selling her. Get ready to run out and grab what’s ours then, lad!”, said the bandit as he drew a rusty dagger from his belt. The thug nodded and did the same.
“On Three. One… Two...”
A sudden and cold breeze pressed by the two men startling them from behind and stealing their attention. They quickly turned back to face the darkness, knives raised, looking for the source of the sudden breeze. For a long moment there was no sound except the racing of their heartbeats in their ears.
A few meters away in the shadows, two soft glowing purple orbs appeared followed by the archaic muttering of words of power: “I raise a wall of thorns, impeding all passage.”, as nearly all light from the road was blocked out. Even if the young maiden had turned around, she would have seen only a wall of thorns where the alley had once been.
“Cullas. Up to your old habits again, I see? Oh, and this time you brought a friend. He looks rough, and you look like shit. Obviously, the Rat Bite market has been good to you.” Crizon eyed the two men as he stepped forward into what remained of the light.
“Who is this prat, Cullas?”, barked the thug.
Cullas’ expression grew focused, and a crazed look filled his eyes.
“Crizon. Oh, I had hoped I’d see you again… after what you did to me last time. I hoped to get another go at you. And it’s like you said, this time I’ve got a friend. Two against one… odds are in my favor, and I won’t be showing you any mercy.”
Cullas lunged forward branding his rusty dagger, Crizon stepped to the side and swept his staff low, tripping Cullas and pushing him towards a pile of debris. The thug attacked from behind, but his blade deflected off of Crizon’s armor. Crizon swung his staff but missed as the thug dodged his attack and moved out of range of the staff.
Cullas, having regained his stance, again rushed forward yelling, “I’ll gut you, you bastard!”
Quickly, Crizon called upon his magic, eyes glowing purple, and speaking the words of power: “I call upon the light of day to illuminate my path.”, summoned a light that shone directly into Cullas’ face.
Though it was not bright, it did its job of disorienting the attacker and causing him to stumble back. Crizon rushed forward, this time knocking the rusty dagger out of Cullas’ hand and, with a swing of his staff, knocked the bandit to the ground.
“Caaw!”, the warning came.
Crizon whirled around just as the thug reached him. He used his staff to block the thug’s dagger as it plunged down, but the sharp pain in his stomach revealed that a second dagger in the thug’s other hand had found its mark. The pain was intense and deep, and the thug’s smug look added an extra sting. The thug disengaged and Crizon stepped back, pulled the rusted blade from his gut, and flung it to the ground. Weakened, Crizon went down on one knee.
“Looks like this is not your night. I told you; you were outnumbered.”, smirked Cullas as he walked forward, his dagger back in his hand and ready to end the fight. “Any last words?”, Cullas gleamed as he raised his dagger.
Crizon smiled and simply said, “I’m not outnumbered.”
Ravens swooped down and attacked the two men’s faces, scratching and pecking at their eyes. Panicking at the onslaught, Cullas and the thug dropped their daggers to protect their faces.
Grabbing his staff Crizon rose up slowly while holding his stab wound and knocked the daggers out of reach of the men. The ravens retreated, leaving the two men stammering and holding their wounded faces.
Eyes glowing purple, Crizon spoke the words of power: “I pin you to the very earth.”, and summoned magic that restrained Cullas to the ground, holding him tight, arms down so he could watch.
Walking slowly to the thug, Crizon reached out and grabbed him by the throat. Most of the thug’s right eye was gone and his left eye was bleeding.
Crizon lamented at the nearly blind thug. “You, Sir, are the worst of us. The very type of citizen that Aftermath can do without. You would have harmed that young maiden then sold her to the highest bidder. The medicine she carried would have not reached its destination, causing others to suffer both physically and emotionally when they learned of her fate.”
“Yea… I take what I can get from this shit-heap of a city…”, spat the thug as the sneer appeared on his face again, “And she would not have been the first gal I’ve tortured. I like it when they try and get away... but they don’t get far.”, he laughed menacingly.
Crizon was silent and stood motionless. He was not accustomed to brazening admissions of such vile acts.
“Well…”, Crizon said as he glanced down at his stab wound then back at the thug, ”I think I have found a better use for men like you.”
He held the man’s throat tightly and his eyes flared a brilliant purple as he spoke the words of power: “With the power of Necromancy, I drain the soul of the living.”
The thug wailed and screeched as green mist emanated from his body and merged into Crizon, healing the stab wound he had sustained in the fight. But as Crizon’s wounds healed, the thug’s body weakened. Even after his wounds completely healed, Crizon kept the spell going, draining the soul and body from the thug.
As Cullas watched in horror, his friend’s hair turned grey, his eyes sank in and hollowed until only a withered husk of the thug remained. Crizon released the corpse to the ground then turned to Cullas whose eyes were wide with terror.
Silent and still, Crizon stared at the bandit for a moment before whispering softly in his ear.
“Aftermath will be saved… I’ll come for you soon.”
Once again Crizon crossed his arms and dissolved into mist, his purple orbs lingering for a moment before dissolving and drifted away on a swift breeze. Cullas sat motionless even as one-by-one the ravens landed near the remainder of his friend’s corpse to finish the meal their master had left for them.