Assassins’ Deed - Part 2/4 (D&D story)

in Scholar and Scribe3 months ago

Hello, Everyone!

We’re quickly approaching one year of posting about Mary Windfiddle. I’m so happy to be able to share this story and so proud that I haven’t stopped writing in so long! I’m planning another Q&A about the characters, so if you have a question of any kind, post it in the comments!

Anyway, off to the story. Last time, Mary and her friends had just started a peaceful evening in one of their favourite taverns. They were enjoying the company of none other than the ruler of Pamagos himself, who’d turned out to be a really nice, down-to-earth guy. Suddenly, two assassins burst into the tavern and tried to kill him but the adventurers quickly stopped and subdued them.

Now, let’s see who sent them!

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They took off the assassins’ masks and uncovered two human men. They had tattoos on their necks and when the gnome at the tavern saw that, he immediately pointed it out to Aurum.

“See?” he said. “I told you a black dragon was a bad idea!”

It turned out that he was a tattooist. Back when Mary had spent the night at Nymphadora’s place, Bruno and Aurum had met him at the tavern and had inquired about his tattoos and prices. Obviously, Aurum had come up with a certain design in mind – a black dragon stabbed by a giant sword. The gnome, Driko, had tried to dissuade him because there were groups of outlaws who put a very similar mark on their skin. The assassins who’d tried to murder Mr. Perres were part of one such group – the so-called ‘Children of Terpesh’.

“What’s ‘Terpesh’?” Mary asked.

“It’s a city beyond the western mountains,” Mr. Perres said. “On the shore of the Swamp of Agony and the Lake of Death. The people who live there are all sorts of criminals – thieves, murderers, rapists… Ekoba is nice and peaceful compared to them.”

Mary shuddered. That’s when she heard Bruno gasp. He was holding the graphite dagger with two fingers, like it was cursed.

“That’s a…” he said, his eyes wide with disgust. “T-that’s a horrible piece of weaponry! It kills completely and irreversibly! The soul… if this is used for the final blow on a creature, it destroys its soul! No healing or resurrection--nor even divine powers--could stop it!”

He put the dagger on the ground and brought his hammer down on it. It crumbled to pieces and sank between the planks of the tavern floor.

"Who would use something like that on you?!" he asked Mr. Perres.

Dynatos shrugged.

"Anyone who'd like to see Eastern Erathos sink into the depths of war," he said.

Everyone's eyes fixed on the assassins. The first one was still unconscious but the other had his head tilted and was following their every movement. Aurum stepped closer and leaned over him.

"Who hired you?" he asked. "Who sent you?"

The man didn't say anything, he just kept on looking at them.

"Let me try something," Mary said and cast her Charm Person.

The man's eyes softened and his mouth stretched into a trusting smile.

"Hello," Mary said, trying to sound reassuring. "We’re friends. We won't hurt you. Can you tell us who sent you to attack Mr. Perres?"

The man gave out an inarticulate moan. There was... there was something wrong with him. His eyes didn't focus right, his mouth was slightly agape...

Mary called for Bruno. After examining the assassin, he told them that he was under the effect of a Feeblemind spell.

"It's a nasty piece of magic," he said. "Shatters the target's personality and removes their ability to communicate."

"So, someone wanted to prevent him from rattling," Aurum said. "I wonder if the other one's in the same condition."

He went and shook the second assassin to consciousness. The man woke with a start and gave out a frightened shriek. He tried to scramble back, his eyes darting wildly to the faces around him. Didn’t seem more self-aware than the other one.

"But when did they cast it?" Mary said. "We were looking at them the whole time!"

"It can be cast from afar," Bruno explained. "It requires line of sight, though."

Mary looked around suspiciously as if expecting to see the caster hiding in a corner. They might have been around while she and her friends fought! She thought of all the people who’d left the tavern after they'd apprehended the assassins. She felt so stupid! They had let the caster of this awful spell go and they didn't have any idea who it might have been!

She turned to the assassins. One of them, still under the effect of her charm spell, was watching her with a trusting smile but the other was still trembling in fear. She looked at him and suddenly a few memories popped into her mind.

She remembered the way Nimphadora looked at Aurum after he'd used Hold Person on her. She remembered the girl's fear and panic and how she’d described the feeling of helplessness when they talked later in the night.

She remembered the previous time she had used Hold Person on someone. The paralyzed duergar, and Sir Genos driving his blade through his head.

She felt the nail prodding her side from the component pouch on her belt and felt sick.

What if there wasn’t an evil caster hiding in the shadows? What if this spell of hers, this awful spell, had broken the minds of these two people? It had felt so much more potent than the last time!

Was it possible that Gillean had given her a spell that could shatter a person’s mind?

Mary started breathing faster and faster. She took out her Book of Shadows and hovered a pen above it, her thoughts scrambled by the panic in her mind. She didn't know what to tell Gillean, what to write, what to...

"Mary, calm down!” Bruno said and she realized that people were staring at her. "Let’s be rational here. There are spells that can be cast in advance and get triggered by a certain condition. This might be one of those. It might have even been part of their plan to empty their minds of any information about their accomplices if they were ever caught. You didn’t cast an awful spell that shattered anyone’s mind!

How did he know what she’d been panicking about? Had she been thinking aloud?

She looked at him and then in her Book. She concentrated on slowing down her breathing, put her pen to the paper and simply wrote "Can we talk?"

Then closed the book.

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Okay. Before anyone says something… I know this is not how Hold Person works in D&D! Buuut, Mary doesn’t play D&D, she experiences the events as they happen to her. She might be deeply emotional and sometimes jumps to the wrong conclusions, but that’s how I choose to play her, and I like it.

I hope you like her, too :) Or at least you don’t mind her being what she is. Don’t forget to ask your questions in the comments, and I’ll see you in the next episode!

Take care and be well!

Episodes of Mary Windfiddle's story come out every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
(Also, here's a link to the Chapter Guide and the Glossary for the series. You're welcome!)