The rain slants down insistently, making mirrors of flagstones and soft halos around the glow lights. It is the kind of dark that only seems to occur during heavy rainfall – an edgy black and white dark that makes you jumpy and plays tricks on your eyes.
You are leaving for “home” after a long day looking for a mission at Morgraive University. Knocking on professor’s doors just gave more entries to add to the list of rejection excuses that had been building over the last few days: “we have already used up our expedition funds for the term”, “sorry – the professor is on sabbatical”, “sorry, we only hire adventurers with a track record”. One rejection was particularly harsh. An elegantly attired young man had looked you all up and down after hearing your request and responded with “I am sure she won’t be interested. She only hires professionals”.
Not wanting to write off the whole day, you take advantage of your location to get a decent and affordable meal at the commons, atop the Dallanan tower that houses the university. After sampling the varied faires in the depressing afternoon drizzle you decide to call it a day and head towards the Sky Taxi landing. As you walk, the wind and rain increases, causing more than one of you to shiver in your damp clothes.
Up ahead, not joining in on the desultory conversation, Ander lifts his hand to point at something on a bridge ahead. Looking up, you see the dim outline of a body sprawled in the shadows between two glow-lights. Brelza springs into action. Sensing danger she dives into a bush beside the parapet. The others move forward, drawing their weapons cautiously. Godric rushes first to the body, hoping to render assistance. It is too late. A shockingly large pool of blood is being washed away by the rain, and the staring eyes have glazed over. A middle aged man lies face down. He wears the top-robe of a University Scholar. Brelza recovers from her reaction, and moves in, quickly divesting the body of its coin purse, some ID papers and a fine wallet that was clutched in his outstretched hand.
As Brelza stoops, Salazar hears a suspicious sound. “Watch out – something’s funny under the bridge” he warns, but before anyone else can react, a lithe black-cloaked figure spings over the parapet and leaps towards Brelza’s unprotected back. Almost in slow motion, he closes the gap and a short blade flickers out. There is a sickening wet-meat sound and Brelza arches her back in agony as a crimson slash rips through her robes. The assassin raises its sword to finish her, but Velleman fires, putting off the attack and landing his quarrel in hits side. You see the strange eyes of the assassin flare up in intensity. Godric mutters an exhortation to the Sovereign Host and Brelza’s wounds close and her pain diminishes as he steps forward and ducks under the raised arm of the attacker, swinging his Warhammer upward in a smooth blow catching the side of its head. There is an audible crack, and the assassin crumples like a sack. Not satisfied, Godric smashes the head with a sickening crunch, revealing a disturbing array of grey material with fine silver lines running through it – seemingly pulsing faintly. She – for subtle design curves and features reveal a female design – was a warforged. As you stare, there is a high pitched whirring noise and a small object springs up from her chest and veers suddenly off and away from the bridge, disappearing into the rain.
A scream echoes around you as someone from a balcony belatedly screams bloody murder. “Murder! They’re killing someone! Call the Watch” another chimes in. You look around nervously, and look to make yourselves scarce. Hardly pausing to loot the fallen warforged, you scurry on over the bridge.
“Hold it right there!” a stentorian voice, used to being obeyed booms. Ahead of you, a stout but short figure holds a crossbow that is pointed unwaveringly at the lead party member. Two other figures loom, holding halberds at the ready. They each bear the insignia of the the Sharn Watch.