Fruit of the Fallen

Threads of the Tapestry

The Thranish Connection

Part 18 of The Adventures of The Split Falchion

Liken the world to a tapestry, all of its stories displayed on a grand scale. No matter how small the part one plays, all own a thread on this epic tale. A great person such as Aurala may occupy a large swath of the cloth. Yet, a lowly commoner in the right place, at the right time, may be the central strand on which the entire foundation rests.
Such was the case with today’s story. One Cliythus Barley, one of the many farmers who inhabit the lands around Fairhaven, whose tale upon which all else is woven upon. Unfortunately for Mr. Barley, his strand is stained red, with his lifeblood.

The Crowned Leper, The Next Day, Afternoon
Marwyn had recovered somewhat from his past trials. The shock of the events of the past few days was still there, but muted by copious amounts of alcohol. The buzz had also allowed him to tell his story without abandon, though he tried his best not to embellish. Even he had to admit parts were frankly unbelievable, but Vargard seemed only to listen intently, despite what appeared to be great fatigue. Marwyn wasn’t sure what troubled him more, Vargard’s silence during the tale, or what it implied.

But Marwyn drove that out of his mind. Vargard had promised that they would be meeting with actual agents of the Royal Eyes later that night. The mere thought of that excited Marwyn. The actual Royal Eyes! He remembered the stories of his youth, of the Agent Direwolf who had inspired him to seek a greater fate. In his early teens, he had learned that others merely wrote off the Royal Eyes as a fairy tale. At best, a good children’s story, at worst, a conspiracy theory written up by Aundair’s enemies. But he had always believed.

Now, however, he had promised Lesani to show her his new ritual. Things were going smoothly, until halfway through the drawing of the runes. Lesani’s face grows pale, and she suddenly grabs Marwyn’s wrist.
“Stop!” she yells. She then somewhat hesitantly retracts her hand, and continues, “What is this rune?” pointing to the one Marwyn had just drawn.
“It… it’s just a rune, right?” Marwyn asks, taken aback. He wondered what he’d done wrong.
“Marwyn, that is…. Do you assume all runes alike?” She asks, slightly horrified.
“Aren’t they?”
“Where did you see this rune? Think hard.”
“I… I… When I was in that cell,” Marwyn says, trying to remember, “In the caves. I was trying to cast the ritual. Seeing which runes worked best. I… I think that was one of the important ones.”
“Marwyn, this rune… it is commonly used in warlock pacts,” Lesani says carefully.
“What!?” Marwyn exclaims. An indecent yell comes from outside, the conversation had grown loud enough to disturb other patrons.
“You… you hybridized the spell…” Lesani says more quietly, beside herself. “Marwyn, listen to me. You must not cast this spell again. In its modified form, at least.”
“Why?” Marwyn asks.
“Did you feel drained, after casting it?” Lesani asks.
“Yes. It went away after a moment, though.”
“As I feared,” Lesani says. She looks at Marwyn intently for a second, an odd flash in her eyes. Unnerved, but trusting her, Marwyn stays still. “Marwyn… do not feel alarmed, but, I believe the modifications you made allowed you to use your own soul to… power the spell.”
“WHAT!?” Marwyn shouts, stepping back from the ritual circle in horror.
Lesani holds up her hands calmingly, however, and continues, “But… But, Marwyn! But, it appears the energy was returned to you upon the completion of the spell. It is an interesting derivation, but I would not suggest continuing to practice this.”
“So… so I’m fine?” Marwyn asks, clutching his chest.
“Yes. As long as you refrain from using this version of the ritual. Perhaps it is best if you do something else to focus your mind. A lot has happened to you, Marwyn.”
“Thanks, Les. I will,” Marwyn says, relieved. “When does Vargard want us to meet him by?”
“Hour before sundown,” Lesani answers quickly. Her mind was clearly elsewhere. Marwyn doesn’t challenge her, however, and leaves after a quick thank you to her. He glances at the crossbow at his hip. He had an idea.
Lesani, however, sits back down, and withdraws a small journal from her pack. Inside, lie her notes on magic, penned in different inks, from different times. The most recent was an electric blue, an exotic ink she had acquired in Trolanport. It was running out, but she felt that this discovery merited her precious supply. She had an idea.

Fairhaven Undercity, Later that Night
Marwyn, and the rest of The Split Falchion, had joined Vargard in The Crowned Leper. They then underwent the same shadow movements Vargard had days prior, under strict orders to keep inconspicuous. “As inconspicuous as a hobgoblin walking down the upper city,” Jorduna had quipped, but followed his orders all the same.

Marwyn was fascinated by the patchwork of tunnels that twisted beneath the city, though his recent encounter with such terrain also chilled him slightly. The cold didn’t help either. Winter is coming. The thought comes to Marwyn unbidden. He jumps slightly at it, remembering Daigre’s final words to him. He had forgotten to include them in his story earlier, yet felt that this was hardly the time to bring them up.

“Hey,” Jorduna whispers quietly, as they walked. One found it almost impossible to speak louder in such a place. The darkness and aforementioned cold were oppressive. “What happened to that crossbow?” she asks, pointing to one of the two hanging from Marwyn’s waist. A large gash in the wood was evident.
“Jor, I hardly think this is the time,” Vargard chastises.
“I’m… trying to dual wield them,” Marwyn answers, in spite of Vargard.
“What?” Jorduna asks, in somewhat annoyed confusion. Vargard sighs, but doesn’t stop the conversation.
“Something I tried in the tunnels. I almost have the hang of it, but I still fumble a little with the bolts…” Marwyn says.
“Marwyn, why do you not just use your bow?” Lesani asks.
“I practiced with that as well. I just… I don’t know. I feel like I should be able to fire faster with two crossbows. Could be handy.” Also, it looks damn impressive when it does work, Marwyn mentally adds.
“Kid… just… just don’t stand behind me when you try something like that,” Jorduna says, eyeing the damaged handcrossbow with an anxious eye. The walk resumes the silence that had draped it since they had entered the tunnels.

The Split Falchion enters a large room, what looks to be an old storeroom. Now, however, a large map lies unfurled on a large table in the center. Two women stand behind it, one directing the other in placing markers on it. Marwyn instantly recognizes one, and, abandoning all caution, runs towards her.
“Mevalyn!” he shouts, running to and embracing her in a large hug.
“M.. marwyn!” the Cyrian bard exclaims, returning the hug. The other woman looks annoyed, but doesn’t interrupt. Instead, she turns to the other four.
“Well, I see introductions aren’t in order,” she says, dryly. Vargard recognizes the speech, it was his contact. “So you are the mercenaries Vargard holds in such high regard. Tell me, before we begin, I’m curious. What do you know of the Royal Eyes?”
“I knew it!” Marwyn exclaims, carrying the same excitement from before, “Well, I mean, I knew you had to exist after Lancaster job, but to actually see an agent in person!”
The supposed Royal Eyes agent is taken aback by Marwyn’s fervor, and casts a careful eye towards Vargard. “I thought you said you kept word of our involvement at a minimum?”
“I did. Marwyn’s… Well, let him explain,” Vargard answers.
“Marwyn. Marwyn Verdani, hometown: Wrendale. Age, 22. You have a birthday coming up in a little over a month. Good archer, better drinker. As you can no doubt see, I know a lot about you,” the woman says, in an impressive display of knowledge, “But how do you know so much about us?”
“Stories! When I was young, a soldier told us of the tales of Special Agent Direwolf. The other children didn’t believe him, but I did!” Marwyn says, completely unfazed by the agent’s show of intelligence. The agent seemed troubled by this immunity. “It’s why I left. Though… after a few months of wandering I started to doubt. But then Vargard found me, and after Lancaster I knew you existed.”
“Special…. Agent…. Direwolf…?” The agent said, deeply confused, “Who in Khyber was this soldier?”
“I dunno,” Marwyn says, “He wasn’t a soldier… no, a hunter. Yeah, he would pass through occasionally with his kills, to sell, and his thrills, to entertain the young ones. Had a lute. But I never got his name, I was too entranced by the story.”
“One day I will require you to repeat those stories to me… But not today.” The woman says. Marwyn, the closest to her, catches her mouthing the name ‘Direwolf’ a few times, as if trying to remember something herself. Mevalyn and the others had stood aside of the exchange, bemused by it. “We have…. we have business to take care of,” the agent says, still reeling from Marwyn’s speech.
“Good. First order, why the hell was Marwyn captured?” Vargard asks brusquely.
The agent begins to speak, but Mevalyn overrides her, “Please, it was my fault. I will explain. I am so, so sorry Marwyn,” she says genuinely. “When I got to Fairhaven my first thought was of you. I entrusted that letter to your warforged friend, telling you where to meet me. But then, the Royal Eyes caught me.”
“Why?” Marwyn asks.
“We knew more of your tribulations with the blue-cloaked devil than you may think. As well as Mevalyn’s role. We believed she could help us.”
“Wait, what?” Jorduna asks, breaking her silence, “You knew about that and you didn’t help?”
“Jor!” Vargard says, but the agent waves him off.
“I said I would answer your questions, would I not? You may speak freely here, do not worry of offending us, Vargard. As for you, Jor, you have dealt with us more times than you may imagine. Many times, we have hired you, through local Aundair contacts, of course. Discretion must be maintained when dealing with unknown factors. And don’t blame Vargard,” she adds, noticing a sharp look of betrayal in Jorduna’s eyes, “He himself had little imagination as to what may happen if he broke his silence.” Jorduna’s look softens, and Vargard looks grateful at the woman’s clarification.

“But what did they want from you?” Marwyn asks, ignoring the latest revelation and staring at Mevalyn, who looked back nervously.
“Information from my time with the Cyrian rebels. About a specific operation, and to see if I could snare any of my old companions. That’s… that’s what led to your arrest. They had me write a letter in the code we used, telling any agents to meet me in a specific inn. They were to bring a bundle of dandelions as identification…. But I didn’t think of you when I wrote that! I never imagined you might…”
“It’s ok, Mevalyn,” Marwyn says, smiling, “I’m just glad that you’re ok. That you might be in danger was my primary concern after I was captured.” A relieved look spreads across Mevalyn’s face, and she hugs Marwyn again. A silence falls over the scene, no one quite sure how to continue. The silence grows awkward as Marwyn and Mevalyn release each other and look to the others in the room, waiting for someone to say something.

The Royal Eyes agent coughs, and breaks the silence eventually. “Right…. Well, I am glad to see that everyone is satisfied. Let’s move to the job on hand, shall we?”
Lesani speaks up for the first time, inserting herself into the conversation after coolly observing it, “Yes, I am quite curious as to what merits our formal meeting, Agent,” she says. Of all, it is clear Lesani has the best handle on the situation.
“Lesani Windhailer… a pleasure to meet one of your standing at last. You are somewhat of a legend to us, after all.” Everyone besides Vargard bears various shades of confusion.
“What?” Marwyn is the first to ask.
“Idle flattery, I am sure,” Lesani answers evasively, glaring at the agent.
“Of course,” the Agent returns. “As the… mundane Ms. Windhailer has alluded to, something important has come up that requires you to be brought into the fold, as it were. It must be noted,” the agent says, noticing excitement rising in Marwyn, and ruthlessly shooting it down, “that we are not offering membership in our organization. Simply a… higher tier of understanding as befits assets of… no, of allies of your status,” the agent corrects himself. “It may surprise you to know that you have worked this case before.”
“Oh?” Vargard asks.
“Even you don’t have a clue, Var?” Jorduna asks, still smarting a little from what had been kept from her.
“Best start at the beginning,” the agent says, nodding to Mevalyn.
“Please, look here,” she says, gesturing to the map that had occupied both women prior to The Split Falchion’s entry.

The map was a focused section of Brelish countryside, near what was the Brelish-Cyre border. The top started at the Brey River, and descended to the top of the Seawall Mountains. The Brelish rail, as well as the road running from New Cyre and Kennrun, framed the left and top borders, while a red line ran through the center. It started at Vathirond, snaked West, and eventually met with the rail line going South, about a third of the ways from Starilaskur to New Cyre. At some point, in the middle of the red line, was an X.
This was all taken in by Marwyn, as Mevalyn began to explain.
“As I mentioned before…” she looks down, remembering something unpleasant, “I was with a group of Cyrian rebels, who wanted to reclaim our homeland and secure our people. We were good, at first. But then… like I said. Toranel changed, and we changed with him. We hit a caravan, traveling this route, sacking it here,” she says, tapping the X on the map. Redmont… Marwyn thinks to himself. That was the name he had known Toranel Oserot under. “This was… almost a year after… you know…”
“The Mourning,” the agent adds.
“Yes,” Mevalyn agrees, and then hurriedly continues, “The cargo was travelling between Flamekeep and Trolanport. Toranel didn’t know why, or at least he didn’t tell us. Apparently the rail between Starilaskur and Vathirond had been damaged, forcing them to take a land route. At the time, I thought… well, I tried not to think of it. Or why. From the mention of Thrane I had thought it was some test of loyalty from Aundair, to secure their support.”
“I can confirm we had no knowledge of this raid ahead of time,” the Agent interjects, “Toranel was acting for a different master. The mercenaries know who I speak of, as do you.”
“Yes…” Mevalyn shudders, “I still can’t believe it.”
“We should… return to the raid,” Vargard says, noticing the bard’s distress.
“Thank you,” Mevalyn nods. “The guard’s never saw us coming. We overwhelmed them quickly, and captured the cargo. Immediately afterwards, Toranel congratulated us, told Darius to take his men and wait a distance away. Then, he and his retinue loaded and offloaded until they had one cart to take away. We took the rest, which turned out to be food and other supplies. Nothing special.”
“Yes, the real cargo was on the other cart,” the agent says. “And you never knew what was in the other cart?”
“No. I only knew that they were all stamped with a name, ‘Guilihart Shipping’.” Mevalyn answers.
“Guilihart?!” Vargard says forcefully.
“Ah, you are piecing the puzzle together, Mr. Garodin,” the agent smiles. “I can almost imagine you as an agent again.”

“What!?” Jorduna and Marwyn shout as one, looking at Vargard. Cletus looks shocked too, but he keeps his usual silence.
“Oh… did we not,” the agent almost looks… embarrassed by the mental lapse. “My, sincere apologies, Mr. Garodin,” and this time, the agent does appear sincere, “I had believed we had…”
“It’s best the truth’s out,” Vargard says, anger absent in his voice, “I was with the Royal Eyes after my time in the military. I left, shortly before the war ended. Lesani was with me then, and… it’s not important right now. I’ll explain later,” he says, as a promise, to his team.
“You better,” Jorduna says, a dangerous tinge to her voice.
“Yes, well, as I was explaining before that interruption,” the agent continues, “Guilihart built her empire on shipping magical artifacts securely across the continent. Thus, it follows that if one of her caravans was ransacked, the value of items stolen must have been high, perhaps priceless. Curiously enough, we can find no information on this caravan past Ms. Aviarch. Almost as if this caravan didn’t exist.”
“What does this have to do with us?” Marwyn asks. “I mean, we met with Guilihart, but we never asked about this caravan.”
“Actually, it was before then. You’re first mission, if I am not mistaken, bard,” the agent adds, cryptically.
“My first… oh!” Marwyn replies. Lesani mirrors his look of sudden understanding.
“Var, did you know?” She asks him.
“Not at the time, Les,” Vargard answers, “But I’m figuring it out now.”
“Can someone tell me what’s going on?” Jorduna says irritably, “Feeling a little left out here.”

“Your goal, and I understand why you might have forgotten,” the agent replies, “Was to recover a mysterious package being sent to Wroat from Flamekeep. Which you had done successfully, might I add, despite the interruption of Mr. Oserot and Shar’radun.”
“So… we stole their package while they were retrieving…. wait… I’m confused…” Marwyn says.
“Understandable. It is a tangled and complex web that took us a year or so to uncover. I shall simplify it so even you can understand,” the agent says, “We suspect some… collusion between Thrane, Zilargo, and Breland, regarding transport of magical artifacts of some kind. Such a shipment was stolen by Toranel and his bandits, but they were not its owners. We suspect the Thranish government itself was. Likewise, another artifact was stolen from another of their shipments, one different than the one we were targeting. From your report,” the agent indicates Vargard, “We concluded that this… wand the blue-robed creature wanted was the primary target of that raid, years ago. Our organization is unclear as to how they learned its precise location, but we can assume they did. In any case, we are talking of a new player, and a dangerous one.”
“How dangerous?” Marwyn asks. The others seemed to follow the conversation in rapt attention, besides Lesani, who had suddenly become lost in thought.
“An alliance between Thrane, Breland, and Zilargo in this political climate…. it could be devastating. It not only suggests the start of a new war, but that the old one never really ended.”
“Madness….” Marwyn replies.
“Wait,” Lesani says, breaking from her thoughts, “The artifact that Shar’radun recovered… was of Cyrian origin!” she says, horrified.
“Yes… you grasp the true horror we face,” the agent nods, solemnly, “And the reason why this is important enough to bring you in.”
“No…” Mevalyn gasps.
“Surely not…” Vargard muses.
“The artifact you recovered from the Carmikle Warehouse was of Cyrian origin as well. A small trinket, but careful examination recovered its origin. Nothing escapes the Mournlands unscathed, not even enchantments.”
“But… but they’re the Mournlands!” Marwyn protests, “How can these artifacts come from there?”
“Reclaimers…” Mevalyn murmurs.
“Yes, that is what they are sometimes called,” the Royal Eyes agent agrees, “Bandits who loot the ruins of the Mournlands. Curiously, the mist does not extend too far into the territory, only at the boundary does it pollute the land. Some have learned where it is the thinnest, and have sought to profit. That is not to say the lands aren’t mortally dangerous, wraiths similar to the one you fought likely dot the landscape.”

“In summary, gentlemen, we believe that two of the Five Kingdoms, as well as Zilargo, have conspired to steal the wealth of Cyre. In doing so, they endanger all who come into contact with such artifacts. We still have no idea what caused the Mourning, or what effects it may have on magical items that experienced it. To say nothing of the political ramifications.”

A heavy silence falls, over the crowd. Mevalyn takes the news worst of all, affront mixed with horror and dread.
“Hey, wait,” Marwyn says, remembering something, “If this is a conspiracy, why was Captain Merrick guarding that warehouse in Passage?”
“Guilihart likely paid him off,” the agent says, “We don’t think he was a part of this. We would know for sure,” she continues, glaring at Vargard, “If someone hadn’t handed him off to the Reaches.”
“I do not remember seeing the mark of Guilihart on the crate we delivered, though,” Lesani challenges, “Just the markings of its destination.”
“Yeah, and if Vargard’s so chummy with you guys,” Jorduna follows up, in a suspicious tone, “Why the hell was Merrick allowed to send assassins after us?!”
The agent holds up a hand, and says, “One at a time. Ms. Windhailer, we believe Guilihart has stopped imprinting her company’s name onto packages of question to make it more difficult to identify them. As for you,” she says, turning the glare at Jorduna, “If you remember correctly, we did order him to back off. Had he remained in Aundair, we would likely have imprisoned him for going behind our backs.”
“Is she in’onit?” Cletus mumbles, taking the agent by surprise. She had forgotten he was there.
“W..who?”
“Guili’art.”
“It’s our opinion that she merely sees this cabal as another wealthy client. Her business is built off of discretion, of course. Her being in Breland makes it rather complicated to confirm this, and all records we had managed to find on suspicious shipments from Thrane were coded to the point of illegibility.”

“Look, I think we get the picture,” Vargard interjects, laying a hand on the table and staring at the Royal Eyes agent, “Let’s get to business. What’s the job?”
“Am… am I still needed?” Mevalyn asks, her voice breaking slightly, beforw the agent could respond. Marwyn feels himself filling with inexplicable anger towards whoever was responsible for this, whoever was forcing Mevalyn to relive her traumatic past.
“Y… yes,” The agent says, but a soft tone enters her voice, for the first time. “You will be accompanying them on this outing, as we agreed, but you may be informed of the details later. I suggest you… rest. I am sure this has been a lot to take in.” Vargard raises a single eyebrow in surprise, this is the first time he had ever seen his contact show a fraction of empathy.

The agent lays out another map, one of Fairhaven’s lower quarter, as Mevalyn leaves the room. It also includes the railyard built into the side of the city. Marwyn’s worried eyes follow Mevalyn out, but the rest are examining the map.
“You’ll be assaulting one of the auxiliary warehouses, outside of the city,” the agent begins, placing a marker on one of the warehouses.
“Hold it,” Jorduna interrupts, “I’m not fighting any Fairhaven guard if you guys can pull strings.”
“Jor…” Vargard menaces, a dangerous tone in his voice.
“I understand you concern, yet, as that comment, it is completely unwarranted,” the agent fires back, dry venom back in her voice, “The warehouse is owned by the Guilihart Shipping Company. We don’t control the men guarding it.”
“What’s our target this time?” Vargard asks, “And why do we need Ms. Aviarch?”
“As for the latter question, because our attempt at ensnaring any of her compatriots has failed miserably. We require something in exchange for her asylum, and felt this was the best way for her to repay it.” The agent pauses, judging the reactions to the statement, and continues, “As for your target, any and all shipping manifestos you can recover. We aren’t entirely sure where they are, or as to the layout of the warehouse and its guards. Planting an informant within the ranks of those who work there has proven… difficult.”
“Understood,” Vargard quickly says, sensing a rise coming from Jorduna, “I assume this is a stealth mission?”
“Indeed,” the agent nods slightly, “We can’t have the guard storm the place. Politically, we’ll survive, but I’d rather not have this shadow cabal learn that we’re on to them. That’s why I want you to acquire all of the manifests.”
“What is so important about this warehouse?” Lesani asks. “If one of our aims is to divert suspicion from your organization, would it not be wiser to target a location farther from your base of operations? Further, if the suspected compatriots are Breland and Thrane, how would the line running to Fairhaven be involved?”
“That same logic would apply to Passage,” the agent agrees, “If it were that simple. There is one final fact I have not told you, that clears up this matter.”
“Oh?” Vargard says, interested.
“Last year,” the agent begins, “During the winter, one of our citizens was found dead near the railyards. A farmhand, by the looks up it, driven to poverty by the lack of work. By the name of…” the agent pauses, and reads from a folder she had concealed on her person, “Cliythus Barley. Further investigation by the Fairhaven guard, we weren’t involved at the time, revealed he had been a part of a robbery of this very warehouse,” she says, tapping the warehouse with a marker on it, “The guard eventually recovered the stolen loot, along with… curious magic artifacts. I believe you can see where this is going.”
“That still doesn’t answer why they’re heading through Aundair, when Flamekeep has the southern line to Breland,” Vargard muses, “Mevalyn’s crew even hit a caravan that was using that track.”
“Yes… we’d like to know this as well,” the agent admits, “It does confuse matters. If we had all the answers, we would have no need of you.”
“So….” Jorduna leads.
“So,” the agent adds, somewhat irritably, “That is your mission. You already know the reward. Mevalyn has been staying in one of our barracks, but that is no longer necessary. She will join you when she is ready. There is no stringent time frame on this, but I’d expect the papers be in my hand by week’s end. That is all.”
“Thank you,” Vargard nods, and ushers his team out.

Later that night, The Crowned Leper
The Split Falchion huddle together in one room of the inn, Lesani’s charm protecting it from prying ears. Marwyn had managed to procure a small keg from downstairs, and he and Cletus were taking drafts from it.
“It’s been a while since we had a good old-fashioned stealth mission,” Jorduna says, some excitement in her voice. “When ‘ya want me to start scoping the place out?”
“Not yet,” Vargard says, “We wait for Mevalyn before we plan. I expect her tomorrow.”
“Mevalyn…” Marwyn says, downhearted.
“Everything ok, Marwyn?” Vargard asks, noticing Marwyn imbibing more than usual.
“It’s just…” Marwyn begins, searching for the words, “I don’t like the way she looked today. The fear and sadness on her face when we mentioned The Mourning.”
“It is common among Cyrian survivors,” Lesani explains, “I admit my proximity to the event still scars me to this day.”
“You were there?!” Marwyn exclaims. He looks to the rest of the group, and notices they aren’t shocked as well.
“I did not say precisely that,” Lesani says, face darkening, “But… yes. It is not a tale I like retelling.”
“Then don’t,” Vargard interrupts, “In any case, I owe an explanation.”
“Ah, that’s why you had Les ward the room,” Jorduna says, sitting up, “So tell us, Vargard, exactly how long were you a spy for the Royal Eyes?”
“It’s… it wasn’t like that,” Vargard says, “Let me start at the beginning.” Vargard leans back, against the wall, and rubs the bridge of his nose with two fingers in thought.

“I joined the army in 975, a few years after reaching manhood,” Vargard begins, “I had worked as a guard in this very city, but at the time I became full of nationalistic pride. I wanted to take the continent by storm and claim it all for the Aundair crown!”
Jorduna snorts, and says, “Can’t imagine you like that boss.”
“It was a different time,” Vargard replies, “And I, a different man. I was stationed at Fort Vanguard after basic training, and given higher rank as befitted my prior service. Within a few years, I was the rank of Lieutenant.”
“That’s when you met Ramerie!” Marwyn says, remembering the captain of the Asarclane fondly.
“Yes… that was the first time I questioned my future. I met the enemy for the first time, and found him to be just like me. It changed me, what happened there, I wasn’t content in the army anymore. But, I had enlisted for a period of 10 years,” he smiles, “When, after it was over, I announced my intentions to leave, they offered me an immediate promotion and salary increase. Couldn’t imagine why I turned it down.”
“Where’d you go?”
“Back to Fairhaven. I still wanted to serve my country, so I rejoined the guard. Then, a year later, something happened. I caught a Brelish spy planted within the royal court itself. Luck, on my part, but it caught the attention of a certain organization.”
“The Royal Eyes?” Jorduna says, completing the thought.
“Yes. I was never an agent, mind you,” he clarifies, “But I was allowed access to privileged knowledge. Took charge in several actions where the guard acted as the Eyes’ sword. Went abroad sometimes.”
“Wait,” Jorduna interjects, “Why’d you ever leave them then?”
“Hmm?” Vargard asks.
“Sounds like a pretty good deal,” Jorduna explains. “Not one I’d give up.”

“That… that’s another matter,” Vargard says, taking care to keep his face clear of any emotion. “One to which I am bound by another oath not to disclose.”
“Ah… come on!” Jorduna protests.
“Jor, you are not exactly someone who can complain about keeping parts their past hidden,” Lesani counters.
“Fine,” she concedes. “Is that all?”
“Yes. We’ll reconvene tomorrow once Mevalyn returns to us. It is getting late,” Vargard answers. “Rest well. Tomorrow, we plan a heist.”

Continued in Part 19, The Warfallin Job – Papers, Please

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