Curse of the Crimson Throne

Blood and Oaths

Skeletons of Scarwall, Interlude

Signing on with the Crimson Blades has been a whole lot of hurry up and wait for the last day and a half, with Nox having little more to do but enjoy discounted drinks at the rowdy Common House bar. After the lunch crowd thins out, Nox takes his leave from a conversation with Kyra and heads to the latrines. After doing his business, he is set to leave when a figure in a dark green cloak shoves him back inside the stall, a knife to his throat.

“We have to stop meeting like this,” Freya whispers in his ear. “Care to explain why the hell you’re in here drinking with the Crimson Blades instead of carrying out our benefactor’s commission? You do remember who you work for, yes?”

Nox lets out an audible sigh as he pulls Freya’s hand and knife away from his throat, “Indeed, although I’m glad at least you had the decency letting me finish pissing first, unlike last time.”

He gives her a bit of a glare as he continues, “Obviously there was a problem, and I dealt with it. I’m not that idiot Raven, who hides behind shadows and empty promises. Our employer knows what to expect from me, and knows that I get results.”

Nox pauses a bit to give a look around the general vicinity, before continuing in a lower tone, “As I said, there was a complication. Slim’s dead, happened before I got here, in Scarwall.”

“I’m sorry you were cheated of your revenge, Aquilos,” Freya says, a tinge of sadness in her pale blue eyes. “I know what that’s like.”

“Figures,” Nox began to say with a tired look in his eyes, " he’d been playing hands with borrowed time, it doesn’t surprise me that it caught up with him. At least he finally got what he deserved."

Knife suddenly gone, Freya claps him on the shoulder. “And I know you are a man of honor, who keeps his word above all else. But you’re no spy.”

With her other hand, she dangles his coin purse in front of his nose and he angrily snatches it back. The Content Not Found: ulfen woman grins, but the smile never reaches her eyes.

“I never claimed to be,” he replied, clearly not amused, “you know I hate all that cloak and dagger business. I prefer…”

Nox grabs Freya’s butt with one hand, pulling her close to him while pinning her against the sides of the stall, his other hand grabbing a few platinum coins she had tried to palm and hide in her cleavage, “…a little more shock and awe.”

A bit of a lecherous grin streaks across his face for a moment but fades quickly as he lets her go, and steps out of the stall.

“As for the medallion,” he starts to say while turning back toward her, “all I know is the Blades have it somewhere, and only way I get it is if I help them out with their little Korvosa problem. I see it as a win-win, in light of recent events, but it means a delay in the plan. Its cleaner than Amprei could hope for, and he’ll have his record cleaned with Korvosa after we deal with their Queen.”

Nox pauses again to light a bit of tobacco. "It changes what he promised me, however, " he said, “now that Slim is dead. I’m sure he had a contingency plan in place, didn’t he?”

“You do know your shock and awe,” Freya smirks, tugging up the top of her shirt and smoothing the wrinkles from her clothes. A familiar ring gleams on her left hand as she brushes some loose strands of blond hair from her face. “But someday you’re going to put those big hands where they’re not welcome. When that happens, you’ll lose more than a few trinkets.”

She tosses the ring of protection back to him, then leans forward to take a whiff of the tobacco. The Ulfen woman closes her eyes and exhales the smoke slowly. She holds out a hand to borrow the pipe.

“As you say, there have been complications,” Freya speaks in a low voice. “And of course, our benefactor is willing to up your fee in compensation for your loss.”

She cocks her head curiously. “But that’s not quite what you’re looking for, is it?”

Nox gives her a little nod, admiring her handiwork as he passed over his pipe.

“You assume much, for someone of your status, " he begins in a stern, tense voice, that relaxes in his next breath, “but yes you are correct. Money has been of little consequence to me. Money can buy a life to take, but not to restore.”

Nox turns away from Freya to grab something tucked away beneath his armor, and quickly faces her again, a sealed letter in hand, "Once I have the medallion, I will expect these to be processed. "

He motions for the pipe as he extends the letter to her, “I would prefer that you didn’t open it, so if you really must know I suppose there’s no harm in telling you: it’s a formal request to restore a minor house’s standing in the official records, and to move that house’s holdings to the colony of Korvosa, no further compensation required. I’m quite confident that it should please him to know that this quest for the medallion will cost him no further in gold. Don’t you agree?”

The Ulfen woman takes a long draw on the pipe and then breathes out a perfect ring of smoke that catches Nox’s head in a hazy halo. Freya admires her handiwork through half-open eyes.

“Mmm, the good Chelaxian stuff,” she murmurs, reluctantly handing the pipe back to him. She takes the letter, turning it over in her hands to smirk at the crest pressed into the black wax seal.

Nox nods with the return of his pipe, taking a second long drag from the pipe himself. “Not just any Chelaxian stock, but from the last of my family reserve. Our land produced the best crops in Westcrown, or so I’m told.”

Taking a last drag from his pipe, he empties it soon after and places it back into his coat pocket.

“Paperwork has its own price, as you should know,” Freya says, tucking the letter inside her shirt. She pulls her dark hood back up, draping her eyes in shadow. “Our benefactor won’t be happy about this complication, but I’m sure he’ll accommodate your request. You’ve given him little choice.”

“A small price for a man like him,” Nox says flatly while pulling out a small, walnut sized sack of coins, holding them lax between two fingers, “only that it’ll mean a fortune to me is what will annoy him.”

The Ulfen rogue presses past him into the hall, dragging a pale finger across his chest as she does. Face half-shrouded by the cloak, she turns back to smile sadly at him. "You’ll get your reward—but I think a mercenary’s life suits you far better than idle nobility ever will.”

His fingers no longer in possession of his coins, Nox immediately snaps his arms into place, crossed firmly against his chest.

“My restored title doesn’t mean I shall be idle,” he declares. “No, far from it, there will be much bloodshed and scores to settle before I will be able to rest again. I’m sure we’ll be in touch then as well, so stay alive…”

“Watch your back out there, too, Lord Nox," Freya says.

“That was my grandfather’s name,” he smiles. “I like the sound of that. I’ll like it more when it rings true.”


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