Artemis Entreri sat on the edge of his bed, a distant and glazed look in his eye. He thumped his dagger repeatedly into a piece of wood next to him. The sound was somewhat calming to the beleaguered assassin. Though he seemed vacant he was consumed by long forgotten memories that plagued at his very soul.
Jarlaxle peered at him slyly, feigning sleep. He often watched Entreri in such a discreet manner attempting to discern if he was getting worse or better. A pang of uncomfortable guilt settled in the drow mercenary’s chest. It was he who had given Artemis Idalia’s flute which made the assassin so distant. He had pried open the soul of Artemis Entreri thoroughly hoping that it would make him a better man. Now they just had to wait for the wounds to heal.
Jarlaxle stirred and began to yawn and stretch, alerting Entreri to the fact that he was waking up. Artemis immediately arranged his face in his customary scowl, glaring at the drow. Jarlaxle was always astounded that this human could so easily mask his feelings. Jarlaxle sleepily stumbled over to the wash basin and splashed water on his face. As he dried his face he looked over at Artemis, seemingly noticing the assassin for the first time. “Are you coming down for breakfast?” Jarlaxle asked. Artemis did a quick survey of his surroundings. He remembered then that they were in an inn at Neverwinter. Artemis, still scowling, lifted a shoulder half-heartedly. “Very well” sighed an exasperated Jarlaxle, “but you can’t stay here forever. We have important business here today.” Before Jarlaxle exited the room he threw a quick wink at the assassin.
A little while later down in the common room of the inn, Jarlaxle and Artemis sat enjoying a fine breakfast. Jarlaxle chatted with any who would listen about the extraordinary things he and Artemis had done together. Artemis simply sat and glared, remaining ever alert for possible dangers.
Herzgo Alegni the tiefling, lay in a fitful sleep. He heard his name being called, pleading for him to rescue it. Pleading. The tiefling awoke with a start with only one thought in his mind. I must get Charon’s Claw for myself.
The tiefling aroused his minions and decided to begin looking for the infamous weapon. A weapon only he deserved to wield.
Jarlaxle and Artemis finished their meal and began to go about the task of the day. They were tracking down a fleeing rogue who had been rumored to be a shade. Artemis hated shades, though ironically he possessed a small amount of shadow stuff in himself. They had heard that the rogue, Kallo, was on a caravan headed out of the city at this very moment. Jarlaxle and Artemis quickly positioned themselves ahead of the caravan in a pass that would make it very difficult for the little rogue to run. Then they simply waited.
The caravan showed up in short order, though neither Jarlaxle nor Artemis could actually see Kallo. Jarlaxle stepped out of a near out cropping nearly making the driver feint from fright. Jarlaxle chuckled at the typical response.
“Excuse me good sirs, but I am looking for a thief named Kallo. Have you possibly seen him anywhere?” Jarlaxle asked sweetly.
“Now we don’t want no trouble with ye. We just want to keep going to the North lands,” began the leader tentatively.
Jarlaxle realizing the terror on this man’s face, swept into a low bow. “Your pardon but we have not been introduced my name is Jarlaxle.”
The man visibly relaxed at the name. “My name is Ezekial. And this be my caravan. I have not heard of any Kallo on my team,” replied the leader.
“Are you sure?” Jarlaxle asked “he could be traveling by a false identity?”
As Jarlaxle chatted with Ezekial, Artemis slipped around the back of the caravan silent as the shadows. He was surveying the carts when a flicker of movement caught his eye. All the way at the back, trying to slip off, was Kallo. Artemis moved himself so he would be in an intercepting path. Kallo was so terrified that he almost stumbled over the hidden assassin. The assassin flicked out his magnificent jeweled dagger to rest easily at the throat of Kallo. The thief trembled visibly and began to whine. Artemis fixed him with his most powerful glare and told him simply “Move and your dead” Kallo didn’t doubt his words for a minute.
Entreri paraded the thief up through the caravan to join Jarlaxle. “Ah,” Jarlaxle said “It seems you had a stole away on your caravan.” Ezekial looked horrified that the thief had been found on his caravan. But Jarlaxle merely waved him away and began the road back to Neverwinter.
They had made it so they were only a short distance to the city, when Jarlaxle heard a strange sound and Artemis caught a flicker of movement. Then they knew they were being ambushed. A huge hulking figure stepped out into the road. At first they thought it was some kind of giant barbarian but closer inspection revealed it to be a huge tiefling. The figure simple stood smiling cruelly at the three of them.
“My name is Herzgo Alegni. I am the greatest tiefling in all the realms and I will be taking that sword.” He nodded to Charon’s Claw that was in Entreri’s hand.
“What could you…” Jarlaxle began but Entreri cut him short “No.” he stated flatly.
“Very well” Herzgo roared “you have chosen death!”
Just then 10 men appeared out of the shadows, all shades. They quickly encircled Jarlaxle and Artemis who had formed a protective circle around Kallo. Not for any fear of the man’s safety but they simply wanted to get paid. The battle began in full force. Jarlaxle quickly put a globe of darkness on one pair, and then engaged another. Artemis began weaving and ducking, waiting for the correct opportunity. The pair Jarlaxle had hit was at first confused thinking he would have gone in the darkness. He weaved his magnificent swords individually defeating any attacks these two could muster. Then with a flourish each sword was found plunged deeply into the two foe’s throats. He spun away to throw quick knives in the darkness where the men had just begun to recover. The only confirmation that they hit their mark was two short grunts followed by heavy sickening splats. Artemis found his opening and made short work of the pair of shades he had engaged. Artemis then did a quick survey of the battle and found four shades starting to flank him, he enacted the power of his fabulous sword Charon’s Claw and made an opaque wall of smoke. The four shades rushed in as one and ended up fighting each other. Entreri circled the entwined combatants slipping each quietly to death.
Herzgo Alegni watched the battle with interest. He didn’t think that these two lone men could take on all of his shades and live. When Entreri pulled his devilish trick, Herzgo’s lust for the sword grew. He watched the assassin finish off his shades with a gleam in his eye. Jarlaxle managed to catch the look and knew their problems had only begun.
Jarlaxle and Artemis made their way back to town with Kallo in tow. They found their employer waiting for them back at the inn. The man was tall and thin. He had a sunken face and a hollowed look about him. He had black greasy hair and dark blue eyes. Entreri already done with the day shoved the man forward, then looked expectantly at the thin man. He surveyed his prey, a malicious glint in his eye. Apparently satisfied, he reached down and took out a coin purse. Artemis didn’t even bother to count the money, it was all there. If it wasn’t, he and the thin man knew that would be the end of his life. Without a word, Entreri went upstairs to their room and slammed the door. Jarlaxle knew that the assassin needed some time alone, besides he had more pressing matters to attend to.
Jarlaxle walked outside of town to a small grassy knell. There he removed his treasured eye patch that keeps mental intrusions out and called for Kimmuriel, his psionic lieutenant. Kimmuriel showed up in short order and waited silently for Jarlaxle’s reasoning’s, he had never been one for uncomfortable pleasantries. “What do you know of a tiefling named Herzgo Alegni?” Jarlaxle inquired. Kimmuriel studied him quietly for a moment then said “Give me an hour.” Jarlaxle nodded and Kimmuriel vanished.
An hour later, Kimmuriel reappeared and regaled Jarlaxle with horrible atrocities and disturbing tales. “In short, Herzgo Alegni is not to be taken lightly.” Kimmuriel finished. Jarlaxle nodded grimly, “Any weaknesses?” “None that I could discern at this moment in time,” Kimmuriel replied. Again Jarlaxle merely nodded. He would have to do something he wouldn’t like. He dismissed Kimmuriel with the task of finding someone very dear to Artemis Entreri.
Jarlaxle’s next stop was Herzgo Alegni’s camp. He slipped by all the guards without a whisper of a sound. Another unnerving sight was the sheer amount of shades in this encampment. The sight served as a poignant reminder that what Jarlaxle was about to do was indeed the right path. When Jarlaxle reached the correct tent he found Alegni was not there, so he reclined on an overstuffed chair and waited. Not long after, the tiefling walked into the tent then froze in his tracks at the sight of the drow reclining on his chair. He waited patiently for an explanation.
“We have business to discuss,” the drow said pointedly.
Herzgo raised his eyebrow and said, “Go on.”
“I have something that you desire and you have something I desire. I think we can reach some kind of arrangement for Charon’s Claw.” Jarlaxle said.
“It is not only the weapon I desire now,” Alegni spat, “I must have the human who wields it as well!”
This took Jarlaxle back a step. “Oh Artemis, what have you done now?” Jarlaxle silently mused. “I see, well I am in a position to deliver both to you…for the right price.”
“What do you desire?”
“I would like to be free and I would like to open trade between the drow and the shades for the mutual profit.” Jarlaxle stated.
Herzgo thought for a moment then nodded. “I will come to the town in an hour to collect the man and the sword.” Jarlaxle nodded and stood to leave. “Pleasure doing business with you!” The drow said cheerily before making his exit. He did not like this plan, not one bit.
Jarlaxle returned to the city to put the plan into motion. He sent up silent sentries about the city to make sure that this Herzgo Alegni wouldn’t cross him, then he went to collect Artemis’ incentive to give himself up. Soon Herzgo Alegni made his way into the city with a score of shades with him. Jarlaxle sighed this was it. He gathered up his courage then yelled at the inn for Artemis Entreri to come out. Artemis walked out the door to the inn with blank confusion on his face. Then he saw who was with Jarlaxle and that look turned to sheer hatred. Jarlaxle had Callihye at knife point! Callihye was a woman who he had loved but in the end she tried to kill him. He still had feelings for her and Jarlaxle knew it. “Artemis you are to surrender your sword and yourself to Herzgo Alegni,” Jarlaxle stated. Entreri stood there for a moment weighing his options. He could try to escape but then Callihye would certainly be killed. He could try to fight Jarlaxle but knew that to be a foolish idea. Jarlaxle was never surprised. Eventually he did give the sword to Herzgo Alegni but not the stitched glove. He was hoping that Charon’s Claw would melt the tiefling’s skin and swallow his soul. Herzgo walked over to the sword and picked it up. An evil grin spread on his face. “You thought this would kill me, didn’t you? Well I can assure you that this sword and I are truly one.” Just then a sudden thought popped into his head and he bade one of his shades to fetch something. The shade returned in short order with a tuning fork. Then Herzgo banged the fork against the sword. Artemis fell to his knees. That wicked fork was more pain than he had ever known, the pain gripped at his very nerves. He attempted to stand but was denied such dignity. Herzgo laughed cruelly at Entreri’s feeble attempt. Two shades cuffed Artemis while he was still fighting the pain, then began to drag him away. Artemis stared at Jarlaxle the whole time with such hatred. Jarlaxle thought he will never forgive me for this.
Jarlaxle called Kimmuriel again without his eye patch to return Callihye. “You mean to rescue him,” Kimmuriel stated. Jarlaxle nodded and gazed in the general direction he thought Artemis Entreri was. “Bregan D’aerthe needs its leader again. Too much is going on in the city for me to handle on my own.” Kimmuriel said. Jarlaxle chuckled “I have faith that you can manage.” Kimmuriel shook his head, “You do not understand.” Then he added “We need you” too quietly for Jarlaxle to hear. Jarlaxle was laying out his plans to rescue Artemis in his head when all of the sudden it began to slip away. Jarlaxle gasped then stared wide eyed as Kimmuriel stripped and locked away all thought of Artemis Entreri. Jarlaxle would never rescue his human companion.