It didn’t take us too long to find Mortimer’s home. A magnificent palace of a mansion sitting on the top of a hill, it’s deep red stone walls towered above the city of Tirisfall. Massive black marble pillars held aloft a balcony which encircled the entirety of the mansion, while floor to ceiling windows trimmed in yet more black marble were framed with dark mahogany shutters, to match the elaborately carved front doors. In the center of an encircling path stood a fountain once again carved of black marble and depicting a roaring dragon with water spraying from it’s open maw. As I stood dumbfounded at the sheer gaudiness of the entire house, and elaborately kept grounds surrounding it, Arc leaned over to me and said, “Looks like Iados is better off than we thought. Eh Rook?”
“You could say that.” I laughed, looking up at the double mahogany front doors. They depicted epic battle scenes, and meetings with the gods themselves, and were decorated with huge brass dragon head knockers to match the fountain. I had a sneaking suspicion that somewhere in the house there was a stuffed dragon or something of the sort. One of the most illegal and highly coveted black market items one can possibly find. Right behind White Dragoon scales and Unicorn horns. The kind of stuff that they don’t even class on the black market because they won’t sell it, it’s that illegal. “Shame we’re probably going to end up destroying the house. It’s a bit gaudy for my tastes, but it’s a work of art.”
Arc laughed and banged one of the knockers, setting our plan into motion. A moment later we heard muttering coming from behind the door. As it grew closer, I started to be able to hear what he was saying, and noticed that he sounded vaguely familiar. “People comin’ ’round ‘ere all hours o’ the nigh’ wakin’ me up all nigh’ ‘n’ day through. Min’taur can’ ge’ a wink o’ rest ’round ‘ere t’ save ’is life.” Arc and I looked around, it was the middle of the day, and I couldn’t help but wonder what this minotaur was doing sleeping, seeing as he was obviously a servant.
Just as the thought crossed my mind the door was slammed open by a very large, and very intimidating, white minotaur. “Wha’ in blazes d’ you lot wan’?” he growled, arms folded across his massive chest. I recognized him as one of the other guards from the train. He had hit it off with Patches and they had started drinking, this was mostly so that I cold steal the shard, but Patches did say he actually liked the guy. They were from neighboring tribes so they had a lot to talk about. It looked to me though, that Patches’ drinking buddy, was also Mortimer’s butler.
“We’re here to speak with Mr. Mortimer.” Arc said, standing up strait and puffing up just a bit. The butler dwarfed Arc and I, a feet in and of itself. Arc’s a big guy. He’s 6′2" and weighs around 200lbs, and I’m 6′4". I’ll admit I have nothing on Arc in whey of muscle, but to make the two of us feel small you have to be larger than life. The butler looked the two of us up and down and flexed his arms.
“D’ you ’ave an appoin’ment?” He stood up strait at this point and I realized that he was even taller than I thought. He couldn’t have been more than an inch or two shorter than Patches, who stood nearly eight feet tall. Arc and I looked at each other in a panic, this had not been a part of the plan. But looking at the Minotaur gave me an idea. In a split second I went from anxious to exasperated.
“Arc,” I said, “I thought you made that appointment?” I looked up at the Minotaur, “I am so sorry sir. I suppose we’ll just have to come back some other time. I’ll have Arc here make an appointment with you while I run ahead to do some errands. I’ll see you back at the inn Arc. Have a nice day Mr..... I’m sorry I don’t think I caught your name.” He looked shocked for a fraction of a second before he answered.
“It’s Koorsath. Koorsath Fangborn.” He said. I faked shock and whipped my head from Koorsath to Arc a few times.
“Did you hear that Arc? Koorsath Fangborn, in the flesh! Never thought we’d see him again did we?” Arc caught on quickly and started putting on the same act as me.
“No can’t say that I did Rook. How ya been buddy? Still hung over?”
Koorsath glared at us for a few minutes “Do I know you two?” he asked raising an eyebrow.
“Yes my friend you do. Although I wouldn’t expect you to remember us. You were quite intoxicated when we last spoke. You and our friend Patches shared a few kegs on the a tram ride and still more in Heimdall.” I took a look at the pocket watch installed in Arc’s mettle arm, “Well my friend I must be off. Lots to do since we don’t have that appointment. It was good to see you.” He grunted and I walked off.
Once I got out of his site I did a little trick of mine that makes me completely invisible. Standard spell really, but extremely useful. It makes getting into places a lot easier. I walked back up the drive just in time to hear Arc “making an appointment”. I hoped he wasn’t serious, I had a feeling he wasn’t but you never can tell with Arc. Not really. Of course when I heard what he was saying I realized he was making a complete joke of it. “Well what do you have open on Friday the thirteenth between eight o’clock and midnight?” He asked. Poor Koorsath looked like he was about to kill him.
“Wha in ’ell’s name ‘s tha’ ‘ave t’ do with wha’ you wan’ t’ speak wif Mr. Mor’imer abou’? I though’ we deci’ed on a time anyway?” I couldn’t stick around for his answer because I was about to fall over laughing, but I have a feeling it was a show worth a pretty gold piece.
I moved silently around the house, looking for places to get in without being seen. It didn’t take me long to find a nice trellis right underneath an open window. I had to laugh, it was almost like he was inviting me in. Up the trellis I went with ease, what I hadn’t noticed though, was that there was about a four foot gap between the top of the trellis, and the ledge of the window. I had to make a quick jump. By this point I was getting too tired to keep my cloaking spell going and had to become visible again. The thing about that spell, is that it works great for jobs that don’t require a lot of extra work; watching a target for example; but if you have to move about or do anything strenuous, it wouldn’t last very long.
One quick jump onto the ledge and I was gold. I landed perfectly. The window was at the end of a short hallway, with no doors, and a couple small paintings on the walls. I had also found myself face to face with one of the servants. She was young, brunette, pretty, and looked like she was going to pass out she was so scared. That’s what gave me an idea that was just too perfect to pass up.
I smiled. I knew I looked like some kind of giant black bird crouched on the window seal. My hood was up and in just the right position that you couldn’t see anything above the tip of my nose. I stood up and stepped down slowly, I was drawing from memories of Scourge. The lich that called the demon for me all those years ago, allowing me to become a warlock. He is, for lack of better term, disturbing. Insane, and brilliant. A wealth of information, and a headache. The perfect mentour for someone looking to invoke fear on a regular basis.
I moved slowly, and let out a laugh that mimicked the crazy old litch, cracked and manic. Her eyes widened and turned into mirrors that let me see exactly what she was seeing. A dark hooded figure walking slowly towards her, while all she could do was stand frozen. I reached her in a few strides, backing her against the wall, placed my hands on either side of her head, and leaned in as if I were about to kiss her. She was barely five feet tall, allowing me to bend and twist like a snake in front of her.
I let the light fall on my red eye and smiled the smile of an assassin. “I’m gonna let you in a on a little secret girly.” she nodded, probably too terrified to speak, “Silence is golden, but my knives are silver. If you tell anyone what you just saw, I promise you this. You won’t like what happens to you. If anyone comes after me, I’ll know exactly who told them I was here. Is that understood?”
She nodded again “Yes sir.” her voice was shaking.
I smiled and let out a laugh that made her cringe “Good girl. Now go back to whatever you were doing.” I let her go and she ran around the corner. I waited until her footfalls slowed to a walk and went the opposite direction in search of Mortimer’s office. I couldn’t tell you how many doors I had to open to find it. One of the doors had Mortimer himself behind it.
He stood infront of a mirror flexing and making kiss faces. The Cambion doppelganger of Jim Butcher. Massive and rock solid, Mortimer looked like he could tear your head from your body without so much as breaking a sweat. His horns were perfectly polished, and his red skin was flawless. His tail whipped back and forth behind him. Mortimer was the picture of intimidation, until he spoke. “L-l-l-lookin g-good Mortimer. L-l-lookin g-g-good.” he stuttered. His voice only just lower than most women’s. I had to fight myself to hold in the laughter threatening to escape my lips, and slowly closed the door.
Several doors and a couple staircases later I finally found his office on the top floor. I didn’t even have to open the door to know it was his office. Double mahogany doors just like the front door, with the same dragon head knockers. I shook my head and pushed them open. The inside was just as ridiculously overdone as the outside. fifteen foot ceiling, giant mahogany desk that looked like it was probably elven made, and pretty old to boot. He had book cases that went from floor to ceiling, also made of mahogany, and everything was timed in white gold. A rug that looked to be woven from silk and actual gold threads adorned the polished floor, and a chandaleir of snow dragon scales hung from the ceiling.
I shook my head at the overdone office and began my search, all but tearing the entire place apart with no luck. I checked every drawer of every filing cabinet and all the drawers in his desk. I pulled out every book, picked up every knick-knack, and even tapped on every floor board. I looked behind picture frames, and read every scrap of paper. Nothing. I should have guessed it of course. If there was one thing I knew about Iados Mortimer, it’s that he is far from stupid. He may be annoying and full of himself, but he is a genius.
I sat down in the leather chair that was behind his desk, trying to get into his head and think like him. Turns out I didn’t need to. I noticed something that I hadn’t seen while riffling around earlier. Underneath a very ornately carved cigar box, which I had already looked through, was a string that didn’t look like it belonged there. I knew it was far fetched and highly unlikely, but I figured I might as well try every option. Picking it up and found that it was actually attached to the desk, so I pulled on it.
Metallic clicks rolled through the floor, and one of the book cases slid back into the wall and to the side revealing a room that was about half the size of his office, filled to the brim with everything from chaos shards too elemental hearts. Crates of Snow Dragon scales and dragon claws were lining the walls, along with several staffs that had belonged to the most dangerous Mages in history, that every book I had ever read said had been destroyed. I wasn’t sure but I even thought I saw a bundle of unicorn horns sticking out of a black velvet bag on a shelf. “Well well well Iados,” I muttered “looks like you’re into more than you let on you slick bastard. Let’s see what I can do to make this look as arcane, as possible shall we?”
I backed out of the room, so that I wouldn’t get skewered and let loose an iron spike of dis right in the middle of the room. I heard screams from every corner of the house, plus out the open window. This was paired with footsteps running up the stairs, that had me climbing up the spike as fast as I could, and onto the roof. The whole time thanking the gods that I had been on the top floor. I laughed when a thought popped into my head, just as I was jumping down from a low point on the house and running to the spot where I had seen Arc hiding in one of the gardens near the gate.
“Well Arc,” I said when I finally caught up with him and we took off out the gate and into the crowd of people that were heading the opposite direction as fast as possible “If Andraste, Damon, and Patches couldn’t find us before, they sure as hell can now.”