Shaintar_J&L_Rangers of Sog

At what cost?

The line between commitment and obsession

The light from the tavern flickered on street as the occupants moved about. The muffled sounds rose and fell sharply as the door opened and shut leaving a goblin standing on the street. He leaned against the wall for a moment and waited until he regained some semblance of balance before making his way into the crisp night.

The drink had been good and the dice gracious. Geny had been savvy enough to leave before either turned on him. His coin pouch was heavy, but not so much that anyone would feel poorly about it tomorrow. Content and relaxed, the nit never saw the figure emerge from the shadows of an alley he passed. The larger form leaned down to whisper to him.

“I am pleased you did not keep me waiting longer.”

Geny suppressed a scream. No matter how insignificant or important a matter, Kassegore always took an ambush approach. In the couple short weeks they’d been “acquainted” the dregordian had been waiting around a corners, in shadows, and once even in Geny’s home, though how something almost the size of an ogre managed to fit without breaking anything still baffled him.

He took a few calming breaths and suppressed the urge to run before speaking. “You could just leave me messages like a normal person.” Geny had never known a dregordian before but still had the distinct impression Kassegore was not like others of his kind.

Kassegore tilted his head slightly. “Those can be intercepted and I still require our affiliation remain unknown for now.”

There were already a number of rumors surrounding the Beast of Thul, none of them very complimentary unless you considered being feared and talented at ending lives positive traits. About half of them would explain Kassegore’s desire for secrecy and those didn’t even cover the relationship the dregordian maintained with the Twilight Priest. Whatever the truth of matter, it was undeniable that carnage and chaos followed the pair as puppies trailed after their masters.

Geny waited for his conspirator to continue as he mentally tallied off their dealings. The businesses the Rangers were now backing were stable and required no oversight for the time being. The personal cabin the dregordian wanted was already under construction and making good progress. The artificer had been bribed with enough arcfire devices to keep silent about the enhancements being done on the armor. So, he concluded, this must be about something new. Marvelous.

Kassegore stared at him for a long moment. The reptilian gaze seemed significant and all the more unnerving because he couldn’t figure out why. Finally the deep voice spoke. “Do you or any you trust have contacts in the occupied gathers?”

In a way Geny had known this was coming. It was far sooner than expected but perhaps the Beast demanded more blood sacrifices before the arrival of winter. “You’re asking us to risk our lives and the lives of our families.”

“Both are already wagered living as non-humans under Prelacy rule. If your kind cannot be bothered to work for their own interests then they are unworthy of my attention, much less my efforts.”

The callous dismissal of his race inflamed Geny. “You cold, scaly bastard, I didn’t say we wouldn’t do it. Don’t you dare threaten to walk away from this simply because you can’t understand this kind of sacrifice…”

The nit never finished his tirade as he was picked up and slammed into a wall. Geny gulped as he stared at the rows of sharp moving teeth and realized he didn’t know if he was speaking to Kassegore or the Beast. “Insolent nit! You know nothing of what I have sacrificed. I have given everything…”

As Geny was dropped to the ground he caught a fleeting glimpse of emotion before Kassegore could regain control. Never had the Beast come without the threat of violence. Whatever happened must have wounded his ally deeply. He tried a different approach in the interest of self-preservation.

“Exactly what will you do with this intelligence?” Geny probed.

Kassegore shifted its weight and got down on one knee to look the nit in the eye. Geny was slightly awed. No one ever did that for them. “I will bring war to the Prelacy. I will teach them fear as they have never known and watch as all they hold dear and sought to protect is reduced to ash.”

His eyes gleamed at the idea of revenge. “Do you promise?”

“With or without the aid of the Rangers, bring me what I need and I swear I will see to the Prelacy’s devastation or die in the attempt.” With that it stood and walked away.

Geny watched it leave. “Truly, the Prelacy is right to fear that one.” Only after he returned home did the full gravity of the situation press upon him. Geny stared into the fire as he poured himself a drink and wondered how far he was willing to go for vengeance. If Kassegore was so committed to the Prelacy’s destruction was there any limit to what he might do or sacrifice? Ultimately, could its allies bear the dregordian any more than its enemies? Geny’s lips curled but his smile held no humor. “Could they bear us?”

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Saiderin WongNumber7

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