The Lord of Kaos

Chapter Three: Out of the Sack

Pondering when the time would come to cut himself out of his burlap prison, Nicodemus sat agitated. He was on a horse now he thought, galloping away to the Gods know where. At first he had mapped out the route in his mind as the rider pushed onward, but the horse had taken so many twists and backtracks that Nicodemus could not tell where they could possibly be heading. It felt like he had been in there for hours upon hours; for all he knew they could be halfway to Lake Tarnok by now. Eventually exhaustion took over his eyelids and he fell into deep nightmares of lifeless eyes and horrible Elven screeches…

Nicodemus woke with a start, sitting upright before his eyes fully opened. Well this is better than a sack! The room was lavishly furnished with a wardrobe and writing desk opposite where he sat, which he realized was in a bed. Around him tapestries hung from the walls, one depicting small children playing in a field near giant mushrooms, another an image of an assembly of people in what he recognized to be the tavern of Duskan, the pick-axe crest above the bar marked it so.

Looking closer at the latter weaving, he noticed it was a vote, a decision among friends. They sat around a table in the corner debating something, while ripping clan badges off their arms and casting them to the ground. Apparently this meeting was of significance, as if it was the beginning of something new. Though the weave seemed ancient, Nicodemus recognized the armor and weapons held by the conversing group to be of little value, small trinkets really. Yet these belongings were enchanted and embedded with moonstones as if their owners believed them to have great value. Perhaps back in those times they had been.

Turning his eyes from the wall, Nicodemus lay back down to rest his head which still hurt slightly from the fall he had suffered before the rest of his life had gone to the Abyss. Slightly startled, he turned to feel what his head was resting against to feel rabbit fur pillows! Whoever caught me has lots of gold… Nicodemus sat up and got out of the bed, only to realize that he had been stripped to his small clothes, and his armor was no where to be seen in the room. He went to the wardrobe and found his clothing and then dressed himself. Now, he thought, let's see what other fancy things can be found in here. Silver candlesticks were on the writing desk, silver picture frames hanging from above the lamplight, and a gold statue of a Gnome woman sat on the nightstand next to the bed. Nicodemus tried to pluck these things for his pockets, but to his dismay they were all fastened tightly by some unseen force. Grumbling with one last tug at a candlestick, he gave up and sat back down on the bed to think.

I have no weapon, I have no armor, I've been captured by some strange kind of Rune Elf who thinks it fun to tease me with shiny things that do not move! He looked at the door across from where he was sitting, I don't believe for a second that door is unlocked, but perhaps there is someone standing outside who will talk to me. Standing up, Nicodemus approached the door, only to silence himself when he heard voices whispering outside. Pressing his ear against the door, he began to listen with his sharp experienced hearing as two people conversed.

"I don't know, we shall see. Now stop asking questions of me, I have places to be," a deep strong voice sounded agitated.

"I have been places, and I have carried out my orders, now I want some answers… scald you! Give me something… ran my steed to death for that leech." Sounds like a woman almost. Nicodemus frowned at that, realizing that he was the leech. I'm nothing like a leech; leeches are brown!

"You watch your tongue or someone might remove you."

"I'll leash my mouth when She is here and none other, and we both know she is meditating now and…"

"If I wanted I could give you no answers, my word is firm and will not be broken by your youngling jibes, now leave me be!" The deep voice rose and fell as footsteps took it away. The woman cursed under her breath after him, though Nicodemus doubted the man could have heard her.

"Youngling! What in Syndar is a youngling? I am no youngling, I have been here long enough to deserve answers…. act like it's the end of the world and then give orders… no reasons… damn you…" the voiced faded into mutter ramblings. A loud clang was heard from the other side of the door, and Nicodemus guessed the woman had kicked something out of frustration. Well, my captor has a temper. Just great, kidnapped by a woman and she thinks me a leech! My luck seems to have changed for the worse."

Looking back towards the nightstand, Nicodemus crept away from the door and towards a plate of food he had left untouched. Meat and Potatoes, Ale, and what are these? Picking up one of the berries that were in a dish beside his meal, he sniffed it and tasted it with his tongue. Nothing like I've seen before. Poison was not a fear for him as he was a Goblin and thus immune to most every poison the Gods could feed him. Except greed, he thought. A rumbling stomach urged him to eat quickly; he finished the meal soon and was drinking the last of the ale when he heard a latch on the door open.

Before Nicodemus could stand a woman, a Lady, swept in the door. She was an Elf woman clothed in an elegant blue gown laced with silver thread at the hem and neck. Blue and silver crystals hung from gold thread about her person, including earrings and necklace. On her fingers were rings of silver and gold, and a particularly large diamond ring encircled in moonstone. A wedding ring, Nicodemus assumed, almost salivating thinking of the price such jewelry could fetch if he got his hands on them…

Towering behind the petit Elf entered an immense Half-Orc in green tunic and slacks armed with a particularly nasty looking dagger. As the thief's eyes ran up the body of that… person, he was dismayed to see that this… hulk… wore nothing fancy or shiny except a ring that looked very similar to the one on the Lady. He looks exceedingly dangerous, that's just great. I really do not like how this is progressing.

Shifting from foot to foot, Nicodemus endured the uncomfortable silence that fell on the room while gazing at the now open doorway. He could see the shoulder and pointed ear of his guard, whoever she was. Unable to bear the silence any longer he began to ramble, "Uhm, hello… can I ask what is going on? I was in a tree, then I was in a war, then I was in a tavern, then I was in a sack, and then I was in a bed fit for a King. Forgive me, but what in the abyss is happening?!" He had not noticed that his voice was rising until it was a near shout. The hulk looks amused, I'll have to remember to hate him later when he's not so intimidating.

"You were saved by the Rune Warriors and their kind by a member of our clan, be thankful for it. Now, what is your name goblin?"

Despite being increasingly intimidated by this fair lady's aura of dominance, Nico was at his breaking point and snapped. "I was not saved! I was thrown in a sack and then repeatedly thrown about until I was almost sick! My name is my own business and no one else's, now where is my dagger and where is my armor? I thank you for the meal and the bed but I really must be going on my way, I have places to be! People to see! Women to meet! Things to…"

The towering mass of muscle cut him off, "Silence thief! You will listen or you will die."

"Balin, calm yourself," the Elf said in a soothing voice, though her gaze never softened with it. There's more to her than meets the eye…

"For his own good," Balin shrugged.

"For my own good what?" Really this is getting intolerable!

The lady sighed and waved her hand in gestures unfamiliar to Nicodemus, a chair of… silver transparency… appeared next to her as she sat down with an aura of tranquility. "You are in the most danger you can imagine young thief. As I said you have been made safe for a time, but you must listen to my words if you wish to survive further." She paused a moment as if to consider a thought, and on a woman who appeared so confident in her manners the expression of uncertainty caused Nicodemus to become strangely unsettled.

"You are hunted by the Rune Elves."

End Chapter Three

Chapter Four: Questions

"You are mad!"

The muscles of the large Half-Orc, Balin, tensed. "You are hunted, believe it now and you will save lives, including your own. Now, what is your name?"

"Nicodemus is my name, and Nicodemus does not like being held captive in jail or palace!"

"You are not a prisoner here," the blue Elf passed his accusation off with a wave of her hand, "though it would do your neck good to remain with us if you wish to keep it intact."

"I like my neck where it is thanks," Nicodemus resigned himself and let his knees sink so he sat on the bed, "those warriors were ransacking a town for… one of those crystals most likely. Everyone knows Rune Elves want crystals. They couldn't possibly want a tiny goblin thief for any purpose other than to eat. And I still don't know your names, who you are, where I am, or what you want with me. Did I steal something from you? I'm sure I can give you plenty gold to buy a new one if I did. And how did you know I am a thief? Not kind to address a stranger as thief if you don't know his name… or saying 'Goblin' in that tone either!"

Balin leaned back on the doorframe, occupying most of the doorway with his massive body "Your possessions name you a thief. Only one as such would have dull spoons as well as fine jewelry in his knapsacks. My name is Balin, you need know no more about me than that."

"Very well Balin, and what might your name be m'Lady."

"I am Shanti Nilaya, Enchantress and she who all in this house answer to."

"Not everyone," a voice from the hallway intruded.

Shanti Nilaya ignored the intervention. "We only wish to keep you safe from the hands of those who would use you for dark purpose, and you stole nothing from us that I am aware of…"

"If I did you wouldn't be aware of it," Nicodemus interrupted.

"…and the Rune Elves were searching Forestia. They killed few villagers and chased you halfway to this point before Faith confused them in the Moors and successfully escaped from their pursuit. You are in my house, and here you are safe for the time being." Nicodemus nodded, slightly satisfied.

The Enchantress shifted her position slightly, leaning forward with what seemed to the thief like determination. "Now Nicodemus, that is enough of your questions, the answers for more will come in time. Answer me, do you know of any reason why the Rune Elves would seek you?"

"I don't have one of their crystals if that's what you're asking, and if you're not asking that then I know of no reason. Is there anymore food?"

"She said no more questions, Thief."

Shanti continued, defiantly ignoring the interruptions. "You must have something in your possession they desire greatly; these Rune Elves went to a great deal of trouble to search you out."

"I don't have anything! I have my dagger and my armor… well if you give them back to me that is… and my little sack full of trinkets… That is all! Oh Nallyssa, and Morty! What have you done with Morty?!"

"You must have a stock then, where do you keep your stolen goods in secret?"

"That is my secret and my secret alone! And these damned Rune Elves aren't after me at all, you just want my goods! My shiny things! My tree mouse! Where is Morty? Did you kill him?"

Shanti's eyes glittered for a moment at the mention of shiny things, but her features were soon returned to their normal serenity. "In time you will see the right of things. You are to see the Elder at sundown. Balin will see that you receive a meal. Until then either rest or think hard on what I have said. You would be wise to choose the latter." With that she stood and clasped her hand in the air, making the chair of air vanish. She then walked slowly towards the door, and the hulk stood aside for her to pass.

After a few seconds Balin turned to Nicodemus and said, "She's usually much more relaxed than this. Take it as evidence that this situation is grave enough to disturb even her. I'll tell the guard to fetch you some rations," and with that he was gone as well, the door firmly shut behind him.

I don't care about rations, what has happened to Morty damn you! Suddenly ill with worry and guilt over not realizing the absence of his companion, Nicodemus collapsed on the soft bed in utter surrender. She says I'm not a prisoner when there's a crazy woman with a quick temper standing outside and a latch on the door! A latch! If that is not the definition of imprisonment then I have never been to jail! Oh Morty…

Deep in thought, Nicodemus did not even notice when his meal was pushed through a hole in the door. The aromas emitting from the tray did stir him, and he heard a familiar squeak coming from below him. Looking down, Nicodemus scooped up his lost companion and laughed with delight!

"Morty! Where have you been? How did you get in here? Did you come with the food? How in the depths of the ocean did you manage that?! Well my friend, I'm now more impressed with you than I have ever been. How I wish you could speak to me, to tell me of what this place is like outside this room. No matter, come and eat with me as I plot our escape!"

End Chapter Four