Baldur's Gate

The guard's eyes raked the suspicious looking stranger from head to toe. He was completely unarmed from what the guard could see, but fully outfitted for the road otherwise. The well-worn leather armor showed thickly the dirt of the road. This guard was too seasoned to think a lone traveler would be foolish enough to venture out without some form of protection. "What do you want with my city?" he asked coldly, "you don't look like you should have any business here."

Ayus was accustomed to this type of treatment. As the bastard son of a drow elf and human, he never really found a warm welcome at any city. To the drow he was an abomination, to the goodly races of the surface he was a nightmare. "If this city really belonged to you, I would take a wide berth of the festering hole and save myself from this moronic banter. My business is my own and I would be more than happy if you would take no more of my time with your pathetic attempts at self-gratification and grandiosity."

The guard quickly leveled his spear at the arrogant traveler, thinking to recover his wounded pride. However his surprise was complete when a flash of silver severed the tip of his spear and he was instead staring down the length of one of the strangest swords he had ever seen. The blade was about as thick as his forearm, roughly three feet in length, curving back near the tip. The hilt was ornately crafted in the likeness of a dragon, which held a broken jewel in its maw as the pommel. Any appreciation the guard held for the weapon was stolen by the glare of its wielder. "Now I don't mind a little violence, but at least give me a challenge."

The remaining guards were happy to comply as two more spears were pointed towards the half-drow. "I think it's time you leave," said a burly guard who had come to the aid of his companion. "We've had half a dozen crossbows trained on you since you reached our gate. You're not welcome here. Take your leave peacefully before we have to make you leave."

Ayus serious doubted the guard's claims, but if he was to make his meeting it would be best to waste no more time with these simpletons. Without another word Ayus turned and started walking away, his sword simply vanishing from his hand in a flourish of light. Still thinking to save his pride, the first guard muttered curses and called the traveler a coward to his friends then launched his staff, for it could no longer be considered a spear, at the departing elf. Faster than the guard could follow, Ayus side-stepped the projectile and caught it with his left hand. In one fluid motion he flipped the staff down to the ground, snapped it in half with his shin, and reversed the direction sending the top half back the way it had come. The broken rod smashed into the guard's face, stunning him and knocking him back a step. "I'm the coward, but you are the one hurling a spear at my back after I elected to leave peacefully?" Ayus mused, "You are lucky your humiliation has put me in a good mood, otherwise…" he let the statement hang in the air for the fool to ponder as he continued his departure.

Ayus always loved releasing a bit of stress on mindless fools, but he was on a mission and would not be delayed. Using a gate was a nicety rarely afforded to the wanderer, so the eight foot wall seemed like such a meager barrier. In the blink of an eye the elf scaled the wall and touched down silently on the other side. The sun was just beginning to set, offering Ayus ample shadows to hide in. The town was dirty and rundown. Much of the area around Baldur's Gate was as of late. The streets were crowded with the merchants looking to make one last sale before the end of the business day and buyers hoping to find a good deal. Even in the thick mass of bodies, Ayus' dark skin and short-cropped white hair would still single him out in the crowd. His best hope was to hide out until the night had fully descended before making his way to the appointed meeting spot.

The time passed uneventfully as Ayus pondered the different ways he could have handled the encounter with the city watch. He always fancied the idea of walking into a city welcomed and free to go about his business unhindered. Sadly that was almost never the case. People were always nervous around him, the unfortunate side effect of his heritage. He had never met his father, never even been to the Underdark, yet he was still labeled as a monster due to the color of his skin. But tonight was his chance to move one step closer to remedying that first problem. He had searched for years for clues about his father for years, the drow he had never met. The drow who had left him that amazing weapon. Every tidbit of information he could gain about the elusive drow kept pointing him further north. Finally he had reached Baldur's Gate, but by his reception at the gate, Ayus doubted he would find his father here. Just another clue, another crumb for him to follow on the endless quest for answers.

With the darkness of night to help protect his identity Ayus headed off towards The Siren's Nest, a dirty old tavern just off the docks. His last informant had given him a fairly detailed description of the tavern so it was easy to find. Even without the directions it would have been a simple enough task to locate. The voice flowing out of the place could be heard from nearly half the city away. The Siren's Nest was aptly named for the beautiful women who sang nightly from the magically enhanced stage. Luckily the men who were lured in by the Siren's call need not fear for their life, only their coin. The ale flowed freely and the stunning entertainment allowed the keeper to charge inflated prices. Still a drow, even if only a half-drow, would find no welcome here. Ayus instead found his way into the alley next to Nest to meet his informant. "So you must be the one Torren was talkin' about," said a middle-aged man who looked as if he has spent one to many days under the sun.

"What was your first clue? Was it my shoes?" chided Ayus. He studied the man closely noting the cutlass on his left hip and the casual way his hand rested on its hilt. Ever weary were those who dealt with a drow. "That would make you 'Murder', kind of a morbid name. I can't imagine you get a lot of business with a name like that."

"It's Murter, and I get along just fine. Speakin' of that, Torren telled me I'd be makin' a fine profit offa' this. So let me see yur' money."

"'Telled you that' did he?" Ayus said mockingly. "I would be careful what you believe from that one. He seemed to be a rather shady character."

"Says the drow."

Ayus took the insult stoically, not yet ready to bring weapons into the negotiations. "I've got your money if the information is good. Give me a name."

The weathered man sneered at the prompt, "I ain't got a name. But I got you sumthin' better. A place."

"That is not something I would label as 'better' but it will suffice. Out with it."

"Nuh-uh, not till I see some coin. You ain't getting' nuttin' else fer free." Murter replied. Ayus produced a small stack of silver coins and deposited them into the upraised palm of his greedy partner. "What is this? Pocket change, you better come up wit' sumthin' better than this if you want any more from me. You ain't gonna find this gudda' information from anyone else."

With his patience thoroughly worn out, Ayus materialized his sword in his hand and rested it casually on his shoulder. "How is this for 'sumthin' better'? Now tell me what I want to know so that I might leave this place and you can might live to see another day."

"L-Luskan," Murter stammered, "Head for Luskan, north o' here along the coast. There's word of drow activity in that area."

"See how simple that was." Ayus produced another small stack of coins, gold this time, and tossed them to Murter.

"This is the last time I deal with a friend of Torren's," Murter complained.

"Told you he was a shady character," Ayus winked as he turned to leave. "I suggest you make the best of the night, if word gets out you are telling people about drow in Luskan, how long do you think it will be until you bring those drow into Baldur's Gate?"

The older man paled at the thought. "Damned drow," Murter muttered to the back of Ayus' head has he swept out into the darkened streets.