The World of Aeternum

The Triumvirate, Part 6

The Hidden Door

Exhausted after their dangerous encounter with the assassin Dirk and his trap-laden farmhouse the Heroes return to the Elder Stag. As they stable their mounts, Sarah speaks up.

" I want to thank you for freeing me from the Triumvirate. " She said. She paused for a moment before continuing.

" I’d like to continue helping but I realized at the farmhouse I am the weakest link in this group. Everything I know about the Triumvirate you already know, and… I have always tried to live an honest life and I must admit that the idea of breaking into Fernando Fiero’s mansion frightens me. "

Tobs stepped up and smiled at Sarah.

" It’s ok, Sarah. You helped us find Randolf Sark an’ that started this big ol’ boulder rolling. We can finish this without putin’ you in danger. "

She smiled and nodded.

“Thank you. Take care and I am sure I will see all of you again one day.”

She disappeared into the crowd.

Tob’s turned back to face his companions.

“What a pretty lass.” He said.

“That’s an understatement.” Marvin muttered.

The heroes entered the Elder Stag. Sitting around a table they ordered a well deserved dinner. As they devoured their food and beer (water for Khaelestian) they began to discuss what they were going to do tomorrow.

A frontal assault was probably out of the question, though nothing could really be decided on until they reconnoitered Fiero’s mansion, located in the wealthier northern side of the River City.

Once they found the corrupt merchant’s mansion they would try to discover multiple points of entry. If it was too late by then they would retreat to a safe haven closer to Fiero – Arryn Sellek’s mansion. They would spend the night preparing and break in at dawn when the merchant’s guards would least expect it.

With a plan formulated they retired to their rooms.

The next morning they met downstairs for a quick breakfast and then headed out, making their way north.

The River City was deceptively big. While it slowly grew eastward and westward around the The Corinthian River it also stretched north and south as far as the eye could see. Large businesses such as mills and docks were built on the edges of both sides of the river, fighting for space especially in the central quarter.

The city was bustling today and the heroes slowly worked their way through the crowd. Khaelestian was impressed by the size of Millstone as several hours passed.

“We probably should have taken our horses.” He said matter-of-factly.

“A little too late to turn back, wizard.” Tobs said, stopping for a moment to uncork his wineskin and take a swig of beer.

“I think we’re almost there,” Samantha said, pointing forward. Everyone turned their attention forward to behold the wealthy quarter. The buildings were larger and looked like they cost a fortune to build. Guards roamed the streets more attentively, dressed in clean cloaks and shiny armor.

“No matter how much society changes for the better or worse,” Samantha said with regret in her voice, “the wealthy will always have advantages over the poor.”

“I don’t see anything wrong with that,” Marvin grunted, pushing past her and moving forward.

Tobs looked from Marvin to Samantha and shrugged. “As long as I can find a flaggon of dwarven ale at the end of a day’s adventurin’ I don’t care what shape society is in.”

He followed Marvin. Samantha felt a hand on her shoulder.

“Worry not, Samantha. I agree with you.” Khaelestian said. Samantha reached up and held his hand for a moment.

“Thank you.” She smiled. They hurried to catch up with the two Dwarves.

None of the heroes realized just how a profitable city the River City was until just now – the wealthy quarter was huge and it took a while still to finally reach their destination.

Fiero’s mansion.

At one point the Corinthian River curved to continue its journey in a northwestern direction. Right where it began to curve a large hill rose. It was a beautiful view; the large mansions on the edge of the river sharing a healthy green hill as a background. It wasn’t often that you would see a hill – much less the ground – loobq). k so green. It was very well tended, that was for certain. At the top of the hill Fernando Fiero’s mansion stood proud and alone, surrounded by stone walls. There was only one gate, currently closed, that featured a stone road that winded gently down the side of the hill to connect with the rest of the quarter.

“Well, damn.” Tobs muttered. “What now?”

Marvin took the view in, his mind working fast. As an assassin his brain processed the scene differently from the others. He had a target inside of the mansion… what options did he have to gain entry? How was he to avoid the guards so he could find his target and kill him? Decisions, decisions.

“Let’s wait till the sun goes down a little more.” He finally said. “Once we have some cover, we should walk around the hill. Perhaps there are other entry points that aren’t as obvious.”

The others nodded. That sounded like a plan. They found a well-to-do inn and set up shop at the bar inside until the sun began to make its descent.

At the appropriate time, Marvin slid off his chair and patted Tobs on the shoulder and gestured at the door with his thumb.

Tobs downed another ale and jumped off his chair. Khael and Samantha joined the dwarves and the four mercenaries headed out into the street.

Everything was fairly quiet. A cold breeze had picked up. They made their way toward down the street, hugging the side of the buildings and their cloaks to avoid the cold. As they reached the edge of the last building Marvin pointed.

“What?” Tobs asked.

“You don’t see it?” Marvin asked, smirking.

Samantha saw Tobs glaring at Marvin and spoke up.

“What is it?” She asked.

“There is a small man-made tributary pouring water into the river that runs around Fiero’s hill.”

“Fiero’s hill,” Tobs chuckled. “I like that.”

“I bet you it leads to some sort of sewer,” Marvin continued, “and a point of entry.”

“A sewer?” The wizard grimaced.

“A sewer.” Marvin repeated.

“A sewer!” Tobs exclaimed, louder then he should have and taking a swig from his wineskin.

The mercenaries continued forward, keeping an eye out for guards. They crossed the grassy plains and began making their way around the hill following the tributary. As they reached the other side of the hill they were surprised to see it look less like a hill and more like a steep incline.

Going up about twenty feet from the ground was a vertical wall made of stone, definitely man made. It went straight up, making it impossible to climb. After the twenty foot incline it sloped back into a hill. It made trying to climb up to the mansion very difficult – even if someone were able to climb the wall they would have to make their way up a steep hill and then finally another high wall that surrounded the mansion. Fiero had done a pretty damn good job making his mansion fairly impregnable unless you happened to bring an army with you.

Just like Marvin thought it would the man made tributary split into two smaller channels, both of which originated from small pipes sticking out of the wall. The pipes were big enough for Dwarves but not humans but that didn’t really matter – water streamed out from them with no sign of stopping.

“Interesting.” Khael muttered. “They must have channeled the river from another point on its way south and diverted it through Fiero’s mansion. The water – and sewer – get dumped back down here and find their way back into the river.”

“I think I had fish this morning.” Tobs blanched.

Khael smiled.

“Worry not, Tobs. The Corinthian River is huge and anything reaching it from Fiero’s sewer isn’t enough to cause any alarm.”

As the heroes talked Marvin continued to analyze the wall. Then he suddenly noticed it. He stepped up to the wall. Leaning forward he brushed his hand against the stone.

“Well what do you know,” He smiled as he rested a gloved hand against the wall. “A keyhole. I think I found us a way in!”

He knelt by the door while the others watched. The lock was complicated, almost beyond his skill level but he wasn’t about to give up without trying. Hoping for a better result then at the farmhouse (and hoping that the door wasn’t rigged) he began to work on the lock.

A few minutes later there was a soft but definitive clicking sound and Marvin smiled. Standing back up he pushed on the wall and the hidden door swung inward, revealing a dark passage.

The Heroes congratulated Marvin.

“I supposed this means we aren’t going back to Sellek’s?” Samantha asked.

“Guess not!” Tobs said in his usual a-little-too-loud-for-the-current-situation voice.

They took a final look around. The coast was clear. Nodding to each other they drew their weapons and stepped into the darkness.


SanguinousRex SanguinousRex

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