“He will pass through Kirin’s passageway at the left fork. Wait for him there at the appointed time. He will definitely show up, the Don’s man is leading him there at that time. Should be just after midnight.” A dirty street thug told a man clad in silver colored armor.
“Haha, finally I will be able to earn some merit. We have searching for this miscreant all day and finally there are results. I should have guessed that a heretic would consort with thugs and gangsters. The Paladin-Captain is wise to have sent us to them for information. This time we will catch him for sure. I will surely be rewarded for this information!” The silver-clad man excitedly pounded his gauntleted fist against the palm of his other hand while speaking.
“My boss said you shouldn’t underestimate him,” warned the lowly gang member.
This only angered the heavily armored man who slapped the gangster with his gauntlet breaking the man’s lip.
“How dare you speak to me in such a way, you filth. Get out of my sight. We will handle this matter in the way that we deem fit. Tell your boss that I will overlook this slight since you have given me good information. The next time I see you, I will lock you up in the catacombs beneath the Cathedral and torture the sin out of you.”
Hearing his words, the dirty street thug ran for his life while wiping blood off his lip. He was just a street urchin and was no match for a squad of knights.
The rank and file knights of the church of Tihr weren’t quite aware of who exactly the heretic was. It didn’t matter either, for it was one of their sacred duties to hunt down heretics. Many heretics had been captured and tortured into confessing over the years and to them, this was just another one of those situations. It didn’t matter what kind of heretic he was, whether he was a devil worshipper or some blasphemer who dared to act against their god. Either way, only one fate awaited those branded heretics by the Church of Tihr, death.
“He shall atone for his sins through suffering and pain. It is the only way to bring these filth back to the light. In death, they will understand their crimes and repent. Perhaps in their next life they will make a better choice.”
“Sir Krist, is it really necessary to go to such lengths for one heretic? This city is filled with them.”
Knight-captain Krist turned to glance towards his squad of knights. He too didn’t understand the importance placed on this particular heretic in a city filled with equally destitute and wretched unbelievers.
“Paladin Arcurio has ordered it, that is all you need to know. Is that understood?”
The knights in his squad said no more and they waited attentively for further orders.
He didn’t know the reason why Paladin Arcurio was so adamant in his search but it didn’t matter. He had successfully acquired the information necessary which might lead to the capture of the heretic and that was enough for him. He would surely be rewarded for this service. As the youngest son in his family, there was no avenue of advancement for him. He had three older brothers and so that made him fourth in line of succession for his family. For people like him, it was necessary to pave their own way and to seek benefits wherever they could. He could only strive his best to gain recognition through obtaining merits and perhaps one day he could start his own line of nobility.
“Irene, present yourself.” The man clad in silver armor called out to one of his subordinates. Irene stepped forward, saluted and awaited her superior’s orders.
“Gather all the members of our squad and have them ready to move at a moment’s notice. I will personally inform Paladin Arcurio and request that our squad be allowed to take part in this mission. This is our credit and I won’t let another squad gain the merit!”
“Captain!” Irene saluted and motioned to two other knights who were beside her. They rode off towards their Order’s barracks to ready the entire squad of seven.
“Finally, a chance!”
Knight-captain Krist was exceedingly thrilled at the opportunity before him and felt that a promotion was finally in sight. He hurriedly mounted his warhorse which was clad in barding as well as the colors of the knights of Tihr, a solid blue with white stripes and the symbol of Tihr clearly adorned on its surface.
Krist then rode towards the cathedral filled with anticipation.
Somewhere not far from where the thug met in secret with a member of the Order of the Sacred Flames of Tihr, Aleks suddenly chuckled mirthlessly. The Order of the Sacred Flames of Tihr were one of the many knight orders which fell under the authority of the Church of Tihr and one which Aleks was familiar with. As a matter of fact, he made it his mission to be familiar with all of the orders under the authority of the Church of Tihr. These were his enemies and it was necessary to understand them with clarity.
Lenia, who was walking by his side, looked towards him with interest. Hearing her master chuckle beside her when there was previously silence was strange but Lenia understood that her master had many powers and abilities she was unaware of.
“Master….” She thought to ask what he was chuckling about but then changed her mind so as not to disturb him.
She glanced at him a few times but he showed no interest in her, or in sharing his thoughts. He only continued to follow the men that Don Gregorio had provided to guide them to the secret passageway out of the city. They had just barely escaped the Red Light District before the city guard arrived and time was of the essence.
It would be impossible for them to leave the city through the gates and this was the only way to leave unnoticed. She didn’t really understand the need for the roundabout way her master was doing things. He should have been able to find the way himself using his own abilities. Why did he feel the need to use those filthy humans? He could probably have found the mask on his own as well. She just couldn’t comprehend his way of doing things no matter how she thought about.
Her master’s mind was far too incomprehensible for her.
Rex turned towards Aleks and said, “we’re just ’bout there, the entrance’s in a cellar ‘neath this ‘bandoned church.”
He pointed at an old church which seemed to just be barely holding on. The foundation was mostly solid, but there were a few holes in the wall and roof. It was run down and appeared to be a church to an unknown deity. Lenia wasn’t too familiar with the various deities that existed in their world, but she was familiar with a few from her master’s teaching.
“This church, hmm… There are no markings of any kind on the steeple. Which deity did this church worship?” Aleks asked.
“I dunno nothing ’bout that, it’s been ‘ere a long time, more than a hundred years! Who knows what them blokes back ‘en worshipped. Don’t care too!” Rex’s words were crude and lacked respect which angered Lenia.
She reflexively moved her hand near her thigh where her daggers were attached but was stopped by a look from Aleks.
“I see, why don’t you bring us inside and show us the cellar and then your job is done.” Aleks said.
” ‘Oight then! ” Rex replied with little concern.
Don Gregorio’s man led Aleks and Lenia into the decrepit church and finally to the entrance of the cellar.
” ‘ere it is, now be on ya way!”
Rex motioned to the cellar entrance while shrugging confidently. It was clear he had no respect for Aleks and was happy to be done with his job.
“Thank you for leading us here. I wish to express my gratitude with a gift.” Aleks said without emotion.
Rex looked over at his subordinates and they all laughed expectantly, “Oy, this bloke wants to ‘ive us a gift! Haha, sounds good. What is it?”
Before Rex could finish speaking he turned to Lenia and said, “Lenia, kill them.”
Lenia revealed a wicked smile, “My pleasure.”
With a slight bend and a flick of her wrists, she had already unsheathed the daggers before she even finished her sentence and quickly dashed towards the several thugs the Don had sent to guide them.
They hadn’t yet even stopped laughing and joking among themselves before Lenia had swiftly closed the gap between them, cutting the neck of the closest thug while moving onto the next target without hesitation.
These were not elite soldiers and were only of the most basic of classes with levels below 30, the only member of their group who had reached an intermediate class was Rex. He had only just crossed the threshold however and was still in the early levels of his intermediate class, somewhere around level 31. Their strength was not even enough to make Lenia sweat. She was already a level 60 Knight on the cusp of breaking through to an advanced class. These thugs were half her level and some even worse off than that.
The slaughter was over quickly, Lenia having killed three of the thugs before they even realized they were being attacked. By the time the others became aware of what was going on, Lenia had already approached the fourth and made quick work of him. The other few fell easily after that and the deed was done within a couple of breaths.
“Master…” Lenia looked at Aleks as if she were about to cry, “I’m dirty again…”