Punjar: Den of Iniquity

At the Crossroads

I went outside the city. I had business, things to find, to trade. I sought the Crossing. It is never far, aways about a day away from wherever I am. I went on foot, alone, to the south. During the day I passed a caravan traveling with many chained, ragged humanity. A rough looking dwarf led them and they were guarded by several hobgoblins. I saw beggars, mercenaries, farmers, nobles born on palanquins, and others I did not know. In the distance I saw a wagon carrying one of my folk, the Vistani, but I did not approach them.

Eventually night fell. I was still not at the Crossing and so I continued, venturing off the main road and onto a side track going in the hills.

Fog rose from the ground, suffused with the light of the full moon. I could see the Inn of Blackwood Crossing in the distance. it was surrounded by hills, with a lone tree on the hill. Seated beneath the tree was the figure I knew would be there, Lord Nail. He was gaunt, seated in the lotus position of the ascetics, a good many of whom are in Punjar itself. All over his skin, on all the meridians of power, were nails. I waited for him, waited a long time. The moon rose fully before he spoke, like a great white skull grinning down from the heavens.

“My disciple, you have come.”

“Yes, Lord Nail.” I looked at him.

“I see you pursue the path of your father, the Damned Prince Feket.”

I nodded, for it was true. The Deck calls to me.

“There is a great Undoing in the Deck. It is not a thing of mine, or my path, but you are of his line and his task has been left undone. He has been imprisoned.”

He stared into my eyes for long. I was transfixed by his gaze. Finally he withdrew a nail from his flesh. Moving with a blinding speed, faster than I could track, he pinned my shadow to the ground with it. Then, drawing a curved dagger forth, cut it free.

“Your shadow stands apart. It may be left after the Deck consumes you, my disciple.” He looked at me again. “That is worth something.”


ddivine4 crimfan07

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