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Slayer's Fate - Snatch

Hi all! The recent halloween contests got me pumped up. This was the story I would've preferred to submit but it was longer than 1000 words and I didn't have the heart to cut anything out. This is a concept for a Verra which has already witnessed the reopening of the portals and establishment of society. Since there's limited lore available some of the 'gaps' I filled are simply hopes or speculation. I like writing stories that focus on the development and relationships between characters - and I almost always leave room for it grow into an epic adventure. I couldn't submit for the contest but hopefully some people can enjoy it here.

The character's speculated  archetypes were:
Snatch: Rogue-Mage
Ezmer: Mage-?
Ordantulus: Summoner-?

Slayer's Fate - Snatch

They’re late. I impatiently fidget with the pommels of my daggers. I like waiting even less than I like not knowing who my employer is. I try looking at the sky to calm my nerves. Usually I can pick up on the constellations with ease but tonight seems different. Some Vek believe if you can’t see the stars that means fate has lost control. Or it could be the weather.

“So, you’re the one called ‘Snatch’ hmm?”

The voice of the young girl startles me. How did I not notice her? Already my weapons are drawn and she chuckles. The female human is small, young, on the cusp between child and adult. This is my employer? The one who mysteriously contacted my using my real name? I don’t know whether to feel insulted or angry. I growl at the girl, “Who are you!?”

“Woah, hold up there, greenskin. Like I said in the letter, I’m here to give you an offer. Aren’t you for hire?” the young girl asks coolly.

I examine her carefully. Braided black hair, pale white skin, and cold, dark eyes. Not the face of a child nor the manner of one. She wears simple travellers clothes. What does stick out is her staff adorned with a raven at it’s head. She’s a mage.

“Depends on the buyer,” I spit. I hate mages.

“My name is Ezmer. Like the letter said, I want to get into the Tiridion library. This… is your down payment,” she says while throwing a bag of gold at my feet. It’s heavy. She smiles.

“How do you know my real name?” I say while still glaring suspiciously.

“Oh, don’t have your pride hurt because of a little feat like that - your secret is safe with me. The Tiridion library is well protected and I want the infamous Snatch’s skill. They say there’s no stronghold or treasure room you can’t infiltrate. I also need protection. Oh, and I’m sure you’re used to the ‘no questions asked’ part of these kind of deals.” The human prattles on. Confident and pretentious.

“Fine... Let’s make this quick.” I open my void portal and quickly stow the gold.

“Oh, so you do know a little of the arcane arts yourself I see. Good,” Ezmer smirks.

Getting into Tiridion was easy. Though the mage didn’t look it, she was agile and quiet. The walls meant nothing to our two shadows in the night. When we got to the national library I understood why she hired me. Magic. The inner door was sealed by a magic lattice. A complex seal, but not impossible to break.

“Couldn’t you destroy this yourself?” I ask.

“Not without the caster knowing it’s been broken. Come on greenskin, isn’t this what you’re good at?” she whispers.

I let out a low growl and get to work. I mutter a spell and my eyes flash a light blue - affixed with the magic sight. I can see the lattice unfold before me. To silently dispel this isn’t a matter of raw power, I simply have to find the right key to the puzzle. Done.

“Color me impressed, greenskin. You solved it in 26 seconds!” Ezmer exclaims.

“Patterns. It’s what Vek are good at. And stop calling me greenskin,” I grumble.

“But it’s your most charming feature,” she giggles. “Alright then, Snatch... Anyway who knew staring endlessly at stars for some vague hint at your destiny would prove so useful.”

I glare at her. She smiles playfully - maybe she has the manner of a child after all.

We’re in the library. I shadow Ezmer while she peruses the numerous books, quickly darting from shelf to shelf.

“Yes!” she whispers as she pulls a large tome and hurries to a nearby table. I look at the title. Noc, The Dream-Eater.

“This is what you were after!? A tale about a child’s bedtime boogeyman?” I exclaim.

Ezmer flips through the pages intently. “He’s not a myth. He was human. At least… he was a long time ago,” she replied, lacking her usual snarkiness.

Ezmer’s eyes widen as she comes upon what she must have sought. She tears several pages from the tome and stuffs them into a metallic tube.

Then her eyes darken and she speaks in a low voice, “Orc. Whatever you do, don’t be stupid.” Suddenly dozens of shadowy spikes emerge from the ground and impale Ezmer. I leap back in my alarm. A glyph appears below me and ensnares me with arcane chains. I stare unbelieving as Ezmer’s bloody corpse is hoisted up by the spikes.

“Well well well, look what we have ‘ere..”

The source of the voice walks into the light. The bald male dwarf is covered in tattoos on his head and forearms. His beard woven with red thread. A staff with the head of a dragon and deep red robes. A mage. No, wait. I look at the phantasmal spikes and chains. Not a mage, a Summoner.

“You Ezmer’s new pet are ye?” The dwarf smirks. “Did’na think she go fer a filth’ey greenskin.”

Before I can spit out a retort, the mocking laugh of Ezmer escapes from her should-be-lifeless mouth. “Are you curious, Ordantulus?”

“He can’na be as interestin’ as you,” the dwarf says while poking Ezmer’s nearly dismembered leg. She winces in pain as the flesh tears a little bit more. I don’t understand how she’s still alive but she can still feel pain. I struggle vainly against the phantasmal chains and the dwarf smirks and turns away from me. Confident and pretentious. Easy prey.

“So. Whatcha doin’ ‘ere lass? Still lookin’ for ol’ Noc? Well party be over. Time ter take ye back where you belong…” the dwarf continues.

While the dwarf is occupied I examine the chains and their phantasmal pattern. Even summoning magic has a weak link. Almost there. Got it! The chains disperse from around me and I lunge at the dwarf. He whirls around in surprise but he’s too late. My dagger finds his side. He shouts and an invisible force pushes me back but he’s gravely wounded. The dwarf curses and summons a phantom. It pulls him into the ground and he disappears. The spikes impaling Ezmer also disperse and she falls to the floor in a bloody mess. I can barely catch my breath before I hear the cracking of bone and sick, unnatural sound of mending flesh and blood. Ezmer’s body magically repairs itself, recollecting her flesh and innards and fusing them to reform her figure. She groans in agony. As she stands up without a scratch I can’t hold my shock in any longer,

“What in Verra are you!?” I shout. She smiles weakly.

“Just a moment…” she sighs.

Ezmer murmurs a spell and teleports us outside the city. The night is cold and quiet. Ezmer immediately sits down on a smooth boulder. I glare at her… waiting for her to speak. Daggers still out.

“By all rights, I should be dead,” Ezmer finally says. “But I’m what you call a lich. My life is stored in a phylactery which prevents it from extinguishing. My body also doesn’t age. I was young when Noc turned me into a lich and then sent me from this world. He was human then. Now that I’ve been able to return to Verra - I’m looking for him. He alone knows where my phylactery is so that I may be released…” she pauses to catch her breath then chuckles.

“You got Ordantulus pretty good. It’s well I brought you along - here’s your other payment…”

“And what did that dwarf want with you?” I said, ignoring the gold.

“He’s kept me prisoner before. For his research and experiments. Making a lich is a lost technique - he wants to learn how it’s done, the fool,” Ezmer spits. “I brought you along to help me from getting captured again.”

“So... now that you know me a bit better - and I know how good you are..” she continues as she stands up and regains her composure.

“Care for another job?”

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