The Shadows Chapter 32

Today's Friend, Yesterday's Enemy

By Keith Adams

Magus slunk out of the Red Parrot Inn. No one there knew any of the people who frequented the Blue Parrot Inn before the Blue Parrot had fallen prey to a 'mysterious fire' in the words of the blundering Knights of the Square table who investigated such things. Magus questioned the wisdom of letting such incompetents perform investigations, but all the better for him. It just means it would be easier for him to track down the Shadow influence in Truce. He had found two Shadows already - they had been dealth with appropriately. White columns of light were becoming an almost daily occurence.

Magus wandered about the streets of southern Truce, coming across a dimly lit inn with the sign 'Sambar's Tavern' above the rotting wooden door. He calmly entered the tavern; it had only six tables, each inhabited by a lone person. There were two people slumped over on opposite sides of the bar. The bartender was a large, slimy, greasy, ill-trimmed man.

Magus put a few gold coins on the counter "What do you know about the Blue Parrot?"

"The blue parrot?" asked the bartender suspiciously "I used to work there. I was sick the night it burned down."

"Was anyone here a regular?" asked Magus arrogantly.

"That guy," said the bartender, pointing towards a well dressed man of thirty five, with messy brown hair and green eyes; he was whiplike, dressed in a black coat and pants. Magus put a few more coins on the counter and wandered over to the man the bartender had indicated.

"Dealing with the Shadows is a very dangerous proposition," stated Magus coldly from behind the man.

"Perhaps we should take this outside. I think you no more want the attention of Guardia than myself, considering what you have done," smiled the man.

"Very well," said Magus, letting the man get up and go out into the street.

"Well, Janus, I see you're meddling with things you do not fully understand. You have always had a prediliction for that, which vexed me quite a bit. Specifically your performance at the Blue Parrot. The Shadows are not pleased," warned the man "But what did you want to talk to me about?" asked the man pleasantly.

"I wanted to kill you, boy. And now I shall."

"Don't be a fool. I care naught about the Shadows you killed; more accurately, I care not that you killed them. In fact, it helped me out a bit. But the instant I sense you gathering your magic, I'll be gone. I will give you a warning; do not deal with the Shadows, do not interfere with us, and we shall leave you to do what you will. Now, why don't you go search for Schala," the man had a paticulairly evil twist in that sentence.

"I did not start this. But I shall end this. You attacked me -"

"A mistake, by an incompetent. We have tolerated worse from you, more intereference. Stop this now. You may kill us, but you may not defeat us. I know you once knew who the High Shadow was. If you want to beat us, go after him, if you dare."

"I am not your hound. Deal with him yourself of you want him out of the way."

"Very perceptive, Janus. Perhaps I have underestimated you. The question remains whether you can put the pieces together. They are layed out right in front of you. Are you delibrately obtuse? Can you not see what might as well be spelled out in the stars," the man gestured towards the star lit sky "Everything you know, I know as well Janus. Everything that is yours, is mine, everything that was, is mine. You will understand."

Magus growled darkly; this idiot was trying to push his buttons, taunt him, but Magus knew one thing; Magus had nothing of any value.

"Oh yes," said the man, almost as an afterthought "I must thank you for what you did, or will do. You have helped me immensely. Someday, you must ask me to return the favor."

"I do not deal with liars," said Magus "You know nothing. You are bluffing. But - if you will tell me one thing, who is the leader of the Shadows right now?"

"Right now, the leader of the Shadows owes his position to you, Magus. He will be grateful. Farewell; we shall see each other again, and soon," the man gave an evil grin "Very soon indeed." And with that, the man just vanished. No shimmer, no puff of smoke - he just vanished.

Magus smiled. Subtlety was not the man's strong suit; he might as well have given away he is tthe current leader of the Shadows. Now the only problem is who was the Shadow in the vision; which one of them shall kill Schala? Once I know that, nothing shall prevent his demise.


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