The Whisperer in Darkness

Day 9: Dirty Departure

Wasp explains the layout of the prison camp to Wistark as he massages life back into his bloodless limbs. The camp is circled by a tall, wooden fence. The biggest buildings within are the barracks and the armoury, the latter of which contains the adventurers confiscated gear. Two pairs of sentries are presently on patrol, following each other in a slow, anticlockwise loop. The perimeter fence has only one gate, lying on the east side of the camp. The dragonborn and the giant were moved out to another location, unknown at this time. Norman and Ignatious are imprisoned beyond the arena on the south side.

Wistark is shocked to learn this last tidbit – those two were captured at the university by entirely different people to those who abducted Grimlock and himself. Wasting no time, he devises a rudimentary plan of rescue and escape. Now feeling ready to make a move, Wistark accepts a short sword from Wasp and quietly opens the shack door. He feels his spirits lift as he steps out of the darkness and filth. The camp is dimly lit by a sliver of moonlight but it is still dark enough for him to move unseen. He slinks to a nearby shack. There is breathing within. The shack is as shoddily made as his own, providing numerous gaps for spying.

Inside is a man, tied to a post in a recognisable fashion. Wistark casts a tiny, dim light inside the shack to illimunate the prisoner’s face. It is the leader of the marauders, who was defeated on the city outskirts and delivered to the city guard. What is he doing here? Wistark debates whether to assist this one-time adversary. Is the enemy of my enemy my friend? The wizard makes a decision, leaving Spyro outside the hut to free the bandit after three minutes have passed. Even he may deserve a chance to escape. And if he is caught on the way, it might make for a timely distraction.

Wistark follows after Wasp, who passed him as he stopped to consider. They sneak around the arena, walking in the same anticlockwise loop used by the patrolling guards. Two of these men are visible ahead, walking in the opposite direction. Wistark and Wasp follow silently, remaining undetected and stopping outside the shacks that hold Ignatious and Norman. They each enter a hut as quietly as they are able and free the two captives within. The dwarf and the warlord are brought up to speed. The plan now is to infiltrate the armoury, find their equipment and then make for the gate on the east side of the camp.

Meanwhile, Spyro has finished counting. He enters the hut and passes in front of the marauder, instantly gaining his worried attention. The purple dragon circles slowly behind the restrained bandit and chews through his ropes. The marauder is somewhat flabbergasted, and spends a moment staring at Spyro in disbelief. The dragon has completed its task and proceeds to sit in the shadows with a noticeable lack of interest. The marauder backs out of the hut, his eyes fixed madly on his apparent rescuer. Unfortunately, he opens the door with a creak just as the two patrollers pass by.

In his own shack, Ignatious decides that he is not stealthy enough to make it to the armoury unheard, and insists on remaining where he is for the time being. Despite a history of idiotic stealth blunders, Norman has no such qualms. The dwarf exits his small jail and sneaks behind it, knocking a bucket over with a clang as he goes. One pair of the guards are close enough to hear the sound. Wistark follows Norman around the back of the hut and, spectacularly, knocks his foot against the same wooden bucket. The patrolling guards are quite interested now, but it is at that moment that the marauder opens his door behind them.

The unsuspicious pair look at each other for a moment, shrug uncaringly, then split up; one heading back the way he came, towards the marauder, while the other continues forward to investigate the clanging bucket. Inside both of the two huts currently being approached, Ignatious and the marauder look for a weapon and both have the same idea. They take up the ropes they were bound with and stand beside the entrances of their respective shacks with the intention of strangling the next person to enter. As Wasp leaves Ignatious to it, he tells her that she must knock three times if she wishes to return without being garotted, staring at her seriously and tightening the rope in demonstration. She’s a little weirded out.

She joins Wistark and Norman, and together the three of them creep to the armoury. One of the sentries investigates the bucket, but there is no-one around so he loses interest. He backtracks towards the sound his partner investigated. The partner in question, meanwhile, has just been strangled to death by the marauder. He entered the hut unsuspectingly and this is the result. Spyro looks on with mild distaste as Marauder man strings the dead sentry to the post, taking his sword and shield for his personal use. Soon the second guard arrives. Marauder man is waiting for him, and cuts off his head with the sword. After looking at the purple dragon one last time, he mutters what could be thanks and hurries off into the night.

Back at the armoury, Wistark and Wasp are in position on either side of its only entrance. Wasp pushes the door open with the quietness that is natural only to accomplished rogues. Inside they see two men. One is stood with his back to them, the other is fast asleep behind a desk. Wistark is about to signal Wasp to sneak in when Norman brushes past both of them. The pathetic attempt at stealth that follows would be comical were it not so disastrous.

Encounter: Double Penetration

Wistark and Wasp reluctantly save the day. Norman finds his gear using a key pilfered from the body of one of the two thugs, and re-equips himself with everything but his halberd, which is missing. Grimlock’s greataxe is also unaccounted for. Wistark puts on his robes and armour, but swaps his own (soiled and urine-soaked) trousers for those of the least bloody enemy’s. Wasp uses this dressing time to retrieve Ignatious from his hut, and they soon appear at the armoury without drawing any attention to themselves (she remembers to knock three times).

Ignatious too gets his gear back. Now there is nothing left on the agenda but to depart the prison camp. The gate is beyond an outdoor dining area on a hill to the east. Wistark takes point once again, followed by Wasp and Norman. Ignatious remains in the armoury, once again planning to ambush someone beside the door. Wistark sneaks around the bottom of the hill. Three men walk out of the barracks to the north. The mucky spellcaster crouches out of sight. They take seats on the hill above, engaged in friendly conversation. The escape attempt continues on hands and knees.

However, the ground is exceptionally muddy, and when Wistark crawls away from the hill his knee slips. His crotch knocks a stone of flint into another, creating a high tone that stops the conversation above. Two of the men stare alertly into the darkness but, seeing nothing, quickly return to whatever filthy anecdote they were sharing. The third stands quietly, listening for more noises. Norman is nearby, and he scrambles around the bottom of the hill with reckless speed. Wasp stares at him in disbelief and signals him to wait it out, but the wary thug has already heard enough to investigate. His two friends join him and together they step towards the darkness where the three adventurers hide.

Knowing that he has only seconds before discovery, Wistark casts the poison cloud, conjuring it not on top of the impending attackers but on the two surviving guards on patrol 30ft to the west. They begin coughing helplessly as the disgusting vapours irritate their systems. The three men from the barracks fall for this cunning distraction, running off into the darkness to investigate. Unfortunately, Norman has learnt nothing and is too much of a fidget to sit still. As the men walk obliviously past the armoured dwarf, at a distance of no more than two feet, he scrabbles forward as loudly as he did before despite frantic, furious signals from Wasp and Wistark.

The most suspicious of the three men is close enough to hear the sound, and turns towards Norman’s hiding place. Expecting the portly fool to be revealed in mere seconds, Wistark hurries quickly but quietly towards the gate. Wasp takes a shuriken from a pouch on her belt and prepares to throw. Ignatious continues to stand inside the door of the armoury with no idea that any of this is happening. Norman rolls away from the hill just in time as the thug crouches towards him. The thug turns to join his fellows at the poison cloud when, STILL having not learned his lesson, Norman rolls back to where he was moments before.

By complete chance, a cough from one of the spluttering sentries covers the sound of the tumbling dwarf. Wasp gives him the finger as she sneaks after Wistark. The escapee in question has found a walled guardpost next to the gate. He has crept to a position right beneath its one window. He smears his light face with mud from the ground, then stands slowly. He is now face to face with the guard, but this line of sight was necessary for his next move. He concentrates the cloud of daggers on the sentry’s neck and slits his throat.

Wasp joins him at the prison gate and helps him to lift off its locking bar. As they open the door and look out towards freedom, Norman joins them. Ignatious too is on the way. None see the pair of eyes watching their every move. The group sneak eastwards out into the night, using bushes and trees as cover to distance themselves from the camp. After no more than a minute they are followed out by the marauder, who has remained concealed and now takes the opportunity to flee north. He is followed unknowingly by Spyro, forgotten but still at large.

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Wistark

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