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Game Session 3A - Stolen Spy

Started by Dray, June 28, 2008, 01:03:42 PM

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GAME SESSION 3A - Stolen Spy

Johan - Temmit

Non-Player Characters:
Renee Olsteel
Leslie Marks

Note: This is a continuation of the 12.27.2132 - Awakening to a Nightmare thread.



Temmit and Renee walked briskly though the snow storm from the Marks tavern to the Theater District. Neither talked as they headed to the new shopping emporium where Renee's contact with the Warden Council of the Old Order ran a doll store.

Upon reaching the place at half past 8 dawnhand, neither were surprised to find the store still closed. Renee tapped on the plate-glass window of the door in a set pattern and an older woman with a medium frame and gray hair answered the door and let them in. (OOC: Picture Martha Stewart).

(OOC: The following conversation is not verbatim from the Game Session, but it does portray the general interaction).

"I am missing one of my people from the guild," Renee said bluntly.

"Oh? Why do you come to me then?" Martha (Stenwert) asked coyly. Temmit already sensing (using both his powers and his sense motive skills) that the woman knew more than she was letting on.

"Because your my one and only contact with the Warden Council, because you know of the goings on in that guild and perhaps may be able to enlighten me on how a girl in my group could have vanished." Renee replied in frustration. Renee was already at the edge of her boiling point for she had been frustrated with her contact's condescending attitude and half-answers for months. The Warden Council, in many ways just an adult version of Whisper, was not very willing to communicate with the leader of Whisper, thinking it kept the group better insulated that way.

"Well, they didn't report anything and I have no idea why you lost someone," Martha said. Temmit immediately signaled Renee that she was lying outright.

Renee went into a rage and unsheathed her sword as she marched across the room and slammed Martha into a curio and some shelves. Dolls and collectibles flew from where Martha hit and crashed to the floor as Renee held her sword to the woman's throat.

"I am not mating around, I want the girl found and you know something!" Renee shouted in her face.

Martha, never before having seen this level of anger from the young red-head, went into hysterics and plead to Renee not to be hurt. All the while, Martha also continued to deny her involvement. Renee shoved her and walked away, giving Temmit a pleading look on what to do next, as she was at wit's end.

Temmit had been looking around the shop while Renee roughed-up her Warden Council contact. Near the door, three shelves mounted vertically above one another each had a pair of porcelain dolls. At least the top two did, the bottom shelf had one doll and an empty doll stand next to it. The missing doll was an important clue that immediately clicked into his mind. For he had already seen that doll...when he had visited Leslie in her room just days prior. (12.24.2132 - A Hopenight at the Tavern). She had been in this store and had bought the doll for her sister's birthday, the very same doll that stood in the now empty doll stand

Temmit pathed Telempathic Projection at Martha. She didn't make her save and immediately fled to Temmit's arms for comfort, seeing him as a friend and ally against the angry Renee.

Temmit played on the woman's emotions, hoping she had not only a connection to the entire disappearance, but would actually identify the very girl they were looking for.

"That empty doll stand over there Martha, on the shelf near the door," he said pointing.

"Yes," Martha said, looking up at it with a tear-streaked face.

"The girl who bought that doll..." Temmit started.

"Cute little blond girl, yes?"

"That was our friend who was abducted."

The shock of it all hit Martha like a ton of bricks.

She cried for many moments while Renee and Temmit looked on. Renee almost came at her again but Temmit stayed her with a motion of his hand, he sensed the woman would about to confess her knowledge.

And confess she did, with tears and apologies she admitted to her part in what was a kidnapping of Leslie Marks.

"The Warden Council has had inner turmoil these past many months. With the increased frequency of Karh'Thul attacks and the interference of the government, the gifted within the Order have been frustrated. They can't use their abilities to defend themselves against the demons because of the Outer-Rim Defense soldiers presence, and they have been wounded and killed," Martha spoke as one who belonged to anti-government resistance group. Temmit sensed where this was going...Martha had turned into a double-agent.

"One of the Warden Council's number, Damien Starke, a gifted Wizard, faked his own death so he could flee from Shadow Keep (Warden Council headquarters). He came to Our-Commons which was really the only place he could hide, hide in case they discovered his ruse. After a few weeks, he contacted me, and at first, I was going to turn him in I assure you!" Martha pleaded, but both Temmit and Renee were not convinced.

"But he spoke of the disparity in the Warden Council's charter. The soldiers mere fodder to the very government that would have them judged and executed anyway had they known the truth."

"He seduced me into thinking that he would form a new Resistance, one that wouldn't be under the thumb of the government," she said in tears. Temmit sensed that she knew how much trouble she was now in, the Warden Council would not be kind to one who was aiding and abetting an criminal refugee from their ranks.

"Instead he used what information I could give him and he made contacts with the black market family, the Cordello. He hired mercenaries and thugs and has formed a new thieves guild called the Lowtown Shadow," Martha said, hitting her fist on one of the doll tables in anger.

"Information you have him? You betraying bitch!" Renee said and made a lunge at her. Temmit held her back, knowing Martha hadn't finished in her confession.

"What else did you tell him Martha?" he asked her politely, trying to maintain the facade of friendship that his power had given her. "What does this have to do with Leslie?"

"Before he had revealed to me his creation of the Thieves Guild, when he was still spouting promises of a new Order, a new Resistance, he told me that the only way that he would remain safe is if he had some leverage against the Warden Council. His plan was to kidnap one of the Whisper children and hold her until they signed a pact to give him his freedom, and their promise that they would not prosecute him." Martha said, her face becoming flush with embarrassment, for she truly had been the fool.

"And you believed him?!" Renee shouted. "Stupid bitch," she said in a sigh.

"Yeah well," Martha started to defend herself, and then thought better of it and continued in her confessional tone. "He was very convincing and charming. He said that he wouldn't hurt the Whisper member, just needed her as a means to an end."

"What other names did you give him beside's Leslie's? Or did you actually bring the man to our members?" Temmit asked, a little more harshly than he intended, for he needed to continue the ruse that they were friends. It was the only reason the confession had come forth.

"I have been reading all of Renee's correspondence between Whisper and the Warden Council, but I only had a few names," she said with her face down to the floor.

"You read my correspondence?! What gives you the right?!" Renee demanded.

Martha's head shot up at her, "The Warden Council does! They ordered me to peruse all correspondence for importance, so as not to bother them with trivial matters."

Renee unsheathed her sword again, but Temmit gave her a stare to back down. She complied.

"In Renee's letters I saw mention of the girl Leslie, who I hadn't ever met before she had come to the store just days ago...poor little child," Martha sighed.

Temmit overcame the urge to bitch slap the woman for Renee, and he ignored the foray of murderous comments that were coming from Smokey.

"She, and two others, River and a girl named Kristen. He was going to spy on the three and pick one to kidnap and bring to a cell he received from Sephlin Cordello" she finished.

"I have heard enough." Renee stated and then moved over and grabbed Martha painfully by her arm. "We are tying you up in the back room."

"Are you sure we are done here?" Temmit asked.

"No please...I didn't meant to help him...I won't do it again...please don't tie me up?!" Martha's begging fell on two pairs of deaf ears.

"I know enough from this idiot to know what we need to do next," Renee said and she and Temmit took the woman to the back windowless room and began to tie her up.

"We are going to go to the Cordello District, speak to Sephlin and get the location of the cell, we will then raid it and save Leslie.

Martha's eyes opened wide at this announcement, and just before Renee put a gag on her she pleaded one last time. "Please don't tie me up? What if the two of you are killed in the cell? I will starve to death!" Martha said.

"Then you better tell us anything we need to know before I put this gag on, shouldn't you Martha dear?" Renee asked, her voice dripping with venom.

She had nothing. She repeated the name of the Lowtown Shadow guild, told the pair about the types of non-Cordello has-been mercenaries Damien Starke had hired, but had little else.

The gag Renee placed on Martha was so tight the woman's face immediately started turning blue around it.

Temmit and Renee returned to the front of the shop, verified the CLOSED sign was still hanging and placed a piece of parchment in the front picture window stating that 'Sorry that I am closed today due to illness. All missed appointments and orders will be fulfilled at a later time with a heavy discount'[/b]. They then cleaned up the room of all it's damaged goods on the floor, lest a passerby see the signs of violence through the large shopping window.

"Come, we need to go to the Bank of Safe Haven first, then to the Whisper supply house before we make our journey to the Cordello District," Renee said to Temmit.

"Lead on," Temmit replied.

(GAME SESSION 3A to be Continued in next post - BANK OF SAFE-HAVEN)


Renee took the key to the establishment. Should the pair not return, Martha will likely starve....


Thanks, Dray, for conducting a fun adventure, and also posting
this briefe.
Avatar Courtesy of The Image Bank



Temmit and Renee abandoned Martha, now a prisoner in her own shop, and headed towards the Civic district. The morning storm masked the pair of students playing hookie as they journeyed, keeping their faces deep within the hoods of their winter cloaks.

As they entered the district, after passing the massive gates of the Second Wall, Temmit was impressed by the part of the city which was the heart of all business, law, and justice in Safe-Haven. Although he had visited the district during a couple of school field trips over the past two years, the novelty of the place hadn't been yet lost on him.

As was typical of the architecture in every district, the buildings here all had a unique theme, and in the Civic District that theme was concerned with business, human progress and the advancement of civilization. Where the Church of Kaine was built by an overbearing religion, it's gothic Spire and towers symbolizing the control-by-fear tactics of power-hungry priests, the tall buildings of the civic district were built by the people, and for the people. The structures were clean and suitably designed for their individual tasks, yet the buildings parlayed esthetically off of one another in a mingled sense of community. The great structures of the Guild Hall and the Safe-Haven Bureau had high pitched roofs many stories above the ground, their canopies needlessly extended over the streets and even some smaller buildings, providing the sense of protection to it's younger siblings, the small mom and pop stores. The cobblestone streets were swept and shoveled happily by these smaller business owners who lived comfortably under the protective shadow of these larger government entities. Street signs, along with informative ones, were posted at every corner, pointing pedestrians to their destinations. Even the guards, which were at more frequent stations here in the district that housed a good deal of coin, were happier. Not only did they not interfere with Renee or Temmit as they journeyed to the Bank of Safe Haven, Temmit overheard them talking very politely to each other and too questioning citizens who sought information. It was if the government had rallied all the dignified and courteous soldiers and gathered them here.

The Bank of Safe Haven was no less impressive. The five story structure, although fortified to the teeth because it housed the Safe-Haven Mint, looked like nothing more than an Easthaven manor. As they reached the outer reaches of the land the Bank occupied, Temmit couldn't help but wish it were summer. For the simple, yet elegant cast-iron fence which stood a few feet taller than the natural fence of hundreds of arborvitaes, was guardian to quite a beautiful landscape he had seen in the summer season. As he and his favorite red-head passed the entry gate and the two guards who didn't give them a second look, his mind's eye could picture the stone circle flower beds that dotted the rich green lawn during the warmer weather. Now, the entire surface was merely a fresh blanket of fallen snow. Temmit's eyes followed fresh tracks, that broke it's polished surface, to a patrolling guard and his dog as the pair vanished behind the front corner of the building.

The wide cobblestone walkway to the bank's guarded entrance was shoveled by two bank employees who kept ahead of the storm with their large push brooms. Beyond the massive iron doors was a public chamber that the entire student body of the Scribe House could fly kites in. Renee headed purposefully to a teller at a far wall.

The facade of her game was quite simple really. Apparently, she had set up a joint account with an ally of hers, a person guised as old man who could no longer make the journey. Setting up security deposit with him, she was now free to come here, state her alias (to protect her true identity), and make transactions in his name. No one therefore question why a girl of her age could attain such large sums of money.

And the sum of money was surprising. Turns later, when Renee and Temmit stood at the open security box, after being guided past many chambers and iron vault doors, he was shocked to see how much the lass indeed had. 6 half-mint platinum bars, each marked with the numbers 500[/i] represented her savings. After withdrawing 4 of them, they quietly left the bank, relieved to be away from so many guards.

"Supply room next, then to Cordello's," she announced, and back to the Theater District they went.



The morning was passing all too quickly for Temmit, and they hadn't even started looking for their kidnapped friend yet. He and Renee made the return trip to the Theater District through the storm that they now cursed. Cover was one thing, but the storm now looked bent on slowing them down if not stopping them altogether. Regardless of its effort though, they finally reached the guarded stairwell into LowTown. Due to her connection with Captain Athol, Renee and Temmit were allowed past without questioning.

As soon as they reached the dry passageways of the Storage District of LowTown they broke into a run, taking as little time as they could to reach Renee's secret room. Happily, took off their heavy cold-weather gear and deposited it unceremoniously on Renee's granite floor before heading right back out into the hallway.

The Whisper Storage room wasn't too far away. Renee quickly counted an undisclosed number of granite blocks in the wall and then pushed one in, releasing the catch mechanism of the secret door and revealing the room beyond.

They scurried into the room that was duplicate in size and shape to the secret room they just left behind. Within this room however, was shelves stocked with goods on all three walls. Potions, scroll cases, weapons, armor, devices to disarm traps, ammunition, explosives, and all manner of equipment and paraphernalia that would help Renee start a small war if she so chose.

She quickly abandoned her pack from school and picked up another that appeared packed and ready in the corner.

"A backpack I have prepared for occasions such as these," she explained to Temmit.

She then quickly showed Temmit a square glass container that was filled with acid. "These are too melt door locks. Expensive to make, but obviously very handy. We'll take all nine of them, as we won't know how many doors might need breaking down," she said as she put four in Temmit's pack and five into hers.

As they packed things they thought they might need, Renee gave Temmit a quick synopsis of the black market in LowTown.

"Sephlin Cordello, has always enjoyed in the exchange of stories, the power of debate and the gift of new information. Especially of the type that noble people wouldn't dare speak aloud. The darker, the better. He was a storyteller of, and for, all that was at least perverse, and at most, morally corrupt."

"Working the docks of the riverfront about twenty years ago, the man was known as the Black Bard[/i]. Tavern after tavern wanted him to perform on their stage, for the man drew incredible crowds with his slick tongue as it spun lavish tales. Tales that shocked the senses of it's listeners and drew them in for more, even as their skin crawled with the immorality of the stories."

"It was during this time that he used his charm to gain a most a loyal throng of followers. Men and women who simply began to loyally follow the man as their leader and do his bidding. Amongst them were common rogues and thugs who belonged to a few thieves guilds operating in LowTown. Guilds that had no loyalty to each other and competed to barely make a meager living through dishonest trade inflicted on those above."

"It was then that Sephlin saw his opportunity. He used his slick tongue and sharp wit and was able to unite the guilds, along with his own followers, to form a united cult with hundreds of followers. But he was smart, because for years he played in the shadows and bid his time while gaining contacts and influence amongst the people who walked above. He did not want to wake the sleeping giant that was the Church of Kaine, until he knew he could beat it. He discontinued his bard heritage and took up the role of Wizard as his sole profession. A profession he excelled in, and advanced farther in then any Wizard I have yet to meet in Safe-Haven. It is my suspicion that Sephlin was the owner of many a wizard spellbook, and spent years of long days and night in study."

" make a long story short. When the guild became the full fledged black market that it is today, the government tried to shut it down. But by then though, Sephlin had gained in such power and influence in the city that the ability of the government to do something had been robbed of them. He was too powerful and influential a citizen even though 90% of the population above was ignorant of his or even the black markets existence. Wealthy citizens began to get kidnapped or disappear altogether, that along with Sephlin's claim that he could use sorcery to blow-up the entire city forced the Church's hand, and Fresenius reluctantly had to sign a peace treaty with him. Now, Sephlin is allowed his black market, as long as it doesn't infringe upon the daily lives of those above in an excess manner."

"An entire section of LowTown is under his command, he and his four sons and many wives form the Cordello Family, and they are the Rulers of LowTown."

(GAME SESSION 3A to be Continued in next post - SEPHLIN CORDELLO)



The last item Renee and Temmit procured from the Whisper Storage Room shelves was a theater mask for each of them. As Temmit placed one on, he was happy to find that his peripheral vision wasn't impaired, the masks seemed crafted very well.

He then stepped out of the room and waited in the hall after she announced she was going to change into better armor. Only a few turns later, she emerged from the room and was fiddling with her mask, trying to get the leather band tied tight behind her head without catching her red mane. While she was donning her mask, he inspected her new outfit, at first wondering if he himself was ill-equipped.

The girl was far from her school uniform or the long military dress she wore in the public ceremonies as a representative of the Protectors House. Although from head to toe she was dressed for serious confrontation, she also had an alluring look that even Temmit's platonic intellect couldn't ignore.

She had donned a masterwork breastplate that did more than cover her heart, it made his beat a little more rapidly. Along her shoulders, forearms, thighs and calves were matching steel plates that followed her curves tightly. The leather armor under this suit of half-plate was cleverly embroidered with black thread to accentuate the comely woman's curves. It also left her mid-riff and lower legs bare, not a trait dared by the typical school uniform. Who-ever had made this armor for her, made it specifically to her dimensions, and Temmit knew it had[/i] to be a man.

'Clever armor really,' pathed Smokey, who unlike Temmit had remained business-like in his thoughts. 'Most men, especially untrained thugs, fighting her may be distracted just a click by her appearance. A click that a trained fighter like her could take advantage of. And see the exposed skin?'

Temmit saw the exposed skin. He couldn't take his eyes off her navel actually.

'She knows exactly where she wants them to aim their strikes. Clever girl this one.

Renee spoke after finally tying the mask behind her head, interrupting their internal conversation.

"In the underworld, everyone is allowed to wear masks to conceal their identity from each other. It is quite understandable considering the physical limits of our civilization above. For if the government wants someone, they only have so much land in which they need to look."

They departed.

As they walked, Renee showed Temmit a signet ring, it was a simple symbol, having a snake on it's face that was shaped like an S[/i]. "A year ago I performed a favor for Sephlin in the school district. The performance of a favor to the man is considered a privilege and an honor to most in the under world. For me though, it was considered more a future opportunity to receive his reciprocation when I needed it most. Thank the gods we have it Temmit, for without it, we would never have been able to even attempt a rescue of our little girl."

Although the corridors Renee lead Temmit through were many, he thought himself successful in tracking his left and right turns. If he were ever pressed to come this way again, he thought he could navigate the dungeon. The storage district of LowTown was larger than Temmit had imagined. When the pair had finally reached the outskirts of the Cordello District he dared say he was relieved.

The first guard to the Cordello District looked to be a formidable man. Incredible tall and lean, the man's only armor was his incredible muscled mass. He wore silk trousers and vest with nothing on his feet but a pair of leather moccasins. On his back were two scimitars, held by leather sheaths.

He didn't look twice at either Renee's presented signet ring or even her provocative attire, instead merely waving her on past. Temmit took note of the reaction.

Again they passed many left and right turns and in almost every other corridor encountered a man or a pair of men dressed like the first. Each of them waived the pair of trespassers on bye, not really taking much heed to them. Finally, they entered a hall that was interrupted by a pair iron bars, the first a portcullis, the second, a little further beyond, a gate. In between these bars was a man behind the right-hand wall, sticking his upper body out of a large opening in it. The bottom of this opening was a shelf which he leaned upon, beside him was a large ledger and Temmit immediately recognized this entire stations purpose. It was a weapon and equipment check.

The two men at this gate were armored with chain shirts and both had a pair of shortswords. As the masked Renee and Temmit approached they held up their hands for them to stop in their forward progress.

"Weapons and equipment check you two," one of the unmasked pair of guards stated. The guard in front of Renee had a smile on his face, and Temmit knew why. Renee had warned him earlier what was to happen here.

The two stripped of their backpacks and weapons, Renee even taking off her half-plate, exposing even more skin. The pair of guards invaded the personal space of the two Whisper members and started a very thorough pat-down of their bodies. The guard on Renee taking a lot more time with his subject than Temmit's did. There wasn't a part of the outer body that the guards didn't touch, and despite the clothing he wore, it still felt very awkward and creepy.

What Renee felt like as the other guard fondled her chest and lightly massaged her crotch Temmit could only imagine. The guards knew the line between business and rape however, and Renee's inspector didn't dance near that line too long.

The guards raised the portcullis and Renee and Temmit brought their goods for the old man at the counter to store away. Each one of their items they had to log in the book, for any item not accounted for would surely become the property of the Cordello family.

The station satisfied that the masked pair no longer was a threat to those beyond, the gate was opened and their were allowed into the interior of the domain.

Temmit had thought the next turn in the underground would be the last before reaching the heart of the district, he mistaken. Yet even more simple underground corridors, with guards posted in each one, had to be navigated before they finally reached what appeared to be the main entrance to the Cordello District itself. And what an entrance it was. Two arched, cast iron doors of twenty feet in height stood before them in the large antechamber. It was a mockery of the Church of Kaine doors in the Temple District. For on these doors were the same sculpted castings within the metal depicting the warfare of Karh'Thul and Warriors, only on this door...the demons were winning.

Renee presented her signet ring to the large man who looked in many ways like the very one they encountered first in their journey here. With a quick series of touches on the sculptures he released an arcane trigger that unlocked the massive doors. He then gently pushed on one and it glided inward on a silent pivot.

The unarmed Renee and Temmit walked inside.

(More forthcoming in this chapter)


Beyond the gates was a communal room that exceeded every expectation of what Temmit considered wealth to be.

The massive room's (80 feet wide by 160 feet long by 60 feet high) floor was completely tiled in black and gold marble. Within the center length of the room was a long swimming pool (30 feet wide by 110 feet long) with crystal clear water. It's perimeter a short wall of marble blocks that many women and a few men sat upon. Every ten feet on each side of it's length were ten foot diameter tubs within the floor. Each contained bubbling water that emitted a steam which revealed it's very warm temperature.

The entire room was lit up by 4 massive cast-iron braziers that were chain-pendant mounted from the lofted ceiling. Cast-iron wall sconces of incredible craftsmanship dotted the buttresses and the walls throughout the rooms as well. Each of their oil-wicks burning a flame to eliminate shadows in the far sides and corners of the room.

The otherwise featureless room was made busy by the massive amount of luxury that had been brought here. Silk pillows rested on dozens of wooden lounges. A half-dozen tables were placed around the room. Each with elegant displays of fruits, nuts and meat within silver trays and bowls resting on clean white linens.

Art work was everywhere. White marble sculptures depicted unknown warriors, nude maidens and the Karh'Thul. Paintings of nobles and their families were stacked vertically and horizontally on all four massive walls about the room, no space was left bare. Tapestries hung pendant-mounted on thick ropes in various locations and elevations about the room. The largest one hung at the room's center, millions of threads of many colors embroidered in a fine hemp canvas depicting a very picturesque map of the entirety of Safe-Haven .

It was if the entire new museum in the Theater District had been moved here. But of all that splendor, of all that wealth and absolute luxury, what amazed Temmit the most was the people who enjoyed it all.

Using the skills taught to him in the Scribe house, he counted their number in a matter of clicks, 60 people, with women out numbering the men almost 3 to 1. Of these myriad of humans, many were barely clothed. Some were enjoying the pool, others were in the bubbling hot tubs, and a few were enjoying each others company in a fashion that wasn't becoming to a public room. Temmit couldn't help but stare at some of the women, for not a soul in the room was unattractive, and to be in a room containing topless women was more than any 15-year old boy should be expected to withstand.

'Nice place.'

(More forthcoming in this chapter)


Walking through the communal bath house, Temmit did note that there were a few men who wore masks, and he wondered for a moment if any of them were from the upper world.

Making their way to the back of the room of splendor, Renee showed her signet ring to a lithe male in the typical Cordello get-up. The very same garb that they had quickly been accustomed to seeing (silk pants, leather moccasins, silk vest and two scimitars strapped to his back).

This tall man had a finely shaven beard that was thinly cut to accentuate his strong jaw line. He was also the first man to actually give his attractive leader an appreciative look.

'Hey! Tell Renee to pose as a bath house slut. She could then ask where the make-up room is and then you could really get a good look at some bodacious...'

'Hush now, trying to cencentrate,' Temmit interrupted the crystal's tirade of mischief.

The man lead them down yet another myriad array of corridors before finally arriving at their destination. Another pair of ornate cast-iron doors with the same relieves of warring demons and men. This man, like the one at the doors to the communal bath house, lightly touched various places on the cast iron in quick succession, arcane triggering some mechanism to release the lock. He then easily opened the right hand door and guided the pair thru.

The room beyond was very similar to the bath house but on a slightly smaller scale (80 feet in diameter). It was circular, and had the same gold-flecked black marble tiling along its floors and walls. And the same wall-mounted cast-iron sconces crafted elegantly to look like twisted flowers illuminated the perimeter of the room.

At the room's center however, was a large raised dais which was surrounded by 6 marble columns, each standing equidistant around the dais (at the six points of a hexagon). These columns raised high up to meet a masterful domed ceiling above, a ceiling that was either gold or masterfully painted to look like it was gold. The entire dome appeared to somehow glow from an unseen light source.

In between these elegant columns, a 20-foot high curtain of white silk concealed those on the dais from view. Each of the six corners of the curtains were held by platinum crossbeams holding fine chains that ran the length of the tops of each curtain.

Stationary pinpoints of many candles could be seen through these slightly-transparent curtains. Along with the occasional silhouette of delicate female form walking in front and around the light. Temmit could hear the delicate voices of women talking quietly beyond, but could not make out their words.

A slow stairwell circled the left quadrant of the dais, taking many long and wide risers to ascent to the floor level of the dais which was 10 feet higher than the floor of the great room. At the top landing of this marble stairwell, and standing before an opening in the silk curtain, stood another incredibly large man in Cordello silks.

As their neatly shaved guide approached the giant, he said in an almost herald fashion. "The Sephlin Favor of the Snake has been called."

The man nodded at the guide, who merely nodded back, turned around and passed the pair on the wide stairwell on his way back to where he had come. Temmit noted that the man did indeed turn his head to check out Renee's posterior on the way out.

"You may enter," said the big man in a deep bass voice. He stepped back and raised an arm the size of a tree to brush back the silk edge of the entrance for their entry. As Temmit passed him and entered the 'tent' on the dais, he noted that his eyes hadn't deceived him, for the large man's skin truly was painted bronze, from head to toe.

(More forthcoming in this chapter)


If heaven was the communal bath house, then Temmit thought that he just entered it's throne room. For beyond the opening in the silk was a place of such sensual comfort and intoxicating beauty that Temmit feared he would drown just standing aside it.

The silk curtains hanging by the columns hid what was, in affect, a 20-foot diameter bed. The entire floor was actually a soft mattress which felt incredible under his naked toes. Upon it was an array of loose silk sheets, pillows and other comfortable-looking mattresses and things for the tent's occupants to lie upon.

About the room, nine women and one young looking girl talked, lied, and slowly moved about the tent. Each one a perfect specimen of the human species, and each one for all intents and purposes nude. Although they wore some fancy gossamer silks held by forearm, wrist, thigh and ankle bands, the material was decorative in nature and very small. For a boy of 15 who had only seen a woman's anatomy represented by a sketched cross-sectional view in reproduction class when he was 10, Temmit was way past a mere pounding heart. He sat down quickly to better disguise his apparent pleasure in being in the room amongst them.

The young girl, perhaps his age or a year or two older, interested him intellectually in that he wondered how she came to be here. He did not look up at her though, not trusting his stirring emotions just yet, lest they betray him further. Using his powers of concentration, he quickly regained his faculties as Renee sat down next to him. It was then, and only then, that he saw the one man in the room, who she sat across from. Sephlin Cordello.

Sephlin Cordello was just as muscled as many of his guards throughout his district, but with one distinct difference...Sephlin was a midget. The bald man was studying Renee through her mask and simply smiling at her while he half-lay on the mattress. He wore silks similar to his guards, but his feet were currently bare. He was almost as wide as he was tall, and despite his apparent lack of height, Temmit knew the man was most likely a formidable foe in a fist-to-cuff. Around his waist he did indeed carry a couple of spell component pouches, betraying the Wizard that Renee proclaimed him to be.

Temmit respected this man more and more as he had traveled his domain, and to see the man now only inspired him further to that end. This was not a man to be trifled with. It was then that Renee drew her mask, but as she fixed her hair she turned to Temmit and gave him a signal for him not to follow suit.

"Greetings Sephlin, thank you for hearing the call of my favor," she said to him. Temmit heard the leader of Whisper throughout the fullness of her voice, and he was proud to feel the strength of it.

"Renee Ol'Steel, welcome to my tent," Sephlin greeted with a wave to the abode. "Please partake in any refreshments you see throughout the room during your audience with me."

Temmit dared a short looked about and saw that there were indeed many narrow tables standing at the curtain's edge of the dais. Each elegantly adorned with food bowls that were similar to the ones in the house bath. He even detected the feint scent of roasted pig beyond the intoxicating scent of woman's perfume that hung in the air.

It was then that the young girl walked over and kneeled by him while she offered fruit from a bowl to Renee. Her nude form was merely a hand movement away from him and it was more than he could bear not to stare onto every curve and into every crevice of her creamy-skinned body.

Renee grabbed a few slices of apple and then the girl turned to Temmit. With all of his concentration he specifically stared into her eyes lest his own be tempted to wander. Unfortunately for him, this is where her unique beauty truly laid. For the girls incredibly symmetrical face with it's small chin, soft lips and incredibly big blue eyes were framed delicately by a flowing mane of golden hair. He was stunned by the angelic features.

"No thank you," he replied to her offer, to which she smiled. A smile that shot a lance down the cortex of his being and straight into his privates.

'I got to admit, I am impressed. Your heart is beating a thousand times a tick and yet you sounded almost mature in your denial of her fruit. Your voice didn't even crack,' said Smokey. Temmit didn't have the strength to wonder if he was being picked on by his pet rock or not, in fact, at the moment he didn't care.

He returned his attention to the conversation between Renee and Sephlin.

"...a delight to see you here in my humble quarters once again Renee. I am almost tempted to allow you to keep the ring just so we can have this opportunity again and again," Sephlin stated. Despite these words however, he slowly slipped the signet ring off of Renee's offered finger.

"Now tell me love, what is so important that you must call in this incredible favor? Why are you here in this lovely little leather get-up when you should be in uniform at the school, leaning over some book?" he asked.

One of the other women then sat down next to Temmit and he breathed her scent in deep. The intake was caught though when he felt her hand gently play with a lock of hair on his head. He tried to ignore it, as if his intent focus on the conversation concealed his awareness of her caress.

Renee matched her host's casual nature and laid down on the pillows aside her. Temmit noted that she actually moved a pillow so her head would be lower than Sephlin's and therefore she would be looking up at him.

'The girl knows how to play this game, she is assuming a very submissive body stature in order to shift his attitude into more to that of a gracious benefactor,' he pathed to Smokey.

'Stroking his ego and making him the father figure,' Smokey replied in agreement.


'Wouldn't surprise me if he ascertained the same thing. He doesn't strike me as incompetent,'


" you see, I came down here to get her back." Renee had been summarizing Leslie's kidnapping and had just finished at the end of his conversation with Smokey.

"I have no problem pointing you the right direction Renee. His cell is of course one of my own, but I have no reservations telling you which one," as Sephlin spoke, he edged his short body into Renee's personal space on the mattress. Their faces were mere inches from one another, and for her part, she didn't pull away.

When Renee spoke her voice was just as confident, but quieter since he was now so close.

"Directions are more than I need Sephlin, else I wouldn't have called upon you," she said and then paused for a moment. This is where Temmit sensed was the forthcoming gamble in her plan to rescue Leslie, and he sensed her anxiety of it for but a click in time.

Then she passed that click and said, "I want to purchase the lease of the cell from right underneath Damien Starke."

Sephlin thought a moment and then let out a strong chuckle. It was a hearty laughter that even made Temmit want to join in. The man's persona and emotions were infectious, as if his feelings were an invisible amorphous cloud that radiated about all within the tent. He understood why so many people followed him.

Sephlin regained his composure and turned back to Renee. While in thought, he took the liberty of stroking her upper leg with his strong but stubby fingers. She laid her head back down from where it had been propped up by her hand and allowed him to slowly caress the outside of her thigh while he contemplated. Even as he did so, the woman beside Temmit moved her hand from the lock of his hair and began to massage the back of his neck.

Temmit had already ascertained the etiquette of diplomacy within this chamber, and truth-be-told, he had a hard time arguing with it's pleasantries during that exact moment.

When Sephlin spoke, Temmit silently cursed him, he wanted the moment to go on for a lot longer.

"I cannot simply give you a cell in my district for the exchange of a favor Renee. You will need a lot more in compensation to me for such a betrayal of my written confidence with another party," he said to her. His hand left her thigh and cupped her chin as he spoke, he then placed it back on his own thigh as he awaited her response.

"I would never have assumed to insult the graciousness of your favor in such a way my friend," Renee replied smoothly without raising her head from the pillow. "I also will donate two half-plat mints[/i] now, and two upon the success of my mission when it is complete."

"I like your style my love, and you must know my mind better than my liking," he said to her as his hand returned to her face to caress it. "For you must know that Damien and his gang of thugs disrupt my world and therefore displease me, else you would not be so foolish enough to ask my hand in betraying them."

"A lucky gamble my friend," Renee replied. "Many wealthy citizens have been robbed by his gang and have even brought the alert level of the Capital City Guard to a higher state. I assumed this would be bad for business in LowTown."

"You assumed correctly," Sephlin stated with a furrowed brow. "But I am not pleased by your confidence in my acquiescence, I think a little more sweetening of the deal is required for my taste and benevolence to your plight."

Renee nodded and smiled slightly, waiting for his proposal.

Sephlin became real daring in his diplomacy. The hand that was caressing her face slid down the side of her breast, stroked the side of her stomach and gently rested on the leather upon her crotch. His forefinger gently massaging the soft leather. After a delay there, and a moment that Temmit knew the man awaited a denial of him, he took his hand away.

Renee had passed his test.

"When you are released from the military at age 24, you shall come straight to me Renee Olsteel. As part of this favor I bestow upon you, you in turn will bestow your presence within my tent for one month as an equal to those now surrounding us with their beauty," he announced.

' least it isn't until six years from now that she has to sleep with shorty, Smokey quipped.

'A lot could happen in six years,' Temmit replied.


"It would be an honor my friend," replied Renee to Sephlin. The wizard gave a huge smile back at her.

"The honor will be all mine my love," he whisper back to her. With that, he stood up and with an almost childlike bounce walked over to the slit in the silks. "Cha'karta, please bring me a new lease agreement for cell 4A," he told the big bronze guardian at the gate who immediately departed.

Sephlin bounced back and sat a little ways away from both of the Whisper members.

For many turns they then had polite conversation on the trivial happenings of the world above, even talking about the weather for awhile. Sephlin was both engaging and particularly funny and Temmit sensed the Bard in him never truly departed his spirit. The woman that massaged his neck left Temmit for her master and was soon hugging the short man from behind, her entire nude form pressed against Sephlin's backside.

As they talked, Temmit noted the respect for his privacy behind his mask. Sephlin and the very well-spoken women didn't engage him in conversation and he therefore offered none. Temmit eventually surmised that it was part of the diplomacy of the given situation. Renee had conveyed to Sephlin without words that Temmit's identity remain secret, and Sephlin had respected that request.

Finally, Cha'Karta returned with the papers and handed them to the master who didn't even make it to the guard's waist. Sephlin in turn handed them to Renee along with a gold pen. She signed the bottom line without even hesitating to look at the document.

"Very well love," Sephlin said as he stood and rolled the parchment up in his hands. "You have purchased the cell for the next two years, please enjoy it and don't be afraid to return here for some leisure time? Six years is an awfully long time to wait for the warmth of a warrior's body such as yours."

Renee didn't hesitate in playing her part in his game as she stood up to leave. Before standing to her full height she stood on her knees and wrapped the man's frame in her arms, embracing him tightly.

"Sephlin. Thank you so much for your kindness this day, you have no idea how much it means to me," she said then she let go of him and cradled his face in her hands. As one hand came down to cup his chin, in the same manner he had hers, she said, "This day will burn brightly in my memory when I return six years from now."

She then gave him a quick kiss on the mouth and stood up to leave.

Temmit followed, but just before he passed the edge of the silk he dared a look back at the angelic young woman. Through the locks of her golden hair she gave him a powerful knowing smile. The image of her burned into his memory permanently.

(To be Continued in GAME SESSION 3B - A STOLEN SPY)