Chapter 14

Under the cover of deep night Mother Tula lead the party through the Steeps of Baden’s Bluff. The height was dizzying. At times they could see the Worm Docks below them, the lights in the houses like fireflies over the water, and the feeling was that a wrong misstep could lead to death. They walked in and around hovels; it was a maddening array of all alleys and no streets. The wind swirled and whipped in all directions here as the temperature difference between the sea and the land battled for supremacy. At times it felt as if they were walking on roofs of houses that also acted as parts of the alleys here. At least those who live on the docks have open space to look out and those in the main city have actual streets but here there was the sense of being crushed, the people of the Steeps were literally living on top of each other.

Mother Tula often paused before moving from one area to another. There were few people out in the deep of night but at one particular point Mother Tula paused for a long time as some young thugs disperse ahead of them.

They could note the hint of fear in her voice, “Those men are dangerous. They are the Flayers and they run the Steeps. The orcs rarely come here and instead give the power to these men to run the Steeps as they see fit.”

Cautiously they began to move again and as the convoluted path came to an end they could see that the half-moon was hanging low in the western sky, its light shimmering on the sea. The road that carves it way through the Steeps lied before them. Heading west to east and then backtracking the road climbed up through Guildall, the Well and its marketplace and into the main city. It also snaked down through the rest of the Steeps and into the docks.

Mother Tula talked to the party one last time before disappearing into the night, “Remember, if you could get word to the Rat King, I would much appreciate it. Tell him or whoever he sends to seek the child by the bakers stand in the marketplace.”

“If you do manage to do this, consider my forgiveness complete. And if you need a way out of here, you may seek the child by the bakers stand as well.”

After a quiet goodbye the group quickly discussed their plan. It was to make their way to the Stone Docks and make contact with Ebore Arbter. It was time to fulfill a promise they had given to the old man in the village of Ardesh.

Slowly they made their way down the Steeps, taking sharp turn after sharp turn. Now they could understand why the Well was built. Dragging goods from ships up the side of this cliff would have been treacherous, if not impossible during the winter. Often they ducked into side streets as small patrols of guardsmen passed by.

As the road flattened out the Stone Docks began and so did a gruesome sight. Lining the sides of the streets here were about eight spears, the butt end of them stuck into barrels. Atop the eight spears were various heads. Grimly you pass them by but it is the quick breath of Nezrin that catches everyone’s attention.

“There, the third on the right, that … that is Radovin,” he says shaking his head and clenching his fists. The head of the man that you new as Radovin sits lifeless, the tip of the spear and its wooden pole caked with blood.

The night sky was beginning to lighten, the twilight of the dawn was breaking. They had moved further into the Stone Docks and now find themselves near the warehouses.

Now their only question was, how do they get in touch with Ebore? The largest warehouse on the docks was easily visible up ahead and, even before the sun rises, they noted the activity in this area was already starting to pick up.

Chapter 14

The Edge of Twilight Naszir