CALL TO ADVENTURE
This is Ciudad de Cono Grande.
It is an old city filled with much culture as the result of being part of a large empire in the past. While empires typically don’t last forever, that doesn’t mean their cities disappear, especially the prosperous ones.
Right now Cono Grande is in a period of independence as a city state that relies mainly on trade and mercenaries to keep itself that way. So far it has worked, but freedom doesn’t always last forever either. Ambition is always lurking around the corner.
But this isn’t about the city, this is about one of it’s many inhabitants, Kona Cho.
Kona grew up in the poorer area of the city. Life as you might expect wasn’t the easiest. Kona’s father worked a job that barely earned enough to scrape by, while Kona’s mother had married him so she wouldn’t starve in the first place.
While they provided the basics for Kona, it wasn’t enough. Even at a young age Kona wanted more out of her currently lowly station in life.
Given where she lived, Kona saw many things that caused her to grow up fast like many other children in the area. It wouldn’t be long before she saw one of the best ways to get ahead in life is to take it.
She turned to the life of crime.
Young Kona: Picking pockets, hanging out with black boys and doing other delinquent things.
She was fairly good at it too. Her parents may or may not have realized what she did in her spare time, but if they did, they never addressed it. Perhaps they didn’t care, or perhaps they were mildly relieved that their daughter was developing a means of survival that would put less burden on the household financially.
Such parental indifference though just grew and by the time Kona was a teenager she considered her local gang of fellow petty thieves to be more her family. But one cannot dabble in the underworld and remain merely “mischievous” forever.
As Kona grew older, her criminal activity became more severe, occasionally even violent. It wasn’t just survival she was doing these things for now. There was something else going on…
While it’s true that Cono Grande’s S&M Clubs technically had an age limit, they did have an area for older teens interested in being a prospective dom or sub since it was the most normal thing ever there.
Kona might have had darkness within her, but she still was not totally without a code (yet). She didn’t want to just be another common criminal. She wanted to be something more. Someone important and yet still use all her natural skills and talents.
She wasn’t sure exactly how she was going to achieve it, but she vowed that she would definitely achieve greatness one day.
Kona heard the CALL TO ADVENTURE.
3 Experience points
2 Light points
3 Darkness points
1 Hero card
Kona walked the streets of Cono Grande wondering how to go about her plans. The obviously step would be to join the thieves’ guild in the city. A guild member had approached her recently stating he was aware of her deeds and she showed promise. He then said that she should drop by if she wanted to learn how to be a REAL rogue.
It’s true that she would undoubtedly learn something of value by joining, but she’d also have to obey a bunch of new rules and she’d been getting along fine without many rules.
While she pondered the pros and cons of joining the guild. Suddenly a dark skinned man with dreads called out to her.
“You there girl! Watch out!”
Kona looked and saw a bunch of men carrying several big stones and large pieces of wood and they were coming in her direction like a juggernaut. She quickly got out of their way as they didn’t even stop their stride. Normally Kona was aware of her surroundings, but the guild stuff had her preoccupied.
“Good thing you’re fast girl. Wouldn’t want you to be the first casualty of war.” the dreadlocked man said.
“War?” Kona asked.
“Yes, war, that’s what we’re building up more defenses for. One of those maricons in the Misty Hills managed to unite the tribes and a large army is approaching the city! If they think they’re going to just come in and fuck Cono Grande, they’re severely mistaken.”
Kona wasn’t aware of any of this recent news, but then again she only really focused on her immediate needs and concerns. She wondered if she should be more concerned about this development. Meanwhile the man continued to speak.
“While I don’t doubt we’ll beat those barbarian degenerates, we still could use more help in defending the city.”
“Don’t we have mercenaries for that?” Kona answered.
“Pfft. For now because we’re a prosperous city! But what if the day comes that isn’t the case? We claim how great it is to live here, but I think we both know that isn’t the case for everyone.”
The man obviously could tell Kona wasn’t one of the higher born.
“And even if it was the truth, shouldn’t we be proud enough to defend it ourselves rather than relying on foreigners who could very well betray us to the highest bidder one day? I love this city, but the people place too much faith in coin most of the time.”
“What else is there?”
“Heh. I’m not surprised to hear that coming from someone of your unfortunate status. From how you’re dressed, I’d wager you’re some sort of thief. Probably turned to crime out of a sense of survival. Well I’ll tell you now girl, I also grew up poor and you need to start taking the long view of things if you want to survive for more than just today. Coin is nice, but there are much more things out there that can bring fulfillment.”
The man could see Kona didn’t want to hear a lecture and he had other duties to attend to, but he said his name is Raul Moreno. He was head of Cono Grande’s small personal militia. He then remarked that they need people who can assist with defense of the city in any small way they can and if Kona was interested to come see him later at the barracks.
“And girl, if defending your home isn’t a good enough motivation for you to help, we ARE paying coin. Personally, I hope to see you. We need more young people to take an active interest in the future of this city to keep it great.”
Kona watched as Raul left, unsure of what to think of his words. She never really gave much thought about before. He mentioned he grew up in a similar way she did, so it at least gave her another view of how she could achieve more in life.
Still making her way through the city streets, she saw one of her friend’s girlfriend Maria. She was running right towards her with a worried look on her face.
“Kona! Kona! Have you seen Diego?” Maria asks.
“No, not today. Why?” Kona answered.
“Cesar and his gang are looking for him! They said he owes them money for some job or something! I have to warn Diego!”
This is the first Kona was hearing of this. Kona knew Diego said he was thinking about joining Cesar’s gang, but she thought she talked him out of doing such a fool thing. Cesar’s gang are a bunch of dumb thugs about her age that just go around beating up people for the most part. Sure they have a bit of a rep, but she wasn’t convinced that joining them was a great long term idea.
In any case, if Diego’s in trouble with Cesar’s gang, that’s not good for him. He’s been Kona’s friend since childhood, but this isn’t the first time she’s had to pull his fat out of the fire. There’s a part of her that’s a little sick of it. Not like he does much to return the favor, but then again she doesn’t get knee deep in shit like he does all the time.
Kona tells Maria to try to keep calm and that she’ll keep an eye out for him and Cesar. Though Kona wasn’t really sure what she could really do about it. About the only advantage she could think of is that Cesar made some unsubtle advances on her in the past.
Maria soon runs off to continue looking for Diego, and no sooner had Kona turned the next corner when she saw some of Cesar’s gang shaking down some poor bastard. They hadn’t seen her yet though.
Made her wonder if she couldn’t potentially resolve the Diego situation by dealing with some of his gang right now. Of course how she’d handle it would be another question.
Kona had a lot on her mind. There were a lot of situations going on right now and already she felt overwhelmed. She had an idea of how to handle most of them, but it was going to require some underhanded tactics to achieve some of it.
Continue on to join the Guild. Challenge: 3-4 (Medium-Hard)
Join the war effort. Challenge: 5 (Very Hard)
Help Diego. Challenge: 4-5 (Hard-Very Hard)
Deal with Cesar’s Gang. Challenge 4 (Very Hard)
A friend in need is…a pest
After asking around a bit, apparently that fool Diego had already been found by Cesar and he was being held at the gang’s usual hang out, Pozo del Diablo.
Kona entered Pozo del Diablo which was already in a party mode, it was no surprise she managed to sneak in without anyone recognizing her. She spend a bit of time wandering near the tables, trying to get a layout of the place and putting her plan into action.
She then looked around and sure enough she saw Cesar sitting with a bunch of his cronies in the back of the bar laughing and drinking.
She approached Cesar’s table which caused a lot of surprised looks.
“Kona? Well, well, well, I never expected to see you in this place.” Cesar said.
“Me either.” Kona replied.
“The fact that you managed to get in here without one of my crew noticing until you were nearly upon me is impressive.”
“Not difficult when most of your crew is half drunk and too busy looking at my ass rather than my face.” she said as she moved around the table.
“True I suppose, it is pretty enticing. So, what are you doing here anyway? You finally decide that I’m the only one man enough to tame you?”
“I’m here for Diego.”
“I see and what makes you think I have him?”
“Well because he was last seen screaming as some of your boys dragged him away in this direction.”
Cesar laughs which causes the cronies at his table to laugh as well.
“Yeah, he cried like a maricon and we barely even did anything to him. Hell, he even claimed that you’d settle his debt to me after we slapped him around a bit.” Cesar said.
“What happened anyway?” Kona asked.
“That cabron came to me a week ago saying he wanted to join, so I said okay since I figured I had nothing to lose if he failed and if he succeeded then maybe he’d be useful after all. You familiar with Gomez’s Goods?”
“That old bastard Gomez had a fucking jewel encrusted gold medallion on display in his front fucking window. He was practically asking for someone to steal it!”
Cesar’s an idiot and Diego is an even bigger one since he should know better. Gomez is notorious for having the best security on his pawn shop. It probably rivals Cono Grande’s bank. A lesser known fact is the old man has on occasion baited thieves into stealing from his shop with a deliberately enticing or easy target. Taking the bait is never a good idea.
Cesar goes on to tell how he also sent two of his guys with Diego to witness him doing the deed. To cut a long story short, the actual thievery was easy, but the medallion ended up exploding soon after. Fortunately one of Cesar’s men had the medallion, so he was killed rather than Diego, but he got blamed for it anyway.
“It sounds to me like Diego completed the job.” Kona remarked.
“No, he got one of my men killed, so an example must be made. Just haven’t decided on what yet, but it’s going to be spectacular when people find him in the morning.” Cesar said.
“Oh come on. What’s one dumb thug? Not like you don’t have a bunch of them.”
“That’s not the point! It’s the principal of the thing! I can’t just let one of my gang’s death However, I can see you came here looking all sexy in that dress, so YOU must have another negotiation tactic in mind.”
At this point Cesar looked at his men and waved them away. As they left, he gestured for Kona to sit on his lap. Kona obliged.
“Well this is more like it, but if you think just looking good in a dress is going to sway me, you’re not as clever as I thought Kona.” Cesar said.
“And if you thought I was going to blow you to save Diego, you’re stupider than I thought Cesar.” Kona replied.
“Oh trust me honey, you’ll be working more than that sassy mouth of yours Kona, if you want to save Diego that way.”
“Where is he anyway exactly?”
“Basement. And no, you don’t get to see him. Well not until the morning when we leave his body somewhere. Of course whether he's alive and in one piece or not will be up to just how much you want to save your friend.”
Cesar took another drink at this comment and Kona noticed he was starting to look queasy. She looked around and noticed a few other people in the bar starting to not look good either.
Took long enough.
“Feeling okay?” Kona asked.
“Get off me, I’m gonna…oh shit!”
And it was at this moment that Cesar practically threw Kona off of him and he ran to presumably find a privy, but…he didn’t quite make it as bad stuff came out of him from both ends.
He wasn’t the only one. Several of his people were suffering the same effects. Kona had been drugging the drinks around the bar while everyone was busily staring at her physical attributes. Even the ones who hadn’t partaken, weren’t feeling too good after seeing massive amounts of vomit and shit everywhere. The smell itself was enough to cause less sick to run out the door.
Kona herself didn’t want to stick around either and she rushed to the basement where she found Diego chained to a wall who hadn’t even been beaten as Kona thought he might be, but enough that he was bruised, bleeding and had a black eye.
“Kona! I knew you’d come!” Diego managed to utter as he saw her in his one good eye.
“Well you’re the only one, because I didn’t even know if I would.” she answered.
Kona quickly unlocked Diego’s shackles and the pair wasted no time in escaping Pozo del Diablo. The trip back up the stairs and through the bar was a disgusting sight. The smell was even worse. Everyone who was still in the bar were too busy being sick on the floor (rolling in more sick).
Nearly puking themselves they hopped over the mess and out the front door.
“Ugh…this isn’t over you fuck…puta...guh…get those…blargh…” Cesar could be heard saying as Kona rushed out the door. A couple of the less sick gang members briefly chased, but simply couldn’t keep the pace for long not even with Diego dragging himself like a deadman.
Eventually Kona and Diego reached a safer area, where upon Diego declared himself to be forever indebted to her and would help her always no matter what.
Kona wasn’t sure how useful Diego would actually be, but unwavering loyalty from someone is never a bad thing.
2 Light Pts
3 Dark Pts
Mother Knows Best
Having told Diego to lay low and stay out sight in certain areas for awhile, Kona parted ways with him hoping he’d actually listen to her this time.
Kona just made a huge amount of enemies in a short period of time by pissing off an entire gang and it’s leader pretty severely. She wondered if she shouldn’t have just gone with her other plan of outright poisoning their drinks, but she thought that might be a bit over the top. She wasn’t a murderer, well at least not yet, but she might have to become one if Cesar really comes after her.
Lacking an idea of where to go, she went home. Nobody ever actually looked for her there anyway since she was barely there most of the time. It was late anyway and she should probably get some sleep.
Kona easily creeped into her home and then room. Neither of her parents even knew. Did they even care?
The next day Kona woke up and once again pondered what to do. She expected to bump into her mother, but she wasn’t home. Kona guessed that she must be out shopping or something. Her father wasn’t home either, but he worked a lot anyway.
The house was a bit messier than it normally was. A lot of items cluttering up where one would usually walk. Cleaning out unnecessary items perhaps. She noticed a few things of hers and was mildly annoyed. Sure she hadn’t played with dolls in a very long time, but she still liked Miss Demeanor. She managed to steal so much candy by hiding it in her. A reminder of less complicated times.
Seeing if there was anything else of hers being thrown out, she picked up a small box and opened it. To her surprise she found a gold tiara! What the hell was this doing here and more importantly why the hell was it going to be thrown out?
Besides the gold tiara, she found what looked to be a stamp with some sort of emblem on it. It didn’t match the Cono Grande flag, but it looked very official. There was also an envelope with your mother’s name on it. The envelope was empty, but remnants of a seal was on it.
Could her mother have been royalty? If so, then that would make her royalty too.
This seemed very far fetched, like something out of one of those silly fairy tale books. Of course the only way to find out for sure would be to confront her mother since she would find no more answers in the box.
Just then she heard footsteps causing her to quickly close the box and put it back. Then she silently cursed herself for not taking the tiara first.
Kona’s mother came in and saw Kona. Her look was a mixture of surprise and concern.
“Oh! You’re home. Umm, how are you?” her mom asked.
“I’m fine.” Kona answered, noticing that her mother was looking at the box.
“Good. Good. Um, sorry about the mess, I was just going through a few things to potentially sell. They cut the wages where your father works recently.”
“Well I’d appreciate it if you would have asked me if it was alright to sell MY stuff first!”
“Wha…? You don’t even play with dolls anymore!”
“That’s not the point, it’s the principle of the thing!”
“Pfft. Principles? That’s rich coming from someone who thieves and whores all day and night.”
“I don’t fucking whore!”
“And I suppose that dress is just for religious service huh?”
Kona looked at herself realizing she’d never changed from the night before. Didn’t help that the dress was mildly ripped. Must have happened during the escape.
Kona’s mother just shook her head and stepped towards the pile of junk taking the box Kona had opened earlier. She then headed to her bedroom before turning to Kona.
“Look, I don’t care what you do in your free time. I gave up trying to discipline you long ago, but if you’re going to continue living under this roof, you’re not going to sass me. And I bought that damn doll to begin with so I got every right to sell it!” Kona’s mother said before shutting her door.
Kona noticed her mother was quick to take that box. She also remembered why she didn’t stay here much and left the house.
Kona walked the streets ignoring the cat calls and offers she was receiving while wearing a torn dress. Along the way she saw a crowd of people placing bets on two others fighting. Given how frustrated she was feeling, there was a part of her that wanted to join in. Not to place a bet though, but to participate. Sometimes she just really had an urge to hurt someone badly.
And she still had the issue with Cesar’s gang to resolve, though there were at least a couple ways to deal with that.
Kona weighed her options.
Join the Thieves’ Guild to gain the support/protection of that organization. (Challenge: 3-4 Very Easy-Easy)
Deal with Cesar’s gang directly. (Challenge: 4 Very Hard)
Confront her mother about the tiara. (Challenge: Special)
Let out her violent urges in the street (Challenge: 4 Hard)
Confronting the past
Kona couldn’t get the box she found out her mind. She needed to confront her mother about it before doing anything else. (She also needed to change her clothes)
Kona turned right back around and went home. When she arrived she found her mother sweeping up. She knocked the broom out her hand causing her mother to react in a hostile manner.
“Wha…have you lost your mind?! What the hell is wrong with you?” Kona’s mother exclaimed.
“That box you took into the bedroom earlier, what is it?” Kona asked.
Kona’s mother attempted to play it cool, but her expression and obvious agitation prevented any sort of reasonable reaction.
“I dunno what you’re talking about.”
“I SAW you take that box with the gold tiara in it when you were bitching at me earlier! You know damn well what I’m talking about!”
“So you snooping through my things now? Y’know what, I want you out of this house. You can go sleep in the streets where you belong!”
“Not before you tell me what that box and its contents is all about first!”
“BITCH GET OUT!”
At this point Kona’s mother attempted to slap her, but she was too fast. Kona easily dodged and then followed up with a slap of her own. Her mother reacted with a mixture of shock and fear. She turned and ran into her bedroom where Kona soon tackled her on to the bed and after a brief scuffle, Kona twisted her mom’s arm behind her back.
Kona’s mother screamed, but fortunately such sounds of domestic violence were common in the area so it wasn’t likely that anyone would be nosey. Still just to be sure Kona twisted her arm even more.
“Mom, I’m going to break your fucking arm if you don’t shut the fuck up! Now you better start telling me about that box!”
“I’m not telling you shit!”
“Tell me! Are you royalty?!”
Kona’s mother started laughing.
“Does it look like I’m fucking royalty?”
“No, you look like a pathetic fat housewife, but that doesn’t change what I’ve seen and it’s not just expensive jewelry. There was some sort stamp and an envelope with your name too.”
“If I knew this is where my life was going to lead, I would have just married that pervert. At least I wouldn’t have been living where people piss in the streets.”
“So you ARE royalty.”
“I WAS royalty. Now get off me!”
Kona relented enough to let your mother sit back up at which point she tells you the whole story or at least what she’s willing to tell you.
She says that she was part of noble house Tequila in the Alabastro kingdom. You’ve heard of it in passing. It’s a small power in the region. Probably one of the last remnants of what remained of the old empire. House Tequila was currently in power and its family was holding the throne. (Thus being a royal house rather than noble)
Kona’s mother however was a relatively unimportant member of the royal house. Something like the fifth child out of seven children and the third girl out of that lot. No real importance was placed on her so she mostly just lived a life of comfort until she was an older teenager, then she was expected to marry to noble to create an alliance.
The problem was two fold in that she was regularly seeing a bard she was fond of at the time and the one she was to marry was an older man who was known to enjoy young boys rather than females of any age. She was warned and threatened by the family, but ultimately she ran off with the bard, foolishly believing that love would conquer all.
Things of course did not play out like a fairy tale.
There were already problems by the time they made it to Cono Grande. Your mother had only spent time with this bard for brief periods at a time, it’s a very different thing when spending every moment together on the road. Especially when one of those people isn’t used to “roughing it”
Things only spiraled further at Cono Grande. They lived above an inn the bard regularly played at for meager tips. He kept claiming he was working on a song that would really make him famous, in the meantime they went through what small fortune your mother had in jewelry. Only the tiara remains of those valuable possessions.
Things got so bad, your mother actually got a job working as a barmaid at that inn. She didn’t know shit about real work, but fortunately at the time she was still young and pretty so she didn’t need to know much and it wasn’t like it was wizard work anyway.
The bard was also cheating on her with several other women, but at this point she was already thinking about returning home. Maybe if she apologized, it wouldn’t be so bad. Couldn’t be any worse than her situation she was in now. She quickly wrote a letter to her family explaining where she was and how she wanted to come home. She even still had a royal stamp to make sure they’d know it was from her.
She received a envelope with her house seal a week later and immediately opened it. The only thing the letter said though was “Disowned. Don’t come back.”
This explained why they never came looking for her.
To Kona’s mother’s credit, she realized that she could only rely on herself now and finally left the bard she was with (Who apparently moved out from the city shortly after). She made steps to marry rich.
Unfortunately she wasn’t even very good at that and eventually settled on Kona’s father instead. Granted he made a living that could support the both of them, but it wasn’t the life she once had. Not by a long shot. By the time she had Kona, she’d given up completely with only the tiara as a reminder of once was. Occasionally she pondered selling it, but even in this less than ideal state, the memories were more valuable to her.
Kona asked if her father knows all this, to which her mother responded that he knows, but since he never had any use for royalty or noble types, he didn’t really care. He doesn’t know about the tiara though as he probably would demand that she sell it. As for you, it was decided by both that you shouldn’t know so you didn’t grow up with some delusion of living in a castle some day.
“And that’s everything that’s worth telling you. Now get the hell out of this house!”
Kona didn’t even reply, she had to process all this, so she went to pack and change her clothes.
2 Light Pts
3 Dark Pts
First steps to greatness
Kona finished changing and packing. She sat on her bed still pondering what to do. The fact that she had a very distant link to royalty meant something. It meant she really was destined for something more in this life. Perhaps not sitting on a throne, but certainly welding meaningful power.
Again, the obvious thing for her was to join the Thieves’ Guild like she had planned. Perhaps all this postponement was just some sort of subconscious fear of not being good enough.
Of course there was also the matter of dealing with Cesar’s gang. At first she was just thinking about beating them so badly that they wouldn’t mess with her in the future, but now she was thinking about potentially taking over the gang by getting rid of Cesar. Those idiots would fall in line and then she’d be in charge of her own organization that she could mold herself.
But then another thought crossed her mind. She had royal blood in her veins, there was so much more outside the walls of Cono Grande. Maybe she should leave the city and explore the world a bit.
“I can see my house from here.”
But then as she sat on her bed thinking on these possibilities, she heard her mother yell at her again telling her to get the hell out of the house. She could feel the darkness brewing within…
Batman didn’t kill his parent though.
Kona pondered her choices
Join the Thieves’ Guild (Challenge 3-4, Very Easy-Easy)
Deal with Cesar’s Gang (Challenge 4 Very Hard)
Leave the city to travel the world (Special)
Kill your mom (Special)
The Rogue's Way
As much as she wanted to kill her mom right now, she dismissed such thoughts and knew that her path greater than one of petty anger. Even Cesar’s gang wasn’t worth risking her life to confront by herself and leaving the city wasn’t going to get her any further in her goals. Maybe some day she’d leave the city, but not today.
Kona left the house she grew up in for the final time and made her way to the Thieve’s Guild. It was well hidden and only those that had been invited knew where to look. It was a lot of roaming about in the foul sewers though until she finally encountered someone.
“So, I see you finally decided to take me up on my invitation.” a shadowy figure says from the darkness. Sounded like the man who first spoke to Kona.
“I was a little busy.” Kona said.
“Ah yes, I had heard of your recent troubles with a local gang. Amusing how you handled that, though pissing off an entire gang might not have been the wisest course of action. Sloppy in fact. I wonder if I made a mistake in inviting someone that draws so much attention. I certainly hope you’re not joining for protection, because we only protect prospects that are worthwhile.”
“YOU approached ME to join because you knew I could be a valuable asset to the Guild! And I’m here to show you that I am!”
“Well you don’t lack for confidence. That’s good, because if you expect to get any further you’ve got a job to do first. Now given what I know about you, you prefer to use your head rather than weapons to resolve a situation. I need you to spy on this list of people. Their locations have also been listed.”
“Is that all?”
“No, that’s not all! This needs to be done without drawing any attention to yourself. If you get yourself caught spying on any of these folks, I’ll know about it. You get yourself
The man walks to you and hands you a parchment. These sewers are too dark to really read it well, but he says he expects a full report on ALL these people within the next three day. He says further instructions on where to look as well how long you should spend watching them are on the parchment.
It seems simple enough. Or at least Kona thought it seemed simple enough.
A few of the people were a little harder to spy on due to being upper class individuals. Wasn’t so much that watching them was difficult, so much that she had to blend in with the environment. Her usual attire would draw some attention no doubt, so dressing the part was an annoying change of clothing in between spying assignments.
Spying on the lower class wasn’t any easier, because for some reason there seemed to ALWAYS be members of Cesar’s gang around. And not just one or two of them. More like four or five. It was almost like someone was telling them where she was going to be.
As for what information she was gathering…that was even more of a mystery to her. None of her marks were really doing anything out of the ordinary or especially scandalous. In fact, most of them were downright boring to watch. Kona took a lot of notes and started wondering why she was even doing this.
However, she performed the task without getting caught or noticed. At least she never ran into any trouble with guards, her targets or Cesar’s gang. She returned to her contact who was waiting.
“Ah, there you are. I was beginning to worry if Cesar’s gang caught you.” the man says.
“That lot couldn’t find their asses with both hands. And how did you know they were looking for me?” Kona replied.
“Well you did make an enemy out of them, but more specifically, they were tipped off on where you’d be at times.”
“What?! You told them?”
“I never said that I told them, in any case, you did well in not getting into trouble or caught. Can’t say your actions didn’t go unnoticed, but you can’t help being a beginner and not noticing one of the Guild’s experienced spies. In any case, they already told me that you seemed competent. So you passed.”
“Great, but I have a question.”
“I may have an answer.”
“All those people you had me watch didn’t seem to do anything particularly interesting. Even that rich merchant you had me watch didn’t do anything shady like going to a prostitute or something.”
“Boring wasn’t it? Well get used to it, because you’ll going to find that more often than not, spying on people usually doesn’t yield immediate results and can take time. You need to be patient. All the people you spied on were indeed non-controversial figures. The whole point was to test to see if you’d stay focused and give detailed info on your targets. You did well.”
The man goes on to tell you that the real way to the Thieve’s Guild isn’t in this direction and that he’ll now show you how to really get there. He mentions that his name is Jose Perez.
“Will I meet the leader of the Guild?” Kona asked.
“Perhaps one day if you become important enough…or you anger him greatly. I suggest you don’t do the second one. El Sombra is not one to cross. In any case, you’ve joined during an odd time. There are changes coming, not just to the guild, but potentially to this very city. War and conquest is in the air for this city and who rules today, may not be who rules tomorrow. The Guild must be prepared for these power shifts to survive. Rulers come and go, but the Guild will still be here, we need to make sure of that. You will perform tasks for the Guild and in return you will thrive as long as you are successful and remain loyal.” Jose said.
This all sounded like a lot more responsibility than Koba thought, but if she really was going to climb her way up to a place of importance, having responsibility was going to be part of that.
It was going to be a new challenge, but one Kona was prepared to face.
2 Light Pts
3 Dark Pts
1 Anti-Hero card
END OF CHAPTER 1
Chapter 2: Land of Confusion
Several years passed and just as Jose had told Kona when she first joined the Guild, much had changed.
Kona had never been very worldly or even much interested in what happened outside Cono Grande, but since joining the Guild she learned much more about it and it wasn’t any better than what was going on inside the city and most of the time worse.
A powerful warlord has been trying to conquer the region. Nobody knows who he was exactly or where he came from, but he rides into battle covered from head to toe in black armor. He managed to unite barbarian tribes from the Misty Hills and subdue surrounding smaller towns. From there he only grew in power.
The most concerning act of the warlord though was when he took two city states in quick succession, Las Pollas and Enboca. Both sieges happened so quickly that he only could have had inside help. This didn’t seem to lower the carnage that followed though. Tales were heard of most of the ruling class being gruesomely executed in both cities. This served two purposes, one as a great warning to anyone who opposed the new order and two, to gain the support of the disgruntled lower classes who didn’t like the status quo anyway.
As of now the Warlord’s influence and support has grown quickly and now threatens the Alabastro Kingdom. Even now a war is going on and while it’s a stalemate for now, there’s no telling how it might go in the near future.
As for Cono Grande, its managed to avoid most of major conflict. Contrary to Raul Moreno’s (Now captain of the Cono Militia) concerns, the city was never actually attacked. It probably spent more money getting prepared for an invasion that never happened. However heightened paranoia has made security stricter, making things tougher for the Guild’s typical activities in the city.
The warlord hasn’t completely ignored the city though as he’s got pirates on his payroll making merchant ships attempting to get in and out of the harbors much more difficult. Considering the city relies very much on trade, this has put a lot of pressure on it.
And this is where you come in. The Guild needs for things to change in the city and that’s only going to happen if the warlord’s activities are curtailed somehow.
The most obvious task was a direct one which was to help break up the semi-blockade on the Cono Grande harbor. Normally the Guild would let the mercenaries or militia handle this, but it was really cutting into business. Not to mention neither of those groups seemed to actually be doing anything about it.
The Guild had a small group that could sabotage one of the main pirate ships. The main goal would be either to take the ship intact or sink it. Either task wouldn’t be easy though.
(Challenge 5-6: Nearly Impossible-Impossible)
A less obvious task was to assist the Alabastro Kingdom. It seemed like something that would be out of their interests, but the frontlines of the war were apparently being lead by “Warrior” Princess Maria Alvarez of the royal house Tequila. The Guild was toying with the idea of making an unofficial alliance of sorts with the royal family. Not by directly fighting of course, but by providing support in some other way such as reconnaissance or even smuggling in needed supplies.
Given what Kona recently learned about her own background she couldn’t help being mildly intrigued by this idea, but it seemed very dangerous. Sneaking about on a battlefield would be a whole different animal than sneaking about in the streets.
(Challenge 6-7: Currently Impossible)
There was also a more local concern to the Guild and this was Cesar’s Company. Surprisingly Cesar proved a little more savvy than anyone gave him credit for and over the years, his gang not only survived, but it managed to thrive. These were no longer the deliquent teenagers you grew up with, these were now hardened killers, preying upon the weak. One would think the Cono militia would at least do something about them, but they’re more focused on defending the city from a potential external threat (Though given they haven’t done anything about the pirates, you don’t know what the hell they’re doing)
Cesar’s Company is the only real direct rival to the Guild and it’s hard enough for one large criminal organization in the city, let alone two. Given that Kona had the most history with Cesar, it had been suggested to put Kona on this task to deal with it once and for all.
(Challenge 5: Medium)
Finally given the pressures of what was going on in Cono Grande, it was also a very real possibility that things might get worse. If that happened, the Guild needed to be prepared.
Enboca was run by Chancellor Ruiz. A petty bureaucrat that only rose to his position thanks to the warlord. As it stands he’s merely a puppet with a powerful friend. That friend is a little busy at the moment though. It’s possible that by compromising Ruiz in someway, the Guild could get a foothold in another city along with weakening the warlord’s hold on it.
(Challenge 7: Currently Impossible)
After Jose gave her the information of what the Guild expected, Kona certainly had a lot of consider. Most of the tasks would be impossible or close to it unless she used her own methods.
Kona made her choice...
Guild 4 Life
Kona didn't like any of these tasks, in fact she resented that the Guild was giving her a bunch of orders.
"Jose, these fucking tasks suck and not a good use of my skills!" Kona remarked.
"Oh? Curious. I spoke with El Sombra and we both agreed that all these tasks were within your skill set."
"Are you kidding? Sending me to a battlefield? Boarding a fucking ship? What the hell do I look like, a sailor from the Alabastro Navy?"
"You should be lucky you're even getting a choice, most folks don't get that luxury."
"I don't see why I need to do ANY of them. In fact, I haven't been enjoying my time with the Guild lately. Now I'm grateful for everything I've learned from you guys, but I think it's time for me to lea..."
Jose's eyes narrowed and interrupted.
"Careful now girl. I like you and that's why I tolerate your excessive complaining from time to time. So don't say something that's going to not only greatly displease me, but also the Guild." Jose warned.
Kona stopped speaking for a moment. She'd seen Jose like this before, but not with her. Still, she had to speak her mind.
"Jose, I could just leave the city, I wouldn't come back." she said hoping Jose would look the other way.
"Yes, you very well could and I guarantee you wouldn't come back because El Sombra would send an assassin after you. This Guild isn't something you just quit because you don't like it anymore. Now, you want to leave? Well there's a way..."
Kona, not having any experience at being a sub, didn't like the sound of that idea.
"You still want to leave?" Jose asked.
"Um...I think I'll help bring down Cesar's gang." Kona responded.
(Still have to finish up the outcome of the story, but I'm posting this bit now)
Et Tu Diego?
Dealing with Cesar’s gang was going to be a little more difficult than it was a few years ago. Kona knew she was not going to be able to walking in their hang out in a dress and drug the drinks this time. (She knew she should have poisoned the drinks)
Completely wiping out the entire gang through violence isn’t a viable option anyway. If it was an option, the Guild would have attempted it and with the way things are, a gang war profits no one.
It’s Cesar that Kona has to deal with. Get rid of him and the rest will fall in line or fall apart. As far as she knew, he didn’t really have a second that could hold it together.
Getting to Cesar however will also be tricky. While Kona could try to sneak into Pozo de Diablo, she wasn’t sure she’d be able to get out. He’s become increasingly paranoid about security ever since your little incursion. The man doesn’t go anywhere without six of his top goons and even then very rarely.
But he does leave on occasion if it’s important enough and that’s when Kona got the idea to employ her old friend Diego. Diego hadn’t had much success in the same line of work as she did. He just wasn’t as skilled as she was and was still living a hand to mouth existence. Even his old girlfriend left him.
Still, he might come in handy for this task and she needed the help.
Later in Diego’s shack…
“You want me to do what?! Are you trying to get me killed? I can’t go anywhere near Pozo de Diablo, I’ll die!” Diego exclaimed.
“You don’t need to, just find one of Cesar’s men and get his attention instead.” Kona responded.
“Yeah and I’m trying to avoid Cesar’s attention in any form. Fortunately I’m considered so pathetic he’s not after me anymore. And if you want to draw Cesar out, why don’t you get your Guild buddies to help?”
“Cesar’s going to know their allegiances. You’re not part of the Guild though.”
“Yeah, no thanks to YOU.”
Diego’s always been resentful that Kona moved on to better things, but it was hardly her fault. She even tried to get the Guild to give him a chance, but he just wasn’t talented enough.
“Diego, look you owe me for saving your life not just once, but several times over. However, I get that you’re reluctant to do something this dangerous, so I’m going to promise you this, do this for me and I’ll get you into the Guild.” Kona said.
“You told me that before.” Diego says.
“Yeah well things are a bit different than a few years ago. I’ve got more influence in the Guild now.”
“You can’t have that much otherwise they’d give you more help in this task.”
Kona was getting annoyed.
“Fine Diego, don’t fucking help me. I’ll figure out another way. I just figured I’d try to fucking help YOU out as well, just like I always have since we were kids. This is a good reason why the Guild didn’t want you. You never really had the COJONES that matched your goals.”
Diego looks down a bit.
“I have balls.” Diego said quietly.
“Yeah? Well then prove it and help me with this! This is the first step to actually improve your life.”
Diego looked at Kona and realized she was speaking some truth.
“Alright. I’m in. Now what do I have to do?”
Kona explained the plan to Diego. First step would be trying to convince one of Cesar’s men to believe that he actually captured her and has her tied up at his home.
“This guy is probably going to want proof before even telling Cesar, so I’ll have to be here tied up of course.” Kona said.
“Hm, I think I know one guy who might actually listen to me. Juan ”
“Glad to hear it…hmm…he might not believe you captured me by yourself.”
“You’re joking right? Because you just wouldn’t get the drop on me, unless I was distracted. Hold on.”
Kona looked around and find something she could quickly hide behind, so she used Diego’s beat up dresser. Diego wondered what she was doing and as quickly as she could, she removed her pants, took off her panties and threw them over the dresser and put her pants back on.
“Kona…what the fuck?” Diego exclaimed in surprise.
Kona came out from behind the dresser and ignoring the distaste of the situation, she kissed Diego on the lips, then once on the cheek and then on the neck.
Now Diego was in complete shock, Kona looked at her handy work of her lipstick and figured it would be believable.
“Okay, now don’t wipe that off. Tell Juan we were fucking and you managed to knock me out and tie me up during it.”
“Wait, what if he thinks I just got these lipstick marks from some whore?”
“That’s what the panties are for if you need proof and trust me, no whore that you can afford has silk panties of that quality.”
“Um…okay. Guess you really thought this out. I don’t have any rope though.”
“That’s fine. You can use the ropes I brought in my backpack over there.” Kona went over to her backpack to dig out the ropes as she continued speaking.
“Now the tougher part is going to be convincing Juan to bring Cesar here. He may be ordered to bring me back to Pozo de Diablo, now if that happens, that’s going to make things harder for me, BUT don’t you worry about it, I’ll have it covered. I suggest that you not be around though in any case.” Kona explained as she started tying up her ankles.
“You don’t think I should be around just in case?” Diego said.
“Heh, well it’s nice to see you’ve found some courage, but you’ll just get in the way when I confront Cesar, whether it’s here or at his hang out. Especially if it’s at his hang out. Anyway, Diego I need you to tie my wrists together.”
“Um, behind your back? Are you sure you’re going to be able to get free?”
“I said don’t worry about me, just do it.”
Diego followed Kona’s orders and started tying her wrists behind her back. He tied them a bit tighter than expected and just when she was going to tell him so, she suddenly felt a wallop to the back her head. Kona crumpled to the floor, losing consciousness.
“You were right about one thing. You did need to be distracted for me to get the drop on you.” Kona heard Diego say and then fell into unconsciousness.
Kona slowly started to come to and could hear the voices from outside the trunk she was currently being moved in.
“Come on be honest Diego. You didn’t actually fuck her.”
“I did Juan! I had her on all fours and then just as I had her screaming my name, I smashed her in the back of the head.”
“Pfft. Bullshit. If you had, you wouldn’t have bothered to put her clothes back on.”
“…well how do you explain the panties then?”
“You probably stole those from some high priced whore. Same place you got the lipstick marks from. Not sure where you got the money for one, but I’m not buying that you fucked Kona unless you raped her after you knocked her out. Though I’m surprised you managed to knock her out to begin with. Guess being her childhood friend had its advantage of her trusting you.”
“You think Cesar will let me join?”
“Well, you still aren’t Cesar’s favorite person even if he doesn’t give a shit about killing you anymore. However, this IS a pretty big gift. I’d say you’ll probably be accepted as a prospect at least.”
“Alright, here we are. Open up the doors, got a special package for Cesar, he’s gonna like this one. Really like it.”
Kona could sense she was being brought inside a building. Pozo del Diablo no doubt. This was it. It wasn’t exactly how she planned it, this situation wasn’t ideal at all, Kona wasn’t even sure if she was getting out of this alive, but one thing she knew was that Diego was going to pay dearly for this betrayal.
Sic Semper Tyrannis
“What’s wrong?” Kona heard Diego say.
“Cesar’s busy fucking some whore. I just got my ass chewed out for disturbing him.” Juan replied somewhat exasperated.
“So what about Kona?”
“I dunno, we’ll just leave her here until he’s fucking ready to deal with her. That trunk is secure right?”
“Yeah. I mean her hands and feet are also tied up, so she wouldn’t be getting far anyway.”
“Well, I’ll lock this door and post someone to watch anyway. In the meantime, go have a drink at the bar until Cesar waddles his fat ass down from his bedroom. Might be awhile.”
Kona heard some door being shut and something being locked. Sounded like she was finally alone, so now it was time to see if she could actually get out of this thing. Fortunately this trunk was fairly large enough for her to move about in.
The ropes were no issue, no matter how tight Diego tied them mainly because they were trick ropes that she was using anyway. She easily slipped out of those around her wrist and her ankles. Diego always was an idiot of not paying attention to details. As for the trunk, fortunately it’s old and even with no light and just feeling around, you can unlatch the simple locking mechanism and open it. Dumbass Diego didn’t even think to search her while she was knocked out. The lock pick and small knife she always carried on her person is more than enough to get her through this. These fools really didn’t secure shit.
Kona easily opened the trunk (Which didn’t even have any sort of weight put on top of it) and found herself in one of the keg rooms of the Pozo del Diablo. She was in here before when she was sneaking about years ago. The door is locked and apparently there’s someone supposed to be watching it anyway. Still, Kona had a feeling whoever it is won’t be a problem.
Kona easily unlocked the door and with her knife in hand, she prepared to attack whoever it is guarding the door.
And Kona found that they aren’t even paying attention. The “guard” is busily eating something from the kitchen, he doesn’t even look that old, probably a dumb teenager. Kona took advantage of the situation and quickly sneak up on him and put her blade to his throat while he’s in mid swallow.
“Don’t move. You’ve already fucked up by allowing me to get this far. Even if you screamed or got away, I could easily get out of here before anyone else showed up. And Cesar would be very displeased with you allowing me to escape especially given the hard on he’s had for me. At best, you might just get beaten and thrown out of the gang for such a fuck up.” Kona whispered.
“Okay…so you’re just going to let me sneak out the back while you kill everyone in here then?”
“Hah. No. YOU are going to help me, but I’m not going to kill everyone or at least that’s not the goal. I just need to get one specifically…well two, but the second one is personal. Now do exactly what I say and if you survive, you might actually earn a place in an organization more worthy than this one.”
Kona tells the young man to go find Diego and gives a physical description in case he wasn’t paying attention. She tells him to go tell Diego that there’s a lot of loud noise coming from the room where they put the trunk and that it sounded like you got out of the trunk. Kona also tells the young man that after he does this THEN he should slip out of this place as quickly as possible.
“And remember, do exactly what I said. Trying to alert them and there will be another death on my list to make personal.” Kona said as an extra warning. The young man was scared enough to believe her too.
As the young man rushed out to do what Kona told him to do, Kona remembered the lay out of this place the last time she was here and there were actually a few storage rooms that she could easily hide in and then slip out of again. She opened the back door first which caused a few sounds of Cesar’s men on the outside to wonder what was going on. Knowing that THEY would come in to investigate when nobody exited, she ran into one of the storage rooms and hid behind some old junk which filled the room.
Didn’t take long before she heard a bunch of shouting and commotion going on in the nearby rooms. She was sure she heard Juan’s voice at one point.
“She’s not even in there! Where’d that snot nosed punk who just told us go? And what the fuck are you two doing standing around in here for? Why the fuck aren’t you guarding the back door?”
“Someone opened it and we came inside since nobody came out. We were wondering what was going on.”
“And when you came in, she probably slipped out the back you fucking geniuses! She’s probably long gone by now! FUCK!”
Kona opened the door a crack and see Juan ranting at the top of his lungs at a bunch of gang members and Diego who looks noticeably worried. None of them were looking in Kona’s direction, so she took the opportunity to actually slip out the back door and then usually the available architecture, climb up to where the second floor would be. Cesar’s bedroom is going to be up there and you can easily get in through one of the windows.
Didn’t take long before she found the window she was looking for. She expected there to be some sort of locks on the window, but once again this task was way easier than she believed it was going to be. In fact, the only hiccup in this task was Diego betraying her and even that didn’t completely ruin things.
Kona looked inside and saw Cesar. Juan wasn’t kidding when he said about waddling. He’s a lot fatter than when Kona last remembered. He’s also asleep next to two whores who have apparently worn him out.
Kona opened the window, stepped inside and as quietly as she could snuck up to the bed where Cesar was sleeping. He was fast asleep and snoring loudly. This was it. Seemed funny that Kona would be assassinating him in his sleep, but given how this plan turned out, maybe the direct way was the best.
Kona slashed Cesar’s throat who immediately woke up gurgling and gagging on his own blood. This was followed by the two whores waking up screaming. Kona punched one of them out and grabbed the other by the hair before she could run out the door.
“Now you listen to me. You tell the fat man’s goons, that the Guild runs this city completely now. And if they want to continue to pursue their line of work, then they come to us. In fact, tell that Juan fellow that directly. Also tell him, that if he delivers a man named Diego to a woman named Kona, a good word for him at the Guild. Off you go.”
Kona fled out the window and across the rooftops. By this time Cesar’s men were running up the stairs as well as outside the building looking for her, but she was gone. On her way to report to Jose.
“Jose, I want you to know I’ve completed that task.” Kona said.
“Ah yes, assassinating Cesar. Already hearing about that bit of news. Apparently you made a bit of a mess of him in his own bed. I do hope you didn’t have to do anything too unseemly to get that close to him.” Jose smirked.
“No. Though I’m surprised you heard so quickly.”
“Hm, well Cesar’s men aren’t the most subtle. They were tearing up the nearby area looking for you. Some people over heard in all their chaos about Cesar being dead. Anyway, I expect the gang will fall apart soon without Cesar. Even if some remnant manages to hold together, it’ll be smaller and more manageable. Good work, knew you could do it. Take the next few days off, and come back to see me then. I’ll have something new for you then.”
And that was it. Kona walked away and back to her own place wrapping her head around everything that had happened within the past day. Her childhood friend had betrayed her and there was a part of her that was upset about that. It wasn’t just the life or death situation that occurred or the stupid reason for why he did it, it was just the fact that she really couldn’t trust ANYONE. And as useless as Diego typically was, she thought she could at least count on that one constant from him.
She got home and went to sleep only waking up to a loud knock on her door. Expecting it to potentially be some of Cesar’s men still wanting revenge, Kona armed herself and prepared for battle. When she opened the door though, there was a trunk on the ground with a note attached. Kona picked it up and read it.
Here’s your friend. Hope you’re truer to your word than fat pig Cesar ever was.
Kona looked at the trunk and opened it. And there she saw Diego tied and gagged. His eyes wide in fear when Kona smiled.
“Well, you’ve never seen the inside of my place Diego. Come on in.” Kona said, shutting the trunk and dragging it inside.
Diego’s soon to be short life would be spent in pain and regretting his poor life choices.
But mostly pain.
A lot of pain.
5 Light Pts
4 Dark Pts
A week later…
“Hey Kona, I was just thinking about you. I figured you’d be ready for another assignment. You have fun on your time off?” Jose ask as Kona walked in.
“Yeah, it was fun. Spent a lot of time with an old friend.” Kona answered.
“Good. Anyway, El Sombra has been really thinking about opening new chapters of the Guild into other areas lately. We’re really not sure what the hell’s going to happen with this Warlord asshole and his war on the Alabastro Kingdom could still go either way. Shit, there’s even rumors he’s got agents here looking to undermine the status quo. Even if he doesn’t, Captain Moreno is making things difficult enough for us due to all the fucking security now. Better to have a strong presence in another location.”
“So, you’re thinking of getting rid of Chancellor Ruiz again?”
“Well that option never went away. Neither did helping Princess Alvarez. However two other opportunities have presented themselves. How familiar are you with Al-Maraqq?
“It’s a city south of here across the Tinted Sea in the desert lands filled with those child molesting religious fanatics.”
“Heh, well I wouldn’t say they’re ALL child molesting religious fanatics. Though their prophet has a penchant for marrying several very young girls. In any case, Al Maraqq is a bit more… shall we say like us. It’s a city that’s recently also broken off from the collapsing caliphate. Many of its citizens are eager to acquire goods they didn’t have access to while the caliphate was ruling it. Well actually they still don’t due to a lot of the old laws still being in place, but security isn’t as tight anymore. We’d like to set up shop there before any other organization does.”
“Wouldn’t we be at a disadvantage? Aren’t the infamous Aleaqarib operating in that area?”
“They were decades ago. When the caliphate dictated all their new rules, one of the first things they did were crack down on the Aleaqarib. Of course they’re still around, but their presence in Al-Maraqq is practically nil. Not to mention they were fairly brutal when they were around. Too much so really. In any case, a criminal element is ALWAYS going to exist, and better that it’s us than anyone else. One of the minor bean counters in that new free city realizes this, hence why we were probably contacted by her.”
“Her? The women allowed to work?”
“Told you, it’s not like how it used to be without the caliphate running things. In fact, besides you generally being competent and charismatic, I figured sending you might be a good idea with both of you being women and all. You lot could bond over your blood times or something.”
It's barbaric, but it's home!
Jose could see Kona’s unamused expression so he moved on.
“Of course if you’re not into the whole sisterhood thing or just don’t want to deal with sand dwellers, we did get some interesting news from one of the Cesar’s old gang. In fact he said you put in the good word for him, though as far as I know you haven’t said shit about him.” Jose said.
“Juan?” Kona asked.
“No, not him. Though he came to join up with us as well saying you put in the good word for him. Is that how you got to Cesar? Just promising everyone a job with us? In any case, the one who came to us was a teenager. Said you spared his life. Name’s Pedro. ”
“Oooh…yeah. I remember him. I never knew his name.”
“Well Pedro apparently isn’t even originally from Cono Grande, says he’s originally from some small town called Asta. Far east of here.”
“Never heard of it.”
“Most haven’t it seems. Pedro says the town is fairly isolated.”
“How’s that going to help us?”
“Well, the boy thinks that due to the isolation, it would be a good base of operations as far as reaching other cities easily.”
“Wait, if it’s isolated, doesn’t that mean it’s far away from other places of civilization?”
“Not exactly apparently it’s just really hidden. In fact if these maps are correct where Pedro claims his town is, it IS close to a few other cities, though those are bordering on the Alabstro Kingdom’s dominion. However, with the war going on, I doubt if they’re expanding into those anytime soon. I dunno, I know it seems like a long shot, but El Sombra said it’s worth checking out. Anyway you were suggested for this task since you’ve already got a connection with Pedro who will be going along to inform you of how to get there and what to watch out for. You can report back and tell us if it’s a waste of time or if it isn’t, start setting something up down there.”
Into the unknown!
Some unusual tasks available for Kona this time that she would have to think on, though one thing was certain, she would definitely be leaving Cono Grande for the first time no matter what she decided.
Remove Chancellor Ruiz (Challenge 7: Nearly Impossible)
Assist Princess Alverez (Challenge 6-7: Currently Impossible)
Travel to Al-Maraqq (Challenge 4-5: Very Easy-Easy)
Go with Pedro (Challenge 5: Easy)
Kona still didn’t think she was ready for taking out a high level ruler, let alone sneaking about a battlefield. She also wasn’t particularly thrilled with the idea of traveling through a hot ass desert and dealing with a bunch of backwards religious barbarians either.
She didn’t even think this trip to Asta would be useful, but it seemed the most desirable of the lot.
“Alright, I guess I’ll travel with Pedro to this town of his.” Kona answered.
“Good. He says it’ll take at least a few days to get there, so make sure you pack for the trip, unless you’ve got hunting skills I don’t know about. You two can set off tomorrow.” Jose says.
Kona went back to her place to prepare, along with some last minute “shopping” for a few items she didn’t actually have that she thought might be useful. The chief one being a compass. Never needed one before, but she figured it wouldn’t hurt to have one for the trip. She ended up acquiring a particularly fancy looking one since she might as well have a nice one. Kona went to bed that night a little on the anxious side. She’d never been out of the city before and part of that was scary, but she had to admit she was a bit excited by it as well.
The next day she met up with Pedro by one of the city gates. She remembered the teenager now that she’d seen him again.
“Hey Kona, you ready?” Pedro asked.
“Of course I am. Though I hope this trip will even be worth it.” Kona replied.
“Oh it will! It will!”
Pedro seemed fairly excited about all this that he didn’t even seem to mind the fact that Kona actually hadn’t put in the “good word” for him at the Guild. Though given that El Sombra himself thought this venture might pan out something means Pedro didn’t seem to need your help.
Kona and Pedro set off on their journey, Pedro remarked that the travel wouldn’t be too bad for the first leg of it, but the last part would involve going through not just some heavy wooded area, but a large swampy area as well.
“Oh it won’t be so bad. You just have to watch out for the dragators and mudpreys and redrickets.” Pedro remarks.
“Oh even better.”
“All very fascinating creatures. Did you know that dragators mate only once every…”
Since Kona was going to have to listen to Pedro’s pointless trivia and he was going to be the font of information on this mission Kona decided to question Pedro about his past.
Pedro answered Kona’s questions, yet there was something a little off about them. Kona noticed gaps in some of his explanations, avoidances of certain questions only to answer with something superficial or even in one case, an outright inconsistency in his story.
Kona didn’t call Pedro out on any of this, she just nodded. Maybe he was just being cautious and didn’t want to reveal too much personal information, but Kona would soon learn what his true intentions were before they reached the destination.
The traveling and camping during the night didn’t bother Kona as much as she thought it would. Indeed she’d certainly slept on filthier floors than the ground at times. While she didn’t think she’d want to live out in the wilderness, she was starting to appreciate the break from the city a bit. Kona was always cautious about sleeping lightly, but Pedro didn’t seem to have any ill intent planned as he’d usually sleep right through the night with Kona often waking him up the next day.
Still on the third day, that’s when things started to get odd.
“Okay, it shouldn’t be far now, but…shit…” Pedro said looking in several directions.
“What?” Kona asked.
“Nothing, it’s just been a long time since I’ve been back to Asta, and I’m trying to remember the best way.”
“You mean you don’t know?”
“Yes, I know, it’s just been awhile. I’ll get us there don’t worry!”
“I mean I got a compass so we don’t get hopelessly lost…”
As soon as on pulled out her compass though Pedro turned to her and nearly fell backwards
“Agh!” Pedro shouted.
“What the fuck’s wrong with you?” Kona responded.
“Nothing! You just startled me!”
“Startled? I’ve been talking to you the whole fucking time!”
“I dunno, we’re getting near the swamp we have to travel through and it’s a little dangerous so I guess I’m just on edge. Apologies.”
Pedro backed away and looked visibly nervous. In fact he even looked visibly different.
“Pedro, didn’t you have goatee?” Kona asked.
“Huh?” Pedro said.
“A goatee. You had one.”
“What? No. Oh I shaved that off last night. Getting itchy.”
“I don’t remember you shaving.”
“Yeah well I did it in the night when I couldn’t sleep.”
“You’re quite skilled with a knife if you shaved so cleanly with only the moonlight for illumination.”
“Heh, well not as skilled as you obviously. Anyway, we don’t need that compass, I know the way. Come on, let’s get going.”
Pedro moved on quickly while Kona still wasn’t exactly sure what was going on other than this was turning out to be more than just a simple trip. Pedro clearly had a different look until she pulled out the compass and he freaked out. The compass didn’t seem magical, but then Kona never really knew anything about magic other than things she’d heard.
The rest of the day went on without any other weirdness. Pedro pointed out the dangers of the swamp and what to watch out for. Kona was half expecting Pedro to try to trick her or something, but he still was genuinely being helpful despite obviously lying to her. He even pulled her away from stepping on a sleeping dragator and accidentally disturbing a redricket nest. The swamp certainly was the more hazardous part of this journey, but when night fell, Kona knew that was going to be the real test.
A less wet and more solid area of the swamp is where Pedro said they should camp for the night. He went on to mention that they should reach Asta sometime tomorrow during the day. Kona asked a few questions about the town to which Pedro gave some very basic, simple answers. Pedro then mentioned how tired he was and went to sleep which was unusual since he typically rambled on and on even when she knew he was full of shit.
With Pedro going to sleep, Kona saw no reason to stand around at night so she too went to sleep.
Kona opened her eyes and felt something sharp against her neck. She couldn’t believe she didn’t hear him approaching. Pedro apparently could be extremely quiet when he wanted to be.
“Not so much fun having a blade to your throat by surprise is it?” Pedro whispered.
“It’s not so much fun when you’re expecting it either. What took you so long?” Kona asked.
“I was going to take you to Asta for my superiors, but upon thinking about it, I see no reason why I shouldn’t have you for myself.”
“So…you brought me all the way out here just to rape me?”
“Rape? Hah! You solids and your base desires. When you first snuck up on me, I thought you to be another common thug much like this one I have the displeasure of still maintaining the form of though that’s about to change soon. Your form is…snnnnnnn…much more desirable.”
Kona could hear Pedro taking a long sniff of her while maintaining the blade against her neck. Kona still hadn’t quite pieced together everything yet, however she got the impression Pedro wasn’t only not who he said he was, but possibly not even human. She’d get her all her answers soon.
Kona had her compass in her hand the entire time and what came next would be the first steps in finding out the truth.
“Hey, you moving your hand? I’d advise you not to because as fast as you are, you aren’t going to…ack! Shit!”
Kona didn’t even need to press the compass against Pedro’s hand, it just being slightly close to it, caused him to recoil and drop the knife.
Realizing he was in trouble now, Pedro attempted to escape, but Kona easily grabbed his leg tripping him to the ground. Once on the ground things were much different. Kona climbed on top of him with the compass in hand held it to his face. He made an inhuman screaming noise and his face visibly started to move. She saw one of his eyes become a pupiless black hole.
Kona however had the advantage and didn’t lose courage.
“Now Pedro, or whatever your name is, you’re going to start giving me some answers.”
Friends in Weird Places
Pedro squirmed helplessly while Kona continued to thrust her compass at him.
“Last chance to start talking Pedro.” Kona remarked.
“Alright! Alright! Just stop shoving that fucking thing at me!” Pedro hissed.
Kona pulled the compass back. Pedro started to calm down and stopped breathing hard. His face them transformed completely into something less human looking. Completely black eyes, practically no nose or lips and his coloring was a pale gray.
“Well no point in keeping up the charade. If you could get off of me please, I’ll tell you whatever you want.”
Kona got off Pedro and allowed him to stand, he was still a little wobbly.
“Why is the compass harming you anyway?”
“It’s not the compass, it’s what’s in it. You got a lodestone in there. The magnetic properties doesn’t have a pleasant effect on my people.”
“Why is that?”
“Hell if I know how fucking magnets work! I just know they aren’t good for us or our unique abilities, which I’m guessing is going to be your next question…”
Pedro proceeded to explain he is an Auf, or what humans might call a changeling or doppelgänger. More precisely he’s one of fey. In fact Asta isn’t even a human town, it’s fey. Hence why it’s not easily found.
Kona asked why the hell he was so insistent on taking her back to Asta. She questioned if she was going to be eaten or sacrificed. Nothing so barbaric however. She would have just been drained and her form taken.
“Let’s just say I committed an offense to the elders of Asta and bringing someone like you to them, might have allowed me to be forgiven. However, I was still a bit conflicted on the issue and eventually I came to the conclusion that as much as I miss home, I really dislike those elder assholes.” Pedro remarked.
“But why me? Surely you could have easily grabbed anyone even before I came around. I’m not particularly important in the scheme of things.”
“Aren’t you? You’ve got royal blood in you. Even as thin as it is, I can still sense it. Someone like you would have been suitable for one of the elders.”
Kona was a little surprised Pedro knew that, but then he wasn’t human after all.
“So was anything you said true?”
“Well, I did travel from Asta to Cono Grande after I got kicked out. I’ve been switching bodies there for a few years now and this Pedro lad just happened to be the latest. Normally my kind prefers those of higher birth, but I’ve been enjoying slumming for awhile. Still, when I caught your scent the first time you held a knife to my throat, I almost couldn’t believe I was so close to an actual royal. I saw opportunity and tried to take it.”
“Your plan sucked. I could have thought of a way better to do what you attempted to do.”
“Yeah well maybe my mindset has been dulled by hanging around you lot for so long. Anyway, I’m confident that even my half ass plan would have still worked if you didn’t have that fucking compass undoubtedly making you more suspicious of me.”
“Well I guess we’ll never know, but now I ask what comes next? You going to kill me now?”
“I really should, but I feel like that would make this all a big waste of time.”
“So you’re letting me go?”
“Hah! Fuck no. Not after what you pulled!”
“So what then? We both can’t stand around here until the dragators get hungry.”
Kona felt like she had an opportunity here to give herself an advantage that others might not have in her pursuit of a higher position of power. Pedro of course was not trustworthy, but then given her old childhood friend betrayed her, who really could be trusted? She knew what this creature desired AND its weakness which is a good enough footing to form an alliance at least. All she had to do was convince the creature.
“How about you become my personal spy and informant? Given your abilities you seem like you’d be perfect for such a thing.”
“…I must say I’m a little surprised by your proposal. I of course would agree to such an arrangement to save my life, however my question is how do you know you can trust me? How do you know I won’t just leave? It’s not like you’d easily be able to track me.”
“I don’t, however I can provide payment that might be to your liking as an act of goodwill between us. Or in my case ANOTHER act of goodwill seeing as I’ve spared your life TWICE at this point.”
“Well I’m intrigued.”
“Good, we can get into detail about my plans on the way back to Cono Grande. I’m guessing you aren’t going back to Asta after all.”
“Not anytime soon I suppose. Let’s go.”
The way back to Cono Grande wasn’t any more eventful than the trip from there. Kona and Pedro (His real name was unpronounceable to Kona, so she just continued to call him Pedro) spoke on a great many of things for potential future plans. Pedro in fact had a bit more knowledge of things other than useless trivia. Apparently his people had a large archive of records of the various places they traveled to. Some of it might come in useful.
Pedro for his part seems genuinely interested in helping Kona especially after the payment she mentioned. Kona also said that sticking with her would eventually provide even better payment in the long run. For now Pedro agreed.
The two parted ways just before getting to the gates of the city. Pedro said he’d sneak in the city later seeing as he was no longer human looking.
“So I’ll tell Jose that everything you told me was a lie and you just wanted to try to get revenge on me, so I had to kill you.” Kona said.
“Sounds believable to me.” Pedro remarked.
“You remember the location I gave you right?” Kona asked.
“Yes. Though I continue to be surprised by your actions.”
“It’s a suitable payment isn’t it?”
“It will be if true.”
“Well you’re the one who can smell royal blood so you can confirm for yourself. Though I’m warning you now, her social status isn’t any better than mine.”
“Oh that’s okay. Even just using the essence of someone of royal heritage is pleasant for us.”
“Glad to hear it. Anyway I’ll contact you in a few days to go over some things. I suppose I’ll know if things went well on your end by then.”
Kona left Pedro and soon re-entered Cono Grande to head back to the Guild. Kona wasn’t exactly sure of her entire game plan yet and her current play was risky. She felt like this would work in the long term though. The Guild had helped her in many ways, but she knew eventually she’d either have to take it over completely or strike out on her own. Hopefully this new ally might help better than her last.
Kona wondered about some of the things she was doing in order to achieve her goals, especially this recent one. It seemed a bit excessive, but it was set in motion now and she wasn’t going to stop it.
While Kona thought she may very well feel a bit of regret later about it, there was a larger part of her that was going to be disappointed in missing out on seeing her mother’s face when Pedro did away with her.
6 Light Pts
5 Dark Pts
The Warlord is advancing in his quest to unite the entire land under his reign. One might say he’s far from winning yet, but defeating Princess Alverez’s army and pushing her back to the Alabastro capital is a good indication that he’s definitely not losing.
Despite the military build up in Cono Grande along with the general idea that the Warlord’s attention would be too focused on the Alabastro Kingdom, he somehow made time to send a sizable force to attack the city.
General Raul Moreno has recently taken nearly complete control of the city for “security reasons.” To his credit though he is genuinely fighting for the independence of the city, going so far to even reach out to the Guild to help in exchange to allow leniency of their operations in the future.
We’re all in this together.
Raul also has reminded the Guild that if the Warlord takes over then things will probably be much worse for them. The Guild has already agreed that reign under the Warlord would indeed be worse for business, though for obvious reasons El Sombra doesn’t exactly trust Raul to stay lenient if the city manages to stay independent.
The Guild hasn’t made too much of a commitment on helping with the “warfront” other than potentially spying on the invading army’s encampment or smuggling in food.
The Guild’s chief concern is still getting in a foothold at a different location in case everything goes to shit in Cono Grande. Seeing as the trip to Asta didn’t go as planned, opening up a chapter in Al-Maraqq is still on the agenda. Getting rid of Chancellor Ruiz in Enboca is as well, seeing as that would certainly cause problems for the Warlord’s hold on the place.
Removing Chancellor Ruiz seemed like an impossible task at one point, however Kona’s new changeling ally Pedro (Who had recently taken a new “commoner” form seeing as speaking to her “mother” was getting weird) recently provided some information on that front, mentioning there are old forgotten tunnels to the city that she could probably take to sneak straight into the Chancellor’s home (or at least close to it) if necessary. That would certainly alleviate any concerns of the strict lockdown the city currently has with allowing people in and out without some sort of identification.
“Didn’t know you knew so much about the city.” Kona said.
“Well as I said, my people tended to keep a lot of historical records of things and I read more than a few of those about the surrounding area. Apparently when you humans had an empire expanded over this land, Enboca had a lot of weird shit going on, specifically a strange cult. And that cult tended to make a lot of secret tunnels. Or they did until the Imperial army purged the lot of them and sealed the tunnels, but I can guarantee there’s probably still a way through them. Wouldn’t surprise me if some of the upper ones aren’t still in use.” Pedro remarked.
“That’s still pretty risky, going through a bunch of tunnels I have no idea of where they lead exactly and not knowing what the hell might still be lurking in them.”
“Oh I’d come along to help. I remember the maps I saw pretty well. I could at least get you into the city even if we didn’t get right into the Chancellor’s den or wherever he spends most of his time.”
“That’s a bit overly generous of you.”
“We’re allies are we not?”
“True and it’s worked out better than I thought it would so far. Though I have to believe you have another agenda for directly coming with me if I even decide to take out Ruiz.”
“I do! I was thinking that if you take him out, that’s just going to lead to a power vacuum and while the city might fall into a bit of disarray, there’s probably some other power hungry asshole ready to take his place and bootlick the Warlord.”
Kona already knew what Pedro was suggesting.
“You’re suggesting that you replace him.”
“Think of the benefits! You would have a direct ally in a position of power. I could look like I was still helping the Warlord, while fucking things up from the inside. Plus, your little Guild could easily open a chapter up in the city.”
“Hmm, that’s a lot of power for you.”
“It’s also a lot of risk to me. I mean I can only imagine I’m going to have to watch my back for daggers the entire time. Not to mention dealing with that nasty Warlord guy on occasion. I’ll also probably have to do all the boring bureaucratic shit just to keep up appearances. So you see, it won’t be ALL basking in the luxury of corruption.”
“I suppose so. Though makes me wonder now how many of your people have done this before. In fact makes me wonder if most rulers aren’t one of you lot. Especially since you like royals so much.”
“Heh, well there’s a funny story about that. A little too long to get into right now, but let’s just say such a plan was attempted once a very long time ago and it’s why we tend to hide now.”
“You seem willing to risk it.”
“Well I’m already an outcast. Anyway, when are we doing this task?”
“I dunno yet. Haven’t even decided if it’s the best course of action. Shit. My fucking head hurts and I’m tired. I need to rest.”
Kona parted ways with Pedro and went back home. She had been getting headaches a lot lately and feelings of extreme mistrust. Granted having a changeling around wasn’t helping, but it wasn’t just Pedro, it was everyone. Like she even started to believe Jose was ultimately setting her up to fail at some point even though he’d really given no evidence that he was.
Kona wondered if it wasn’t what she did to her mother. Maybe it was the guilt setting in. Maybe it was everything setting in. Kona had been heading down a much darker path than she planned originally. Even her dreams were starting to become more vivid and disturbing.
Embrace the darkness. It’s in your blood.
The dream she experienced that night was worse than any Kona ever had before. She actually woke up half believing she was going to be surrounded by bodies in hell and given how things were going she might very well one day. Still despite the horror in the dream, she was also triumphant in it. At least partially.
Kona started to wonder if her head was right to proceed with any major task and if she shouldn’t stabilize her own thoughts before proceeding with anything else. After all, the world will go on regardless of her actions, but if she wasn’t mentally prepared then she wouldn’t be able to properly deal with whatever state that particular world was in.
Kona had a major choice to make.
Remove Chancellor Ruiz (Challenge 6: Medium)
Travel to Al-Maraqq (4-5: Very Easy-Easy)
Help against the siege (Challenge 5: Medium)
Conquer your inner turmoil (Challenge 4 or 6: Easy or Hard)