Introduction


The wind felt cool on his chest as he lay staring into the evening sky. Occasionally his eyes would fall upon a faerie or sky-dragon hunting for a meal in the open heavens above. Their shining forms illuminating the black sheet of night in an undefined dance to an even more distant tune not heard in his homeland for centuries.

These were the good times. And yet, amongst his pleasant thoughts there welled up a memory of a day when one would not dare lay in an open field with no weapon by his side and a fire lit, a time when many a brave man met his doom as he sought sleep under the stars. Past were the days of the Giant wars. The battles with those great beasts of the mountains took their toll on the whole of humanity and left there mark in the thousands of empty cities and villages across the great kingdom he called home. Indeed if it were not for the aide of the dragon's, a much feared and terrifying race, mankind might have been utterly destroyed. What made the great Wyrms of the north come to the assistance of man? No one knew the answer to that question, and fewer sought out the answer. It is wise not to ask questions of a dragon.

As he thought on these things, a smile slowly crept onto his face, "I am glad those days are done" he muttered to himself. "Mankind could not, at this point stand another attack like the onslaught brought upon by the giants. Now, the world is at peace. I am glad."

With that thought the young man sat up and looked toward the great city that lay before him. From the gentle hill he was on, his eyes could see almost to the gate which surrounded the inner courtyard. Quickly he gathered his tunic, sword, and other belongings from the ground where he lay and started a walk back to his home near the outer gates. It was a good evening for West Gate Day, the anniversary of the defeat of the Giant hoards. Ten years ago, the Giants had begun their march on the city of Breann. Two years later, they turned back. No one knew why they had come. No one knew why they turned back. The Dragons were credited, of course, but it still remained a mystery in the eyes of many. But it did not prevent the people of Breann from having a celebration. And the mood about the city was one of merriment.


Breann was a great and sprawling city. Nestled in the crater left in a mountain after a wizards battle, Breann grew to become the capital city of the entire land. Because of its' natural defenses, Breann proved to be the best defended city in the world and never, in its' entire 2000 year history, had an enemy breached even its' outer gates. It is said that only God himself could enter the gates by force, and even then it would take years of seige.

The city of Breann could almost be called a continent, for indeed it is said that a man on horseback could not cross the city in 20 days at full gallop. (This, as you will find, is not entirely true as I have seen one do it in 15 days.) People and beasts of every type can be found at Breann, as well as just about anything money could buy (Another rumor is "If you cannot find it at Breann, it doesn't exist"). It is said that even a giant or two, and a great dragon have taken up residence in this city, though surely, these could not hold any truth. Breann never slept. Every day, every hour, you could hear the yells of merchants and shopkeepers offering various items and comforts at a fair price. Most of the time you would find wares at a most reasonable price, even free, if the merchant was in a good mood. However, as any city of large size, you had a dark side also. In Breann, the bruise on the fair city was called "The Dark Quarter", home to the vile, the outcast, the theif and assassin. Here dwelled all kinds of filth and treachery and crookedness. Scarcely would the guards enter into this part, and even rarer would one come out if he did wander in. Still, "The Dark Quarter" had a sort of eerie order to it. Run by the Theives and Assassins Guilds, crime was kept to a "minimum" and criminals were dealt justice within the confines of the quarter. As a whole, if you stayed clear of the Dark Quarter, it stayed clear of you. Only the foolish would challenge that section of the city.

It was the Dark Quarter that the young man from the hillside called home. Here, among the villainy and death that he found rest and comfort. As he walked his black horse into the quarter, many on the streets cleared from his path. Many more watched him nervously as he passed and breathed a sigh of relief that he didn't look their way. The young man let out a chuckle at the thought of the sheer terror those in the quarter had of him. He would do them no harm unless they made a first move, then, they would surely die. He allowed his thoughts to wander as he passed by the familiar shops and merchant booths that sprang up all over the quarter, recalling the names of the store owners, employees, and type of goods they peddled.

When at last he came to his own home, he went immediately to the rear to stable his steed. He had become quite wealthy over the few years of his life, and a private stable was a luxury none other in the quarter could afford. Though he had a vast home, he had no need of guards of any kind, for none in this world would dare attempt to steal from the head of both the Theives and Assassins Guild. He, Darkwynd Blayde, was the most feared and respected, and most easily recognizable person in the whole city. Even the king knew and respected him.

After stabling his mount, Darkwind went into his home. Shut the door behind him and lit a small table lamp near the door. He then turned to go to his bedroom upstairs when his nose picked up a faint scent he had not noticed before. Quickly, Darkwynd put the lamp out and drew a pair of daggers quickly from somewhere underneath his black shirt. His white eyes glowed brightly in the dark.

"An intruder!" He thought. "Time for someone to die."

Darkwynd allowed his acute sense of smell to take him to the place where the visitor had entered his home, then followed the scent to the nearby library where his senses told him he still was.

"Foolish man," Darkwynd muttered under his breath. "You should have left when you had the chance !"

With a quick motion Darkwynd flung open the door and shot the daggers at the spot where the intruder would be. His eyes following the path of his weapons while surveying the room in case he was wrong. Already, he had two more daggers drawn and ready.

Quickly the daggers sailed to the target, an old man in a beaten coat sitting in a chair across the room. Darkwynd smiled to himself at the thought of the intruder dying in agony from the poison his daggers were coated with. Suddenly, the daggers stopped in mid-air. Darkwind gasped, and the old man stood up.

"Do not attempt to do that again, Darkwynd!" he growled in a low, angry voice."For the next time you do, it will be you who will die !"

With that a strange light covered the old man, then all was blackness. . .




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