Last Time On...
Hack's First Kill
“Master Thresh wishes to see you.” were the words that broke Harktharion Uthalla(he was not yet known as Hack)out of his reverie. He looked up from what he was doing,(mindlessly cleaning the training room floor, like he did every day at this hour). There was a young red-haired acolyte in front of him.
“What.” Harktharion asked as if he hadn’t heard.
“Master Thresh asked me to summon you to his room.” The young human boy said. Harktharion thought this was a strange occurance, as this boy obviously was part of the clergy, and they rarely meshed with the small sect that Hack belonged to. Not priests, but warriors of the Raven Queen. Harktharion looked the boy up and down, trying to discern if this was a ruse or joke. The boy’s eyes immediately darted to the floor, even as the boy was, the storied of Harktharion Uthalla the lost Eladrin had reached him. Harktharion had gained a reputation in the monastery when he first arrived of being quick to temper and strike out, most believed that it was due to the quick untimely deaths of his family and the fact that he was the sole Eladrin at the monastery. It was only after several years of strong discipline and teaching that Hack’s temper was held in check. But the stories persisted.
Figuring that this was no ruse, Hack set the mob aside and began to head towards Master Thresh’s study. Stopping at a solid wood door with no discernable marks Hack knocked and waited.
“Come in.” came the answer finally from a peaceful yet strong voice.
Hack entered the study of Milos Thresh, “You asked for me?.”
A head looked up from a book on the desk and a set of steel blue human eyes looked directly at Hack. Milos Thresh was the master of arms at the monastery and had been for some time. He was also the man who took Harktharion in 3 years ago and taught him the ways of the Raven Queen, for he had recognized early the potential that the young Eladrin held. In his own right Thresh was several years away from becoming the Queen’s Hand. He could not know that at the time, because the current Queen’s Hand was the elf Eragell and she resided halfway across the continent.
“It’s time. The Queen has summoned you into her service.” Thresh said moving papers about on his desk.
“Really?” Harktharion asked. “Am I ready.”
“If you want my opinion, I’d say no. But my opinion does not count in this matter. The Raven Queen’s is the only one that matters, and she believes that you are.” Thresh said in a stern tone. The words cut a bit at Harktharion, as he often strove to gain the approval of his mentor. Much to his chagrin, he did not often get it, it was a hard world that he lived in and Harktharion understood that one did not succeed with words of approval but rather by accomplishing the tasks at hand.
“In Cantamerle to the south of here, there is a half elven man who has been defiling the graves at the local cemetery. The Queen has had enough of this blasphemy and wishes you to put an end to it.” Thresh stared straight ahead at Harktharion. “You do know what that means?”
Harktharion doing his best to meet Thresh’s gaze replied, “Yes I do.” In fact he did, there was no grey area when you were handed down a task by the Raven Queen, it meant someone had to die.
“Good. You will travel to Cantamerle seek this half elf out and end the problem. You leave tonight. There is a horse waiting for you, you should leave as soon as you are ready. Any questions?”
Harktharion thought for a moment, “What’s he doing with the bodies?”
“I don’t know and it doesn’t matter does it?”
“No sir.” Harktharion replied
“Harktharion, this is your chance, and even though you probably aren’t ready…don’t disappoint me or the Raven Queen.” With that Thresh put his head back into his book. Hartharion took this as his dismissal and left.
Traveling down the road to the big city of Cantlemerle, Harktharion thought of the the many ways he could possibly dispose of the blaspheming half elf. He imagined the man cowering in front of him begging for his life. He imagined a quick and swift fight to which the end there was no doubt, after all a man who defiled graves was no man at all. He wouldn’t put up much of a fight. Strolling into town at night, the Eladrin’s confidence was booming. He would find his mark, and make quick work of him thereby pleasing both his mentor and the Raven Queen.
The first problem that Harktharion encountered was that there were more than 1 cemetery as Cantlemerle was not a town, but a large city. Harktharion’s exposure to large groups of population was very limited. He realized that he had been given little guidance as to what to expect or how to deal with unfamiliar situations.
Harktharion had no idea how to find the cemetery and not knowing who to ask, he just wandered around the first day with no luck in finding it. Though he could swear that he saw the same houses over and over again and the realization that he had been walking in circles aggravated him. Being an eladrin he didn’t worry about sleep much as he only needed 4 hours of dream state to feel rested. He did this by hiding out behind a livery.
The next day Harktharion new he needed a different approach. He decided to wander into an inn and ask the innkeeper about grave defilers and where they hung out. The innkeeper looked at him aghast with fright and disgust on her face and told him to leave, calling for her husband to banish the disgusting eladrin from their inn. Harktharion, not knowing what he did wrong stood up to take arms against the burly man rushing his way, when a man suddenly stepped in between the two soon to be combatants. The man took Harktharion’s arm and ushered him outside of the inn. “Not used to the city are ya boy?” he whispered into Harktharion’s ear, all the while professing apologies to the husband and wife innkeepers.
Squirming to be free of the stranger, Harktharion stepped aside and grabbed the hilt of his sword, “Who are you?” he demanded.
The man reached into his shirt and pulled out a necklace which held a raven pendant it was similar to the one Harktharion wore. “A friend.” the man replied. “I sense that you might need some guidance. What is it you are searching for?”
Harktharion looked suspiciously at the man, sensing no ill motive and if there was one he was confident in his ability to handle this unassuming stranger. “Can you point me in the direction of the cemetery?”
“There are two in town and one outside of town, but I sense someone of your ilk would be looking for the one where all the robberies have been happening recently. That would be the one on the east end of town. When you find who you need to find and return to whence you came, it would do you good to not speak of me or this encounter as they will hold it against you.” the man said and then turned to leave.
Harktharion watched the man turn to go, “Why are you helping me.” even if he was a servant of the Raven Queen, most priests or such were not known for their kindness.
“Because someday someone will need your help.” the man said as he walked away.
Harktharion shrugged and took off in the direction that the man had told him. Again, he became frustrated with the city, east was a direction not a place, and it was a very big city. It wasn’t until almost dusk that Harktharion stumbled upon a very large cemetery. Harktharion decided to take a stroll through to examine his terrain while he still had light. he figured he wouldn’t need to expect his target until the late hours when people were not milling about the area.
As he walked along, he looked for a spot that would provide him with a good vantage point with which to view the cemetery. Near the middle by a mausoleum, there was a huge oak tree and Harktharion ascertained that this spot would probably be as good as it got. Harktharion climbed the tree and looked out upon th e numerous graves, waiting to find his target. He stayed awake the whole night surveying the scene and saw nothing of remark. He came back the second night and again saw nothing from his vantage point in the tree. Again, the third night he saw nothing but when he was leaving the cemetery in the morning, he saw a dug up grave. How did the guy slip past him. He was awake the whole night and Harktharion was never caught unaware. Frustrated Harktharion came back a fourth night to his roost in the big oak. Looking out upon the graves he saw nothing, and was beginning to doubt his abilities. All that training for nothing. He knew he couldn’t go back to Thresh empty handed saying he had failed. Failure was not an option, but death always was.
Then he heard the smallest of creaks, it sounded like it came from below him. Harktharion looked down and saw that the door to the mausoleum was opened just a crack. It wasn’t like that when he climbed the tree hours ago. Readying himself, Harktharion waited, he saw the door start to moveo open and when he saw a dark hood, he bounded down upon the person exiting the crypt. Tumbling to the ground both men went. Harktharion quickly sprang to his feet weapon drawn, but much to his surprise the other man was already on his feet as well. The half elf, who had a scarred face and scraggly beard sported a shocked look on his face. Then he turned and ran.
Harktharion sensing the chase was on followed quickly, leaping over gravestones and bushes as the two men bolted through the cemetery. Tiring of the chase, Harktharion enacted his eladrin fey step power and positioned himself in front of the man sword out. The half elf impaled himself upon Harktharion’s longsword. Harktharion looked down with satisfaction, he had completed his mission. The Raven Queen wold be pleased.
To the left he heard a snap of a twig and quickly turned to see what it was. Harktharion spotted a child, no more than 10 or 12 standing there staring at him. The boy child was half elven Harktharion quickly discerned, as he started towards the kid, the child ran. Harktharion thought about chasing the child down and ending him but what was the point. He completed his mission, it was time to go home.
When he returned to the monastery, Harktharion expected to receive at least a solid welcome from his mentor, instead he was met with solemn stern eyes. Thresh received him in his study and asked “Why so long. I thought it would’ve taken a day or two at the most?”
Harktharion responded by telling him that it took some time to find the man and the cemetery. Thresh snorted in disgust,”That’s not what even concerns me. i knew it would take days to find the half elf, I wanted it to take days , to teach you patience. That was the lesson you needed to learn, but what really concerns me is that you let a witness go. Not only a witness, but a witness who saw you murder his father.”
“He was only a child, he can’t do any harm.” Harktharion replied silently wondering how he knew of the incident with the child.
“I guess we will see.” said Thresh.
Little known to Hack at that time was that the boy turned out to be necromancer Borel. Hack may have forgotten about the boy in the graveyard, but Borel never forgot the face of the man who murdered his father.