I tinkered with the cylinder for what felt like hours. It was a fascinating little puzzle in a way. Finally I managed to find a part on the handle I could turn and push, and when done properly a small compartment opened in the side, revealing a piece of paper. On it was something written in Lawrenzian that I could not read; it’s very fortunate that we do know someone who reads that language; our friend Marcus back at that guild.
Returning to the guild, however, it seemed that Marcus wasn’t available. He had left for a job some time ago and never returned. We managed to get paid, but without a broker we wouldn’t be able to find work. We were, perhaps, fortunate that Tempest stepped in to offer us work in his place. He talked big and acted like a smug bastard, but he had work and we needed it. Fortunately, nobody in our little team really submitted to his insults; quick to retaliate and eventually earning him the nickname Whirlpool. I liked that.
Whirlpool’s first job for the team was to transport a war criminal to Barbatos. It paid a lot for an extraordinarily easy job, which was the only reason it seemed he was willing to give it to us. Not quite so confident in our skill, it seemed. More importantly, however, it was a chance to build our reputation in the guild as the job came directly from Barbatos’ head general. In their twisted political scheme, he had nearly as much power as the king; known as a dominating presence and intimidating man.
There really wasn’t any prep needed, we got a vocher from the guild and loaded up the carriage before heading towards the guard house to pick up our prisoner. They didn’t give us any trouble at the guard house, and we found out the man we were transporting was apparently a military deserter. After that we began the load trip to Barbatos. Perhaps it wasn’t so long in literal terms, but speaking with the man we were transporting was no small ordeal morally.
He swore that, despite what we had been told, there would be no trial, not a real one. He’d be paraded about, before finally being put to death for deserting. They couldn’t risk letting him live after all, he knew too much about the Barbatos military and he could, and probably was going to, sell this information to their enemies.
When asked why he did it, all he would say was that he had come to his senses. It was easy to see what he meant; we all knew what Barbatos was: A war hungry country lead by dreams of conquest. If Lanzeheim wasn’t trying so hard to remain neutral in this conflict they’ve cause, we probably wouldn’t even be delivering this man.
In the end though, we decided to stand tall and road in through the front gates of Barbatos on carriage. We gave the gate guard our voucher and road on through in to the city. It was a spectacle, amazing in ways so extremely opposite to Lawrenzia. Instead of tall decorated buildings everything was fortified. Tall structures were shaped for resistance, spikes hung on walls. Not anything was without a purpose, it was more like a stronghold than a city.
We met with the General in a park near the city’s center. Probably the only attractive place in this whole damned nation, really. An intimidating figure none the less, he showed up clad in armor and surrounded by guards. We spoke only momentarily, but I think we all felt that urge to draw our weapons. Something about him really invoked that feeling. Ultimately, we handed over the prisoner and left with his troop. A sigh of relief overcame us all before we turned to head back to our carriage and out of the city.
Normally we rested a day before returning back to Lanzeheim, but not today. I didn’t want to spend another minute here.