The Fall of Armenelos
A member of the Stone Street gang
Melissandra Evergreen – Female Elf Priestess of Avandra
Arwen Silverleaf – Female Eladrin Noble
Gilden Irongut – Male Dwarf Blacksmith
Magnus Torwald – Male Human Bartender, runs The Prancing Pony
A member of the Stone Street gang for 5 years, Noc has help protect the lower city with
Bardryn, Asselyna, and Dayerth. Only his compatriots know about his shape changing abilities.
Noc’s Fateful Night
Sleeping in Magnus’ bed, Noc was startled awake by screams coming from the street. He leaned over to one side of the bed to get a look at the street below. Several dark figures were chasing after a few citizens running in his direction. “Not again”, he grumbled. This was the third time this month that undead slipped past Avandra’s protection. “Why do they think that a bartender will save them? I could understand if I was part of the army.”
Noc swung his feet over the edge of the bed to stand up. As he stretched Magnus’ thick arms over his head, he remembered the last time the undead attacked. “Hrmm… I guess I was a bit too effective in fighting off the last attack. Oh well, can’t blame myself for perfection. Heh.” Noc casually walked over to his weapons to start arming himself. “Not enough time to throw on my armor. Meh, I can take those zombies without armor.” The screams coming from outside were getting louder. Noc estimated they were 500 yards from the front door. Grabbing his lucky daggers and a few shuriken, Noc made his way back to the window.
Stepping through the second floor window, Noc made his way onto the balcony to get a better look of the situation. Three blonde teenage girls, the same girls Magnus rescued the last time, were making a bee-line for the front door. Not too far behind were three decaying zombies giving a great chase. Behind the zombies were two wretched, discolored figures that Noc didn’t recognize. They looked humanoid, but they were clearly no longer among the living. Noc noticed large amounts of drool around their mouths glinting in the dim moonlight.
Noc moved to the left corner of the balcony, directly above the front door. Staying hidden in the shadows, he readied two shuriken, waiting for the zombies to get into range. “Hope I left the door unlocked for their sake. Otherwise, I’d hate to clean up their blood tomorrow morning,” Noc mused. The girls were almost at the door.
“Magnus! Magnus! Help! More big nasties are after us! Please let us in! ” shouted the girls. A few thuds resonated up the wall as the girls slammed into the door. Peering down, Noc could see the panicked girls frantically try to open the door. Noc looked back up at the approaching zombies. “Almost in range,” he thought. He heard the door below slam beneath him. “Guess they got lucky tonight,” Noc thought as he cracked a small smile.
The zombies were closing in on the front door, when suddenly a flourish of moonlit steel came flying from above hitting the first two zombies in the skulls. They drop instantly. The third zombie couldn’t stop his momentum and trips over the bodies. The zombie start struggling to its feet when it catches a glimpse of Noc flying down from above, two daggers raised above his head. Noc drove those daggers into the undead flesh as he landed with a satisfying thud. Noc cracked his signature sly smile.
The rogue slowly rose from the pile of zombie bodies that lay at his feet. Black ichor dripped from his blades as he turned to see his new foes. They had stopped running to comprehend the flurry of action they just witnessed. Noc wasted no time, darting towards the left creature, driving his blade into the rotting flesh that resembles a leg. Screams of pain leapt into the air. Noc started moving towards his other target when he felt a tug. He looked back to see his dagger still stuck in the leg. He let go of the knife and tried to move onto the next monster.
Before Noc had a chance to regain focus, an icy, paralyzing pain shot deep into Noc’s core. The creature had just taken a large bite out of Noc’s neck. He tried to scream out in pain, but nothing escaped his lungs. It was if his life was draining out of him, and he couldn’t do anything about it. His legs gave out underneath him. Falling on his back, both monsters sprang into action ready to devour his flesh. As Noc’s eyelids started to close for the last time, he saw a brilliant yellow light fill the night sky.
Noc awoke feeling groggy and sore. He was back in Magnus’ bed, and it was daylight out. A human man was sitting in the corner, looking directly at him. A golden medallion hung low around his neck. From the looks of his clothes, he appeared to be a holy man. “Good morning! Looks like you had a rough night. What were you doing fighting ghouls in your pajamas?,” the man inquired. “Ghouls? Is that what those abominations were? I’ve never seen those things in my life,” retorted Noc. “Oh yes, pretty strong ghouls at that. Such a nasty bite. You didn’t answer my question though. Pajamas offer no protection against the undead, no matter how fancy the fabric is.”
Noc sat up in his bed. “I was awoken by screams in the middle of the night. There wasn’t any time to put on any armor, even if I had any.” Noc did own armor, but it wasn’t here at Magnus’ house. He had left it at his other house, Gilden Irongut’s place. The armor was in a bit of disrepair, so it made sense to fix it at his blacksmith shop. “And don’t knock the pajamas! I like the silky feel when I sleep, “ Noc barked back to the man.
“No need to get defensive, I was just having some fun. In any case, my name is Dayereth. I am a part of the Stone Street gang. We run protection for the lower city, since the army can’t be bothered to do that for us. I was on patrol last night when I saw your skirmish with the undead. Pretty impressive stuff for a ‘bartender’. Did they teach you how to throw shurikens like that in bartender school?.”
Noc thought fast to bluff his way out of this. “Can’t have anybody knowing that I’m a changling. That’s how you lose the game. Plus it would bring more trouble than I really need right now, “ thought Noc. He shifted to his side, and immediately felt pain shoot through his neck. He forgot until now that the ghouls had taken a big bite out of his neck. Rubbing his hands over the area, he realized he wasn’t missing any flesh. “Aww, I just got lucky… How exactly am I not dead right now?, “ Noc said, quickly trying to change the subject.
“Well after that second ghoul caught you by surprise, you were pretty much down for the count. I came in to turn them away. Undead don’t really appreciate the divine arts, which is why those monsters aren’t currently digesting you right now. I healed you up and brought you back inside. Funny thing happened though. Your skin started turning gray, your pupils and hair turning white. As soon as I healed you up, your color returned. What do you make of that?”
Noc’s mind started racing. “Shit, I must have really been close to dying if I started to revert to my true form. Now I’ve got this strange man asking questions, and I’m too hurt to make a getaway. If I answer his questions, he could turn me into the city guard. If I don’t answer his questions, he could still turn me into the city guard. Should I trust him?”
Noc started speaking slowly, “If I were to tell you secret, a secret that could have me killed, would you tell anyone else?”
Dayereth was taken aback. What secret could have this man killed? How was it related to the strange discoloring he saw last night? His curiosity rose. “I just saved you from death, why would I say anything to bring death back?”
Noc nodded in approval. “Well I guess that makes sense. I can explain what you saw last night, but its probably better if you see for yourself. Please don’t be alarmed.” Before Dayereth could respond, the human man sitting in the bed started to change appearance. His blonde hair started to change to brown. The hue of his eyes started to shift, the muscles on his body started to shink. Dayereth started blinking and rubbing his eyes. He couldn’t believe what was happening. When he opened his eyes again, the man sitting in the bed was him! At least a mirror image of him. “What sorcery is this?,” Dayereth shouted.
Noc spoke calmly, trying to diffuse the situation, “Calm down Dayereth. It’s still me. I’m a changling. I can change my appearance”
“Wha? Changling? I’ve never heard of that kind.” Dayereth’s jaw was still on the floor. “Is this your fatal secret?”
Amused by Dayereth’s naivety, Noc started randomly shifting forms as he spoke, “Do you really think a creature that can change appearance like this is trusted by others? Most people think that my kind are spies or thieves. Its very easy to blame problems on the mysterious shapeshifter.”
Dayereth regained his composure. “Well that’s certainly understandable. What are you doing disguised as a bartender?”
“I’m just living my life. Changlings are few and far between, so there isn’t a changling society that I could be a part of. Instead, I chose to create personas for myself and live life in their footsteps. It’s quite an amusing game. I’m actually living three different personas currently, in addition to this one. What you saw last night, as I lay dying, is my true form. When changlings die, they revert to it. Your healing saved my life, and thus stopped the reversion.”
“That is quite a story. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered anything like this before. Someone with your skill set could be very useful in defending the lower city from the undead. Why don’t you join me and I’ll keep your little secret safe with me.” Dayereth smiled a bit as he spoke. He wasn’t very interested in blackmailing a new recruit, but the grim fact stood true. They were short on manpower, and the undead attacks had become more frequent.
Noc paused for a bit. He really wasn’t in the protection business, and this undead war wasn’t his. However, he was growing bored of his current personas, maybe a change of pace was needed. Besides, Dayereth did just save his life. If it wasn’t for him, he wouldn’t be breathing right now. “I guess I can tag along for a while. I have been looking for something else to entertain me.”
The two shook hands and began their new life together.