A powerful artifact short sword. It is excellent with characters who prefer moving fast and avoiding contact with hostile creatures because of its light weight and accuracy. It also gives the wielder the state of invisibility and haste.
|short sword named Saal'thul
|Invisibility and Haste
You hear a voice, just above a whisper. You can't seem to find the source, but it can't be far away. The voice has a peculiar quality...
The crescent moon slowly crept towards the mountaintops as I watched the town.
It was a cold, windy autumn night on the Käydä Kauppaa Plateau. The winter snows were not far away - a week, perhaps two. I could not wait any longer. Once the snow came, the pass would become impossible to traverse safely. I would be trapped on the vast, open plateau.
I had to act. Tonight.
Soft, like leather...
Before me lay the city of Markkinoida, asleep behind it's high walls and iron gates. At it's heart lay the Great Marketplace, and the Grand Vault of Mellis. Within that vault lay countless treasures: precious gemstones, golden crowns, magical rings, ancient tomes of forgotten lore... and a small painting the size of an apple. The painting was why I had come to this place.
I would take it.
But first, I had to reach it.
Sharp, like a dagger...
I knelt on the rocks and lay my swords before me. They were trophies, forged of unbroken mithril by the legendary forgemaster Seppä, meant to commemorate the peace between two great kings, and stolen by myself in my youth. I lay the Book of Cleptia before me and said a prayer to my mistress. Then I stood and vanished into the night, blades in hand. The book I left behind. Like my other possessions, it would not help me within. I travel light.
The walls posed little challenge. They were tall, yes; but they had been built to impress traders, and fend off bands of raiders. They were not meant to keep out well-prepared individuals. I scaled them quickly, fell in behind a patrol, and slipped into the city unnoticed.
The marketplace was deserted, save for the guards at the Vault and a few beggars. Now the challenge would begin.
Hard, like the eyes of a killer...
I needed a distraction to enter the vault. This was easily arranged. I found some beggars huddled around a small fire in an alley. I quietly slew them, then took a burning brand from their fire and hurled it into the marketplace. Within a few minutes a blaze had begun.
As I watched, half of the guard detachment at the Vault were dispatched to help contain the fire. Only four were left at the front. I didn't even have to kill any of them to enter through a window, though once inside I had to kill three more - two guards I had to pass, and another patrolman who found me unexpectedly.
I moved through the vault quickly. A few drops of acid disabled the locks on the doors as I searched through the rooms. The gold and trinkets did not interest me. I had no desire for wealth. My talents would be wasted on such petty goals.
At last, I found it. I entered a room containing many of the greatest works of art ever created by human hands. I walked by the Last Statue of Paska Kuvanveistäjä. I passed over a hitherto-unknown piece by the Mage-Artist Mikkelange. And there, on a pedestal, was the painting I had come for.
It was small, set in a circular frame. It depicted a pastoral scene: two women sit by a tree, while a young man stands before them, hand outstretched as he sings to the women. Perhaps this does not do it justice. It is not just a painting. In truth, it is not fair to say it is a painting at all. It is a work of art by Dulcis Herself. It lives, it breathes; you can almost hear it sing. And it does not only depict some fantasy: it is a chapter in the lives of the Gods. We mortals can only comprehend a shadow of it's glory.
The smell of smoke. The vault was aflame. I sheathed one sword, snatched the artwork up and made a hasty retreat.
The results of my handiwork with the guards within the vault had been found. There were a half-dozen of them waiting for me when I emerged. They shouted something at me, but I did not hear them. There was only one thought: the path to freedom.
The guards rushed me in the firelight. I ducked, and dodged; slashed, and stabbed. Without both swords, I am handicapped. A sharp pain lanced through my side as a spear blade penetrated my armor. Blades flashing, I break free of the group. The firelight shining off my blade makes it seem like burnished gold, but the red stains of blood are unmistakable. Four guards are still standing, preparing to surround me again. But I am past them. I hear more rushing to the Marketplace. I turn, and run into the city.
Tired, like an old chair.
An hour later, I knelt at the Book, my swords crossed before me. A glow lit the city. Shouts, screams, and smoke were still rising into the sky. The moon had set. My side was wet with blood.
"I have done as you asked, my lady." I lay the painting upon the book. "Take this offering. May it please you." I remained there for a few minutes. Then I stood. The book and painting remained. Cleptia was not impressed. I would have to try harder.
But I would fulfill my vow. I would serve Celptia in the Shadowed Halls. My name - Saal'Thul - would be known and feared by all - mortal and immortal alike.
I gathered my things and vanished into the night.
The voice falls silent. You look at the mithril sword in your hand. Could it be...?