Carrion Fields

Murder in Galadon - by Kastellyn

Rain beat down on the cobbled streets of the dark alley as I trudged towards the body that lay sprawled atop a pile of trash and other refuse. Despite having two of Galadon's finest with me, I still gave my surroundings more than a cursory glance. My Vindicator's badge was no protection from a well-placed blade in the back, and the local Kingpin made no secret of his sneering disdain for our laws. As I approached, the towering form of Focoult, the storm giant Provost Magistrate, loomed out of the misty darkness. He made no attempt to hide the sneer of disgust that curled his lip as he glared at me.

"I suppose you think I should be honored to have you assigned to this case, Sevarican, don't you?" He spat the words like they were poison in his mouth. I merely shrugged in response, my attention focusing on the victim, as his continuing prattle faded into the background noise of rain spattering on stone.

It was a gnome, of that there could be no doubt. Bulky arcane robes, a scattering of wands and scrolls, a few other reagents, all gave a clue to the gnome's former profession, confirming the gnomish mage stereotype all Therans were familiar with. I was more interested in the cause of death... and there it was. A tiny charred slash that penetrated both his heavy cloak and robes, made just below the base of the neck. The dagger that ended his life penetrated the spine in one swift movement. There was no combat here, no signs of a struggle, no time for him to react. I crouched beside the body, not touching it, looking for additional clues. Motive. There were some that would kill a mage on sight, but for some reason this case didn't seem that simple.

"should be relived of duty for the Hargraves incident, letting him go like that, a hardened criminal, and one of them outlaws at that, I don't know why the Lords put up with your..." Focoult again, doing his best to break my concentration. I continued to ignore him. Score one point for me.

Another clue: the ground beneath the body was wet, indicating the rain was falling when the crime occurred. The lack of footprints could mean the gnome's killer was flying, or more careful than the typical criminal element. His coin purse was still full, so it wasn't a simple robbery. The charred slit in the robes...

I straightened. "Shut up, Focoult," I said absently, and barely noticed his slack-jawed look of amazement at my bluntness and disregard for his position. Of course he hated me; I was a fire giant, and an anti-paladin, the enemy of his race and the antethesis to his alignment. I was also the best the Spire had when it came to bringing criminals to justice. That's why my "request" was honored so swiftly.

"It was Padgett. The precision of the killing blow, the lack of anything taken, the signature use of the wasp-blade, the timing. He's long gone by now, probably heading..."

"Criminal at the north gate! To arms, to arms!" The cry rang out loud and clear. I broke off my explanation and stood in one swift movement, uttering a dark incantation to forgotten demons that caused a surge of bloodlust in my veins. My two guards drew their swords, and Focoult's face somehow managed to become two shades paler than normal. Spalaiel was in the city, MY city. The Lord of Death would drink deeply this night, and I would feast on the soul of this criminal.

Welcome to Carrion Fields. A world where even the safest city can explode into violence, and you can be the one who brings the most dangerous criminals to justice.

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