Bruad couldn’t believe it when he stepped into the flood of people when they entered Gaelwynd.
For the length of his existence as a Lycan, he had never once left the concealed forests, and had always been in the company of his own kind. Even before he became a werewolf he had been a simple farm-boy. Now, he was out in the open, with a large number of people pushing against him- his senses screaming at him to run.
Deadrick was once again demolishing his way through, ignorant of anybody who tried to push back.
The Understreets were quiet, thankfully. They pulled out of the stream of people and into the dark lanes.
The Understreets were in the shadow of the towers of the Mercantile District, and was where the lower classes resided. Row upon row of housing with cracking bricks and thatched roofs closed them off on all sides.
People of all races sat on the curb of the cobbled pathway, watching them warily. Guards didn’t usually enter this part of the city; they were no match for the organized gangs that managed to keep some sort of anarchic order.
Deadrick ignored them, and turned a corner.
The Rose and Dagger would be unrecognizable as any sort of business had it not been for the moldy hanging sign that alerted the whole street to its presence.
Deadrick pushed the rotting door open, which sent a bell ringing throughout the inn.
It was bare, with a few stools and tables leading to the bar itself. The whole place was illuminated by a few lone candles, which made the place feel depressing and dark. In the corner, a large framed Orc sat slumped against the wall with a pitcher of ale. He glared at them for a few moments before looking away.
They moved to the bar, and a fat, grinning woman appeared from a door behind it. This was obviously Lalina.
“Gentleman!” She chirped, her almost sickening happiness washed over the inn, “What can I get you?”
Deadrick straightened his back, putting his thumb against his forefinger and holding it up.
“The dragon watches all but knows nothing of what it watches,” He said.
Lalina sighed and nodded, gesturing for them to come round.
She led them through the door and into a back room.
“Will you be coming back through this way?” She asked, kneeling down and inserting a bronze key into a lock that seemed to be built into the dirty concrete floor. She turned it and pulled, revealing a hatch big enough for a man to fit through, that lead into a dark cavern below, “Or should I lock it back up?”
“We’re not sure, yet, Madam. If you could leave it open for the moment?” Deadrick said, putting on a middle class Gaelwynd accent.
“Yes sir,” Lalina saluted him almost mockingly, bowing and then disappearing from the room.
Deadrick and Bruad gave each other a slight nod, and descended into the tunnel.
The tunnel was dug through the earth, wide enough for the two of them to move through it side by side comfortably. Bruad had to hunch slightly so as not to hit his head off of the beams that stopped the dirt from flooding in and burying them alive.
Enchanted candles were fixed onto the walls, keeping the place well lit.
The tunnel seemed to descend slightly, and then began to climb. After about ten minutes it came to a stop at a thick metal door.
Deadrick and Bruad exchanged wary glances.
“Ready?” Deadrick whispered. Bruad nodded.
Deadrick took a deep breath and twisted the ugly brass handle. He pushed the door open, revealing a dimly lit, warm room.
He almost gasped when he saw a pair of eyes staring back at him, surrounded by almost a dozen other pairs. He recognized Venerde, Danyel had described his dark complexion and curled blonde hair. He wore a long trailing robe of white silk, with large, bright jewellery around his neck, and gold plated braces on his arms and assorted rings on both hands.
But Venerde was not alone; he had an entourage of heavily armed guards that surrounded him, with large blades and ugly looking guns.
“Gentleman, may I help you?” Venerde asked. His accent was exotic, with heavily accented letters spoken with a deep, handsome voice.
Deadrick remembered himself and began to speak, but when he raised his hand, his blood ran cold.
Venerde had risen to his feet, not that he was recognizable as Venerde anymore.
His body had malformed into a similar demonic creature as Kenn and Garren, his eyes were burning red. Blood began to pour from them, dripping into his mouth that may well have been filled with needles.
But it wasn’t over yet. The guards began to change as well, becoming inhuman, sickeningly repulsive versions of themselves.
“We must stop running into each other like this, Deadrick,” Venerde said- his handsome voice now an atrocious drone.
Deadrick remembered how Juhra as Kenn had trapped him psychically, and looked away from the red eyes.
“Bruad?” Deadrick spoke quietly, beginning to back away towards the door.
“Yes, Deadrick?” Bruad replied.
“Run!” Deadrick yelled, throwing himself into the tunnel.
Bruad dived after him, turning to pull the metal door behind him. A thick arm with gnarled flesh stop it from shutting, and no matter how hard he pulled, he knew it was futile. With all his strength, he pushed the door open, sending the monsters behind it stumbling over each other.
With the sound of hissing and howling close behind him, he disappeared into the now very claustrophobic passage.