Deadrick felt a strong sense of Déjà vu as he ran through the tunnel with the demonic pack pursuing him.
Bruad was big, but incredibly agile due to the wolf genes inside him- he and Deadrick were running neck and neck as they reached the hatch. Deadrick threw himself up, Bruad struggled for a moment, but Deadrick grasped his arms and pulled, throwing him across the room.
As Bruad clattered into the wall, Deadrick kicked the hatch down and twisted the lock, sealing the howling demons below.
Bruad got to his feet and brushed himself off.
“Thanks,” He said sarcastically.
Before Deadrick could reply, Lalina entered the room.
“What the Underlands is all the ruckus?” She asked, looking at the hatch, which was thudding as the snarling demons below tried to break through.
Bruad went over to her.
“Listen, you need to get out of-” Before he could finish, Lalina grabbed his throat and pushed him against the wall.
Deadrick reached for his gun and leveled it at the landlady.
“Wait!” Bruad choked, Lalina’s hand still firmly constricting his throat, “She’s not- she’s not a demon!”
Deadrick lowered his gun- she was still perfectly human, no blood red eyes or inhuman claws. She was just a landlady- by the looks of it, an incredibly strong landlady.
“Not a what?” She growled.
“Lalina!” Deadrick demanded, “Just let him go!”
Lalina glanced towards him, her mouth wide.
“Oh my god! Its you!” She dropped Bruad, who gasped for air and she pointed at Deadrick, who narrowed his eyes for a second. Before he could say anything, he felt Danyel’s armor begin to tighten.
It constricted his chest and he barely had time to unclip it and throw it off, pulling off the leg plates until he was wearing nothing but the woven shirt and trousers that lay underneath it.
Deadrick choked for a second and held his hands in front of his face. They were his own hands. The Veil Stone had failed.
“Just wait till I get the guards in! I’ll get a reward!” The woman cried gleefully. Then her face fell, “What were you doing down there?”
She pointed to the hatch.
“What have you done?”
“Listen… Lalina- listen to that,” Deadrick went quiet and the howls and noises from below the hatch grew louder, “Does that sound human?”
Lalina’s face went blank. The man in front of her had had his face plastered all over the city with the words “WANTED FOR REGICIDE” written below it. And yet, she felt no threat from him.
Things had been strange in the city for days. The Imperial District had pretty much closed its doors to the public. Venerde had made only one appearance before he disappeared into the Palace with most of the Royal Guards.
The city seemed to shut down, word of disappearances spread, sightings of travelling Unholy crossing the Mainland heading towards Nefern Dale.
Then there were the Syndicate members. They had set up refugee camps on the roads leading towards the border. But no scouts had been sent to investigate.
“Please-“ Deadrick said slowly, “Please believe me,”
Lalina’s face softened.
“I do,” She replied.
Deadrick and Bruad forced their way back into the flood of people. Deadrick had borrowed clothes from the large Orc in the tavern. He had turned out to be a friend of Lalina’s.
They had friends in the Understreets, it seemed.
The Orc’s large straw hat dwarfed his head slightly, but served well enough to cover his face.
“Down here,” Deadrick said, they dipped into an alley.
“Will she be alright?” Bruad asked, “Lalina?”
Deadrick hadn’t wanted to consider what Juhra might do- he wasn’t sure how far the demons power extended, and if he had seen Lalina helping them.
“I hope so,” Deadrick replied, “Flare gun,”
Bruad reached into his pocket and took out the wide ended gun. Deadrick raised it above his head and fired.
The missile launched into the air with a whistle, leaving a trail of red smoke. He willed it to climb, hoping that Nerui and Danyel had seen it.
He gave the gun back to Bruad, who wrinkled his nose for a moment, and swiveled round to the mouth of the alley, to see the only exit blocked by four heavily armed men, each with horrifically familiar blood colored eyes.