The City of Locked Doors, Chapter Five, page threeMature

He closed the furnace door and began working his way back up to the undercity.

Where do you think she'll be? There's not that many bodies just lying around Umbras, waiting for a Necromancer to resurrect them.

And that's why she'll be outside the city somewhere, probably sitting atop a mountain of corpses in some forgotten graveyard from the old world. Noir scowled. This is going to be such a pain in the ass.

You already said that.

Yeah, I know. He scowled again and, grabbing the rims of the hatch, dragged himself up into the undercity. Once through the hatch, he turned to close it and stopped, his eyes fixed on the small girl that stood opposite him. He slowly leaned back and closed the hatch, scanning their surroundings. The tunnels seemed empty, occupied only be himself, the girl, and his network of vines.

"Where are you going, mister." The girl, who he remembered from the cafe, remained on the other side of the hatch, bathed in the pale illumination of electric lights.

He shrugged, "I'm looking for an old friend, and I don't really know where she is."

The girl stood eerily still, moving only her lips as she spoke, "What is she, a Hemomancer?"

He shook his head, a tendril of shadows emerging from the floor sliding easily into the girl's barefoot, "A Necromancer, I think she went outside the city."

The girl twisted her torso around and pointed due north, toward Alarak Bane's district, "A woman went out into the northern woods earlier today, maybe she's your friend."

Noir grimaced as his questing shadow tendril found a pulsing knot of Hemomancy buried deep within the girl's stomach, "Yeah that might be her." He enveloped the Hemomantic knot in a web of shadow tendrils and tentatively dug into it. The girl shuddered, her silky black skin suddenly cracking like the ground of a desert, revealing a network of horrific red veins. He quickly withdrew the questing tendril and resumed his appraisal of the Hemomancy's exterior. "So what are you doing so far down here at night, girl? This isn't a safe place for children."

The red veins in her flesh subsided, returning her skin and form to its original state, "I was looking for an old friend."

"Did you find him?"

"No."

Noir withdrew his shadow tendrils and straightened, "Well, I hope you meet you friend again someday."

The girl blinked sharply, her eyes flicking momentarily up to Noir's face and then to bag at his back, "So do I." She turned and vanished down a western passage, leaving him alone in the steam-ridden corridor.

So Brigadier went back north. She's going to use her old soldiers again, and this time we'll be fighting on a battlefield that she's had all day to prepare.

Yeah. Noir stepped over the hatch and continued down the corridor, his steps dogged by a hiss of swirling steam. This is going to be a pain in the ass, but at least it's outside of the city. Noir turned around a corner and began climbing the stair that waited beyond it.

You do realize that it's going to be impossible to conceal the fact that you're a Shadowmancer after tonight?

Yeah, but they'll still think I'm at least Proctor level; they won't give any lieutenants a second glance.

They might, when they realize it's a Shadowmancer doing the killing. Solomon Doll at the very least will start putting things together. You did appear out of nowhere without so much as a rumor to confirm that you've been in Umbras all along.

Don't worry about it, I have a card to play that'll buy us at least a couple days.

If you say so.

The End

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