Conan: Blades of Shadizar

Chapter II, Session II, Part II

Acts of Survival

From the Memoirs of Darius the God Slayer

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I had wanted answers from the priest, but had not expected the answers I had received. I stepped casually away from his rapidly cooling body and continued on towards the inn. It was a small matter to get room with the view I required. Little did I know how far events would move beyond my plans. I decided to head back to Ninotchka’s to retrieve the stash of plunder which I was holding there. In my careful planning, I had envisioned moving the stash bit by bit so that it would not be noticed.

While I was gone, not all was well at Ninotchka’s. I will recount what I learned from the accounts of the few people at Ninotchka’s who are still numbered among the living. At this time, there was a disruption in the main room of the establishment. Danyo had been upstairs with Tamara, conscious but still recovering from his ordeal, when one of the customers, a soldier, collapsed, writhing in pain. The soldier’s thrashing ended abruptly and he went still. There was a shocked silence in the room. Vilena knelt down to check if the soldier still lived. He was entirely still, with neither breath nor pulse, and his body was cooling rapidly. Vilena stood slowly, finally answering everyone’s unspoken question with a shake of her head. The soldier was dead.

Moments later the body began to shake slightly. At first the people who were still in the room thought that they had imagined it. Then it began again. It seemed like something was inside of him…moving. Vilena screamed in terror. At this time, Danyo was upstairs with Tamara. Hearing the scream, they looked at each other. As you may already know, Danyo has extremely well developed survival instincts. Danyo was perfectly happy to stay where he was. To his mind, there was nothing at all unusual about a scream in a brothel in the worst part of Shadizar. Of course, if there actually was something unusual about it, that was even more reason for him not to get involved! Tamara’s glare told him otherwise. Dragging himself out of bed, Danyo took several minutes to dress, armor, and arm himself before leaving the room and heading downstairs. Tamara might have silently forced him to find out what was happening, but there was no way he was walking into doom entirely unprepared.

Walking down the hallway towards the stairs, he heard even more screams. He slowed his pace and edged down the stairs cautiously. What he saw when he reached the bottom of the stairs was enough to turn a Darfari white! The soldier’s belly, including the armor he wore, had split open and out of him was crawling a rapidly growing spider. The screaming patrons and girls were falling over furniture and each other in an attempt to flee. Danyo took stock of the situation and did what any other professional Zamoran thief would do in such a crisis: he fled. Sparing no second thought, Danyo ran. Leaping onto tables and over fallen chairs and people, he made a beeline to the door. Danyo was no fool, he was a survivor. In that moment he saw no reason to put his life in any more risk than his profession already placed him in.

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