The Rise of Tiamat
Interlude - Mire of Dead Men
Thick black gas roils out of a plump bubble. Brackish water squelches. The air is heavy in the Mire of Dead Men. It fills your mouth with a grittiness, like you’ve got a throatful of sand and no matter how many times you spit you can’t get it all out.
A crumbling castle casts shadows over a dusty longhouse. Lantern light dances out the windows of the wooden structure, glinting off alligator scales. Two hooded figures are seated at either end of a banquet table. A deep, southern voice breaks the silence.
“You don’t have memories, slave. But if you did, you’d be excited about your new purpose. You have an opportunity. An opportunity to avenge you and your kin. Lady Death loves to balance the books. The genocide of your people was a question. And you are the answer.”
The silent partner reaches for a dagger lain before it on the table. The dagger’s blade uniquely crafted, curved and winding like a snake about to strike. Grooves in the blade’s center trace back to the hilt, where a small pommel can be removed and filled with potent poisons.
Skeletal fingers clumsily wrap around the hilt. Each joint snaps into position, an arthritic prison locking the weapon into place. Faint words pour from the long, angular skull like howling trees in a foul wind. “How… can… I… serve?”
“You’ll kill Stanbek Blackstone. You’ll cremate his remains. And you’ll release his ash at the ocean floor, without a shore in sight.”
The skeleton slinks to the door. The segments of its tail clack rhythmically against the doorframe.
“Maybe when he dies, it will be for good this time.” The figure reaches into its robes and pulls out a gleaming white mask and a scroll covered in arcane runes. The runes slide off the page and form a door on the wall, which opens and fills the longhouse with a howling wind. The figure puts on the mask and steps through the door, and silence returns to the lonely swamp.