[ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]
."Tamoko took its head off so fast the doppelganger had time to blink once or twice at its own headless corpse."That is all that we will find here," she said, sparing the transforming doppelganger not the slightest emotion."The rest are elsewhere in the city.""Where?" Jaheira said, wiping doppelganger blood from her own blade."You wanted proof," Tamoko said."I don't want to leave any more of these things alive in the Gate," Abdel replied, waiting for the location of the other doppelgangers.Tamoko stood firm and said, "There will always be doppelgangers in this city," Tamoko obviously took no joy in her opinion."There will always be doppelgangers in every city.It is how they live.""Great," Jaheira muttered, "that's just-"Abdel put a hand on her arm, and Jaheira sighed."She's right," he said."We came here for evidence."Jaheira looked up at Tamoko and raised her eyebrows.The assassin bowed and gestured to a corner of the cellar.This particular cell of doppelgangers-all in the employ of Sarevok and the Iron Throne-made their home in the cellar of an abandoned manor house on Windspell Street.The cellar was dark, smelled bad, and was crowded with old crates and stacks of rotten firewood.There were six cots and four dead doppelgangers.Abdel looked in the corner Tamoko indicated and saw a stout wooden chest.Jaheira insisted on staring at Tamoko while Abdel dragged the chest into the feeble light of the doppelgangers' oil lamp.Tamoko knelt next to one of the dead creatures, and Jaheira winced when the assassin stuck her finger into the doppelganger's bloody mouth.She obviously didn't find what she was looking for, so she knelt next to another one."What are you doing?" Jaheira asked her.Tamoko fished about in the doppelganger's mouth for a moment and produced a wet, slimy iron key.Jaheira shook her head in amazement, and Tamoko flashed an almost imperceptible smile.The assassin tossed the key to Abdel, who used it to open the chest."What is it?" Jaheira asked him, still keeping her eyes on Tamoko."What's in there?""Scrolls," Abdel replied.Jaheira looked at him.He was kneeling in front of the chest, his back to her."Scrolls?" she asked."Evidence," he answered, turning to face her.He looked at her and smiled, but his smile quickly faded as he looked past her, then turned his head to scan the room.Jaheira followed his gaze to nothing.Tamoko was gone.* * * * *The chest was heavy, and Abdel was tired.He carried it a long way through the streets of Baldur's Gate and brushed aside Jaheira's offers to help.They had decided their course of action in the cellar, and they were both more than a little nervous.Abdel got the feeling Jaheira wanted to say something to him, and he felt like he should say something to her.They settled on small talk."She's something, isn't she?" Jaheira asked conversationally, watching the midday crowds go by as they walked."Tamoko?" Abdel asked unnecessarily.Jaheira nodded and said, "I've never seen a fighting style like that before.It was… beautiful.""I think she's from Kozakura," Abdel offered."She's beautiful," Jaheira said, her voice quavering ever so slightly.Abdel got that feeling from her that told him to stop.He set the chest down gently next to a sweet-smelling bakery.An old woman harrumphed as she passed, having to walk around the big chest."She might be able to…" Abdel started to say, but Jaheira just tipped her head to one side and smiled, knowing what he was going to say."I hope so, Abdel," she said."I really do, but I find it hard to believe.""She has no hope?" he asked, wanting to draw something out of her but not sure what.Jaheira smiled and put a hand on his heaving chest.He was sweating from carrying the evidence, but she didn't care."She might love him," Jaheira said."If she does, that might…"She stopped talking and just stood there, looking at him."I love you," he said, not sure why he thought he needed to say that just then, but he needed to.She smiled a strangely sad smile, but her eyes sparkled."I love you," she said.He smiled, but not at her.He smiled at the feeling that washed over him then.It was like the feeling he used to get before a particularly threatening fight or just before a kill.It wasn't as long ago as it seemed, but once Abdel was afraid that the feelings he had for Jaheira came from what he now knew to be his father's side, the part of him that was a murderer.Now, he realized that feeling wasn't the same, that the love he felt for her was pushing the Bhaal out of him, replacing his need to kill with his need for her.Jaheira's expression changed, and she laughed lightly at the sight of all this thinking.He didn't realize it, but his face had betrayed his inner dialog all too well."Pick up that chest," she said playfully, "we have people to see.""Yes ma'am," he replied."Let's go turn ourselves in.""Oh no," Julius breathed."Get away from me!" The young footman waved his halberd weakly at Abdel and Jaheira.The bruises under his eyes were a livid purple, but he'd taken the cloth out of his nose.His eyes were bright red, and his face was pale.He didn't look well, and now he was scared on top of it all."Why," he asked the heavens, "on my watch?" "Julius," Abdel said as he put the chest down on the gravel path leading to the gates of the ducal palace, "we've come to turn ourselves in."Jaheira slid her sheathed blade out of the loop on her belt and tossed it casually to the ground in front of Julius's feet.Attracted to the odd confrontation, the other guards started to gather around."You're going to kill me this time, aren't you?" Julius asked, his voice as serious as it was weak.Abdel removed the broadsword from his back and tossed it to land on top of Jaheira's weapon on the ground in front of Julius.The young footman jumped back.One of the other guards asked, "You know these people?"Julius ignored his comrade and said to Jaheira, "You might as well kill me.They can't bust me any further down…" he turned his gaze to Abdel and finished, "… except maybe the dungeon."Abdel put his hands on top of his head, smiled, and fell to his knees."Footman Julius," he called in a voice loud enough for everyone within a block of the palace to hear, "I, outlaw Abdel, surrender to you."Jaheira followed suit, saying, "And I, outlaw Jaheira, do the same.""Why," Julius asked the other guards, "is it always my watch?"* * * * *Julius, with a parade of other guards to back him up, led Abdel and Jaheira through the wide, high-ceilinged corridors of the ducal palace.He stopped at a set of tall double doors on either side of which stood two nervous halberdiers.Julius nodded at them and said, "Duke Angelo is expecting us."They pulled open the doors, and Jaheira gasped at the sight of the chamber within.It was an enormous room filled with ornate furnishings and artifacts that simply oozed wealth.It was like some exotic museum.Abdel had seen some things similar to the pieces here inside Candlekeep but not all in one room.There were six people already there, but only one man- a half-elf actually-stood when Julius led Abdel and Jaheira in.Abdel had heard of Duke Angelo only in passing.He was said to be a good man.Not as good as Scar, maybe, but if he hadn't been replaced by a doppelganger, a man who would listen to reason.Two guards put the heavy chest down a few paces into the room.Abdel and Jaheira followed Julius and the other guards' lead and bowed to the duke."These are the…" Julius said, "… them, m'lord."Angelo smiled at Julius and said, "Footman…""Julius, m'lord.""Julius," Angelo said, nodding, "you'll make corporal for this."Julius looked relieved, but didn't smile [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]