AGNPH Stories

Rise of an Undead Queen by the_shadow_master_of_wea


Story Notes:

Characters / catagories / warning will be added as needed.

Chapter 1 : Return to Benalia

Chapter 1: Return to Benalia

Benalia, Capital of Ravnica
April 9th 1502, Present day...

Gerrard walked quickly through the empty streets of the Benalia market district. Normally packed with all sorts of merchants and browsers, sometimes even well after the sun had set, the weather had driven all but a few inside seeking cover from the storm. Even with his fine fur coat and thick cloak, the lucario was still at the mercy of the cold. Although not a serious storm, the rain still came in massive torrents soaking anyone it could.

Moving quickly, one of the city's enforcers walked around the corner and moving as fast as he was, Gerrard couldn't stop in time and ran into him. Both of them nearly fell over, but Gerrard was quick to recover and help make sure that the enforcer stayed standing as well. Standing at nearly six feet, the guard, a marill looked down to see a cloaked figure standing next to him. "What's the rush, kid?"

"Sorry." Gerrard removed his hood. Just barely four and half feet tall, Gerrard was used to being mistaken for a youth on a regular basis.

"Oh, Gerrard. I'm glad to see your back." The marill smiled.

"Yea, you too, Dex." Gerrard stated. "I delivered that letter for your commander by the way, took some time to track the guy down though."

"You can tell him yourself in the morning. I was told to tell you to meet him at the command post when you show back up, but he's probably left by now." Dex informed him. "Now move along. As much as I enjoy rain like this, I doubt that you do. Besides, I've got to finish my rounds."

"Nice seeing you again." Gerrard stated returning his hood to his head before running off again to get out of the rain. Hurrying along through the water-ridden streets, he finally saw his destination, the Dreamer's Rest Tavern.

He could already see that the place was packed, several shadows within the well lit windows moving about. Slowing his pace as reached the steps to the tavern with its covered patio, Gerrard rummaged through his bag that had thankfully remained dry. It took a few seconds to find his coin pouch, but he had it out as he entered into the building digging around to see what kind of coins he had left, making sure it was enough to at least get a room for the night. Seeing that he lacked the coin for a room, he walked in knowing that he could at least talk with the owner for a bit and dry off before walking to the church to seek refuge for the night.

Several tables were set up all over the place, many of the mons there all gathered into various groups, too busy to notice him as he walked in. A few game tables in the back seemed to be over flowing, but with the rain as heavy as it was, it wasn't like there was much else to do but play games and drink with friends. As he walked towards the back, he could see that pit was in use again, two large mons were going at it trying to throw the other into the large moat of water that surrounded the platform there were on. Still moving along, he finally reached the bar in the back, finding an empty stool along with it and quickly claimed it before anyone else. Gerrard just sat there for a few looking around before the bartender finally had a moment to come over to him.

"Ah, Gerrard. It's been nearly a month you were last here." The sceptile stated cleaning a glass as another one of his barmaids came up and started filling up a collection of glasses.

"It's a long hike to the kingdom of Taranis, but someone needed to deliver that letter for the Enforcers. Besides, it wasn't like there was much happening up here at the time." Gerrard explained. "So, how's business been going for you, Daniel?"

"Same as usual, but my lovely harem girls have been as busy as ever. We had a pair of cargo vessels pull in a few days ago, and it appears that the whole crew ached for a female's touch." Daniel replied. "I've already told them they'll be getting extra pay as long as they keep those sea goers happy. That damned rascal Jack has been trying to steal my business away from me lately, but my taverns reputation still has some powerful say. And I intend to keep that reputation. Here, try this."

Gerrard smiled as Daniel poured him a glass of milk. "I'd expect nothing less from you."

"Just got a few fresh pouches of the milk today. It came all the way from the port city of Galtic." Daniel stated as Gerrard was about to take a drink.

"Hold on, Galtic. That's a three week trip by boat." Gerrard objected quickly putting the glass down.

"That's what I said at first myself, but just try it. They've got some powerful enchanters down there and I swear that milk is as fresh as they day it was first stored away." Daniel stated picking up another glass to clean.

"Well, okay..." Gerrard took a sniff of his drink and failing to notice any foul odor, he took a sip. As the drink flowed into his mouth, Gerrard was quite surprised to find that it was rather sweet. "Hey, this is good."

"I told ya." Daniel stated. "So, I assume you'll want the usual set up for tonight."

"Sorry, not tonight." Gerrard explained. "Don't have the money for a room. Just thought I'd stop in and check up on things over here and have a talk with Daisy before I went to the church for the night."

"Hmm, we might be able to work something out since I know how you are about handouts. If you've got some free time, I've got a small issue to deal down with in the wine cellar, some sort of bug or rat problem. I'll give you free rent tonight if you'd be kind enough to deal with it. Room of your choice even. I've lost enough goods already. I've set up traps and tried to deal with it personally, but I can't fit into some of those tighter spots and my girls are refusing to head down there anymore unless I go with them. Vivian swears it was demon though, claiming to have seen a green face just hanging on one wall with small tentacles sticking of it, but I doubt it." Daniel offered.

"Well, I got some time and I could use the exercise..." Gerrard joked. "Yea, I guess I could deal with this little problem of yours."

"I'll see you in a bit then." Daniel led Gerrard into the back room and opened up the cellar door for him. Grabbing a torch and lighting it, Gerrard headed into the wine cellar. Shelf upon shelf of bottles lines the walls, and several of barrels were stacked in the center of the room around the pillars that held up the floor above. The far end of the cellar also held a few perishable items as well. Much like outside, it was cool down here, a large pool in the back held a mound of ice, no doubt the source of all the cold air down here keeping everything chilled. Gerrard could only guess that the ice was the handy work of the new jyxn girl who Daniel had hired as a barmaid just before leaving for Taranis. Then again, having an ice-type with power like that made it much easier then having to bargain with the local charmers and enchanters to keep renewing their spells every week.

Gerrard walked slowly and silently trying not to make any sudden movement in case the rat that had been causing Daniel problems was still around and in the open. Moving through the room, Gerrard could see some of the packages on the lowest shelf for the food had been torn a bit, having been eaten through.

Working his way into the back of the room, Gerrard noticed a large crack in one wall. Shining his torch towards the crack in the wall and could see a shadow quickly duck further into the wall and into a new room on the other side. "I can see why Daniel has problems." Gerrard whispered to himself. Moving next the large crack, Gerrard measured himself against the crack. It was going to be a tight fit, but Gerrard felt confident that he could make it being as small as he was. Taking off his cloak and his pack, he set them down next to the wall. With that done, he looked over his pair of blades, an enchanted machete and a short katana. Deciding that his katana was the better choice being the smaller of the two blades, he left his machete with his other belongings. With his torch leading the way, Gerrard slipped into the crack in the wall making his way into the room beyond it.

Filled with cobwebs and dust, the room must have been locked away from the rest of the city for years. Aside from the few small paths that rodents and other small animals must have made, there was no sign that anyone had been down there in years, and with the only real entrance lying in a collapsed mess, leaving just a small passage open in the corner. Getting down on his hands and knees with his torch, Gerrard could see a small number of rattata gathered on the other side, a few giving him dirty looks for chasing them off. Gerrard knew right away that he'd have to enter the sewers in order to reach them, but for now, he could still close off the gap that they were using to get free access into the Dreamer's Rest Tavern. Getting back up, Gerrard looked around quickly spotting a large stone that was big enough to plug the hole. Moving the stone into position, Gerrard then searched around for any other large stones to put around it to keep the rattata from pushing it out of place. Satisfied that the rattata wouldn't be bothering Daniel anymore, Gerrard turned to leave the room. As he turned around though, he came face to face with an odd sight.

There, hanging down in front of his face was another face. Dark green in color, with two large black eyes and smooth black set of lips, Gerrard mostly took note of the six small yellow and black appendages sticking out of the side of the face. If not for the fact that Gerrard felt a very strong sense of having seen this thing before, he might have been scared, but something told him that it was harmless. This face hung there for a few seconds before it smiled and started moving back up towards the ceiling and Gerrard knew at once what it was. "Well, that explains the so called demon living down here." Gerrard smiled as the spinarak walked across the ceiling towards the crack in the wall. "That's weird though. I thought that they were native to forests of Brackona, and that's in demon ruled lands." Gerrard asked himself as he slipped back into the cellar of The Dreamer's Rest Tavern. Climbing down from the ceiling, the spinarak landed on Gerrard's shoulder as he retrieved his gear. With his gear once again on his back, and a new friendly face on his shoulder, Gerrard went to inform Daniel of what he had done, but stopped. Slowly, he started to look back at the crack in the wall, a worried look on his face.

Drawing of his blades, a powerful feeling came over Gerrard as he slowly walked back towards the crack, his new friend that had been resting on his shoulder quickly jumped off and scurried off to a corner on the other side of the room. Gerrard couldn't tell what it was, but something was out there, something looking to cause trouble. Without really knowing what was going on, the world around Gerrard changed, going a sort of ghostly blue and black.

With this new vision, his sight quickly dashed into the other room looking at the collapsed passage before moving towards it and then through it. Now looking into the sewers, his vision started to dash forward again, making a left turn at the first conjunction and then swiftly following that passage before turning again, this time turning right and following a passage leading down a before entering into a large chamber. His visions started to move faster as he quickly left the room for another passage before turning again and entering another passage. Gerrard's vision traveled down this passage for a while still gaining speed before entering into a new room with a massive vertical tunnel in it, in which his vision seemed to jump down before landing in a small room, but vastly different from the sewers. Made of clean stone with images carved into the walls, Gerrard didn't have a chance to really look around as his vision took off again following a winding and twisting passage. Although Gerrard could catch small glimpses of the decorated walls around him, his vision was moving too quickly now for him to make much out. Entering into a large store room of some kind, Gerrard's vision charged into and through a false wall and quickly entered a large empty chamber before flying through it to the other side. His vision finally stopped in a small room looking down over a sarcophagus.

The feeling that had taken a hold on Gerrard grew immensely with his vision standing over the sarcophagus, its rough design of a some sort of canine engraved on the surface, it paws folded over its chest holding something. Closing in over what he was now seeing, strong feelings of hatred and vengeance took hold in Gerrard before he took a step back, both in his vision and where he was really standing. The object held in the carving's paws began to glow, its light revealing more of the room. 'I... must get... out, be free... Help me...Find me... and release me.' A soft voice sounded in his head as he took another step back. Catching his foot on something, Gerrard fell back landing as his ass as he found himself back in the cellar of the Dreamer's Rest Tavern.

"What the hell was that?" Gerrard half shouted quickly looking around. Getting back up, he drew his blade waiting for some one to step out, but no one did. His torch was starting to die, its light already fading away. Making sure he had all of his gear, he grabbed his torch and started up the stairs under the impression that he was delusional or something. 'What's going on?' Gerrard asked as he moved up the stairs closing the cellar doors. 'These visions, they're coming more often.' His head bowed down in thought, he made his way back to the bar.

"Ah, Gerrard." Daniel smiled pouring another customer a glass of ale. "How'd it go?"

"Well, I found that your back wall has a large hole in it." Gerrard began. "That's how the rattata got in. The room connected to your cellar looks kinda like a storeroom that was at some point connected to the sewers, but its entrance was collapsed except for a small bit of rubble that was cleared it. I blocked it back up and that rats shouldn't be able to get back in, but I'll have to head into the sewers to find their nest if you really want them gone."

"Well, that explains where they came from. And what about this face I heard about. Did you run into it?" Daniel asked.

"Actually, I did." Gerrard replied.

"Really? So, what was it?" Daniel picked up another glass and began to clean it.

"It was a spinarak, a spider I remember seeing a lot of while I was in Brackona before it fell to the demon lords." Gerrard explained.

"A spinarak? I recall one of my customers claiming to sell something that sounded similar to that. Are they dangerous?" Daniel asked.

"They're pretty harmless as long as you don't threaten them. They use to make great pets, perfect little watchers. Some of the residents of Taranis use to have them imported, I've seen some trained ones that help out with all sorts of little things and their webs can be woven into cloth." Gerrard added. "Right as I was leaving though, something must have scared it and it ran off and hide in one of the corners of the room. The easiest way to deal with it if you want it gone would be to just set out a bit of food and wait for it to come to you. I'm sure it would be easy enough to relocate if you don't want the little guy around, but I'm sure he'd make a great pet."

"I'll keep that in mind. Anyway, just go talk with Daisy, the room is yours." Daniel smiled. "As long as those rattata don't come back, I think your job is done."

"Well, thanks." Gerrard gave a partial smile.

"What's up?" Daniel asked noticing that Gerrard was just a bit off.

"Its nothing." Gerrard stated. "I'm just tired." Moving down from his stool, Gerrard made his way through the bar into the back where the rooms were kept. Unlike the bar, the inn section of the tavern was much quieter, a few people reading books in the lobby or talking quietly in small groups.

Moving up the counter, he noticed six small red tails just barely sticking out from under the counter. Tapping on the wooden desk, the person who owned the six tails backed up and popped her head up. "Gerrard." The vulpix smiled. "How have you been, when did you get back?"

"I've been good, Daisy. And aside from taking care of Daniel's rat problem, I just got back. He said I could have room for the night." Gerrard replied.

"Oh, so I won't have to deal with anymore rats when I'm down there then?" Daisy turned to the shelves behind her and pulled out a set of keys. "Here you go, it's the usual room you like. I'm just getting ready to quit for the night, would you like some company before retiring?"

"No, it's been a long hike up from Taranis." Gerrard shook his head. "Besides, I've got to report to Commander Stonehammer in the morning."

"Oh, well when can I see you again." Daisy asked.

"If nothing else, I should have tomorrow night free." Gerrard stated. "Unless the commander wants me for something." Taking his key, he started up the stairs to find his room for the night. Along the way, he recalled his vision and began to ponder its meaning. 'I wonder who could need my help?' He asked himself unlocking his door. Further down the hall, he could see a gallade enter a room with a vaporeon under his arms, a large scar over his left hand.

"Hey Gerrard." The vaporeon called out stopping for just a sec. After giving her a slight wave, the gallade gave a slight tug on her arm and she walked into the room smiling a bit.

Walking into his own room, Gerrard set his things down on the small desk in the room. Lying back on the bed, Gerrard tried to recall what it was that he had seen. Several times in the past few months, this odd ghostly vision took hold and showed him things. Up until now, it only happened when he was trouble, under attack by bandits or something and couldn't see where his attackers were coming from. In times that like, this ghostly vision of his would show him where to look and defend from, but this time was different.

Not only was he not in any noticeable danger, but he had no way to know just how far his vision had traveled. Normally when this happened, it was limited, but now his vision had taken him on a tour of the sewers and something else below them. What really made Gerrard worry though was that voice. Gerrard couldn't help but ponder where it had come from and who had needed his help, but in any case, it was hiding something. Thinking as it as he was now though, he began to ponder other things as well.

Being one of the few survivors of Brackona, a number of doomsayers had often targeted him and the others he had journeyed with in search of refuge making claims about being possessed, being servants of the damned. With some of his new abilities that had been surfacing as of late, like his abilities to fire spheres of bright blue light and now his visions, Gerrard started to question the claims made against him. Still, being the only lucario to have made the journey and doing so at a very young age, he didn't have much memory of his life before Brackona was taken over. In truth, there was really no way to know what kind of natural abilities he possessed at all. For all he knew, this could be natural. Rumors in the winds had mentioned that his kind possessed some unique skills not shared by any other. Were these visions just one of them.

Gerrard spent a good hour thinking about what had happened and what it could mean before he finally fell a sleep.


The rain had stopped as Gerrard woke up. Slowly getting up, the sun was just starting to peer over the water. Once again gathering his belongings, Gerrard knew he was in for long day. Knowing that he didn't have much money, he ignored his growling stomach for now. As he walked downstairs, the place was nearly empty. Aside from the morning crew still cleaning up from last night's crowd, Gerrard was the only person there who wasn't employed. Walking up to one of the others, Gerrard handed his key over and then left.

Now out in the open, he could see a few of the market vendors setting up for the day. Knowing that it would be a long walk, Gerrard started his way up the castle where the Enforcers command was located, and hopefully by the time he got there, Commander Krates would be there as well. It took him a little over an hour to reach the keep, the large stonewalls of castle. Like always, a pair of enforcers guarded the gates while many more walked the around the top of the walls. "Gerrard." One of the two guards by the gate called out as he walked up. "Krates is looking for you. He's down at the armory right now."

"Thanks." Gerrard stated walking into the castle grounds. Making a left turn, he started for the Enforcer's section of the castle. Guards were all over the place, many of which just getting to start their day walking out of the barracks with tired looks on their faces. Moving behind the barracks, Gerrard saw the armory doors open and could hear some noise on the inside. Walking up the door, a new recruit rushed out, a fearful look on his face leaving a puzzled Gerrard behind. Slowly, he walked into the armory hearing a massive clank of falling weapons. Rounding the corner, Gerrard found Commander Krates shifting a collection of large fallen halberds on another pair of new recruits. "What happened?" Gerrard asked as he walked up watching his step.

"Idiot new recruits happened." Krates responded, the large primate pulling another set of halberds off the recruits, finally letting them get out. Both of them quickly went to run off, but Krates grabbed them both hard by the back of their tunics. "Oh no you two don't." Giving a hard yank, he pulled them both back hard. "You fools made this mess and your going to clean it up. I'll be back be back in two hours to inspect your work and I expect every one of these weapons to be clean, every blade polished, and everything to be stacked neatly." He stated. Both of the recruits quickly gave their yes sir replies and while one went about gathering up the fallen weapons, the other went into the storeroom and pulled out a number of rags and a bucket of water. Krates then walked out with Gerrard at his side. "If kids like this are our future military, I pray that our neighbors can hold back the demons forever." He sighed as he walked out. "So, how are you Gerrard?" Krates asked looking around.

"I'm doing good." Gerrard replied as he followed Krates over to a small bench near the stables, a number of the ponyta and rapidash already digging into the oats. "I delivered that letter for you, just took me longer then I though to track him down."

"Really?" Krates asked. "I gave you detailed instructions on where he lived."

"Turns out he moved, the small string of houses he was staying at caught fire and rather then rebuild, he moved closer to town." Gerrard explained. "He says that he might be able to make his way up here, but it will take him a month, maybe two, he wants to see a few select students of his down there the rest of the way through training."

"I understand that, he never likes to leave a job unfinished." Krates nodded. "Well, I guess I owe you then, let's head up to the main bounty office and I'll get your pay from the job." He stated getting up and walking back towards the main gate. "WE might even be able to find a few new jobs for you do while you're here, we've been short handed with the recent run of bandits as of late in Cloakwood."

"I thought you took care of that before I left? You were all celebrating the fall of the bandit king weren't you?" Gerrard asked.

"Yea, but the bandits in those woods never disbanded. Instead, they broke up into a number of factions and are at war with each other and the small villages and mines around the woods are caught in the middle." Krates explained as he walked into a small stone building built into the keep walls. "Commander Krates." The pair of enforcers inside the building both got up and saluted their Commander as he entered. "At ease." He stated and both of them sat back down.

As always, the bounty office was filled with paperwork in the back, a large board filled with wanted posters and job offers from the enforcers took up a whole wall, most of them being small job offers since the city itself was relatively calm. "I need 120 silver coins for Gerrard here. He just got back from Taranis." Krates stated and one of the enforcers quickly walked into the back, the sound of old safe opening up was heard while Gerrard went over and looked over the work board. The enforcer came back a few minutes later, a pair of small bags in his hands. "Here we are, 120 silver coins." The enforcer stated and Krates signed for them letting Gerrard take his pay.

"Well Gerrard, I've got some things to check up on and still need to track down Hector." Krates stated.

"You must mean that young macho I saw running out of the armory when I got here." Gerrard asked.

"Yea, that's him. We'll see if he decides to show off again after a month of cleaning the stables by himself." Krates stated. "Oh and before you go running off, you may want to go check in with Advisor Valid." Krates stated pulling a sheet off the work board and handing it to Gerrard. "They just put this up yesterday, apparently they need a new runner and you seem to know your way around the city better then most as well being quiet the quick footed mon, its easy work if not long, but it pays good."

Gerrard looked over the sheet, it was simple work like Krates had said, and it would pay well. He gave another quick look at the board, but didn't see anything else. "I'll look into it." Gerrard stated looking over the coins he had been handed, counting them himself just to be sure before he walked out with the paper Krates had handed him still in his hand. Walking back out, Gerrard looked up to the castle and wondered what was going on today. It was a good walk around to the front of the castle, the massive stone structure towered over everything else close to it the mostly rounded dome with a few towers coming out of it was originally a small coastal fortress that just grew and was remodeled several times. There were still rumors of miles of unexplored tunnels beneath the castle, but no one ever found them. Walking up the front gates of the castle, a number of knights stood by the front gate, each one looking around and talking with each other. As Gerrard approached, one of the knights moved up to greet him.

"Greetings and welcome to the Stormwill Castle. May I ask your business." the knight asked kindly.

"Looks like that recent run of bandits have you guys working a bit harder." Gerrard stated pulling out the paper. "Commander Krates said that Valix was looking for a runner, thought I might volunteer for the job." Gerrard smiled.

"Advisor Valix is in the archives right now, just this hall down to the end and make a right. It will be the third door on your left once you get down there. You can't miss it, they've been piling a number of new books right outside the doors while they clean and replace some shelves." The knight explained.

"Thanks." Gerrard smiled as he walked into the castle. Even walking down the side halls of the castle, Gerrard was impressed with the number of decorations placed around as it was his first time in the castle itself. Despite having been built as a fort, the castle didn't look like it on the inside as he moved along passing a few rooms along the way. As he rounded the corner, he could see a large pile of books resting on the sides of the hall all next to a large set of double doors. "Well, this must be it." He stated as he walked up. As he neared the door, Gerrard could hear voices which he could only assume to be advisor Valix and the other advisers or librarians.

"I'm telling you that the Fang of Onyxia is real." One voice stated, male by the sounds of the voice.

"The Fang of Onyxia is a myth, a dragon of that size and power alone would have left some considerable mark on history. Not to mention the demon lords would stop at nothing to get a weapon like that." A second stated, this one female.

"Then explain this." The first voice stated again, this time with a bit of aggressiveness in his voice. The next thing Gerrard heard was something large being thrown onto a table.

"Where did you get that?" A third voice asked softly.

"I found it hidden behind a row of other books." The first voice stated. "There is a detailed map of this region dated back 300 years ago, just a few years before the keep was built. I've already confirmed it with other reliable maps of that time."

"Really?" The second voice asked.

"Yes, and if its right, then the castle was built right on top of this marker here." The first voice stated. "Think about it, we could have been buried beneath this castle, there are distinct rumors of the tunnels beneath this place."

Gerrard walked up the door and walked in looking at a mewtwo with an odd orange tint to his fur, a charmeleon, and a beautifly. "Enough." the mewtwo stated and with a flick of his wrist, the book on the table in the middle of the room was closed and slid to his hand. "Can I help you?"

"I was looking for Advisor Valix." Gerrard stated holding up the paper.

"So, you want to be my new carrier." The mewtwo walked up to Gerrard having an easy foot and half on him. "You look a little young."

"I'm 19, just this is as tall as I'm going to get." Gerrard stated.

"I heard rumors about your kind, lucarios right. Yes, I was always told that they were a bit short, even the older ones." Valix stated. "My only concerns are if you know the city and how fast are you?" He asked.

"I've been here for about five years now, I know my way around." Gerrard stated. "And I fast enough, I've made runs between the docks and main gate and back in just under a two hours."

"Hmmm, faster then most of the carriers the castle can offer." Valix thought it over for a few. "I've got some documents to run over to the Crow's Nest, do you know where to find the inn?" He asked.

"Yea, that's right next to the old armory, east side of the city." Gerrard replied. "Easy run."

"Good. Come with me then." Valix nodded before turning to the two librarians. "Speak nothing more of this book, not until I've had a chance to look it over myself. The knights have enough problems handling with the bandits. Rumors of such a weapon would only attract more trouble to the castle." Valix stated. Both of them looked up to him and nodded knowing that he spoke the truth.

Valix walked Gerrard down a few different hallways before walking into a large room and much like the bounty office, there was paper work nearly everywhere, but it was much more organized. Valix raised his hand and a small book resting on the center desk opened up revealing a set of letters. "Your first task is simple, just take these to the Crow's Nest. Tell them that these should be filled out right away; they'll now what they are. Once they are filled out, bring take them to the dock master." Valix handed Gerrard a set of addressed letters. "Once your done with that," Valix pulled out another letter, this one with the seal of the king, a large shell crown emblem. "Take this to the main gate and give to Sir Aramis, a zangoose. He's been requested to return to the castle after completing a few tasks detailed in this letter." Valix handed Gerrard the letter. "My last carrier had the bad habit of trying to peak into everything I had him deliver, don't go causing the same trouble and you should find this an easy job."

Gerrard packed the letters into his bag. "Its not my place to look into letters that don't have my name." Gerrard stated.

"Good." Valix nodded. "Return back here when you're done, my assistant Anna will have your pay and will be here waiting by the time you get back. If you get lost, just ask for directions to my office. She will also tell you where to meet with me tomorrow. I should have plenty of work for you then." With that, Valix turned and left. Gerrard was quick to follow Valix's and made his way out of the castle. Once out of the castle, Gerrard smile and took a second to plan his path to the Crow's Nest. It didn't take him long to plan out his path and he Took off running hoping to avoid most of the crowds of the market district. He managed to avoid most of the crowds, but not all of them though, having to take a detour though up and over some of the roof top vendor platforms in order to get around a small train of fruit carts being pulled out of a storage barn. Aside from the one small detour though, it was an easy hour run to the Crow's nest where Gerrard slowed his pace and walked in.

Like the Dreamer's Rest Tavern, the place wasn't too over the top, it had its own assorted game tables, a sparring pit, and offered its own selection of ales and beers, but Gerrard never came around often, the Crow's Nest for more known for its rougher customers. Thankfully, the place was empty right now aside from a small collection of drunks who had passed out at their tables and a few maids trying to clean up. "We're closed right now. We'll be open in an hour." One of the barmaids stated.

"I'm looking for the owner." Gerrard replied. "I've got a few papers for him." Gerrard pulled out the letters.

"It's about time I got a response. And it had better not be the same forms from last time." A slightly draining voice called out from the side, a large shiftry coming out from a side room holding his hand out.

"I was told to have you fill them out right away so I can take them to the dock master." Gerrard handed the letter's over. The shiftry took the letters and quickly pulled out a knife from his belt. Gerrard kept his eyes trained though having heard a few rumors about the owner of the Crow's nest. The shiftry took his knife and opened the letters up and quickly looked over the letter.

"Oh that damned asshole Valix." The shiftry exclaimed. "Mina, bring me pen now." He shouted and an electrike morph in the back quickly headed over to the counter and pulled out a feather quill and bottle of ink. The shiftry took the quill and ink quickly pulled out the last page to the letter filling in a few things at the end. It didn't take long for him to fill out the form in the back and stuff it back into the envelope. "Here, take these and tell that fool Valix he had better get this sorted out. If my shipments get rerouted away from my bar one more time because those enforcers don't like my beer, I'm storming to his office." The shiftry stated.

"Hey, no need to bite my head off, I just deliver the messages, I don't write them." Gerrard stated.

"Well, go on, get out." The shiftry quickly handed the envelope back to Gerrard and stormed off back to the side room.

Gerrard knew it was best to continue on with his task right now though and quickly left, he didn't like the Crow's Nest anyway and started his way towards the main gate. Like before, he had to a make a quick detour around some crowded intersections in the market district, but there wasn't any trouble. At last he reached massive walls that surrounded the city, the large wooden gates reinforced with metal bands slowly opening up once again letting the flow of traffic through, a few wagons waiting to be let out heading for other cities no doubt. Looking around, Gerrard couldn't see a zangoose as he walked up, so he walked up the guardhouse built into the city walls.

"Can I help ya boy?" A guard asked as Gerrard walked up giving a light sigh.

"I'm Advisor Valix's new runner. I've got a letter here for a zangoose knight called Aramis." Gerrard explained.

"Aramis? He don't get much from the castle, but if ya got a letter for him, he should be arriving in the next few minutes. I could hold it for him." The guard explained.

"No, its fine, I can wait." Gerrard smiled.

"You sure?" The guard asked.

"I'd like to make a good impression with Valix. I got the feeling he was a hard man to please." Gerrard stated and took a seat.

"Yeah, that Valix is the king's best advisor, been around since before William took the throne even." The guard stated. "But yea, I've heard that he is a tough man to please. He treats those who work for him pretty good though. Remember, just keep up with what he asks and work in a timely fashion and he'll make it worth your time."

"Thanks for the heads up." Gerrard smiled as the door to the guardhouse opened and another knight walked in, this one a zangoose. "Excuse me, sir. Are you Aramis?" Gerrard got and walked over to the knight with a bit of surprised looked on his face.

"Yea, that's me. What's up kid? Your parents looking for some help or something?" Aramis asked.

"I'm nineteen and I'm also Advisor Valix's new runner." Gerrard pulled out the letter for him. "I've got a letter here for you. I was told that you were going to be reassigned to the castle after you take care of a few things listed here in this letter."

"Oh." Aramis took the letter and using the tip of his halberd opened it up and looked it over. "Thanks." Aramis pulled out a few gold coins and handed them to Gerrard. "Make sure that Valix gets those coins, I owe him a few, keep the extra." He smiled. "And when you see him, tell it will take a few days to complete all this, I'll head over to Grafton right away though." He smiled.

Gerrard nodded and put the gold coins into the same envelope as the filled out forms and put it back into his pack. He smiled on his way out and started for his trip to the docks to hand over the forms for the dock master before returning to the castle. 'So far so good, nice easy day.' He thought as we walked along knowing that he would have a few coins in his money bag once again, definitely enough to last him a few days even after getting a tailor to mend the few small tears in his cloak.

It didn't take him long to reach stair case down to the docks, the large stone steps following down the cliffside to the water's edge where the docks had been built. A massive much longer ramp following along the cliff in the opposite direction taking a much longer and much gentler slope up acted as the trade path used to carry goods up to the city. Like always it was full of various ponyta, rapidash, and tauros hauling wagon upon wagon up and down the ramps, a fresh set of four ships having docked late yesterday which were all being unloaded. "And just how am I supposed to find the dock master in that mess." Gerrard asked sighing a bit. It didn't take him long to get down there and he started asking about, getting vague directions as best.

While mostly uneventful aside from the whole mouse hunt in a sense, seeing that the dock master was a raticate. It took an hour, but at last, Gerrard had found the dock master, delivered the filled out letter, and was on his way back to the castle. This time however, he sticking to the lesser known alleyways rather then the main streets since the city was now in full swing and all of the main roads were filled.

Gerrard was walking along at a nice pace in the alleyways when a strange sound and feeling drew his attention. Turning, Gerrard looked a slightly cracked door down a dead end hallway. Walking slowly towards it, Gerrard kept his hand on his machete. He was caught by surprise when the door suddenly slammed open and a sandshrew morph stormed out. "The dead walk." The boy shouted running past Gerrard in terror.
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