The Gatekeeper

6. Strange Bedfellows

Of hidden affairs, former enemies become allies, and friends turned foes

Vayne’s affair with Sunic continued, obscured under Tristan’s very nose. Though the paladin had not returned yet, Vayne suspected he would not approve of her sleeping with his nemesis, so she asked Sunic for a secret means of communicating with him. He gave her a ring of shadow as a lover’s token: the ring enhanced her shadow jaunting powers and gave her a means by which she could teleport herself to his castle in the Shadowfell. Properly charged, the ring might transport the whole group there, a power Vayne resolved to remember for when it might prove necessary.

The heroes relaxed in the tavern in Sigil until Brandis—who grew increasingly weary—began seeing Funikashi in the common room. The crazed master attacked Brandis, but the monk managed to repel him. Shortly thereafter, the exiled Matsumura appeared, but rather than attack, he offered a truce. According to Matsumura, Funiksahi had grown mad with Far Realm influence long before Brandis gave him the book from the mad city. The master had sought out Ysabelle because of her great psionic potential, and it was for this reason Matsumura had wanted the girl dead—to keep Funikashi from using her. Now that Funikashi had the book, however, he no longer needed Ysabelle for a focus. Matsumura apologized for having sent assassins after Ysabelle—it was nothing personal, but only about the safety of the multiverse.

The heroes agreed on an alliance with Matsumura, and they collected funds to build a dojo in Sigil to serve as a safehouse, base of operations, and place to train monks in opposition to the corrupt House of the Dragon Tier. Finally, Matsumura invested Brandis as a master of the monastery, ending his many days of fasting. Grateful, Brandis could once again rest, and the rest of the heroes watched over him as he finally slept.

That done, the heroes finally turned to the matter of Razor’s warped arm. Driven slightly mad by the Far Realms influence, the goblin fought against their attempts to take him to the temple of the Raven Queen for treatment. Ultimately, he swore an oath to fell Ysabelle, which proved the last straw. Her dark side took over, and she destroyed Razor in a burst of psionic power that turned him inside out and blew him apart. The party watched in horror as the technique painted an angel from Razor’s blood and viscera.

The event fell particularly hard on Vayne, who had come to think of Ysabelle as a surrogate daughter. Unable to reconcile this awful display of power, Vayne called Sunic and disappeared into his shadowy embrace, despite Brandis’s attempts to calm her. She reassured Brandis and the others that she merely needed time. Sunic gave the monk a cold smile over Vayne’s shoulder, and the two of them vanished into the Shadowfell.

TO BE CONTINUED!

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