Keira sits in the restaurant across the street from the Deneith enclave in Dragon Towers, and Cur has just gotten up to go see if he can find Taus. Calden has taken Sorghan into the enclave, and Keira wonders how long it will take for him to sort out his mess. Situations like this remind her of why being in the Tinkers guild was so nice. Was…

Jurgen watches Cur walk away, and then leans over and talks to her.

“Yer kind of different than the others. I don’t trust that bastard Algid, and the two strong ones look at me like I’m a slab of meat to throw to the hungriest bidder. But you stepped up and kept that crazy Deneith from torturin’ me. I have to thank ye fer that.”

“You’re welcome,” the red-haired woman responds. “Aside from Nissa, who’s a scholar, the others are all soldiers of one sort or another. Me… I’m just a tinker with a specialty in fixing both items And people. But they’re my main contacts here in Sharn. Calden, Taus, and I survived the Day of Mourning together, and there seemed some higher power was at work then. So.. I deal with their eccentricities and curb their excesses.”

Jurgen smiles, but it falls into a frown.

“Well it looks like I’m in need of some fixin’,” he says. “Ever since this damn mark appeared on me hand, my whole blasted life has fallen apart. I’ve killed more than my share of low-lifes and gang members, mind ye, but I didn’t mean to kill that blacksmith. He was the decent sort. I just shook his hand fer makin’ me a good blade, and then he was dead.”

He looks down with a distinct look of regret in his eyes, and then asks “You… you don’t suppose you could fix me, do ye?”

“Very little is known about what are called Aberrant Dragonmarks. You really only have one chance of being rid of it, to my knowledge. And that’s if it is an imposed, rather than natural, condition. Back when I first met the others, we encountered a group that appeared to have a ritual that would grant someone a Dragonmark. Magic of that nature generally implies that a similar ritual could reverse the process.

“Someone more skilled than I would need to be consulted to determine such a thing, and the prejudice against, and fear towards, aberrant marks makes it unlikely, I’m afraid.

“If you could learn to control the release of the power you’ve shown, there IS a ritual than can conceal Marks. I think your best bet for survival is to make yourself indispensable to the Citadel. The politics of the 12 Houses will always see you as a danger and someone to be rid of.”

Jurgen frowns a little, disappointed.

“Them Tark—how do you say it again?”

He shrugs, unable to come up with the name of the Tarkanans.

“Them Tarks said that they’d keep me safe. That they’d teach me how to use it so I wouldn’t have to be afraid of it. I wouldn’t have to be afraid of anyone anymore. I just talked to one of ‘em. He said I’d be hunted down the rest of me life. But I thought I could run. All the good it did me. You all found me right fast. I guess he was right.”

“Perhaps they could before,” Keira responds, “but this Son of Khyber business… Take everything you know about how the Boromar work and the penalties for failure. The Tarkanan are likely as bad, or worse. And with an apparent change of focus in their activities, they’re likely to demand you use your new power in what amounts to a war on the Houses. While there might be decent people among them whose only ‘problem’ was to become marked, there will also be people as zealous in their hatred of others as Sorghan was in his attitude towards you.”

Jurgen pauses and thinks about this a moment.

“Well don’t be takin’ this the wrong way,” he says, “because I appreciate yer bein’ open to me. But from where I’m sittin’ their offer is startin’ to look pretty good. Seems like the hatred is even all around, and I think I’d rather be on the givin’ end of the stick rather than the receivin’, if ye get my meaning. Seems obvious I’m not gonna get much love from the general public.”

He looks around and then leans towards Keira and looks her in the eye.

“Look. It’s obvious ye don’t think much of these Tarks. But I gotta take my chances where I find them. It may be my only shot to survive this thing. I kinda get that I’m bein’ used as bait by yer friends. I guess what I’m askin’ is if you could get them to cut and run when all this is over. At least just get me to the Tarks, and I can figure it out from there. I don’t wanna go to prison, see.”

He has a pleading look that is a bit ridiculous considering his history as a criminal.

“I can’t speak for the others,” she says, “but it seems our crew is more interested in this ‘Son of Khyber’ than the Tarkanans in general. Calden and Ashe aren’t all that forthcoming in the WHY, but from my point of view only Taus is really concerned with you personally.”

Jurgen nods.

“Well if worse comes to worse, I think I can handle Taus. You just get me safe to these Tarkanans and then convince your buddies to let me go, and I’ll be OK. Deal?”

“If we can get a solid lead, I can only say I’ll try to convince them we needn’t bother with you further.”

“Good enough. Now what was that goblin’s name?”

Jurgen sits back in thought. Just as he does, Taus and Cur return, and Keira’s conversation with the dwarf ends.


Khyber's Gate imperialjunkie