Nesonna, Part 2: The Debt

Nesonna, Part 2: The Debt

A Story by Jona Vark

After their last journey left them injured and in need of supplies, Nesonna’s group get into debt with the local mob in order to pay for healing, and consequentially have to pay back their loan.


Strange light and color twisted and swirled around Nesonna’s vision as she stared up at the tree canopy far above. A searing pain burnt numbly in her abdomen while aches shot throughout her entire body and distinct a copper taste set in her mouth and throat. Her eyes adjusted constantly to the sunlight as it flickered in and out of view by breaking on the leaves deceptively high above. In an attempt to bring a hand across her tense and groggy face Nesonna found her limbs numb and unresponsive; an ultimately welcome change from the burning pain engulfing the rest of her body.

“You’re awake again, huh?” A familiar, high-pitched voice cooed distortedly, “We’re still a few days away from the city, so you should go back to sleep Monk.”
Nesonna croaked out a raspy groan; and attempt at asking what happened or where she was before realizing her mouth was parched and uncooperative. She instead forced her eyes to the face of her halfling companion and was taken aback; through her blurry vision she could make out the creature’s toothy little grin as she leaned over, as well as deep, brown eyes scanning her face for something Nesonna couldn’t sense.
“I suppose we should have tried watering you before now, I guess.” Jayne shifted uncomfortably as she procured a large leather canteen from her pack and moved to delicately feed her monk without drowning her.

As Nesonna drank from the canteen she acclimated to her surroundings, and as the water did its rehydrating work she found her mind becoming clearer and sharper. She - they technically, she was still part of the halfling’s group - appeared to be in the middle of a deep forest, the smoothness of their travel indicating they were travelling across some road towards an unknown destination.
Unknown to Nesonna at least, but she had her suspicions that her group would be the type to just pick a direction to travel in without a destination in mind.

Nesonna snapped out of her delusion as the canteen she was suckling on emptied. Jayne disposed of the dry container back into her pack before turning back to her patient, wiping silver hair out of the monk’s eyes with a surprisingly delicate hand before examining the bandages wrapped around her waist.
“You really should get some rest, monk.” The roguish halfling ordered softly, “it’s still quite the wait until we reach Hoffnung to get you and Apper some healing.”

Instead, Nesonna attempted to rise - partly to locate her wounded associate, but mostly out of rebellion - but only managed to get a few inches off her back before a burst of searing pain brought her back down and flooded the edges of her vision with an inky blackness.  As Nesonna’s world began spinning and nausea set in - bought on by the spinning or the pain she couldn’t tell - Nesonna felt the pull of unconsciousness consume her, and she fell into an inky blackness.




A bright lone shone through the complete nothingness of Nesonna’s existence and brought with it a world of color, sound and intense pain. Suddenly all of the unbearable pains in Nesonna’s body - from the aches and cuts to the bruises and fractures - burst into her senses at once and bought with them an unspeakable agony in the short few seconds - which felt more like an eternity - before her injuries began to heal and seal themselves back together.

Gingerly opening her heavy eyes, Nesonna could make out two figures above her, hands outstretched across her stiff body as a golden light shone down upon her without a source. Nesonna’s pain resided, allowing her mind to clear enough to comprehend the sight before her - or enough to have allowed her to comprehend what she was seeing if she actually knew what it was.

Two men robed in black were busy chanting a spell over her still-aching body, and to the left stood Nesonna’s travelling companions eying her anxiously; before she could greet them - or insult them, she hadn’t decided yet - the light above exploded, blinding the entire room in a golden light before dissipating; when Nesonna’s eyes finally adjusted again she found her previous wounds gone and their pain a distant memory.

“What just happened?” Nesonna managed to force out as she stared over her body in disbelief.
Her group shifted uncomfortably as Jayne managed the courage to explain “You were almost killed by an orc a week ago and we had to take you to a city to find a priest to heal you.”
“Oh.” Nesonna’s eyes widened in surprise, “I guess that explains a bit; how bad were my injuries?”
“Pretty bad,” Jayne averted her eyes as the monk began rubbing her still numb limbs, “Well, very bad actually.”
Nesonna stopped to eye the halfling before looking down at what she remembered to be a gruesome stomach wound; with a wave of nausea she looked back to her group “How much did my healing cost?”
“Well-” Agerius averted his gaze as Nesonna began rubbing at the fresh muscle around her abdomen.
“We had to take out a pretty big debt with the city’s Thieves’ Guild to pay the university for your healing” Jayne interrupted cautiously, but when Nesonna didn’t visibly react she relaxed and continued “They want us to do a few tasks for them over the next few days to pay back what we owe.”

Before Nesonna could probe further, her companions quickly left to crowd an altar several meters away from her own, where Nesonna caught a glimpse of an unconscious half-giant lying in the same state she must have been just a few moments earlier.

Attempting to rise, Nesonna found her legs stiff and numb, but a strange feeling welled in her stomach as her heart began to accelerate uncomfortably. Clutching her chest a brief wave of fear washed over her; of course they’d cheap out on her healing.
Nesonna forced herself to relax and focused hard on her breathing and racing heartbeat; the burning sensation in her stomach growing stronger, but she had spent decades training to control her body; these feelings were going to pass, because she would make them.
When her heartbeat refused to cease racing, she instead turned her attention down to the nauseous - but strangely adrenaline-pumping - energy welling in her stomach; she focused her mind to mold around the feeling.

Suddenly a bright flash burst from her hands, blinding Nesonna briefly as a veil of electricity exploded around both her hands and sheathed the entirety of her arms in a crackling blue force.

Preemptively screaming in pain - and genuine terror - Nesonna fell backwards and nearly off the altar, only catching herself at the last second with an incredible new burst of strength and speed.
“What the hell are you doing?” in an instant Jayne was at the monk’s side, watching her desperately, “What’s wrong with your hands?”
Before Nesonna could respond in a frantic cry of her own, a wave of calm understanding washed over her: whatever power had washed over her was natural - in a loose sense of the word - but most importantly it was powerful; she’d summoned it of her own accord, and it brought an incredible sense of heightened reflexes and strength.

Nesonna frowned as the energy engulfing her hands crackled and faded from existence, just where had she summoned it from exactly though, her stomach?
Only now beginning to regret not paying any attention to her schooling back home, Nesonna met Jayne’s frantic, but relieved gaze and answered “I think I’ve just gained a power.”

An explosion of blinding holy light reminded Nesonna and her halfling companion of their wounded half-giant associate, who was now rising stiffly while still effortlessly fighting off hugs from the rest of his mercenary group; Nesonna eyed him cautiously, just in case he had any ideas about summoning an element around his hands, but a warm smile spread across her face when it became clear he didn’t.



Finally aware of their group’s surroundings - and the gathering student onlookers - Agerius quickly gathered his band and began rushing out of the university and into the public street.
“We should start investigating the churches around the area and get to paying off this debt immediately.” Agerius tapped the bottom of his staff dramatically on the cobble road. It made him appear more wizardly, he’d decided.
“So then which way are we heading?” Arlania, the group’s elven ranger, tilted her head inquisitively at her companions as they fell into an awkward silence.
Jayne was the first to break the silence, brilliantly shirking all responsibility with a simple “I’ve never been to a city before.”
The group - or, rather Nesonna, Jayne and Arlania - all looked to Agerius, the man they’d unanimously and unconsciously dubbed “The Human Expert” as he stared, seemingly bored, into the distance.
“Well?” Nesonna scrunched her face in annoyance.
“Well what?” Agerius broke out of his trance and straightened his posture, “I’ve never actually been to a city either; the biggest I know is a town.”

Upon meeting their first major roadblock - to go left or right down the single massive street - Nesonna’s group  immediately began bickering amongst themselves - with the exception of their mercenary group, who had the foresight to split away before they began name-calling.
“Did Shadow actually give us directions to the church we’re supposed to be investigating?” Agerius prodded their rogue whilst simultaneously - probably accidentally - cluing in Nesonna as to their task.
“I don’t think so; I was too busy reading over the contract.” retorted Jayne in annoyance as she glared petulantly at her companions.
“Wait, wait, wait; what are we supposed to be doing?” Nesonna interrupted to a set of annoyed glares.
Agerius sighed in frustration, “The Thieves’ Guild wants us to investigate the ‘Church of the Awoken’; they’re not paying their protection money, and several churches around the area have also stopped paying up too. Anyway-”
Agerius began arguing with his more-clued-in companions about whether or not they should investigate every
church - or something, Nesonna stopped paying attention pretty much the exact second she stopped being addressed directly.


Breaking away without any notice as her companions argued amongst themselves, Nesonna sauntered up to a wandering guard and tapped his shoulder before asking the simple question her companions seemingly would have never thought: “Hey, do you know where the ‘Awoken church’ is?”

The guard stepped back in shock from either the elf’s touch or the question, “I do, but it’s not the sort of place a young woman should be going alone,” he warned as worry spread across his broad face.
“I’m not alone,” Nesonna frowned, “and I have business I need to attend there.”
The guard visibly tensed as he eyed the short elf up and down, “Well, okay then… The church is in the temple-district of town. The Eastern tower over there-” he pointed to a tall watch-tower far in the distance “-Is a pretty good marker: the district was built around it; the church itself is pretty easy to spot, it’s the only one that’s currently under renovation in the entire district.”
“It’s the only one in the district?” Nesonna repeated quizzically, “That’s oddly specific.”
The guard chuckled humorlessly before his face clouded in worry and he elaborated that “Something bad’s been going on with them if you ask me: every church in the city seems to have lost their - well, churchgoers - and several priests have disappeared; every clergy is going downhill or failing to pay their taxes.”
“-All the while the church of the Awoken has been prospering, I presume?” Nesonna crossed her arms and leant on her hip, “Has the city guard been doing anything to investigate?”
The guard shifted uncomfortably under her accusatory gaze, “This isn’t the sort of thing we’re trained for; the city magistrate say that they have everything under control, y- you’d really have to talk to them about it.”

Nesonna shrugged at the suggestion and paced back to her group - still arguing amongst themselves, though now it had just devolved into name-calling and petulant looks - “I know where the church is.”
The arguing stopped as her three stooges looked at her in surprise; “You know where the church is?” Jayne prodded incredulously.
“In a sense,” Nesonna met her gaze with annoyance, “It’s in the temple district to the east-” she pointed towards the tower the guardsman had told her about, “-and it’s the only church currently under renovation.”
“I think what she was asking is how you know where the church is?” Agerius eyed the monk suspiciously.
“I asked about it and someone told me; is it really so hard to believe I know something?”
Agerius, Arlania and Jayne all fell into an awkward silence as their mercenary team joined back up from their own conversation.
“Fine, east it is then.” Agerius reassumed command of the group and began making his way in the direction Nesonna had given.


An hour later and finally the group found themselves in front of a tall, rather prestigious-looking church, standing atop a small hill fort.
“This is it” Agerius proclaimed redundantly before leading the group up the stairs with surprisingly little planning or discussion; Nesonna felt a twitch start in her eye, and she followed cautiously behind.

Forcing open the massive doors, Nesonna followed her group inside and found herself amused and disappointed both: this temple to a supposed ‘major’ god was laughably small - only around 100 meters long and about half that much wide; she’d expected so much more from a place of worship but it also served to reinforce her belief that her god was still the best.

Nesonna had little time to critique the craftwork of the church as she spotted several armed men eying her in turn as her group made their way down the pews.
Examining the room and mapping out how a fight would even work out Nesonna counted at least twenty armed men in the alcoves of the temple, and almost double that number in people actually praying in the pews.
“For a place in active renovation there are a lot of active churchgoers” Agerius chastised as he mentally tallied the number of armed men himself.

Suddenly her group was stopped by a hulking man, almost the size of her half-giant companion at over 6 feet and almost half as wide, stepped in their way.
“You need to pay a tithe, kids” the giant of a man sneered toothily at the group as he fingered the pommel of his axe, successfully intimidating at least one of Nesonna’s underlings that she could see from the corner of her eye.
“Oh, we’re not here to pray, we’re part of an ongoing investigation and just want to ask a few questions” Nesonna lied easily as she stared at the man towering above her
“You’re not doing anything until you pay the tithe, boy” the giant of a man barked as Nesonna stood unflinching.
“We’re here on business of the Mayor, so I’m pretty sure-” Nesonna was cut off as the man grabbed at her throat with one meaty hand and raised her several feet from the ground - to eye level with the man.
“Don’t care who you’re from: you have to pay the tithe!” he reiterated annoyed as he tightened his grip on the monk’s throat.

Nesonna hung limply as the man gripped her throat; his grip was strong enough to hold her in place - rather uncomfortably - but either out of some hidden empathy or simple stupidity, his meaty fingers didn’t cut off her windpipe, and she still breathed quite easily. A familiar, remarkable burst of uncontainable energy welled deep within her chest again; Nesonna focused hard on the force and immediately her hands erupted with a remarkable crackling energy.

A cry of pain rang out through the church as Nesonna brought her conductive hands to the calloused wrist of the would-be-clergyman; as he released her throat in pain, she landed dexterously and delivered a powerful punch to the gut of the man, knocking him down hard to the cold stone bricks.

“We’ve got a few trouble makers, boys!” A humored, burly shout rang from one of the alcoves as the rest of the goons charged the group; immediately Nesonna threw a closed fist into the face of the man she’d knocked down and preceded to lower herself into a fighting stance.

From behind Nesonna could see Apper fight off several goons attempting to reach the group’s mage and ranger; before she could run back to help a second man appeared before her and swung wildly with a baton. Dropping into a low duck, Nesonna swept the legs out from under her attacker and dropped an electrified elbow into his chest.

Nesonna leapt to her feet as a third goon charged her, only to crash into a pile of pews as an arrow suddenly found itself lodged in his chest. Glancing back Nesonna grinned at Arlania as she notched another arrow; further behind her Apper effortlessly dispatched four men with several brutal swings of his massive mace as Agerius protected his flank with several smooth swings of his metal staff.

To the right, Jayne plunged her dual blades into the chest of a charging grunt, killing him before he could attack either her elven meat-shield or the rogue herself. As a new man charged her, Jayne attempted to pull her blades from her victim’s chest, spitting when she realized they were dug too deep into bone and organ to retract.        Moving to defend her companion, Nesonna flexed into a side kick to stop her would-be attacker in his tracks, only to be sent flying several feet backwards as the man collided with her. Rising fast Nesonna grabbed her attacker’s skull as he crouched breathless and flung it hard into a nearby pew, knocking him out - or killing him - immediately.

Sudden movement caught the monk’s eye as she released her victim’s head: over a dozen meters away wandered a priest chanting in a language Nesonna couldn’t comprehend; she didn’t know much about magic, but she knew it wouldn’t be wise to allow this man to finish his spell.

Breaking from her companions Nesonna burst into a sprint at the priest, covering the almost two dozen meters in a few short seconds before tackling herself into the robbed man, knocking them both several meters back into the wall. Pushing herself from the stone with a surprising swiftness, Nesonna brought a powerful right foot right into the priest’s face as he attempted to rise, just in time for two more goons interrupted her attack.

The men flanked her as the priest lay fetal, axes raised high for attack; kicking hard backwards Nesonna launched a powerful leg into her assailant’s stomach - though her general shortness resulted in the blow hitting… much lower - and used the man as a platform to fling herself fist-first into the second goon, her clenched hand colliding with the man’s collarbone with a grotesque “Crack!”

As both men fell in varying states of pain and regret, Nesonna turned back to the priest as he attempted to rise yet again; frowning in annoyance she punched the man the man again in the face with all her might, knocking him awkwardly to the stone floor for a third time. Far behind several armed clergymen fell with agonizing groans as Agerius finished a spell - and those who didn’t fall to the mage were quickly dispatched by her group’s mercenary corp.

Behind the priest made the grave error of attempting to rise yet again; Nesonna glared down and flexed for an ax kick to end their fight.
“Wait!” the priest shouted just in time before Nesonna dropped a heavy foot into his collarbone, knocking him down a fifth time - where he finally stayed limp - and allowing Nesonna to turn her attention back to her group.


Her saunter was short lived, however, as a sudden shriek filled the cathedral as the priest’s body jerked unnaturally to its feet; Nesonna clenched her fists, unnerved as a grinning Jayne joined at her right, blades ready. Edging cautiously closer to the screaming priest Nesonna prepared to deliver a final blow to the man’s windpipe before a terrible crack echoed through the building, silencing the screaming and replacing it with an equally loud wet tear as the priest’s floating body went limp, still upheld by some unnatural force.

Agerius ran to the priest’s upholstered body and examining the corpse, desperate to discover whatever was causing such ungodly sounds to emit from his body. Reaching out a finger, Agerius stopped short as a sudden spray of blood coated his face, accompanied by the dead man’s chest bursting open, and a dark smoke falling to the ground instead of gore and innards. A final loud crack rang through the church as the priest’s ribcage shattered, and a dark, impossibly tall creature emerged from the shadowy void and pulled itself out of the man with long, dark claws that tore through its host’s flesh.  The creature attempted to release itself from the priests’ grievously wounded body while howling an empty, cruel laugh that rang through the cathedral.

Nesonna stared at the demon as it was still partially trapped impossibly inside the corpse of the priest and grinned in courage and awkward disturbance; clenching her fists, she charged forward and delivered a powerful left uppercut to the jawline of the faceless monstrosity, sending it bending backwards in half, pulling it completely out of its host priest.
Floating up to its full height - about 6ft - the dark monstrosity bellowed in anger and began swinging its monstrous claws at the monk with reckless abandon.

Yet again, though, the demon was interrupted as Jayne swung her two short swords in an upward arc, pausing the demon’s hateful swings and creating enough space for her monk to throw a second flying hook into what should have been the monster’s face.

As the demon rose again, shaking with anger, Agerius outstretched his arms and summoned a bright, glowing green circle that spread across the cathedral bricks and filling his companions with an unnatural power. Nesonna watched Apper push their mage aside and charge the demon as it began muttering its own spell, interrupting the shadowy creature with a powerful overhead blow from his mace. Before the creature had a chance to react Jayne swung down her dual blades into the prone creature, followed by Nesonna throwing all of her admittedly little weight into an ax kick. Immediately Roderick pushed beside the monk and her rogue and swung the bottom of his shield down hard, awkwardly tearing a swath through the creature’s shadowy form and spraying the immediate area in an inky black ichor; from behind the group Agerius began poking the prone creature aggressively with his staff until finally the creature stopped moving and melted into a shadowy puddle.

The group looked over the dark stain were the demon had died and waited for something more happen; “Is that it?” Arlania cocked her head to the right like an inquisitive bird, “I was kind of expecting more from something that tore its way out of someone.”
Agerius shrugged in confusion, poking the area where the demon dispersed with the end of his staff before directing his group away, “I think we should go back to the guild and tell Shadow what happened here; he should be pleased.”

Immediately Jayne waddled away, seemingly leading the group as they began following her closely out of the church and then through the city streets until eventually - after an hour of wordlessly wandering - they reached an inconspicuous two-story building; the front door opened as Jayne muttering a password Nesonna didn’t care to pay attention to, and the group were allowed in and led to the leader of the Thieves’ Guild: a dark skinned, bald man of average height named Shadow, waiting expectantly to hear of the group’s misdeeds.


Shadow paled as Agerius recounted their journey to the church with surprising apathy, and after a short silence the master thief exploded into an angry rant, “I never told you idiots to wipe out the church! We can’t collect protection money from dead people!”
Jayne cocked her head to the side in confusion, “Well, you can; it’s just not-”
“We didn’t have a choice; their goons attacked us pretty much on sight, and then the clergyman turned into a demon and nowhere along the way was there really an opportunity to chat!” Agerius spoke over their halfling companion in explanation to the master-thief.
Jayne smiled hopefully at Shadow, “I take it our debt is paid now?”
“Not quite-” the master thief held up a hand as several of the group began walking away, “I actually have one more task for you all to complete, if you’re interested.”
“If we’re interested?” Arlania repeated as she furrowed her brow at the human, “So… can we just leave if we’re not?”
Shadow sighed in frustration and glared at the elf, “If you want, but if you complete this task then I’ll also pay you; so are you interested or not?”
Without waiting for her companions, Jayne - showing an actual intuition and surprising Nesonna - answered “What is the task, and why do you want us to do it?”

Shadow grinned and waved towards the large table behind him, covered in fliers and intricate maps of the city. Leaning over the table, Shadow ran a hand across his shaven scalp and explained “A few of my boys were captured by the guard a few days ago and they’re likely on their way to the chopping block if the magistrate knows who they are; I need someone who has the talent to go save them, but has no connection to the guild.”
Nesonna scrunched up her face, “Is this mission difficult or as dangerous as the last one?”
“The last mission wasn’t supposed to be dangerous at all,” Shadow snapped as he eyed the monk; calming himself he continued “But yes, this mission will be significantly more dangerous than dealing with a couple of priests.”
Shadow jabbed a lanky finger down on the city map, “The jail is here, right next to the blacksmith and a residential; the building contains the barracks and the jail proper in an underground level. Your best bet is to enter at night when most the guards will be sleeping, but I’ll leave the actual planning up to you.”

“So, first: how much are we getting paid; and second, who are we freeing?”
Shadow pulled out a parchment and handed it to Jayne, “These are the faces of the three men we want you to release but just in case I’ve had my men try and keep the streets clean so the cells should be nice and empty of anyone but my boys. If you complete this task the guild will be happy to pay you two-thousand gold pieces.”

The group immediately turned to leave, causing Shadow to shake his head in disbelief and yell out: “also, I don’t want any guards killed during this breakout; do your best to free my boys but don’t kill anyone - I don’t want any of this leading back to the guild!”


The group waited - mostly patiently - until night fell before they finally began following Shadow’s map - mostly led by Agerius and Jayne, as neither Nesonna nor Arlania had ever read a map before, and their mercenary group was busy playing thumb-wars. When finally they found their destination, safely snuggled between an apartment block and the city guard’s personal blacksmith, the group hid themselves in an alcove across the street and began planning their assault.

“That’s the building, right ahead,” Agerius whispered as he crept around the wall to spy on the barracks, “What’s our plan?”
“Me and the Monk will sneak in and find our way into the cells and release the guards,” Jayne nudged Nesonna and eyed the station with intent.
“Are you sure that’s a wise plan: just the two of you?” Roderick eyed the two wearily, “What if they catch you?”
Concentrating hard, Nesonna summoned a crackling force of electricity to sheath her hands and grinned, “Then we’ll do it the fighty way.”
“Yes,” Jayne side eyed her monk with uncertainty, “Also we’ll have all of you: if we’re not out in, let’s say an hour, you all charge in and rescue us.”
“This sounds like an appropriately terrible plan.” Roderick mumbled as he sat comfortably in the corner, “If you’re not out in an hour then I guess we’ll go in and kill everybody then.”


Nesonna and her halfling crept out of the alcove and towards the barracks ahead, the road was empty and only marginally lit, but it felt wrong to start off their heist by simply sauntering to their goal. Closer examination of the barracks worried Nesonna; most the windows were darkened and drawn on both floors, with light shining dimly through several others.
Leaning against the wall Nesonna tried opening the door, only to find - to her genuine surprise - that it was locked; she jiggled the door several more times to make absolute certain before Jayne finally pushed her out of the way and produced several small tools from her side-pack.
“These are lock picks, before you ask.” Jayne elaborated as she began shoving the items into the keyhole, “They’re used to pick locks-” she stopped to stare hard at her monk for several long seconds before deciding to elaborate further “- to open them.”

After a series of rustles and scratching sounds, the lock gave with a final click, and Jayne moved to allow her monk to enter first. Edging open the door Nesonna’s eyes quickly adapted to the mostly-darkened room, allowing her to make out several empty desks, closed doors and finally two guards deeper inside playing card games by torch-light.

Raising a fist to halt her companion, Nesonna pointed at the two guards and crept into the main room and close to the greeting desk for cover, followed by Jayne who stuck to the wall to the right of the door; unanimously the two began creeping closer to the guards until they were as close to each as possible while still remaining in the undetected. Rising to her toes Nesonna grappled the closest man into a chokehold and silently smothered him into unconsciousness, followed by Jayne tackling the second and attempting to do the same. Nesonna rushed the guard as he struggled under Jayne’s short assault, punching him hard in the stomach several times before he finally lost the strength to fight and slipped into unconsciousness beside his friend. Discarding the body the two had dealt with, Nesonna crept towards the only door that emitted light from beneath, and without waiting for her companion - or really thinking at all - she opened the door and walked immediately into a room full of laughing drunk men and paled; uh-oh.

The men, however, didn’t seem to notice her - not even the few facing her - too engaged in their own conversations and card games to care, it seemed.
I can work with this, Nesonna shrugged as she threw caution to the wind and simply waltzed into the room; on the opposite end were a few guard rails marking stairs down that matched the description given by Shadow - Nesonna continued walking, making a beeline for the stairs.

“Hey, wench; where do you think you’re going?” A guard shouted as she neared the rails, catching the attention of the entire room which now stared straight at her.
“Uh…” Nesonna fumbled as several men rose, clutching short clubs and inching towards her, “I’m here to ask if anyone down stairs wants a drink!” she lied with fake-cheeriness.
“The boys down there are on duty, girl.” One of the guards still sitting eyed her suspiciously.
“Erm,” Nesonna felt a hot flash through her body as she strained to come up with an excuse, “Well, I was told by one of the men out front to ask anyway.”
This seemed to appease the men who went back to their conversations and drinks, the ones who had risen returning to their seats.
The closest guard, towering a foot taller than her even as he sat glared in suspicion as Nesonna continued towards the stairs, “Who told you to do that?”
Again, his table silenced and stared in suspicion.
Nesonna scoured her mind for an adequate lie before giving up and sighing in disappointment.
Oh well, I tried, she reasoned as she clenched her fist and suddenly threw her hand into the face of the man, sending him reeling backwards into the table and inciting the entire garrison to rise against her.

Before anyone could react further, Nesonna spun around and flung the same fist into the face of another guard, which in turn positioned her to place a powerful back kick straight in the gut of a third officer, sending him tumbling backwards into his peers.
A sudden blow sent her leg buckling as a man swung his baton hard into the back of her knee, crashing Nesonna hard to the ground as a second guard smacked her hard across the face. Crouching in pain, Nesonna focused hard on her rising adrenaline and materialized a sudden sheath of electricity around her hands along with a burst of energy throughout her body; rising fast on a mangled knee, Nesonna delivered a swift right-hook to the face of the man who’d hit hers before spinning and delivering her left fist into the face of the man who’d crippled her. As the monk stretched out to punch yet another face several guards behind her stumbled to the ground as their swings interrupted each other.

The brutal fight continued: even as Nesonna brought a palm down into the face of one of her assailants, another shattered their baton across her back, sending her reeling into the waiting arms of yet another guard. Head-butting the lanky man - an elf, which was a surprise - Nesonna gained enough separation to kick him to the ground with her good leg and push herself further away.
As the beatings continued yet another strange energy welled within her; as she stole away a baton from one of her attackers to swing at another she focused on the energy as it grew stronger and more potent - until suddenly her hands vanished before her very eyes; and looking down revealed the rest of her body was completely missing too!
A flail hit her in the stomach and all the guards leapt back with gasps; not missing, she concluded as she spat out a mouthful of bile, invisible.
“What the hell just happened?” several of the guards muttered in abject horror and surprise as they parted a larger and larger space from the injured monk.
Better late than never, I guess, Nesonna reasoned as she burst into a sprint, pushing past several guards and out of the mess hall; her trail of stumbled carnage followed closely by the entire garrison.


Jayne shifted out from under the admin desk, shaking her head, “Sweet gods that woman it’s a miracle that woman’s survived this long.”
Waltzing into the now-empty mess hall and down the stairs she pulled out her tumblers and picking tools and forced opened the large wooden door leading to more stone stairs and the prison below.
Straining, Jayne could hear at least two guards laughing amongst themselves and she sighed; of course it wouldn’t be so easy.

Inching slowly down to get a view on the guards, and as she saw the lines of cells a weight she hadn’t noticed before lifted from her shoulders; this was, in fact, the right building. Ahead of her, however, were two guards leaning on each other laughing over some joke Jayne had missed; hissing in annoyance she drew her swords and took a page from her monk’s book - she charged into the two men, swinging the blunt face of both blades at the faces of her victims.
Jayne’s two strikes hit her targets as intended, dropping the left guard with a bloody face and removing him from the fight; and denting the helmet of the guard to the right.
With a grunted yell, the remaining guard charged Jayne swinging wildly before tripping on his own feet and falling flat to the ground. Wasting no time, Jayne swung the blunt of both blades into the prone guard’s back, ending the ‘fight’ and allowing her to search their bodies for a key to the cells.

“Are you two with the Guild?” Jayne stared hard at the men through torchlight as she fumbled with the keys.
“Which guild?” the man in the cell behind her asked genuinely.
“The Thieves’ Guild,” Jayne turned to the prisoner with a raised eyebrow, “Led by a bald guy?”
”Oh yeah, I knew…” the man stared suspiciously at the unconscious men on the floor, “he would save us.”
“Uh-huh,” Jayne finally managed to find the right key and freed her charges, “whatever. I have a group waiting outside that’ll help us get back to the guild, so follow me.”
Leaving the cells Jayne felt a wave of joy wash over her; whatever her monk had done had caused enough carnage to leave the entire mess hall empty and allow her and her entourage to exit without trouble.


Jayne looked over her companions as she returned to the alcove; Arlania and Roderick were waiting cautiously, but Nesonna - who she’d last seen waltz into a room full of rowdy men before starting some large commotion before just seemingly vanishing - was crouched by Agerius who was tenderly wrapping up new wounds.
“Well it at least one of us got the job done,” she motioned back to the ex-prisoners standing behind her; “We’re taking them back to the guild and collecting our reward now, got it?”
               “Well,” Agerius shook his head as a shade of green tinted his face while he examined the crippled monk’s wounds, “I don’t know if that’s a good idea right now: I think our monk’s hand is broken - and her knee is definitely dislocated - we really need to give her time to heal.”
 Jayne rolled her eyes, “Well, these guys are buying drinks when we get back, so I’m going anyway. If any of you-”
 “If we’re getting drinks then I’m in too!” Nesonna cackled in a half-shout as she began rubbing her left hand harshly over her broken right - eliciting a number of painful-sounding crunches and snaps as somehow the many bruises and cuts across the shattered appendage faded as the hand reset back to a normal shape.
Jayne felt a nauseous pit in her stomach as Nesonna rose gingerly on her still dislocated knee, “How did you do that?” she asked, bile rising in her throat.
 “I don’t know. It just occurred to me that I could.” Nesonna shrugged before hobbling over to lean on Roderick, “Now let’s go get paid!”


“Excellent job, team!” Shadow applauded before Nesonna or her group were fully in sight - or even before any of them had spoken - “I knew I could count of all of you to get the job done right.”
“Well, it wasn’t without hardship,” Roderick joked as he leaned down further to support the weight of the much shorter Nesonna; “Speaking of which, how are you sure we got the job done right?”
 Shadow eyed the mercenary disappointedly, “Because I had my men keep an eye on you while you did it; and thanks to your monk’s… antics-” he paused to stare at the bruised and crippled monk before shifting his gaze away nauseously “-we are fairly certain the guard are summing the escape and the attack as two separate instances; very well done, by the way.”
“I’m glad I could help!” Nesonna beamed sarcastically as she hopped over to the large mission table to sit.
Agerius held up a hand for a reason Nesonna couldn’t really understand and decided “Speaking of ‘help’, we’d like to get paid now, thanks; two-thousand gold pieces, as promised.
“Ah yes, about your payment:” Shadow eyed the group with a cruel solemnity, “I regret to inform you that the guild can only afford to pay you half of what we offered.”
Jayne paused shaking hands with her entourage and yelled in annoyance, “Why? We did the job perfectly and got your men out - you owe us what you promised!”
Shadow grinned a cruel, toothily smile at the group, “Well, yes; I did promise two-thousand, but…” he paused awkwardly in thought before giving up, “I don’t want to pay it - so be glad you’re getting paid at all - I didn’t have to.”
Agerius sighed heavily in disappointment more than annoyance, “Really? Is there really no honor among thieves?”
“Uh, yes, really; and no, there’s not.” Shadow chuckled belittlingly.
Jayne furrowed her brows at the human, “I mean, I guess next time we’re around and you need our help for something, we just wo-”
Nesonna spoke over her halfling companion and drew upon her inner chi to sheath her fists in crackling electricity; “We just took your men out of prison without killing a single person when your men couldn’t do it yourselves; we can just take what we’re owed if you don’t give it to us.”
Shadow looked over the group: from Agerius, to Jayne, to Nesonna and then to her hands and shrugged with a worried chuckle, finally concluding their deal with “Okay then, Two-thousand gold pieces like promised then; pleasure doing business with you.”

© 2021 Jona Vark

Author's Note

Jona Vark
REUPLOAD: some issues arose with certain characters appearing as question marks and littering the page, this should hopefully be rectified.

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Added on February 10, 2021
Last Updated on February 10, 2021
Tags: Fantasy, Fiction, Action, Adventure, Elf, Elves, High-Fantasy


Jona Vark
Jona Vark

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Attempted Alcoholic from age 19, creative writing has been my biggest hobby / interest since childhood. more..