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Friday, September 4

Gangs of Freeport: Part 8 – Isle Be Seeing You

The lighthouse known as Milton’s Folly was a two-hundred-foot-tall tower of white marble, a wonder of the modern age. The light atop it pierced the gloom of night like a second sun, guiding ships around the isles and through dangerous waters to the relative safety of Freeport’s harbor. Not long ago, it was the center of a scheme to drive the entire population mad in the name of a dark and forgotten deity. Now, converted to an impressive yet mundane purpose, it had already become a fact of daily life, largely taken for granted or ignored by the people who benefited from its presence.

Vlad approached the island by boat at night. He came from the far end of the island, keeping low to the brush. If Tillinghast was in the tower, he would most certainly see him enter the clearing. But there was no help for it, because the invisibility potions were no longer for sale; even Finn had difficulty acquiring them for Vlad. When he snuck into the clearing and a bell rang, Vlad wished Finn had tried harder.

There was the sound of someone crashing through the bush to his left. Vlad took off in pursuit.

He ran through the light undergrowth into a copse of trees when an axe nearly beheaded him. A mercenary in full plate armor and wielding a great axe yanked the huge weapon out of the tree. Vlad turned and struck at the mercenary’s arms. He was rewarded with a grunt. The axe came up again.

Vlad partially blocked the attack with his shield, stopping a glancing blow. The mighty strike rattled his teeth and numbed his arm. Vlad slashed at the man’s heel. The mercenary wailed and fell to one knee.

Vlad kept running. He ducked through more trees and undergrowth, finally coming upon a gradual slope. He could make out Tillinghast ahead of him, running for his life toward docks on the other side of the island.

“Stop him!” he shouted. Two mercenaries who were jogging behind Tillinghast whirled to face Vlad. [MORE]


posted by Michael Tresca at 7:31 AM

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