My head feels like it was just trampled by horses. What on earth happened? I didn't think it was possible to have a headache this bad. I would guess that this is what a hangover feels like, but I'm still to young to drink. I sit up slowly and slide my legs off the bed.
Not a bed. A bench. Huh? I look around, bleary eyed, at a dark featureless room with a heavy door on one side and a barred window on the other. A jail cell? Certainly not the first time I've woken up in one. But how did I get here?
Rubbing my eyes, I try to piece together what happened. After a moment, it comes back to me in a blurry rush. A large room filled with rows and rows of barrels. A warehouse? A man with a mustache. He hands me a satchel filled with gold and platinum. Words are exchanged. The door is kicked off its hinges with an incredible crash. An ambush! I try to sneak towards the back door. A half-giant with a massive crystal hammer is charging towards me. He raises his weapon and...
Smashes my head right in. I was out so fast that I don't even remember hitting the floor, but I'll never forget that sound. My own skull splintering and cracking apart. I quickly feel around to make sure it's back to its regular shape. Somebody must've had a real job scraping me off the floor. I shudder just thinking about it. No wonder my head is pounding.
Air. I get up shakily and move towards the window. It's so small that I probably wouldn't fit through it, even if I could somehow get the bars off. I rest my forehead on the cool bars and close my eyes.
After what seems like a really long time, I feel stable enough to look around. Still in White Point at least. That skyline is unmistakable. I stare longingly at the people on the street below. I just want to go home.
A snowy white owl, perched in the rafters of a nearby building, draws my attention. Aloysius. After gazing at me for a moment, he takes flight in the direction of the pier. I guess this means Basil got out OK.
My head finally starts to clear as I watch Aloysius fly freely through the sky. If Basil is still out there, I have a chance.
"You have a visitor."
The voice knocks me out of my thoughts. I hear the scratching sound of a heavy bar being lifted from my cell door. I look over expectantly.
It isn't Basil. It's one of the men that ambushed me in the warehouse. An adventurer. His face is wrapped tightly in a light fabric, leaving only a small slit for his eyes. He is wearing gloves, long sleeves and long pants. Every inch of skin is covered. He is the only member of his party that I recognize from before last night -- Basil and I stole the seed from him. I get up from the bench and face him.
"Hi there. I'm Qiz." His voice is nasally and quiet, almost as if he is having difficulty breathing. He walks funny too. I wonder idly if he's human. "And what do I call you?"
"Adrian," I answer tersely.
"Well then, Adrian, I'll get right to the point. I know you were trying to sell my seed to the Grey Guild last night. But when we came in, you didn't have it with you. What have you done with it?"
I just leer at him. Does he really expect me to answer? As if I'm just going to give up my brother. The half-giant might have been able to scare me, but this guy barely comes up to my shoulders.
"Not a talker, eh?" He continues in a conversational, yet somehow sinister, tone. "Have it your way."
His eyes flash a crimson red as he starts muttering in a language I can't understand. I'm not good with magic, not like my brother is, but this spell I recognize. Charm Person. I realize way too late to stop him though. I can only stare helplessly as he finishes his spell.
Crap. This is probably some kind of religious custom. I'm terrible at this kind of thing. I just smile at him nervously and hope he isn't expecting me to charm him back or anything.
"So. You were telling me what you did with my seed?"
I was? I have a nagging feeling in the back of my mind that says I shouldn't. Its probably nothing. This is Qiz! He came to visit me in jail before my own brother even came!
"Oh yeah. Sorry Qiz, but Basil has it. Last night was just the first money drop off. Wait, you've met Basil, right?"
Qiz gives me a puzzled look. At least, I think he does. Its hard to tell through that ridiculous mask. "No. Who's Basil?"
Seriously? "I can't believe you haven't met my big bro! I really need to bring you over sometime. You two would probably get along really well!"
Wait a minute, how could he not have met Basil? I guess we really don't hang out together much. I didn't even know his name until a minute ago.
"Uhh... sure." Qiz seems distracted, like he isn't really listening. "Hey, do you know where Basil is now?"
"No idea. Basil was supposed to exchange the seed tomorrow in Stormport, but after your ambush that probably isn't happening anymore. Honestly, Basil's probably coming up with an escape plan for me right now. You know how he is."
"I don't... Yeah, whatever." Qiz sighs. "Well, I'm going to try and track him down. I'll probably never visit you again."
Awesome. With Qiz out looking for Basil, I'll be out of here in no time. "Thanks Qiz. I owe you one." He ignores me.
Qiz walks with his funny walk back over to the door. It opens instantly when he knocks. Stepping out into the dark hallway, he turns back to face me.
"Oh, and... uhh... Adrian, was it? Don't mention this conversation to anybody. I was never here. Bye forever."
The door slams shut and I am left alone once again. Strange advice. Though Qiz has never led me wrong before. Actually, I don't think he ever has given me advice before. Come to think of it, this is the first time we've ever spoken. That Qiz.