It was the 7th of Descent when Khiss first met Riedan. The dragonborn sorcerer had heard of one of the most lethal assassins of Shahrazhad, and now that he had seen him, his preconceptions were right. Riedan was a focused, smart and terrifying person. Or at least would have been, if Khiss were a mere normal person and not Shahrazhad’s favourite sorcerer.
Riedan had spotted a target of opportunity: The so-called Heroes of Dusk Coast, the group responsible for the unification of Dusk Coast, had returned to Duskport. Shahrazhad had placed a bounty on them, and Khiss could see why: Their demise would deal a serious blow to the morale of the frustratingly tenacious defenders of the coastal nation. Riedan had contacted Khiss to provide backup, as the group was rumoured to be resourceful and fierce. After some deliberation, the pair of Shahrazhad’s servants agreed to take the opportunity.
It was quite trivial for Khiss to find out that the group was planning to travel to Kolmhaag, with his appearance-altering spells and his highly honed skill of subtle spellcasting. To his surprise, the human fighting champion had disappeared somewhere, followed by some dragonborn that had apparently travelled with them. The Nailo offspring was also not present, so the core group had dwindled to just the sorcerer and the Kiln scion. This bode well.
Khiss discussed with Riedan the possibility of ambush during the journey, but the group’s ship was a tough nut to crack, with its crew and difficulties on getting aboard after it set sail. So the assassins decided to travel to Kolmhaag and recruit someone local to track them, should they leave for the wilderness. The only candidate that they could find was a human who called himself Draxus: He knew how to hunt and track, took gold as payment and did not ask further questions.
The trio made a hasty journey to Kolmhaag, nearly killing their horses in the process. The Huntress had already arrived and the city gates were carefully guarded. While Khiss could easily step over the walls with his spells, Riedan was slowed down by the checkpoints. But the assassin was a professional and his merchant identity held water. Inside the city Khiss found out that some elf noble had joined the group, and that they were heading to the dwarven subterranean settlement. This also slowed their pursuit, as they had to procure travel documents for the dwarven elevator.
While Khiss was forging deals, another complication arrived: The Nailo elf arrived, riding a griffin, of all things. While he resolved not to, Khiss was impressed with this. The group had apparently been doing something significant abroad. Riedan, however, saw this as an opportunity: The elf would lead them to the group.
After the elf had descended to the dwarven settlement, the assassins followed. The dwarven industriousness was impressive to behold, but Khiss had lived in the shadow of Shahrazhad and had been accustomed to remarkable architecture. Immediately they set to work, attempting to find out where the group was going, which was apparently into the Depths proper. Wasting no time, the trio gathered provisions and headed out the gates, where they began trusting on Draxus’ tracking skills.
For three days the assassins tracked the Party in the subterranean tunnels, remaining silent and focusing on their task. The lack of light was oppressive and weighed on Khiss, but he pushed the Melancholy away with pure dedication, as did his partner. The sorcerer’s invisibility was a great boon, but the places where the party rest were not opportune for an ambush. But after the third day, in 13th of Descent, they finally had their opportunity. The group had decided to rest in a larger cavern that provided lots of cover, shadows, and a higher ground from where Draxus could suppress the group with spells.
The plan was set. Under Khiss’ invisibility, Riedan sneaked to the group while they were eating and poison their rations, while Draxus had climbed to a vantage point, poised to pierce their prey with arrows. The foreign elven noble fell for the poison, but the sorcerer proved resilient. Riedan remedied that with a lethal thrust from his sword. When the commotion was audible to his hiding place, Khiss arrived and flung a fireball at the group who had fortuitously entrapped Riedan in some sort of force field, protecting him from harm.
Everything would have gone well, if it weren’t for the Nailo elf, who countered Khiss’ teleportation spell, trapping him next to the human swordsman and saved the group’s sorcerer. Draxus managed to fell the elf, but it was too late: As Khiss was busy with the swordsman, the half-elf blasted him with lightning, and unconsciousness awaited. Although the dragonborn did not witness it, after seeing the group’s fierce spirit, Riedan and Draxus decided to retreat, only taking an attack of opportunity at the human swordsman and leaving him for dead.
After what felt like an eternity, Khiss regained consciousness, only to find himself in a force bubble and looking at the battered group holding him captive. They cut his wand, depriving him of his important magical focus and made certain that his life was in their hand. Admitting defeat, he submitted. But as they dispelled the cage, the half-elf sorcerer cast another spell, which the wild magics of the cavern transformed into a fireball.
This time it was only Khiss’ draconic blood that saved him. As he again regained consciousness, pain followed. The group interrogated him about his agenda and Khiss was too much in pain to resist, admitting that they were Shahrazhad’s assassins. After the initial frustration at this difficulty on their journey, the group asked why Khiss didn’t stop serving the dragon. Khiss entertained this thought for a while, but the reason was always the same: A visit from one of Shahrazhad’s assassins in the dead of night.
With his secrets out, Khiss waited for a sword blow to end his life. But it did not come. Instead, the party offered their hand. The sorcerer, Carric, painted a picture of a future where no-one would need to fear in the shadow of a dragon and invited Khiss, a dragonborn who just attempted to assassinate him, to join them. Everyone in the group seemed to agree. The elven bard, Althaea smiled and accompanied Carric’s descriptions. The human swordsman, Dulkan, nodded along. And the foreign elf who had revealed herself to be a wizard, also did not seem to hold any grudge. Khiss was cynical, distrusting and self-centered, and he knew this. But the group’s sincerity and optimism was infectious and the dragonborn agreed. Maybe he signed his own death warrant in the process, but that was then. Soon after he fell asleep.
On the following morning, or at least when he woke up, Khiss led the Party to the spot where the assassins had left their supplies, only to find them gone. Without food and a magical focus, Khiss felt vulnerable, even with his decision to trust this group of people, off to change the world.