The moon lit up the cloud of dust on the Lost Coast Road, giving the small collection of horses an otherworldly air. A dozen riders galloped down the road to Sandpoint, six ahead and six behind an ornate ebon carriage. The torches at the north gate were guttering when they came through. When the carriage passed, they went out.
The thunder of hooves woke many of the locals, triggering lights to appear like lightning bugs throughout the town. When the company stopped in front of Sandpoint Garrison, the light in the upper office flared to life. Men in long coats and fur hats, their large moustaches bristling in the humidity of the coast, dismounted and began lining up, creating a path between the garrison door and the door to the coach, its own black hue disrupted by a gold and crimson crest.
Lord Ashton was dressed when he came out the garrison door, but his face was shadowed with stubble. The night shift guardsmen hovered near their commander as though he projected some manner of protective aura. They flinched slightly when the carriage door opened, prompting a glare from Ashton. The interior of the carriage was, if anything, of a darker hue than the midnight sky. The man that came out seemed not so much to exit as to manifest. His pallid skin had a marble quality under the moon’s radiance. He looked impassively at the guardsmen and their commander.
“I am Dmitri Kess. I have come for my son and his belongings.”
Ashton raised an eyebrow at this. “You are from Ustalav. Word travels fast, given your son passed only two days ago.”
Dmitri’s expression never wavered. “Like any father worried for his son would, should the ability be within his means, I have taken steps to keep an eye on my wayward boy. Even now his mother grieves for him. Where is he?”
Ashton gestured to the door. “He is inside. Please do come in.”
“…and sign here and we are finished, sir.” The guardsman had turned nearly as pale as the Ustalavan lord, whose spidery signature came into being beneath the scratching of the quill. At the guardsman’s words, he showed his first hint of emotion: he smiled.
“No, sir.” The lord said slowly. “We are nowhere near finished. Indeed, we have but scarcely begun.” The lord pulled a small ornate bottle from his coat pocket and opened it. Smoke seemed to seep from its interior, gathering slowly into the shape of a human torso. Tendrils formed arms and the vague notion of a head.
“Find Piotr’s things and bring them to the Kazakhs.” Dmitri spoke in a peculiar tone, almost intoning the words. The vague notion of a head did an even vaguer notion of a nod and flew away, much like a wisp of smoke. Four of the lord’s men now bore the humble wooden casket that held Piotr’s body. Dmitri Kess traced his finger along the wood, his unusually long nails slightly scratching the surface,
“Come, boy. Time to go home.”
As of this point, Piotr and all the gear he had on him have left the game.