Tenebra told me to run, so I did.
It started three days ago. No, four. Drakan came to my workshop. A fine figure of a vampyre; I recalled the sculpture I made of him in his foyer.
'Charos', he said, 'the Great Hunt approaches, and the families are expecting something spectacular'. Or something like that. I wasn't paying much in the way of attention.
He wanted me to enliven the Hunt. As is Drakan's way, he gets bored and calls on me. He has called me more and more frequently.
I thought he had left, but he turned at the door, catching me in a yawn. He asked if I made any progress in finding the stone. I shrugged, checked a few meters and said no. He huffed and left.
An idea for the Hunt grew. It started as a whim and grew into a compulsion. I couldn't have stopped it- there's no stopping me in that mood.
So, the Hunt came around. The vampyre nobles clustered, dozens of them, and the carriage for my contraption was wheeled in front. Drakan shot me a tense look from the front of the cluster.
Tenebra appeared at my side without a sound. I made a note to study vampyre movement for applications in my inventions.
'I almost thought Drakan wouldn't turn up. We haven't seen him for months', Tenebra said, putting a claw on my shoulder. A vampyre claw is a heavy thing. 'I wonder what the vampyres would say. If they learned that Drakan was spending his time looking for a stone.'
I smiled up at him. Best to show you are listening, I've learned.
The horns were blown. The vampyres were eager for the Hunt to start. My reveal was due.
Drakan gave the signal and I sent a simple blast to the carriage. The sides fell down and revealed my work.
An elite bloodveld stood, armoured in the colours and crest of House Drakan. Secured to the plates by a long chainlink, was a giant ball. A wrecking ball.
The bloodveld started, jumping from the open carriage and into the forest, the ball whipping to the side. The ball obliterated a tree, and the vampyres scrambled to chase through the shower of splinters.
Drakan stared, dumbstruck. He hadn't joined the Hunt.
I suppose I could understand why: I had carved the great wrecking ball into the shape of the stone. The stone that Drakan desired so hungrily. The bloodveld being dressed in Drakan heraldry - that was a little afterthought.
He had interpreted it as an insult. I guess it was.
'I think you had better run', said Tenebra.
So I did.
Escaping during the Great Hunt turned out to be a masterstroke. The vampyres had their blood up and not even Drakan could stop them. Now Drakan was stalking Darkmeyer for me with Sunspear in hand.
But I never revealed the power of my brooch to him. Its gnomic magic allowed me to look like whomever I chose, and I chose to look like a lowly juvinate to evade him.
Still, Drakan has a nose for blood, and he no doubt has a memory for mine. I need to get out of Morytania, and I can think of only one person who would help me.
I'm not one for friends. They're time consuming and demanding. But every theory has its counter-theory.
Lady Rolobrae sheltered me, fed me, and helped form a plan for crossing the salve. When werewolves or vampyres came, bloodvelds sniffing on leashes, she hid me in her iron maiden and my brooch did the rest, making me look like an exsanguinated corpse. The irony was not lost on me: I was still playing the role of a traitorous servant, just one of Rolobrae's this time.
I could see that time was ticking. The searches became more regular. Drakan suspected her, so I had to move.
I gave her my charm-ring in remembrance and gathered my trinkets.
The priest bolted the door against my passing. I linger in the memory, it seems. His voice quivered behind the timbers, and I patted my pockets for the charm-ring, before remembering my foolishness: I had left it with Lady Rolobrae.
I chose a different path. With some scrap I stole from Rolobrae's stores, I made something akin to a grapple. The hook tore a chunk out of Paterdomus wall, and I felt pride at taking petty revenge.
I was over the Salve. The Edicts were undoubtedly a sham, but Drakan did not believe any such thing. Now I was into Misthalin, there was no chance he would send his wolves or bats after me. I had bought myself some time.
I was eager for a familiar face, and Drakan was on my tail. He had put out a contract that had been taken up by mercenaries, and they were asking round the taverns.
A name popped into my head from childhood - Ino - and I gambled on them still living in the small village from my memory. As soon as I saw her tumbledown, messy hovel, I knew that she still lived here.
As a precaution, I disguised myself with the brooch. I picked a random male face from the back of my memory. No one in particular.
Ino introduced herself and invited me in - welcoming to strangers as always - before she made excuses and rifled through her desk. She pulled out someting and lifted it over her head.
'Charos, you scheming villain!'
She was wearing a necklace: anti-illusion, one I had made some time ago and given her as a gift. I was revealed.
'And why'd you pick my father's face to try and trick me? What on Gielinor did you hope to gain?'
She grabbed a crossbow that had been stored in a bracket under her desk. I ran from her home. The face from my memory wasn't as random as I had hoped.
The mercenaries did not stop hunting for me, as I hoped. Sure, with my brooch I could hide without chance of being found, but the blackguards were killing craftsmen over the age of fifty. After a time, it began to wear on the conscience.
The name of 'Charos' needed to pass into history. I began work on a simulacrum from within my workshop, taking what little I'd learned from golems and gnomes to construct a likeness of myself. It barely functioned - walking was the limit - but it was enough.
I let it stroll into a village near White Wolf Mountain and it lasted little more than an hour. A young adventurer made the kill, and likely a windfall of gold. I will admit, curiosity got the better of me, and I paid for a funeral. I kept it simple and attended as the tearful widow of Charos. No one came. I interred a few belongings that I would rather no-one found: my necklace, some carvings and one of my more malicious wishbringers, in case anyone dared to grave-rob.Now I choose an identity and become it wholly. Do I slay someone and steal their life, or do I construct a new one? I should choose one that allows me to continue my research into wishbringing. Being so close to death has made me eager to outlive it.