The Story that Failed
The ship Cry of the West made its way into Dulusport Harbor. Upon hearing the harbor bell ring, a tall, well-muscled man at the front of the ship stood up and stretched. A few strands of his long black hair had escaped from the tie at the back of his neck and were blowing about in the sea breeze. He absentmindedly brushed them away as his green eyes focused on the scene in front of him. The harbor was bustling, full of merchants, sailors, and the residents of the dock area. The man's gaze shifted to the Shady Oak, his favorite local tavern. He planned to make a stop there before starting the dangerous tasks that faced him. He would find a nice seat in the corner, have his favorite drink, a Peppermint Monk's Ecstasy, and afterwards, maybe find a nice girl and…A voice jerked him back to the ship, which was preparing to unload. He disembarked quickly and made his way to the tavern. The streets were packed. The man had to fight his way through the crowds, but finally arrived at the door of the Shady Oak. It was the same as he remembered: A wood building, with two windows wide open on either side of the red door with an oak tree carved in it. He opened the door and went in. “Ah, Dousan!” The innkeeper, Hotrek, called. “My favorite person!” The man, Dousan, chuckled. “Everyone who buys a couple drinks off you is your favorite person, ‘Trek. How’s business?” “Booming, like always. It’ll be the usual, right?” “You got it.” Dousan took his drink and headed for his normal seat in the far corner, stopping for a few seconds to chat with people he hadn’t seen since the last time he was in the city.  To his shock, Rusman Wolfetone was waiting at the back table. His narrow chestnut-brown eyes alighted on Dousan as he approached. He shook his thick, straight, midnight black bush of hair out of his face and ran his hand over his neat goatee. “You took your time in coming, Dousan. I was expecting you sooner.” Dousan was speechless. “But, you’re supposed to be in Sliccic-on-Naze. What happened?” Rusman, like Dousan, was a member of the Crusaders of the Infinity, a secret society mainly charged with tracking and dealing with assassins and other dangerous criminals. “I,” said Rusman “Am here for the same reason you are.” “The Deadly Rose?” asked Dousan. “Yes,” the other man replied. “It seems that our superiors doubt your ability to cope with an assassin like her.”