Before his eyes, the dark fortress rose from the top of the mountain, the impregnable black stone looked like it could hold off an army, which is why I came alone, easier for one to slip in den a whole bunch o’ people. Remy scanned the outer perimeter of the castle, searching for any entrances or weak points that could be exploited. He whistled quietly, w’ever built dis place, dey made sure no one get in if dey wan’ to. Gambit took refuge behind a pile of loose rocks and quickly took an inventory of his weapons. He had started out with half a dozen throwing knives and a small sword but as he travelled, he had managed to ‘acquire’ another half dozen knives, one more swords, and three small throwing axes. In addition, he had fashioned small wooden ‘cards’ to use as projectiles in conjunction with his powers and still carried the wooden staff he used in the battle at Greenhaven.
Remy ran his fingers over the considerable stubble that had acculmulated on his chin; he took a small strand of cord and tied his hair back into a long ponytail. It’s good dat Stormy can’t see me here, she never did like de long hair on me, he thought with a smile, as he remembered his friend, Ororo. Well, better get ta work…
Gambit peered cautiously over the edge of the boulder he had hidden behind, above him, the sky was growing darker as night fell and Remy could make out the flickering torchlight that emanated from within the castle. His glowing red eyes scanned the base of the fortress as a contingent of soldiers marched out the big double doors at the front of the building. Remy watched them silently as they marched to the end of the plateau.
Carefully, Remy headed the other way, constantly watching the soldiers as he slid into the shadows at the base of the castle. Hugging the stone wall, he crept silently round the perimeter, looking for a way in. After a full circuit, he realised that the main doors were the only way in, and presumably the only way out too. The soldiers were obviously waiting for something and Remy was very reluctant to hang around and find out what that was.
Remy saw his chance as the main doors swung ponderously open again. He darted quickly towards the entrance, pausing as three robed men left the castle, ignoring them, he slipped through the high doorway and into the fortress courtyard. Inside, a guard was operating a winch system, most likely to close the doors. Before he knew what hit him, Remy was crouching over his unconscious body, searching his garments for keys. Finding a keyring, he finished closing the main doors to divert any suspicion. He burst into the guardhouse fully armed and overpowered the other guards quickly and quietly. Satisfied that the gate guards had been dispatched, he bound them with rope and locked them in the guardhouse.
It took him a few minutes to navigate the courtyard and unlock one of the side doors to the main fortress. Remy was surprised to find the building was well lit inside, and sparsely populated, most o’ de people must be upstairs…or down. Gambit made his way upwards through the castle, drawn by some unspoken feeling. He dodged past humans and demons as he crept up through the levels. At last he reached his destination. As he stepped cautiously from the stairwell, he saw a short corridor ahead, lined by skeletal statues. A dark wooden door stood at the other end, and the strange compulsion that had drawn him to this place spurred him onward.
As he took the first tentative steps towards the door, the first two statues came to life, leaping from their pedestals to attack Remy. Gambit responded with two charged cards, which tore through the two skeletons with relative ease. Assuming the worst that all the skeletons would become animated, Remy tensed his body, judging the distance to the door, noting the position of each skeleton, and then, with a burst of motion, he ran up the corridor, lightly touching each statue as he went. He skidded to a halt at the door and turned to face the skeletons. Sure enough, the remaining eight statues were advancing towards him. Remy stood his ground as the first kinetic charge demolished a statue, and the others blew apart one by one as the delayed charges Remy had placed detonated.
Gambit heaved a sigh of relief, suppose skeletons can be counted as inanimate objects. Jus’ as well, never could have charged dem o’erwise. Remy tried the door and much to his surprise, the handle turned easily. Curious, he pushed the door open slowly and stepped inside. Beyond the door was a wide room that stretched forward like a long hallway. Remy stood just inside the door and looked around at the brightly-lit room. The walls were adorned with portraits of scenes of battle between human and undead forces. The occasional picture showed a wizard or some sort of magic user in the middle of the fray. Between each picture was a torch, casting its light around the room. The stone floor was adorned with a dark burgundy carpet that covered the floor space. Gambit slowly walked up the middle of the room, senses alert for any danger, his eyes flicking back and forward, searching for any signs of movement.
At the other end of the room, two staircases led up to a raised floor. Gambit chose the left one and slowly crept up the wooden steps, careful to remain as silent as possible. At the top was a wide chamber, this one dimly lit. The stone walls were bare and the frame of what looked like a throne took central position within the room. Remy cast his gaze around, noting the strange paraphernalia strewn around the chamber. There were pots and mirrors, racks of ingredients and the corpses of unknown and unfamiliar animals. Remy could sense the evil that emanated from this dark chamber and he knew that this was his true destination, the reason why he had come across an entire continent to be here.
“Outlander,” a dark voice spoke. “Finally you have come to me.”
Remy turned to find a tall man standing before him. The man was dressed in dark red and black robes that seemed to flow around his body like something alive. The man’s face was stony and unreadable, lined with age and topped by a mane of sliver hair. It was the eyes that scared Remy the most, the eyes that stared at him were emotionless and cold. They glittered with power too.
The man smiled, “I have watched your progress with great interest, outlander, I trust you did not have too much trouble finding me?”
Remy remained alert, “Don’ know who you be, mon ami, but I got my reasons for coming here.” He added silently, e’en if I don’t exactly know why.
“I am Jaisan,” the older man said. “As to why you are here, it is because I have foreseen it.”
Remy tilted his head slightly, not sure whether he should attack the man or stand his ground. Jaisan took that choice away from him with the flick of one hand. Remy’s body convulsed as a wave of magic struck him; he felt his body fold up as his weapons were torn from his grasp. Moments later, he was released, and now unarmed. “Nice trick,” he breathed.
“Come now, outlander, I can’t let you harm me.” Jaisan replied, dark, murderous intent etched on his features.
“Guess you ain’t as benevolent as some people t’ink, non?” Remy said as he stood up again.
Jaisan’s eyes flashed with anger and Remy felt his body being lifted from the ground and thrown like a rag doll against the nearest wall. He rebounded and landed in a crouch. Jaisan walked over to his throne and sat down.
“You are insolent, outlander, be grateful that I want you alive or I would strike you down here and now.” Jaisan leaned forward. “I have seen visions of you as I scry, attempting to divine the future, I saw the visions of the outlander with burning eyes and great power who would bow before me.”
Remy mumbled under his breath, “Mustn’t have got de memo.”
Jaisan ignored him. “You see outlander, there is far more going on in this world than you realise and there are forces at work that mere mortals cannot understand.” With a gesture, Remy found himself encased in a glowing column of energy, trapped and unable to move.