September 27 sees the first ever Twitter Duel between Kalen "Shadowbane" Dren, Vigilante Paladin, Champion of a Fallen God, and the dwarf assassin Arrath "Rath" Vir, his nemesis from Downshadow (2009), in the rough-and-tumble city of NEVERWINTER.
The guards trembled before the barred door to the strongest, darkest prison cell beneath Castle Waterdeep. Cold water dripped through cracks in the stone, making the walls around them seem to swell and radiate a chill like that of the grave.
The dim torchlight reflected from a dusky, handsome face, pure but for a dusting of beard the owner could not shave. His eyes were closed and his relaxed posture indifferent.
Shieldlar Tholm growled in impatience. “Hurry, you fools. I would be about this business ‘ere the sun rises.”
They nodded. Hand shaking, one unlocked the door, and they both stepped back, hands on their swords. The Shieldlar sighed and stepped through. “Arrath Vir—monk, assassin, enemy of the state. Today’s the day Tymora smiles upon you. Lord Neverember has a task for you, and the reward will be plentiful. Including, but not limited to, your freedom.”
The dwarf made no reply, and the force of his silence was deafening. If the guards had been nervous before, now they seemed to stand on the verge of flight.
“An uprising is brewing in Neverwinter, under the leadership of a supposed true heir of the city’s crown,” said Tholm. “Lord Neverember would like it dealt with as quickly and quietly as possible. Kill this Lost Heir, and—”
That took Tholm aback. “But . . . the coffers of Waterdeep are full. Name your price.”
“I’ll not kill this man for coin.” Rath’s eyes opened. “I want him.”
The dwarf blurred across the room and blew the life from one of the guardsmen with a single punch. The man’s neck shattered against the stone wall. The second guard was drawing a sword, but Rath caught his wrist and dragged the blade across the man’s chest. He staggered back, and Rath turned the blade to stab it through the man. As he did so, he relieved the guard of his dagger. Tholm could hardly think, much less fight back.
Rath paced toward him casually. In the light, he had turned his face, and Tholm could see the horrific scar that mangled his features. It was shaped not unlike a pair of lips.
“You’ve already freed me,” Rath said, his voice nothing but calm. “I need only one thing more, and that you do not have.”
As he stepped over the men choking out their lifeblood on the stones, the dwarf assassin called Rath spoke a single word: “Shadowbane.”
The actual fight will take place on Twitter (@erikscottdebie), but a full transcript will be generated within 24 hours or so on Facebook.
Come cheer Kalen on, direct message me with a few suggested twists, or simply bear witness to the first ever online Forgotten Realms fight, based on my novels Downshadow (2009) and Shadowbane (due out this month)! The fight also ties into the current D&D Encounters season, "The Lost Crown of Neverwinter," as Rath is ostensibly going after the focus of the campaign: The Lost Heir!
Also, the voting is now open on Kalen's personal facebook page as to his next deadly nemesis. Stop by, cast your vote, or suggest a new challenger! www.facebook.com/pa
Caveat: These battles are not necessarily meant to be interpreted as canonical and are conducted with permission from Wizards of the Coast and the author of any signature character featured. The battle conforms to a "hard PG-13" rating in terms of violence and adult content.
Downshadow on Kindle: www.amazon.com/Down
Shadowbane (pre-order) on Kindle: www.amazon.com/Shad