As the battle dimmed and the adrenaline stopped pumping throughout the party Wyk’s eyes did not lose their savage glare. He swiftly moved over to the warm dead bodies, their life still flowing out of them, and frantically searched for anything of value. His fingers quick and his movements nimble as he went through their pockets and robes. As his search began to look hopeless he became more aggressive and focused, ignoring what the rest of the party is saying and only watching their eyes to make sure they are off of him.
His behavior is consistent with his actions after every other battle with the party so far. Those that glimpse at him may begin to think that perhaps he has been too far removed from society, at least on a friendly social level, to care about others. Or perhaps this is the only way he knows how to survive, from the corpses of those who have fallen in their pursuit of him. Either way his actions attract the scrutiny of Calidore and Na’Yumi who close on him with hand on hilt and arcane whisper on lips.
Wiping a scrap of cloth along the blade of his sword, Calidore watches through narrowed eyes as the halfling robs the recently (and perhaps, not-so-recently) dead. In his opinion, there can be nothing good to be found in the pockets and pouches of a necromancer; even purest gold and silver would almost certainly bear the taint of their foul magics.
While inspecting a curious object on one of the corpses, Na’Yumi spies Wyk apparently doing the same thing. With a groan of irritation and the murmur of ancient word of power, the Eladrin is instantly displaced and standing behind the so-called Halfling Prince, her arms folded over her chest, not even attempting to hide her scorn.
“Wyk,” Calidore asks quietly.
“Wyk,” he says again in a moderate tone.
“WYK!” Calidore exclaims. “What are you doing?”
“You know, you really should leave things like messing with the possessions of evil dead cultists who deal with undead to those who know a little bit more about such things than you do. Last thing I want to have to do is treat you for Mummy Rot… or worse.” adds Na’yumi.
Wyk eyed them both nervously. This doesn’t look good, he thinks as his eyes flicker between the stalwart swordmaster and the skilled wielder of the best arcane magicks that can be taught. He went through the playbook in his head but none of his old tricks added up. He knew he couldn’t stand toe to toe against Calidore in melee, it isn’t his style and just ends up rather messy. He also acknowledged his arcane knowledge didn’t compare to the words of power in Na’Yumi’s head. Even using all of his talents together Wyk was unsure of his ability to escape these two without at least a good head start. No, neither fight nor flight is an option this time. Even diplomacy is shaky though, despite the time he spent at his father’s heel he hadn’t developed the knack for it. His list of choices were wearing thin indeed.
Wyk cleared his throat and gave them a hesitant smile. “Ah, friends,” he said, a hint of nervousness in his tone. “In answer to your query, Calidore, I was just searching for items to, ah, bring to Na’Yumi’s attention.” He lets out a nervous laugh then paused, gauging their reactions.
The Eladrin rolles her eyes and shifts her stance just slightly; enough to show her dwindling patience with Wyk as the Halfling sputters his excuses. It’s obvious that she isn’t buying what he is selling.
“Sure you were,” Calidore replies. “Which is why you jumped so when I spoke. Did you not hear me state we should burn these corpses and all they have on them? To avoid the taint of evil or plague?”
Wyk sighs and looks down. “My apologies.” he says in a more somber tone, “I wouldn’t have bought that either. I’m sure this probably doesn’t look good, and…” Calidore stares at him steadily while Na’yumi glares. “And in truth I may have acted a bit overzealous in the past, perhaps even in the present.” Wyk flicks a nervous glance towards the cooling corpse.
“I… I’ve been piecing something together just now. This whole thing, the two of you, the cleric, ranger, Dierdre, the whole group, it’s a new experience for me. It certainly isn’t the way I’ve been forced to live these past many years. However, I think, in light of recent events, that we can reach an understanding. I am starting to realize that perhaps there is more to gain as part of a team rather than each of us on their own. Therefore I offer the following, my services and a fair cut of what I have gathered so far for the assurance that no harm will befall my person by either act or will of anyone in this group. What say you?”
“I’m surprised it took you this long to figure it out,” Na’Yumi says with a frown. “We’ve been at this ‘whole group thing’, as you so keenly put it, for weeks now and this isn’t the first time you’ve been caught doing this sort of stuff.” She rakes a gloved hand through her hair. “To be honest, I think you’re just trying to save your own skin, but because Calidore seems to have been placed in the role of leader of our happy company, I’ll defer to his judgment.”
“Leader?” Calidore looks surprised at the pronouncement. “I…” he shakes his head. “That can be discussed later.” Sheathing his sword, he draws himself up to his full height and crosses his arms over his chest. “Wyk,” he asks, his voice sounding tired, “who are you?”
Wyk considers his words for a moment and then responds, “I am who I am. It is not who I am that you should concern yourself with but what I am. What I am, for this group and for now, is a useful tool. I would prefer to leave it at that for the time being.” Wyk stands straight and rubs his hands together to remove the dust of the battle, and his subsequent rummaging, from them.
Wyk continues, “Will you then accept my fair offer of my services and related apologies? If so I have work to attend to; the sale of unused items gathered so far, the inventory of current supplies, checking the grounds for any traps left by these men, not to mention a bit of information gathering. If not, then I have a long road ahead of me and would like to get started on it. I leave the choice to you, and while you may not know the extent of my talents I think it a fair and true offer.”
A pause follows as Calidore thinks things over and then glances to Na’Yumi. With a shrug he speaks, “We all have our secrets of a sort. It is as my mother told me: when speaking to someone from the Feywild, the answer to where you’ve come from is ‘behind me,’ to where you are going is ‘ahead of me.’ Perfectly true and perfectly useless.”
He extends his hand, “So, Wyk the Useful Tool, I welcome your assistance in readying this estate for use. If we are to continue to journey together, it will be fitting and useful for us to have a place to return to in times of need.”
“Very well,” responds Wyk, “I will see to the duties I am fit for. No one in this group has anything to fear from me as long as their intentions are just towards each other and myself. Let this be a comfort to anyone here even if my actions may not seem so, you may tell them as much.” A mischievous glint creeps back into Wyk’s eyes as he sets off to fulfill his word. The now cold corpse behind him is not given even a glance.
Wyk, Calidore, and Na’Yumi