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When Blacknail got back to the inn everyone was waiting for him. Geralhd, Khita, and Beardy were standing beside the table he’d been sitting at, and they looked upset. There was a scowl on Geralhd’s face and Beardy was grimacing. Blacknail walked over and nodded in greeting.

“Where did you go?” Khita asked. She only sounded slightly annoyed.

“I needed to follow some people and then kill one of them,” Blacknail explained.

Geralhd winced. “Uh, who?”

“Are you kidding?” Beardy asked as he threw his hands up in exasperation. “You’re supposed to be staying out of trouble.”

Blacknail shrugged. “He was a spy for someone who wanted to kill all of you.”

“What? Why would anyone want to kill us?” Beardy asked. He sounded like he didn’t believe Blacknail.

“That’s what I wanted to find out. When I asked, they said a whole bunch of Werrick’s men got themselves murdered and chopped up into little bits. They were looking for the people who did it, and someone saw you and remembered that you were Werrick’s enemy.”

“We’re not his enemies! Herad is dead and we don’t work for her anymore. We’re just minding our own business now. We certainly didn’t kill any of the Wolf’s men!”

“That doesn’t matter. They thought you were involved and were going to gather some friends so they could capture you for questioning,” Blacknail told him.

“It sounds like you had your reasons for wandering off, but I have to ask, did you kill Werrick’s followers,” Geralhd asked the hobgoblin.

Blacknail shook his head. “I’m just one small hobgoblin, smaller than a human. I don’t even have Elixir anymore, and almost a hundred men were killed. I couldn’t do that alone.”

Khita gave Blacknail a knowing look, but Geralhd and Beardy nodded along. On the way to the city, Blacknail’s hobgoblin minions had stayed back and out of sight of the human bandits. They had no idea that he’d brought them with him.

“Then who did do it?” Geralhd mused aloud.

Blacknail shrugged and suppressed a smirk. “Who knows? It’s a mystery.”

“The important thing to focus on is how this affects us,” Beardy pointed out. “If people think we’re involved in that mess then they are going to be come after us like hungry wolves.”

Geralhd nodded. “You’re right, of course. I don’t think we can just explain this away, no matter our innocence, especially now that Blacknail has intervened so aggressively.”

“I saved you,” Blacknail pointed out. He didn’t want there to be any confusion about that.

“Well, whatever happened, we can’t stay here,” Beardy remarked. “We need to get everyone up and leave this inn immediately, before anyone else comes to look for us.”

“Where will we go? Is anywhere in the city going to be safe?” Khita asked.

“I don’t know this city very well,” Geralhd admitted.

Blacknail perked up. “I do, I know this city very well! I’ve even met most the important people in it, some of them are even still alive. It’s the information dealers we need to watch out for. They know everyone and have eyes everywhere.”

“Is there anywhere we can hide from them?”

“I know a lot of abandoned houses we could hide in. There are a lot of dark places people never go in this city. They are dirty but dry,” Blacknail offered. He knew the humans were too picky to take him up on his offer. Geralhd in particular was a wimp.

As if to prove Blacknail right, Geralhd grimaced in disgust. “No thanks. It seems like we have no choice but to leave Daggerpoint.”

There was thud as Beardy slammed the table with a closed fist. “What! Where will we go? Werrick controls all the cities and towns around here. If he is looking for us then we’re screwed!”

Khita winked at Blacknail and then turned to Beardy. “He doesn’t even know about Shelter, let alone control it.”

“You want to go back to that mud pit? We just left! They probably don’t even want us there.”

“I don’t want to go back there anymore than you, the people there are a bunch of nosy hicks, but do we have a choice? There is nowhere else we can lay low until this blows over,” Khita shot back.

“We have money. We could buy proper supplies and gifts for them,” Blacknail suggested. “They would like us if we did that.”

“Some good wine would make the stay there much more tolerable,” Geralhd mused as he rubbed his chin. He sounded like he was considering the idea and warming up to it.

“I suppose it might not be a terrible place to hide out, as long as we bring our own supplies,” Beardy admitted.

“Tannin was always saying he needed a lot of metal tools. Bringing him some would make the villagers happy,” Blacknail pointed out. They would also serve his own purposes.

“True, but for a haul of that size we will need pack animals to carry it, like some horses,” Geralhd pointed out.

“No!” Blacknail hissed loudly. His voice was full of fury and disgust.

Khita rolled her eyes and Geralhd frowned.

“Why not?” Beardy asked in surprise.

“Horses can’t be trusted. They are vile smelly beasts. No horses will be going with us to Shelter!” Blacknail replied.

Geralhd sighed and gave Blacknail a confused look. “Your animosity towards simple animals is misplaced. Why do you hate them so much?”

Blacknail growled softly before replying. “When I look into their big stupid eyes I see their spirit, it is black and vile. They’re selfish beasts full of evil thoughts that enjoy peoples' pain.”

“That’s probably your reflection,” Khita remarked with a roll of her eyes.

Blacknail glared at her. “Nuh uh, no it’s not. You humans are just blind and stupid.”

There was a tired sigh from Beardy. “Fine whatever, we will use donkeys instead. You don’t have a problem with them, do you?”

“No?” Blacknail replied hesitantly. He had no idea what a donkey was, but he wasn’t going to admit it.

“If we’re going to be bringing donkeys we may as well grab some other animals,” Geralhd suggested. “I’m sure Tannin would appreciate some new stock, and it would improve the local menu as well.”

“Good idea, but this is starting to sound expensive. Can we afford all this?” Beardy asked.

“I have some money that I stumbled upon. You humans leave it everywhere,” Blacknail said as he placed a pouch on the table. The coins inside jingled as they moved. Blacknail hated parting with so many shiny bits, but he didn’t really use them for anything. He usually just ended up hiding them under rocks and stuff.

Geralhd opened up the bag and looked inside. “This will help a lot, but we will still have to watch what we buy.”

“I also have this,” Blacknail said as he placed a fist-sized object on the table. It was nugget of pure gold. There was silence as everyone stared at it.

“Where in all the hells did you get that?” Beardy asked. He sounded awed. Yellow rocks sure had a weird effect on humans.

“I found it in cave near Shelter,” Blacknail explained with shrug. It was a rock. Where did the humans think those came from?

“And you didn’t tell us?” Geralhd asked.

“It didn’t seem that important,” Blacknail explained.

Beardy gave Blacknail a greedy look and stroked his beard thoughtfully. “Was there more gold there?”

Khita sighed and spoke up. “We need to focus on leaving right now, remember? There are people after us.”

“Are we sure we couldn’t just buy all our enemies off?” Beardy asked as stared at the gold nugget.

Geralhd shook his head unhappily. “That probably wouldn’t work.”

“It really wouldn’t,” Blacknail agreed. It didn’t even make sense. Why wouldn’t they just take the money and then kill them for the rest?

“Fine, then that settles things. We need to get moving before anyone else shows up to look for us,” Geralhd remarked as he picked up the coin pouch and gold.

“Meet me at our last campsite outside the city at dusk,” Blacknail told everyone before turning to leave.

“Where are you going?” Geralhd asked.

“I need to meet with some people and cover our tracks,” Blacknail told them as he walked away.

As the door shut behind him, Blacknail smiled to himself. That had gone well. He hadn’t even really needed to convince them to do anything. With a little help from Khita, they had agreed on going back to Shelter without any input from him that might have seemed suspicious. Unfortunately, he had more unpleasant duties to attend to now.

After looking around the street to make sure there wasn’t anyone suspicious around, Blacknail headed off towards Luphera’s domicile. It had been her scent he’d detected on the letter, and the thugs had mentioned learning about him from an information broker. Luphera was a seller of secrets, and she probably knew more about him than any others that might be in the city. Blacknail growled as he stepped past a mother and child walking down the street. The conclusion was obvious, Luphera had betrayed him. She had put him and his friends in danger, and she had almost ruined his plans. That meant that Blacknail needed to deal with her. He couldn’t let anyone get away with betraying him, and even more importantly, she knew too much. If Luphera told Werrick everything she knew it would be a disaster. Blacknail had made sure not to tell her any of his plans, but he’d accidently let a few things slip. She had to be silenced.

As Blacknail walked down the street, he tried to figure out the best way of accomplishing his goal. Obviously, he needed to confront Luphera, however the last time he had tried to sneak into her place it hadn’t gone so well for him. She also had lots of guards, so fighting his way inside seemed like a lot of work. With Elixir a few humans wouldn’t be much of problem for him, but he didn’t have any more of it. Could he just walk in? Luphera’s servants might still have instructions to let him inside. That might be a trap, though. It was possible that she would lead him right into a room full of enemy soldiers. He wasn’t going to underestimate her. Should he go gather up some reinforcements? No, he didn’t have time for that.

Since all his other options seemed worse, Blacknail decided to take the risk and just ask to see Luphera. During his last visit, Luphera had given him instructions on how to meet with her, since he would make a scene if he went in through the front door. She had told him to go to the back door and knock, so that was what he did. He calmly sauntered around the building and into the empty alley behind it. There was no one around so he walked over to the door at the back of the building and knocked. After a few long seconds, the door swung open to reveal the older mustached man from his last visit. Both his clothes and his expression looked as unruffled as before as he quickly looked Blacknail over.

“I’m here to see Luphera,” Blacknail explained. He tried to sound friendly, but his rage made that difficult, and the man’s smug face annoyed him.

“Welcome. I will check and see if she is available. Please follow me,” the servant replied with a polite nod before turning around.

Blacknail cautiously followed the man deeper into the building. Neither of them said anything as they walked, and they kept to empty hallways and back rooms that were obviously used by servants and for storage. Only a single uniformed servant passed them by, and he gave Blacknail a quick glance and then hurried on his way. Eventually Blacknail’s guide stopped at a door.

“Please wait here a moment. I will be right back,” the man said with an apologetic smile. Blacknail nodded civilly back. He’d cooled down somewhat.

The mustached man then stepped through the doorway. Blacknail got a quick look at a larger and more lavish hallway on the other side before the door closed and he was left alone in the servant’s passage. He waited there for a minute or two until the door opened again.

“Just this way. The mistress is ready to see you,” his guide announced as he held the door open for Blacknail.

“Thank you,” the hobgoblin replied cheerfully as he stepped through the frame and out into the brightly lit and lavish hallway on the other side.

From there, it was only a few steps to another familiar door. Blacknail recognized it as the room where he’d met Luphera during his last visit. He tensed up as the mustached man glided over and opened the room’s door for him, as he had the others. Blacknail had been listening carefully and sniffing the air, but he sensed no signs of ambush. However, that didn’t mean there wasn’t one. Luphera had managed to surprise him more than once.

Gritting his teeth, Blacknail stepped through the door. He had come this far and wasn’t going to back down without a good reason. The room in front of him hadn’t changed at all. It was still warm, luxurious, and inviting. As before, Luphera was seated on a couch by the low table, but this time she gave off a more business-like impression. Her silk outfit had been exchanged for a proper blue dress that had long sleeves and went down to her ankles. The outfit still highlighted her bosom and the contours of her body, but it wasn’t at all playful looking.

“Blacknail, this is a surprise. I wasn’t expecting you back so soon,” Luphera remarked. Her back was straight and her hands were resting on her lap, so that she looked calm and collected.

“Good,” the hobgoblin replied as he looked around the room. He took a second to stare at the room that led off to the side, but nothing seemed out of place.

The unique flowery scent that Luphera wore still filled the room. After a few breaths Blacknail could feel it began to clog up his mind and quicken his pulse. However this time the scent had a slightly different result. His hidden yet roiling emotions skewed the perfume’s effects. His fury was only enhanced by lust. He wanted to taste blood, to rend flesh between his fingers and bite bone. Sex and violence weren’t so different if done right.

“Why don’t you come sit down and tell me why you’re here?” Luphera asked.

“One second. I’m just here to ask a quick question,” Blacknail replied as he turned back to look at the door he had come in through. The mustached man that had guided him here was still standing beside it.

Before anyone could react Blacknail lunged forward. He reached out, placed a hand on the servant’s head, and then pushed. Crack. The man’s head smashed into the wall behind him and he crumpled down to the ground. Blacknail smirked. Ah, that had been very satisfying. Gutting him would have felt even better, but Blacknail wasn’t sure he wanted to go that far yet.

“What! How dare you?” Luphera hissed as she jumped to her feet.

“He was annoying, but don’t worry. He will live, probably,” Blacknail replied as he turned to face her.

Luphera’s face was red with fury as she glared at the hobgoblin, but she flinched when he took a step towards her. There was a mad grin on Blacknail’s face that highlighted his bared teeth.

“What is the meaning of this?” Luphera stuttered as she fought to remain calm.

Blacknail pulled the note he had taken from the thugs out of his pocket and took another step forward. “You’ve been telling tales.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

The hobgoblin simply held the note out until Luphera took it.

“I see…” Luphera muttered as she read it. “And you think I had something to do with this?”

Blacknail growled softly as he met her gaze and stared intently into her eyes. “Did you?”

There was silence for several long seconds. Luphera was still, except for her eyes which moved as if she was thinking hard. Eventually she grimaced in distaste and looked away.

“Yes, I did. A powerful client came asking for information and I had to offer them something. I couldn’t just ignore them.”

“You betrayed me,” Blacknail hissed as he stepped forward and grabbed her wrist. She didn’t try to pull away. That and the fact that she hadn’t lied about her involvement allowed Blacknail to prevent himself from lashing out. Rage was still boiling beneath his skin. He didn’t like traitors, especially ones that targeted the people close to him.

“I don’t remember forming an alliance with you, and I’m certainly not your servant,” Luphera replied as she straightened up and her expression grew steely. “Our relationship is a mutually beneficial one, but also ultimately transactional.”

“You put my friends and minions in danger by telling my enemies where they were. If you are going to be working against me why shouldn’t I kill you?”

“I didn’t reveal anything you told me in confidence. You never even mentioned where your friends were staying to me. I learned of them through my own means, just as I would have learned who was responsible for Cedric’s death if I hadn’t already known you were the culprit. Little happens in this city that I don’t know about. Just because we are close that doesn’t mean I can afford to never work against you in any way. I’m running a business here after all, and I have duties to my other clients.”

Blacknail scowled and loosened his grip on Luphera’s arm slightly. This was confusing. Was she an enemy or not? Blackanil was fairly sure that she didn’t want him dead. She hadn’t revealed everything she knew about him, and she could have undoubtedly sent much more dangerous people after him than the two incompetents he had run into.

“What should I do with you then?” Blacknail mused softly to himself.

Luphera shrugged and gave Blacknail an annoyed look. It was an impressive display of bravery considering her position. The hobgoblin’s long nails were digging into her arm and his teeth were practically in her face.

“Nothing. Aside from all the fun we’ve had together, if you harm me in any way I won’t work with you ever again. I’m your best source of information and have helped you several times. You need me. So what if we sometimes work at cross purposes? You’re a big boy. I’m sure you can handle yourself.”

Luphera was making a weird sort of sense. It wasn’t like she had ever promised to be his ally. They had simply exchanged information. Still, Blacknail knew she was twisting the truth. He could see it in her eyes. There was something about this situation that he wasn’t seeing. Giving bits of information about him to his enemies had been part of a plan of some sort. But what had it been? Had she been trying to separate him from his allies? Maybe she wanted to force him out of town for her own reasons? Blacknail didn’t know. He wished he had some Elixir. If he could taste her fear then he might be able to figure out what she was playing at.

“If you’re just going to stand there all day, why don’t we relax a little?” Luphera remarked as she slowly stepped forward so that one of her legs went through Blacknail’s legs and brushed up gently against his groin.

Blacknail twitched and let her arm go before stepping back. “No, you’ve answered my question, and your advice is as good as ever. I’ll be leaving.”

The hobgoblin turned and stalked out the room, past the unconscious servant on the floor. Luphera was a confusing distraction right now. Killing her would be a waste, and anything short of that would be... unproductive. The only option seemed to be to be more careful of her in the future.

Right now, he needed to meet up with Geralhd and the others and head back to Shelter, where he was beyond Luphera's reach. The tools they were bringing would be very useful, and with the information Blacknail had learned here in Daggerpoint he could begin the next phase of his plan to defeat the Wolf.

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ClearMadness

Bio: Not actually a goblin.

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ClearMadness @ClearMadness ago

I know some of you wanted more bloodshed, but while Blacknail learned to be a bit more careful about who he trusts, murdering Luphera wouldn’t have gained him anything.

    ChillyPepper @ChillyPepper ago

    Turning on sarcasm mode. "How dare you make sense!!" Sarcasm mode offline. And now, we move to a spicy theory.

    Everyone is looking at this as a done deal and a big (some might think bad) change in Blacknail's personality, while I think we are forgetting a tiny factor for his behavior in that room. The scent.

    Some of you might argue it's some kind of an aphrodisiac, I however believe it's making him suggestible. Hence why he was handled easily by her in earlier visits, (something like makig your drunk friend do something stupid that he wouldn't normally do.) 

    Adding the rage to the mix you get a suggestible but angry person (goblin) that is not thinking as he would normally would and still thinks it would make sense to act so! 

    theunseenone @theunseenone ago

    No, I like that Blacknail can be discerning about killing people. It will ultimately make him more dangerous since people will assume he's just a dumb brute who lashes out when angered.

    Grim6 @Grim6 ago

    Killing her would make a statement "if you sell me out no matter who you are I will kill you" fear is a very powerful weapon. I know Werrick is more powerful but if you are on the periphery of his influence it would be better to worry about an imminent threat rather than a far off one.

      blackshiinobi @blackshiinobi ago

      i feel like it was a forced out conclusion, him not killing her after her selling him out.

      i mean this is not blacknail we know, he killed people that betrayed him numerous times, hell he even made people betray just so he can kill them.

      so yeah, not killing her just doesn't make sense and feels like a forced change to his personality

      Thethomas @Thethomas ago

      Which makes sense seeing as the excessive elixer use seriously fucked with his mind. Why wouldnt his personality be warped?

      He who travels the stories @He who travels the stories ago

      It definitely is a change in his personality, but a good one towards more long term planning (which has been onegoing for quite some time now).

      Luphera (as any information broker) is something like a russian roulette. She gathers information that you as well as your enemies can buy from her. Since information is a valuable resource everyone wants to buy and kinda hopes he out-buys, out-secrets or out-favors his opponents. Blacknail kinda still has the hope that he out-favors Werrick and his men in Lupheras eyes, which gives her live value.

      Killing her, on the other hand, is not of benefit. Yes, fear is powerful, but what is the situation of information dealers? They can't deny any power their services because as soon as you can't buy from them they are just a high threat and should be crushed (and they have no noticable military might). So, if you set them under the pressure: I kill anybody who dares sell information about me, they can chosse one of the two sides to ally with. There are two reasons to ally with Werrick then: 1. He is stronger (for whatever stronger means; but just give him the necessary information and he can crush Blacknail in the current circumstances); 2. It's a message: if you threaten us, we will sell you out, improving their future security.

      We see Blacknail overcoming his impulsive hobgoblin self, something absolutely needed if he wants to beat Werrick (and/or him thinking with his lower region, if he isn't willing to take a hobgoblin mate, Luphera is basically his only chance of getting laid in all of the north ...)

      blackshiinobi @blackshiinobi ago

      not killing someone who BETRAYED him isn't an upgrade to his personality, he is being controlled by her, let's not even forget, SHE TRIED TO KILL HIM BEFORE.

      this is a no brainer, he had to kill her to make a statement and to get rid of her.

      i think the author made this choice to make blacknail more lovable, but we (or at least i) want a leader

      all the excuses really don't matter, someone bettrayes you and is kind of controlling you, you have to terminate that thorn.

      guess i was overestimating blacknail =/

    Lord Of Mild Interest @Lord Of Mild Interest ago

    Dang it... well you have your reasons Author, but last time Blacknail messed up one of her employees she nearly got him killed so let's see what happens this time :/

    Serpente13 @Serpente13 ago

    I think you did it very well.

     

    Since that elixir overuse, Blacknail has undergone a change in personality. He's slowly becoming less petty, and starting to see the big picture.

    Luphera's also was nicely portrayed, she is very skilled at psychological manipulation. She was in her own territory, had every thing setup: chemical stimulants (the smell), proper clothes and posture, didn't really lie, didn't resist but didn't submit either. Mentioning Blacknail lacking the fear sense/control of his elixir is very appropriate as well, it leaves him in a position of doubt.

    But he didn't really lose either, he is capable of discovering her involvement. The lone action of confronting her was already a big win in their relationship. The action of "sparing" her is another huge win, it shows he is not just a beast and is capable of moderation, shows he can reasoned with and generally be trusted. Now they know each other better and can more confidently deal.

    Their relationship deepened, this was far more productive and interesting than the likes of a "fighting" chapter.

    Good chapter.

      blackshiinobi @blackshiinobi ago

      evrything you said is great and all, but they are just excuses

      he can spare people, be less petty and see the big picture with other things, NOT with people that betray him and try to kill him, thats just stupid

      this move just doesn't make ANY sense to me, it least lets agree that its a huge mistake not killing her and not a 'win'.

      Serpente13 @Serpente13 ago

      No, I disagree completely. Relationships and reason is what makes humans different from animals and monsters. She's an information broker, not HIS information broker, and now he understands that.

      What would killing her do? she isn't a target or even a true threath. She knows somethings about him, but not much. His actual enemies certainly have other means to know about him and his actions. Killing her would cut off all his own eyes and ears in the civilized world, where he is most vulnerable. He is a hobgloblin! he can't make friends easily, if at all, among other humans besides those from his own camp, who by the way completely underestimate and unsucessfully try to manipulate him. Which makes her one of his most important assets.

      AND besides all that... he likes her, or at least he did, that makes killing her for this small incident make even less sense. After all she didn't really betray him: She knew there were other hobgoblins with him and didn't give this info away, a small detail that would make all the difference but was omited.

      It all makes perfect sense to me. Calling all that excuses is just insulting.

      blackshiinobi @blackshiinobi ago

      the only thing that made sense from what you said is 'he liked her'

      ok, what about when she tried to kill him ? don't tell me its normal sinse he killed her employee

      so what ? she gets to kill him and he doesn't ?

      you have to understand thats not the modern world , they are deep in the green, where the strong eats the weak.

      whatever you argue, keeping someone who betrays you (and sinse he liked her, she was kinda controlling him, still is actually) and try to kill you is not teh right decision in this world.

      why do you think people kill snitches ? its because if they did it once they can(will) do it again, if given the oportunity.

      that mage in herald's camp betrayed her and he deserves to die same with luphera

      and don't give me that info broker argument, blacknail willingly(accidently) showed himself to her, she didn't get that info by her own means, he trusted her, plus he didn't kill her at that time and for that alone she should be gratful

      but what did she do ? try to kill him and betray him. she is f**king using him.

      and he can't use her, she WILL continue using him, she is smarter than him at dealing with people(and even hobs for that matter)

      so yeah, i just can't agree or understand this decision of him, and i don't think its the smart one

      Serpente13 @Serpente13 ago

      The strong doesn't eat the weak in the green, but do whatever the fuck they want with the weak. Kill, spare, eat, ignore, protect. And she did get that info by her own means, she even expected him to show up initially (but not quite this second time).

      She is indeed able to manipulate him, and now more than before he knows that. But the string connects both points. THAT is what this second visit he did means to her.

      But saying she is controlling him is too much, the only time she did direct him for her own means was during the brothel incident. Where she pointed him in the wrong direction to distract the guards of her old boss. She used him as bait and took over the brothel then saved him from the assassins.

      However she IS useful to him. She is the one that told him where the first bandit leader was when he wanted to gift heads to Herad, she also told him about the representative from Werrick that was controling daggerpoint. And in general, just by interacting with her, he is learning to how to manipulate and not be manipulated.

      They are using each other.

      blackshiinobi @blackshiinobi ago

      i haven't seen him use her yet thats for sure, her giving him some info that aren't even that valuable isn't using her.

      she's definetly the one in control of our "leader".

      Lord Of Mild Interest @Lord Of Mild Interest ago

      The "The elixir did it" argument is slightly annoying, what's worse is I thinks that's the actual reason...

      It would be more enjoyable if Blacknail just naturally learned from his mistakes E.G. Killing her then realising "Ah fuck that was bad" instead of "I had some sick moon juice so now im capable of being a smart"

      Lord Of Mild Interest @Lord Of Mild Interest ago

      Also I'm with Shinobi here She is in control of this not Blacknail.

      blackshiinobi @blackshiinobi ago

      of course she is, if anyone thinks otherwise they need to read the daggerpoint arc again

      Lord Of Mild Interest @Lord Of Mild Interest ago

      Also for the she is useful intelligence argument I realised this the other day but, he has a literal hord of assassins at his fingertips that could scout the city for him or he could just grab anny person and say "Yo where's werricks lads at" since it seems werricks rule is pretty commonly known.

      Im just racking my brain on how she could be helpful without fucking over Blacknail and I cannot see a outcome that makes sence the only thing I could see her ever do is persuade VIPS for Blacknail but I don't see why she would do that for him unless its for her own benefit.

      Sorry Author but I ain't feeling this so far. However you have a nice track record so far so I'm hoping She actually becomes usefull to him wether it be a lesson to kill those who betray you or actually helpful info that lets Blacknail do somthing helpful to his goals.

      blackshiinobi @blackshiinobi ago

      dude, there is almost absolutly NO REASON to let people who betray you live in this world setup, even in our civilized world we know once a cheater always a cheater, or snitches get stiches.

      specially someone who wanted to kill you before, it just doesn't make sense AT ALL.

      maybe the author taught that some people like luphera and he didn't want blacknail to kill her (for some reason) to make blacknail lovable, even if it doesn't make sense.

      i just don't like this decision by blacknail/ the author.

      as for him needing her for info gathering thats bullshit, she would give other people his info as much as she gives him theires, thats how she survives, she'd do whatever is more profitable for her no matter the consequences on him (like we saw in many occasions)

      as for him he can get intel by so many other means, that's the beaty of this novel in the first place, blacknail ploting some crazy plans.

      so saying that he needs her is WRONG, in my opinion of course

      Serpente13 @Serpente13 ago

      She never really wanted to kill him though? I went back to confirm it, she used him as bait because he "owned her one, for killing one of her girls" then she saved him from the assassins just as she finished her goal.

      "The attack on Cedric’s headquarters was going well. Thanks to Luphera’s information Blacknail knew exactly where everything was."

      And you guys say he could get intel by other means, some of that is true. Some is not. He is a hobgoblin, barely a few years old, he still don't quite get why gold is so important. His minions are even more clueless as is constantly shown... hobgoblins have great instincts for killing and stalking, they suck at socializing. They might, might, be able to torture information out of someone, but they are useless for long term intel gathering, social intel gathering, long distance intel gathering... not to mention the fact that they may simply fail to ask the right questions, its not like they are infiltrating a goblin village afterall...

      And seriously she is an information broker, does not mean that sharing SOME of his info is a betrayal, like I mentioned before, if she had indeed betrayed him, she would have told Werrik's men about Blacknail's hobgoblin minions, that he has a hideout somewhere etc. She did not.

      And when I said "saying she is controlling him is too much" is because she cannot command him. Like Saeter did, or Herad. She can convince him to do as she asks, because its part of her skill set, because she is really good at it. But it usually seems to work more like a exchange.

      And you say there is no reason to let people that betray you live in this world, what about Elyias then? he did betray Blacknail, completely within his expectations but a betrayal noneless. Or Gerald? he's trying to manipulate blacknail too, failling miserably to the point that he believes its working, but since when is incompetence a good excuse?

      Wanting Luphera dead, for reasons that are not within the story is what makes no sense, at all. Its fine if you don't like the character but come on, be fair.

      Lord Of Mild Interest @Lord Of Mild Interest ago

      It comes down to our personal views I suppose, some of us see her as a liability others see her as useful, some see it as a betrayal others not.

      It also depends on what we actually see her being able to do since like said before I personally don't understand how good she can be in comparison while others have a perfect idea of how she is useful.

      For me though no matter what I see against I literally am unable to change my point of view because of the possible issues she can bring in her current state, if Blacknail had a way to fully be able to keep her under lock and key she would be very valuable but as she is now I just personally beleive she is a risk.

      Lord Of Mild Interest @Lord Of Mild Interest ago

      Also about the she saved him thing I don't recall this so please right me if I am wrong but I remember him getting really close to dying because of her. I can't recall the full context but I remember he only lived because he barley fit through a window he dived through. If he went anywhere else in the building or ducked up the dive there's a good chance those guys could have killed him, again it's been awhile though.

      Lord Of Mild Interest @Lord Of Mild Interest ago

      I would write more but I doubt people would want to read another 2 large things of text about how I define controlling and some other stuff (or maybe you do but my fingers are sore from rope burn )

      blackshiinobi @blackshiinobi ago

      a) she didn't save him, he almost died, he barely fit through that window remember ?

      b) its so different what you say batrayal of elyas and gerald and the betrayal of luphera, elyas and grald are under blacknail's control and i don't recall them trying to kill him and almost succeding, luphera on the other hand is toying with him while giving him some intel that frankly he can get by many other ways

      and what do you mean 'They might, might, be able to torture information out of someone', if they want they WILL get the info out of you, fear is a strong thing my friend. people acted on fear for too long even in our world

      and saying that we wanted her dead doesn't make sense ? this just doesn't make sense to me.

      she is a liability, why isn't everyone seeing this is what doesn't make sense to me.

      a liability that betrays you and almost kill you shouldn't be left alive if you want to get to werrik.

      i said this before but there are so many other ways for him to get intel other then, he already proved he can use fear and greed, he can do that again with some of his crazy plans, and i would enjoy it if he is in control of the situation, not being played with.

      btw, sorry for my bad english.

      He who travels the stories @He who travels the stories ago

      Well, I'll try to answer some of your points.

      What you have to make yourself aware of is that Luphera and Blacknail meet as equals. She is vastly supreme in influencing and using him, but neither of them is subordinate to the other.

      Your two first points are then the following:

      1) The assassin incident: Both of them are highly protective of their subordinates. Luphera used him in a dangerous way (as bait) because he killed one of 'hers'; a form of paing forhis sin. If one of Blacknails minions actually died, Luphera would have had her throat cut three times over. But up till now she caused no real harm to him and his anti-Werrick campain.

      2) Concerning the betrayal: it isn't acctually a betrayal. As far as I can remember Luphera never gave any concrete promises on being on his side. Therefore she can't betray him. To betray somebody you have to be on his side first. Her intimate and friendly behaviour led Blacknail (and the readers) to beliefe that she was on his side, leading to the feelings of being betrayed. And given the fact that she gave his enemies just the minimum amount of information she needed to give them, she seems to favour him.

      So, is she a liabilty? Yes. You are right. She definitely is.

      Does Blacknail need her? Not necessarily. He could make do. You (and others an your side) showed alternative solutions

      BUT she has uses:

      a) she is convinient. Sure, you can torture the information out of someone. But who knows the thing you want to know? Information gathering isn't totally easy and Blacknail and his minions have next to no experience in this field wheras Luphera is a pro.

      b) A point that doesn't seem to have come up till now: her uses not for gathering information for Blacknail but managing the information his opponents get. If they trust her to get the information for them but she withholds crucial parts, that is probably even more usefull than gathering information for Blacknail (and it is something that couldn't be done by anyone else)

      And the last thing to maybe think about is Blacknails modus operandi: practically riding a tiger. Backwards and without a saddle. His making things up on the fly, creating chaos and trying to use it better tahn his opponets. He could fail at any turn, takes cruedly calculated risks all while his whole side/following consists of humans he has to maneuver into a corner so that they fight Werrick at all (and that don't see him as an actual leader) and ... a bunch of hobgoblins. They are his main force. And what does Blacknail himself say about them: they can't be trusted. Any one of them could try to slit his throat at any time (which, I admit, seems not quite as true as Blacknail believes it to be, given the number of times he was out of action and they took care of him instead of killing him ...). But nevertheless, Blacknail build his whole plan on (in his opinion) unreliable people and a LOT of hope. Luphera may have a hidden agenda and is using Blacknail to further it, but it seems that hidden agenda entails Blacknail fighting with and probably winning against Werrick, which is totally in alignment with what Blacknail wants. Compared to the humans from Herads band (unmotivated and therefore hard to use) that just want to call it quits and his undisciplined hobgoblins (limited usefullness because of their low attention span and unreliabilty when not supervised) I would even go as far as to call Luphera (inteligent, skillfull, usefull for information management in both directions) one of the best partners he has available as long as their aims align which seems to be the case.

      blackshiinobi @blackshiinobi ago

      all of you guys seem to argue that, 'hey she has uses so he shouldn't kill her', but thats not how it works

      lets go back to herad right ? she was a good leader (well not good enough tho but still). lets say that even after that mage betrayed her somehow they still won the war. will the mage cease to have many values ? no he will still be too usefull to kill, hell its very hard to get a mage to become a bandit. will she not kill him ? you are dreaming if you think so.

      you can argue that the mage did more damage then luphera but blacknail CAN'T aford to act after the damage is done, cause then it would be too late.

      what am saying is, you don't keep people alive because they have uses, that way you won't kill anyone since you can surely find use for them.

      no, you kill people that will bring you down or are a liability or that BETRAYED YOU AND TRIED TO KILL YOU.

      the problem is blacknail had killed people that threatened him for less reason.

      so it don't make sense to that he kept her alive. he can't control her, she knows too much, she can control/use him, she tried to kill him, she betrayed him (yes she did, the way she found out he was a hob was by accident and he trusted her enough not to kill her after that, she didn't find him by her own means, otherwise he wouldn't be good at sneaking as he/we taught he is ) and she is a liability, those are 5 reason too many for him to kill her.

      and that argument that you guys say about her being an info 'broker' so it's normal for her to share intel. blacknail needs to be feared and mysterious, other wise if the enemy finds out that they are dealing with a some hobs it's going to be alot easier to act against it, we already saw what happens when he loses the element of surprise many times before, any battle becomes 10 times more difficult for him.

      Lord Of Mild Interest @Lord Of Mild Interest ago

      It's nice when people debate my arguments for me~

      Also guys we seem to have missed somthing,

      She says she has duties to other clients and she never actually stated she is on his side.

      She also stated that she can find blackmails friends and more ablut him because nothing happens in the city without her knowing.

      The only reasons she has helped this mug is.

      First Time) Gain control of information Brothel Place with Blacknails help.

      Second Time) She didn't like Werricks goons Blacknail killed them.

      So what if Blacknail wanted to kill somone she is interested in?

      Wouldnt she sabotage him or give bad info like she has "apparently" given to the enemies?

      Also we don't know what the letter says so she could have bullshitted that whole conversation on a bluff for what all we know.

      So what should Blacknail use his own slightly slower and more meticulous methods or completely trust her who has been shown to do what is convenient to her with swayable loyalties. And who has also stated she isn't even on his side so betrayal on a larger scale will happen at this rate meanwhile his minions are too scared to betray.

      He who travels the stories @He who travels the stories ago

      I definitly see the pros in killing her, but I absolutely have to debate you on one point:

      Luphera has only one loyality. Ever had and ever will. Herself (and the people she sees as hers). Its never a question of loyality. Its only a question of benefit.

      Therefore the whole discussion boils down to which paths and means the individual wants to take:

      1) fear + violence: powerful, but could backfire: they alienate possible allies and drive people to become his enemy (i.e. Luphera isn't his enemy. She's neutral at worst with giving both sides information.) If you put every neutral fraction under pressure then Werrick does to, and then they will probably side with him. Fear + violence is a path more suited to the 'stronger' party and that is Werrick. Never forget that the opponent can and will use the same means. You seem to favor this path as the least risky one, but I find it to be quite risky. Fighting Werrick is hard enough without forcing any other possible faction to take a side while you have nearly nothing to your name. Sounds like a recipe for desaster to me. It would fit Blacknail if he had the strongest faction around, no question, but as long as he is as weak as he is now it's way too early to become this extreme; if the choice is fight Werrick or fight Blacknail practically everyone will chose fight Blacknail, making the situation worse.

      2) forgiveness + trust: absolutely risky, you are right with that, while it's more likely to draw in allies it is far to naive a path to tread and it doesn't fit Blacknails nature. Absolute desaster practically unavoidable, we agree on this.

      but there's a third possible path:

      3) threats + second chances: he can come back and kill her and Luphera knows that; if you really damage him (aka taking Werricks side or giving Werrrick more than what is absolutely necessary to keep him of your throat) you have to make sure Balcknail dies or he'll come for your life ... and Blacknail is really hard to kill; it isn't as naive as forgiveness + trust but not as polarizing as fear + violence; allowing for taking benfits from both. It doesn't force people to take a side prematurely, they are allowed to outmaneuvre Werrick by giving in to him a little where needed without fully having to take his side. On the other hand it is cleer to Luphera (and others who learn of this incident) that giving Werrick more than the absolutely necessary will set Blacknail after her (their) pretty head. Blacknail stalls people from taking a side until he is powerful enough to either be an attractive ally or forcing them into his service outright (he needs time before he can use fear + violence with more safety). It enables the choice: wait and see how this develops, enabeling a neutral faction (where neutral can mean staying out of it or giving to both sides more or less equally).

      Interestingly threats + second chances is the path that Luphera herself uses: she brought him into danger (assassin incident) but with a clear motive: revenge/atonement for killing one of hers (Blacknail could have hit the girl ko instead of killing her); Luphera is not going to do so again as long as Blacknail doesn't kill one of hers again: a second chance but a clear threat never to make this mistake again. It is nearly the same position as they were in this chapter only in reverse and Blacknail having actually killed one of hers. Arguably Luphera could have warned him that the bandit is likely to be with one or more of her girls and not to harm them ... partly her fault but still: if Luphera was as unforgiving and inflexible of a person as you want/advise Blacknail to be, he would have died long ago in this clothes rack or poisened by Luphera. She is a person worth working with exactly because one mistake doesn't mean irreparable enmity and her giving incomplete information to Werricks side shows she's as much on Blacknails side as she can be.

      blackshiinobi @blackshiinobi ago

      the probleme is blacknail can't have ANY of his intel be sold to anyone.

      hobs relay on the element of surprise to do anything, we've been told that time and time again in the novel. so they can't have theire information travel around (howerver little it is)

      and don't tell me that eventually they will be found out, they probably would but it would be too late for the humans , cause that's theire strenght, sneaking around, they can't fight 1v1.

      most of your argument are applicable to humans not hobs, like the fact that fear and violance might backfire and allinate people, what are you talking about ? of course it will backfire and alinate people, but you have to understand that those people will never EVER be 100% in blacknail side , they will at least be "at his side" till they get whatever benifit they want then they will try the hardest to get rid of him

      can you imagine ? a group of people that blacknail gave 2nd chance to and they know some of his weaknesses(so the element of surprise is gone) become his enemy ? that's not going to end well , i promiss.

      and the problem still stands, he is not in control of luphera however she can control him, and quite frankly most functinal humans can after they know a bit about him, what he likes and what he dislikes, he is still too naive.

      He who travels the stories @He who travels the stories ago

      I think the element of surprise the hob-goblins rely on isn't a question of intel/information but rather of detection. Blacknail makes his plans up on the fly most of the time, there just isn't an opportunity for information on his actions to leak beforehand. Crucial information on him is only his current position.

      Then again, Blacknails forces are based around hobgoblins he trained in fighting and scouting, so they are probably pretty much capable of freely relocating their base within the green and rebuilding from local goblin population. Blacknail is practically a phantom, only vulnerable to information leek when he is out of his territory (the woods) and in a city. And if he got allies in the city, that work for his cause there, he would not need to go into this danger any more (except maybe for short, sneaky, unpredictable and irregular visits), making his position really safe.

      But the actual cause for this argument is most likely something completely different: some people feel hurt and betrayed by Lupheras actions and are against her for this reason while others (i.e. myself) like the character and want her to stay in the story ... no matter how many 'rational' arguments we make, we won't be able to change the other sides feelings and will therefore not change their opinion on wether Luphera aught to die or live ... because it all boils down to: do you like her or not

       

       

      Lord Of Mild Interest @Lord Of Mild Interest ago

      Alright lads debating is fun but I request a Cease Fire

      We are now 30+ I think comments into this and we have gotten no where so I request we simply wait for the next chapter and see if we can add more fuel to the flame there since at the moment both sides have used all ammunition and it's simply becoming back and forth of same information.

      So let us stop debating for now and instead see where this takes is next chapter where I'm sure this issue will be brought up.

      He who travels the stories @He who travels the stories ago

      I propose to locate our next discussion on side 2 so that we don't drown out all the other people and their comments on the next chapter too.

      blackshiinobi @blackshiinobi ago

      WHAT, SO I DON'T GET TO WRITE A 10 PARAGRAPH TEXT OF WHY A FICTIONAL CHARACTER SHOULD DIE ?

      just kidding, i was getting tierd too lol.

Accridian @Accridian ago

Thanks for the chapter!

Eleven @Eleven ago

Thanks for the chapter!

JedediahWolfgang @JedediahWolfgang ago

That was a very unsatisfying conclusion. It felt hollow and half baked. “You betrayed me” , “only a little”, “ok, I guess that’s fine. Bye.”. It doesn’t feel like anything changed, or anything new was learned. That entire scene may as well not happened.

im not suggesting he slaughter her, but a slight evolution of their relationship could have been introduced. Maybe an opportunity to hint more at blacknails growing intelligence and reduced reliance on just his instincts.

Wolfram1 @Wolfram1 ago

thanks for the chapter

unlike some here it seems, i do think not killing her makes sense,

men tend to do stupid things when they are sexually involved with a women even if they think they are akting like they would if that weren't the case

 

i do agree that his reasoning is often very irritating, i would prefer not knowing what he thinks so i can interpret smart hidden meanings into his actions even if there are none

Killashard
Premium

Killashard @Killashard ago

Thanks for the chapter!

nindjak @nindjak ago

LIKE A DAMN FIDDLE

> everyone in this whole chapter

Dragrath @Dragrath ago

This was probably the best long term outcome. While blind vengence might certinly have a fear factor for some it would also make other info brokers unwilling to deal with him as he forces one to take a side which is a very dangerous proposition. The saying is burning bridges hopefully Blacknail will learn to be more careful with what he shares with her. If blacknail is to eventually topple the wolf and claim the north burning bridges isn't really in his best interests. >_>