The Long Road to Ruin Ch. 36byLady_Blackhawk©
Disclaimer: This fanfic is based off the Neverwinter Nights community module by the name of "A Dance with Rogues" created by Valine. I fell in love with this story and felt compelled to write something that compliments it. This story contains explicit content and graphic violence. All characters except Shiloh, Bastian, Rhys, Nicca, Ni'as, Narev and Essex are property of Valine.
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The port of Betancuria neared and Shiloh was so excited to be back. She had immensely enjoyed her time on the Summer Islands in the temple with Myra. Shiloh had grown quite fond of the uptight cleric turned high priestess of Bastian. She smiled inwardly and thought of their last rendezvous on the boat together. Shiloh made sure everyone had heard Myra's cries of passion.
She made her way up to the top deck, her brow furrowing at the intensity of rain that came down in skin drenching sheets. She shivered and drew on a cloak to cover her ceremonial armor. She much preferred the warmer, sunnier weather of the islands. Shiloh watched the sailors work as the captain guided the ship to port. They scurried about their duties like busy bees. Once the boat had docked and the sailors tied it up, Shiloh departed without Shanna. She knew Shanna wanted to spend more time with Mero and would be accompanying Myra to Sargoza with Gisele and Nyema, the two girls they rescued from petrification in the Temple of Hyath. Shiloh also knew the stop in Betancuria would be a brief one.
As she made her way down the dock, she noticed Vico standing at the end of the pier. As she approached him, she flashed a condescending look at him. "Still keeping tabs on me?" Shiloh scoffed insolently.
"On you, hardly, where's Shanna?" He returned an insolent look of his own and gazed passed her at the ship.
"That's not any of your business, asshole, but if you must know, she's out of your reach. Stay away from my sister. That's an order!!!"
He rolled his eyes. "I don't take orders from any two bit whore, birdie. Where is she?"
"Fuck you, asshole!" Shiloh glared at him, feeling her anger building. She stepped past him and continued on her way down the docks. He whirled, bringing his hand down to slap her bottom. A crack sounded as flesh impacted flesh. She yelped as pain exploded through her nearly bare ass cheek and spun back around to face him. Rage exploded in her blue eyes, "Touch me again and I'll kill you."
His hand shot up to throat, grabbing it menacingly. He squeezed just slightly enough to let her know he could snap her neck in an instant. "It'll be a cold day in the hells if you ever manage that, birdie."
Shiloh fought the urge to flinch. She could deceive herself into thinking that he wouldn't hurt her, but that was far from the truth. They both know he was more than willing and capable of doing her great harm. He'd proved it before.
Shiloh's eyes were locked with Vico's. Part of her longed to smear it in his face that Shanna had found another lover and had moved on, her sister no longer needed the blackguard. Shiloh also knew Shanna wouldn't be back for a while. "Fuck you," she spat a second time.
The pressure on her throat intensified. His eyes narrowed until she could only see the black pupils.
A voice came from behind. "Let her go, Vico."
He begrudgingly removed his hand and turned toward the female to which the voice belonged. His gaze encompassed Shanna thoroughly. His eyes ran from the crown of her head to the point on her boot very slowly. That she wore similar colored armor as Shiloh didn't escape his notice. Heat flared within his dark eyes. "Shanna?"
"Come with me, Vico," Shanna instructed and led him off into one of the empty dock houses nearby. Once inside she pulled her dagger, lazily caressing the blade.
No emotions betrayed the depth of feelings he was experiencing. Her absence forced him to realize what he had and what he really felt for the two sisters. Vico decisively knew what he wanted. "My Shanna..." he started as he moved in as close as he possibly could without touching her. "I've missed you more than anything."
Shanna shook her head doubtingly. She knew he'd come to her like this, knew he'd try to sweet talk her until she gave into what he wanted. "Don't lie to me, Vico. I don't buy it."
His hands caressed her arms gently. "Don't be like this, sweetie."
She raised her blade and pressed the tip against the upper part of his armor's breastplate that protected his heart. "Fuck off, Vico."
The heat in his eyes turned to pure ice. "What's that whore done to you?"
A cold laugh slipped from her lips. "Don't lay the blame at Shiloh's feet. I've had my eyes opened and I don't like what I see. You're a shiftless user and I won't stand for it. I won't play second fiddle to anyone, especially my sister. So I have news for you. We're finished. I'm through with you. I've moved on. I don't need you. I don't want you and I don't love you."
Vico jerked back like he'd been burned. Rage exploded within the darkened depths of his eyes. A hiss slipped from thin lips drawn tight over his dinghy teeth, "Fuckin' cunt!"
"Fuckin' bastard," She shot back with blatant contempt. "Don't you ever come sniffin' around me again or I'll turn you into a eunuch." She made sure the point of her dagger raked over the crotch of his leather armor before she quickly backed away from him.
"As if I'd stoop so low," Vico sneered at her before he let loose a mirthless chuckle. "You'll be back begging for my dick soon enough, just like your whore sister."
She ignored his taunt and backed further away from him. Once she was at the door, she reiterated her previous taunt. "Fuck off, Vico. Your dick ain't that great. And I've found better." She slipped through the doorway and back out into the street, making her way back to the dock where Mero stood beside Shiloh. She flashed both of them a wide smile before taking hold of Mero's hand.
Shiloh returned the conspiratorial smile. She knew Shanna was in good hands. Mero would treasure her while Myra looked out for her as well. Shanna would be far away from Vico and far away from the Dhorn. Shiloh also trusted Bastian to take care of his faithful follower. "Take good care of her, Mero." Shiloh spoke up, eyeing her sister and the sailor quite fondly. Shiloh kept a close eye on them until they reached the ship. She waved one last time while the sailors readied the ship to depart.
Shiloh didn't stay and watch the ship depart nor did she notice when Vico had left the dock house. She walked from the pier to the cobblestone street toward Drago's Warehouse. It felt good to be home, despite the run in with the blackguard. Leave it to that bastard to put his nose where it didn't belong. Shiloh shook her head as she reached for the door handle.
Entering the warehouse, Shiloh immediately noticed how stark the room was. She found it odd that none of the crates were present. She approached one of the warehouse workers and smiled at him. "Benny, why is it so empty in here?"
The blond haired smuggler smiled at her. "Nice to see you, Shiloh, where have you been?"
"I've been away. Now quit ogling me and answer my question," she retorted, insolently.
"Supply and demand, little girl," he replied with the shrug of his shoulders.
"Pfft. Is Drago downstairs? I need to speak to him." Shiloh replied as she tried to figure out what was going on. Not waiting for a response she headed to the lower warehouse door and knocked, giving the password. She made her way down the stairs into the lower level; she noticed this room was also completely empty of its usual features. The crates and barrels were absent, giving the room a ghostly feel. She then noticed Drago talking to two tall men that she'd never seen before. One had short spiked black haired and piercing deep blue eyes while the other wore his light reddish brown hair in a long ponytail that swept down to the middle of his back. They both certainly were handsome devils. Her eyes raked over both men appreciatively and she flashed a seductive smile.
"Drago," Shiloh called out as she approached the dark skinned smuggler. "It's so empty here that if I didn't know better I'd think you were closing up shop and heading for more fertile pastures."
"The Dhorn've been more persistent in tryin' ta locate us since we sacked their last treasure shipment. It wasn't wit'out loss though on our part. Two ships sunk and a third barely limped in. The Hooded One blessed us, though. Th' ship that made it back held a fair amount of booty. Now where in th' name of th' nine hells have ya been? No one has seen or heard from ya in a few weeks." Drago admonished her sharply. "Alfons's outta his head wit' worry and Vico's more bad-tempered than usual."
"I was on a mission, Drago. Nathan knew where I was, as for Vico... what I do is none of his damn business." Shiloh replied as she turned her gaze from Drago to his two handsome companions. "I'm Shiloh. I don't believe we've met."
The long haired man with stormy grey eyes stepped toward her, elbowing his dark haired companion out of the way. "Essex's the name. So what's a pretty little something like you talking to these jesters?"
She smiled her most winning smile and posed before the stormy eyed male, giving him something to look at. "Would you prefer I do something else?"
"Absolutely, you could let me get to know you better." His smile matching hers, interest twinkled in his eyes. "What's to do around here when there's no thievin' going on?"
"Oh... There's plenty to be done in the dark," she purred seductively. Her eyes took a long walk up and down his slim but finely muscled form. She couldn't remember the last time she felt such a strong attraction for the opposite sex.
"Well, now..." He quipped with a knowing grin. "You'll have to tell me more of these things to be done in the dark." His eyes scanned her form like a jeweler appraising an exquisite piece of finery.
Not to be outdone, the other man nudged Essex back. "Name's Tony and it is very nice to meet you, my sweet. Pay no heed to the drivel spilling forth from my uncouth companion. He doesn't know how to show a beautiful female a good time."
Her eyes moved to Tony, raking over him once again. She smiled again, though the intense feeling didn't carry over. "Nice try, Tony, but that's not for you to decide." The mischievous twinkle in her eye served to lighten the sting of the obvious rejection to the dark haired man. She winked playfully.
Drago cleared his throat. "Shiloh, do ya need anyt'ing else because we're busy?"
"I definitely have needs, but I get the hint. The next time you go after the Dhorn shipment I want to go. I have a special interest in the treasure they're shipping since it belonged to my family. No more of the Aurelius legacy is going to end up in the hands of the Dhorn Emperor, not if I have any say in it."
Tony cocked an eyebrow at Shiloh, gleaming at her widely. "I had heard Nathan had a Royal working for him, but didn't think it was true. You must be heir to the throne of Betancuria, no?"
Shiloh met his gaze levelly. "I am, but I wouldn't broadcast if I were you. I won't be the reason the Dhorn decide to hunt the Family any harder. Additionally, I think Vico would have your balls on a silver platter if you spilled our little secret."
"Honey, if you think I'm afraid of Vico, then you're dead wrong. Vico's a pussy compared to the hardass cutthroats I deal with on a daily basis. Don't worry about ol' Tony, beautiful."
Essex nudged Tony back, once again stepping to the forefront. "Your secret's safe. I'll ensure that," he grinned as his hand gently caressed her shoulder, lingering briefly on her soft skin.
Shiloh leaned closer, encouraging the contact. "I'll hold you to that." Then she turned back to Drago. "Has there been word whether the Dhorn cracked the last vault in the castle or if there will be more shipments?"
"Look, girlie, I don't think that's any business of yore'n. When and if we go, we'll be takin' four ships full of the bloodthirstiest men we can recruit. Nath won't allow it and neither will Alfons." Drago shook his head at Shiloh before inclining his head at his two companions and motioning to the door. "I know ya want ta recover what belonged to yer family, but once it's in our hands, it's property of The Family. And don't forget yer a part of The Family."
"The treasure, just like you, will be in very good hands," Essex winked at her.
Tony bowed before Shiloh while Essex took hold of her hand. He brought it to his lips and placed a few soft kisses to her silken skin. "I'll make it a point to see you again very soon, sweet Shiloh."
"Don't keep me waiting then," she winked and watched him walk out of the room. She turned back to the dark skinned smuggler and flashed a seductive look at him. She vowed to get her way, even if it meant using every ounce of persuasion she possessed. "Drago, who better to steal the treasure from under their noses than me," she purred as she batted her baby blues at him sweetly. Shiloh sauntered toward Drago slowly, opening the front of her armor to reveal her creamy white skin. Her milky breasts with their pink tipped nipples came into view. She pressed against his body, molding her breasts to the hard pectoral muscles of his chest.
Drago pushed her away and cocked an eyebrow at her. He'd certainly seen and heard a lot in his day, but had never seen anything quite like that. He shook his head at her. "Girlie, ya don't wanna be messin' wit' ol' Drago like this. I be know'n what ya're. Ya're a maneater and all yer wiles won't work on me." Reaching toward her, he unceremoniously tucked her back into her armor and went about his business.
"Now you listen to me, asshole. That treasure is mine and I will be going." Shiloh's eyes blazed crimson as her skin turned copper. Tempestuous desire for vengeance filled her completely. "If you think for one moment that you can keep me from going then you're both dead wrong. Now if you'll excuse me, I must speak to Alfons. Do not leave without me."
Drago cocked an eyebrow at her, "Gods save me from haughty bitches," he muttered. "Ya know Nath'll hear about this. I bet he already knows the royal hellion's back and behavin' like she's the bloody fuckin' Queen."
Shiloh flashed a death stare at him, made an obscene gesture with her hands and stormed into the sewers. How dare he deny me! That was her father's legacy that Dhorn had their hands on. She couldn't allow them to keep any more of it. It was an affront to the vengeance she longed to visit upon them. Shiloh quickly made her way through the dark tunnels to the hideout. She bypassed Kasha, Gina and a male guard she didn't recognize. Up the stairs she dashed, entering Alfons's office. "We need to talk."
Alfons looked up from his desk, raising an eyebrow. "About? And where in the hells have you been?"
"Ask anyone. I've been around. I was having too much fun to check in with you," she grinned wickedly. "But if you have to know, I sent a paladin to the hells."
Alfons blinked at her, his mouth gaping wide open, "You what?"
"Well I didn't actually do it myself. I helped a priestess. But that's a story for another day. I want to be on the next ship that goes after the Dhorn treasure ships. And before you start growling at me about how I know about that, just remember those greedy bastards have their hands on my family's wealth. I will not stand for that, Alfons. You have to let me go on this mission."
Alfons eyed her thoughtfully. "Shiloh, I'll have to talk to Nathan before I can allow that. I know you want to be there to see the treasure recovered, but you are too valuable of an asset for us to risk," the bushy bearded big man replied.
"I'm capable of taking care of myself," she stated confidently.
"If Rhys were back from Illeria, I'd be more inclined to let you go. However, he had to act quickly to get his stepdaughter out of the city." Alfons rubbed his chin. "Vico will be going, but he won't play nursemaid for you."
Shiloh scoffed tersely. "I don't care about that asshole. I don't care what he will and won't do and I don't care where he is, as long as he's not up my ass." She rolled her eyes. "I don't need Rhys, either. Mark my words, Alfons. I will be on one of those four ships."
He shook his head, "Maybe."
"No maybes. I will be." She confidently turned on her heel and left the room, returning to the main part of the hideout. Mando motioned to her, calling her over.
"Hey Shiloh, it's good to see you. Would you be interested in pulling a job for me?" He smiled widely.
She smiled back, "Yes. I think I recall you asking me about it once before. What does this job entail?"
"It's a break-in, of sorts." He reached into a pouch and pulled out a flimsy red dress.
"The city mayor is having a little party tonight. Unfortunately none of us got an invite, but we did manage to intercept one of the dancing girls. I'd like you to take her place. You'll need this dress. You absolutely can't have anything else on you when you go in. Now, what I need you to steal is a statue."
"What kind of statue?" Shiloh asked, "And where will I find it?"
Mando grinned at her. "Due to the nature of the piece, you'd most likely find it near the mayor's bedroom. And make sure you don't get caught, either."
"I won't get caught, Mando." She quipped before heading over to Jacia. "Do you have any jobs available?"
Jacia smiled coldly. "Yes, I believe I do, little princess. I'm looking for someone to complete a rather difficult task. That is, if you think you're the right gal for this job...?"
"Why don't you tell me more about this difficult task and I'll tell you whether I'm interested or not," Shiloh retorted with a sneer. She had never liked Jacia or the way Jacia treated her.
"As you may have noticed, we're having a lot of trouble with the Dhorn right now, seems like it's their personal vendetta to find us. Maybe we can reduce their enthusiasm if we remove a couple of key officers in the city. There are two Dhorn generals we have a hit out on, but I have them covered. You needn't worry about them. The task I have for you, to complete the coup, involves a young noble who's related to Emperor Dhorn himself. Now, if you could kill the lad, that'd be especially helpful to our case, I think. His name is Simon Lyonson," Jacia purred as a malevolent grin crossed her face.
"Simon, you say? And where would I find this Simon?" Shiloh asked.
"He's staying in one of the larger mansions on the Isle of Men. Though rumor has it he can occasionally be found at Tald's Tavern located in the western end of the city. Look him up and do whatever it takes to make him dead. Oh, if you'd be so kind, bring me his head that you've killed him as proof. Complete this for me and I'll make your reward worthwhile."
"Consider it done."
After walking away from Jacia's little corner of the hideout, Shiloh approached Dalino and began to sell off many of the items she'd acquired during her time on Summer Island and the Temple of Hyath and purchased from him a ring with a substantial protective enhancement on it and a pair of gloves that enhanced her natural dexterity.
Leaving the hideout behind, Shiloh headed north through the sewer tunnels, making her way to the entrance she knew would take her up into the common room of the Nathan's restaurant. She encountered nothing, not even a rat, in the crossing.
Shiloh climbed the ladder and crept through the common room. The lunch crowd had come and gone. It wasn't quite time for the dinner crowd yet either. The patrons that sat eating a hearty meal seemed to pay little attention to her. That worked to her advantage. Up two short flights of stairs she climbed before heading to Nathan's office. She nodded at Warent and Wesh as she made her way passed them and into Nathan's office.