Gantras stood in the gardens atop the Society Headquarters, holding his favorite blade out to catch the first rays of the rising sun. It was a ritual for him, having the sun kiss his blade for good luck, and he did it every morning after his pre-dawn exercises, and this morning was no different. When the sun had finally risen and kissed his blade, he did some paces around the tower to cool off so his legs and arms wouldn’t be cramped. As he trotted along the north battlements, he noticed something moving in the trees below – just a flash of red, then it was gone.
With a childlike curiosity, Gantras ran down through the tower and out into the jungle, pulling on his jerkin and sword belt on as he ran. He caught fleeting glimpses of a man moving about in the undergrowth, and gave chase.
“Hey dere!” he called, “Who be you be eh?”
He chased the figure further into the jungle, and nearly bumped into it when he came around a large growth of trees.
“Alex!” cried Gantras in surprise and amazement. “Everybody thinks yer dead!”
Alexander Rahl smiled at the simple man, and patted him on the shoulder.
“Not quite, I think.”
“You should come back, the Old Man be really happy you not be dead! You hurt?”
Alexander shook his head in the negative, smiled warmly, and shoved a dagger between the other man’s ribs. He lowered the limp form to the ground, waiting for the last of Gantras’ sputtering breath to leave him. With the Ring of Spirit, he saw Gantras’ disembodied form, sputtering and shivering in the cold beyond the Veil, a look of surprise, horror, and betrayal on his face not entirely unlike that of a dog kicked by its master. When the spirit finally composed itself as best it could, it began moving away but was stopped by black tendrils emanating from Alexander’s ring, again the shock and horror crossed the shade’s form.
“I’m afraid I can’t let you come back right now, Gantras,” said Alexander frankly, which sent the shade into a panic. It frantically pulled against the bonds that held it fast. “Hey..hey,” he continued, “don’t worry, you’ll be fine, just need you to be scarce for a while. Relax…unlike some others I know, I *am* my brother’s keeper. You’ll be fine.”
With that, the bonds constricted, and the spirit of Gantras was sucked into them, reeling back into the ring. Once it was over and Alexander had a minute to shake Gantras’ terrified visage out of his mind, he got to work. He removed the man’s clothing and packed it away in its own pack to preserve Gantras’…unique…scent. When the corpse below him was naked, he took a long time to look it over, inch by inch, noting every scar, tattoo, and feature. When he was satisfied that he knew every inch of the man’s body, he began to take it apart. He methodically removed the man’s face and eyes, as well as any skin that held a discerning feature. Finally, he took a small but wicked-looking tool and removed the tiny blue crystal from the corpse’s inner ear, taking great care to make the body look as if it had never had a crystal implanted. He took the bloody mess of skin and dropped it into a mass of slimes, letting the acid dissolve it completely, and left the remainder of the corpse for the gators.
His work done, Alexander Mengst, Ringwielder of Spirit stole off into the jungle to find the dyes he’d need for his next disguise.