Cybersaur and Iron Rat faced one another from across the rooftops. The two closed in on one another, darting across rooftops, so only one street width kept them apart. Each held onto the hilt of their main weapon and sized the other up. Then they looked around the city, at the still citizens that had been walking the streets, frozen exactly in the action they were taking whenever the stillness settled upon Argreon.
“You did this, didn’t you?” accused Iron Rat, as he placed his hand on the pommel of his parrying dagger as well.
“How could I? I am a singer, no mage!”
“Every wizard says they’re not a wizard! That means you’re a wizard!”
Cybersaur snorted gruffly, “Facetious logic. You’ve the stench of magic about you!”
Iron Rat growled, “Well you stink also!”
Cybersaur pulled his very long and heavy sword out and swung it quickly about him. It was a testament to his strength that he could wield it with such ease. The sword was perhaps as large as Iron Rat himself. He pointed the tip towards the only other being with mobility in this city, “Either take that back or back it up with your steel, vermin!”
Iron Rat snorted, “I’m not doing either, fangs!”
“Fangs? How dare you! I’ve….” Cybersaur looked into the mirror sheen of his sword and noticed that he did in fact have fangs in his mouth. His face was still recognizable as his own, but it had taken on some of the features of a cybersaur raptor as well. He gave a dark growl, “Damn wizard.”
“Hah! So you admit your wizardry!”
“I admit I met one, vermin, not that I am one!”
Iron Rat took a slight step back, asking, “You met one? When?”
Cybersaur’s sword pointed downwards, in a relaxed position, “Just before I entered this town. In fact, said wizard put me in this town.”
“In an attic?”
“Yes,” growled Cybersaur, “Why?”
“Because I met a wizard just before I entered town. And they gifted me with the Esoteric Art of Shape Shifting, then they put me in an attic with their magic as well.”
“Interesting,” growled Cybersaur, as he sheathed his sword, “Were they named Faceless One?”
Iron Rat moved his hands off of the handles of his weapons and crossed them over his chest, “No, it was Many Eyes.”
Cybersaur’s sword lifted up again, “Then how do I know you’re still not my enemy!”
Iron Rat studied Cybersaur some. Fighting him would be difficult. The northern barbarian had size and strength on his side, in spades. And he was fast enough that Iron Rat’s agility would not save him for very long. He waved his hands about, “Hey, wait, I’m not an enemy. I don’t even know who you are.” Then he considered a bit. Many Eyes told him that he would know who he was to kill. He would know. He sized Cybersaur up some more.
“What, vermin? Your looks leering at my body offend me!”
“Yo, it ain’t like that, fangs!” Iron Rat took a slight step back on his roof then sat down upon it, “I’m thinking. My wizard told me I’d know who I was to kill in this city.”
“Mine, as well,” growled Cybersaur, as he also moved to sit at his own rooftop, the duo talking across the gap of the street splitting the buildings apart, “What of it?”
“Well, I was thinking. I feel no actual compulsion to kill you.”
“Nor I you, loathe am I to admit it.”
Iron Rat gave a nod, “Well, that’s good for me. Thank you.”
“Welcome. Now prattle forth.”
Iron Rat gave a short snort, “It’s not a prattle so much as a thinking out loud within your earshot. Look, we’re supposed to kill someone here in this city, and we’re supposed to know who, but neither of us have much of a feeling it’s the other. Right?”
“I am not disputing that, no.”
“You could have just said right. Anyway.” Iron Rat looked upwards to the sky, “Your wizard…Faceless One was it? Did they say they were an enemy of mine, Many Eyes?”
“They mentioned not the name of Many Eyes at all, nor of you,” Cybersaur stated.
“Good. So I do not think we are supposed to kill one another. I do not think our wizards are antagonistic to one another. Rivals, perhaps, but they’re not at war with one another and we’re not their pawns in a battle. I don’t think. Leastwise, not in a way that we need to fight amongst ourselves. With me so far?”
“I am agreeing with your premise, but I do not think I am very much ‘with you’, exactly.”
Cybersaur gave a snort, “Because I’m downwind of you, vermin!”
Iron Rat gave a short laugh, “Alright, maybe I deserve that. Living in a swamp could do that to someone. How about instead of just a truce, we form an alliance?”
“Let’s form a partnership.” Cybersaur pointed to a bathhouse he could see from his rooftop that lay a few blocks behind Iron Rat’s location, “But first, let us wipe the stench off of ourselves so as not to offend the other’s oversensitive nostrils. Then, we find some spirits to down.”
“I thought you said you weren’t a wizard.”
“Alcohol, vermin fool! Liquor!”
Iron Rat hopped off of his roof to the street, landing in a gentle crouch, “Fine, let’s be off. Yo, what’s your name anyway, big guy? I can’t keep calling you fangs. Least, not when I’m not trying to be polite.”
“I am Cybersaur.”
“Like the beasties? Seems fitting. I’m Iron Rat.”
“Haha!” Cybersaur hopped down and gave a loud laugh that echoed down the alleys, “If you impress me, you can be Steel Vermin then!”
“Hey! Watch it, bub! This could be a quickly ended friendship if you keep pressing that V word on me.”
Cybersaur rested a powerful hand on Iron Rat’s head and started to lead him down the street, “An old nickname from when you were younger, yes? It still chafes you?”
“It still does.”
“Mayhaps when this adventure in Argreon is complete, I can help you gain revenge on the bullies you had from this times.”
Iron Rat gave a sidelong glance to his new companion and a soft shrug, “Nah. Don’t worry about it. I mean, kind of you to offer and all. But what good would that do me now?”
“Wisdom in those words, small one.”
Iron Rat slapped Cybersaur’s forearm, “Now that’s even worse!”
Cybersaur growled down at his new companion and gave him a dark look. Then the two burst out laughing as they entered the bathhouse. Each went to a bath of their own, Cybersaur taking what is normally the men’s bath and Iron Rat the female’s bath, their weapons placed at the edge of the baths and within quick reach. It was not just an issue of trusting the other, but it was also due to the strangeness of everyone in Argreon being completely still. Iron Rat cursed that none of the city’s females had been using the bath when the stillness set in.
Afterwards, the duo went to the bar across the street. They found fermented positronium of various flavors and began to pour themselves several drinks. They set them across the bar, Iron Rat taking one end and Cybersaur the other, meeting up in the center of the bar with the strongest of said drinks.
Cybersaur and Iron Rat each started the drinking farthest away from one another. They’d drink their first drink, then move closer to one another, drink the second one, and repeat. Eventually they’d be drunk and next to one another.
Hefting his first mug, Cybersaur gave, “From the frozen north I come, I who am Cybersaur.”
Iron Rat hefted his own mug, “Iron Rat is my name, most recently of the northern swamps.”
After the drinks were drunk, which took some time for these mugs were filled high, they moved closer and took their second drinks. Cybersaur started, “Enslaved when I was gone are a number of my people, and I am here to rescue them.”
Iron Rat took his own drink and stated his intent as, “A mentor who taught me nothing and used me as his one house’s caretaker was kidnapped by a small group. I would rescue him.”
When they got to their third drink, Cybersaur said, “This I offer to you then, that a rescue of your friend be attempted.”
“Agreed,” Iron Rat said with his third drink, “And thank you. But first we rescue your people.”
Iron Rat gave a laugh, “Because if any are half as powerful as you, that’s several good allies we have on our side!”
Cybersaur snorted and asked, “And if they’re immobilized like the rest of this city?”
The two kept drinking and kept moving closer to one another with each drink. But their statements were less and less unintelligible with the emptying of the mugs, and their alcohold muddled minds had to fill in the blanks of the other’s intent.
When they finished the last drinks, they pledged eternal brotherhood in a way that only drunken camaraderie could exhibit, then passed out against the bar.
When they awoke late the next day, they found that their weapons were not with them, They further found, to their chagrin, that they were no longer in the bar.
They were in a cell.
Which means someone else in this city was able to move around, and they or their minions dragged the two into this cell.
The one they had to kill, perhaps?