Azar watched Vincent mutilate the burnt remains of the once-man. The golden mask concealed a faint smile – it seemed something good had come out of this day after all.
In his travels, Azar had at one point found himself at the eastern edge of the Mountains of madness, and the border of the Jade Empire. It was there that he first came into contact with he writings of the warrior poet Shan Yu. Live with a man fourty years, Shan Yu wrote, share his house, his meals. Speak with him on every subject – You still won’t know the man. But tie him up, and hold him over a volcano’s edge. Only then, in that moment, will you truly meet the man.
Azar had had his doubts about Vincent. Vincent was callous and cruel, and potentially intelligent but only interested in anything insofar as he thought he could profit from it. He displayed little patience and a staggering superiority complex. Azar had tried to work with him mostly out of necessity, as he owed the Watcher to keep his shrine there – and Azar knew too well the price of broken bargains. But in truth, he had spent many a private moment considering how to best be rid of his new landlord.
This day had at first only reinforced his concerns. Vincent had taken him to a filthy bar filled with unruly scum, somehow figuring that these drunks and ruffians who had no respect for coin or authority would somehow make for good troopers for the fight that was to come. After a close encounter with one of the Laughing Fiends, Azar would have thought that Vincent would know better than that.
And after that, of course, things have gotten truly bad.
But watching his new business partner fight for his life to prove a point about his courage, Azar felt like Shan Yu would agree that at this moment, Azar met the true Vincent Stranglethorn. And this man might just have the capacity to achieve his ambitions. And more importantly, he could be both willing and able to help Azar achieve his.