Chapter 3

Chapter 3

A Chapter by Isemay

Riding hard in the opposite direction did cross her mind as Syreilla made her way up the foot of the mountain to the bare stone face. But the lich would probably just hunt her down. No one else would be stupid enough to take the job.

He was exactly where she thought he would be. Pacing impatiently in front of the entrance. However, his companions were entirely unexpected. Two elves in gleaming armor bearing the sigil of Orileria stood to one side. She nodded to them cautiously.

“I thought he was lying when he said he found a half-elf thief for this.” The closer of the two looked at her with amusement.

“I wish that he was.” Syreilla offered dryly and garnered smiles from the pair. “You’re here to help or just point and laugh as I die a horrible death?”

Their smiles became grins, “The latter.”

Syreilla dismounted and made certain she had all she needed from the saddlebags before she took the hook staff and made her way cautiously to the entrance. Kneeling, she began pulling the pieces of Kaddal out and away from where they lay. It was a stomach-turning mess. She shook her head, even his great axe had been cut by the blades.

Once he was clear, she made her way toward where he had been standing. The hum of power had faded, waiting to be triggered again. She cursed under her breath. He probably hadn’t felt it because there had been nothing to feel before it had been tripped. That didn’t bode well for other traps inside.

From her pocket, she pulled the thin gold chains with the single dark blue gem dangling. The chain circlet had been payment for another job, and it was probably the most useful thing she’d ever owned. The dimness before her cleared. The runes became readable, and the pressure plate on the ground now had visible edges.

The barman had called this place the Nameless, but according to the runes, the Nameless was who was buried here. Sealed by the three races, this place was not to be disturbed. She almost laughed, it also made very clear that there was no treasure within. What idiot would put that on a wall and expect people to believe it? Probably an elf.

Looking ahead she sprang against the wall and pushed herself off at an angle, clearing the plate. A little deeper inside, a portcullis gate now blocked her way. Syreilla could see through the bars that there was a passageway behind it. There was no keyhole, no lever, no obvious way to raise it without brute strength. Something she was fairly sure would set off another trap. A little bit of dragon’s fire might do the trick.

Crouching she pulled out what she needed from her pouches mixing the volatile stuff in a small ceramic bowl. With both hands, careful not to slosh it, careful not to even breath on it, she lifted it and poured it over the lowest rungs. It caught fire immediately and she dropped the bowl as it began to burn her hands. She moved back toward the entrance just a bit as the dragon’s fire dripped and burned on the bars and set the stone floor on fire.

The flames were almost painfully bright while she wore the circlet. But she had to keep an eye on the color of the metal. At the right time, when it reached the right color, Syreilla gave the small section of metal a kick and it fell in. It opened a hole large enough for her to get through when the fire had burned itself out. Waiting was the hardest part. She pulled on her leather gloves after she had waited long enough, the stone would still be hot. Once she was through, she looked down both sides of the passageway.

Kaddal had said it would be a maze in here. She chose to bear to the right. Wire traps, falls, pressure plates. Standard. Syreilla had almost started to feel cocky until she came to the wards. A mage would have fits with those. She crouched, mentally cursing. How the hell had Kaddal expected to get past those? The lich might be able to do something about it but he was waiting at the entrance. Getting back to him and then getting him through the traps would be too much.

She could, maybe, manage to set them off, if, and that was a big if, she could sling dragon’s fire down the warded passage and get away in time. That would be stupidly dangerous. Batran would give her a hiding if she lived to make it back. She had to grin at the thought. “Dragon’s fire it is,” Syreilla muttered under her breath.

Hairs on the back of her neck raised as the stones behind her began to move. She dove out of the way barely evading the barrage that was sent down the passage setting off some of the wards. Syreilla could hear them as she scrambled back to the fall trap and swung herself into it, holding the stones of the edge as the air above her blistered with invisible flame and charred her gloves and the hands in them.

Syreilla screamed, kicking out her legs to hold her close enough to the top that she would be able to climb back out. She stripped the charred gloves off with her teeth and used one of the few elvish spells she’d managed to learn to siphon power from the onslaught above her and use it to heal her badly burned hands.

The power being released was harsh and difficult to control, but the pain focused her mind. Healing was her only thought. Once she’d finished she clung to the cool wall and waited, almost afraid to raise her hands and try to bring herself out. The thought occurred to her, whoever had planned that trap hadn’t done it well. Unless it was meant to be the sound of a mage’s voice trying to dissolve the wards that would have set it off. That might have caught a mage off guard. And the way the power had flowed through the passage that might have driven anyone else into the traps.

Hesitantly, Syreilla raised her hands and pulled herself out. If they’d had a thief helping design it, though, there wouldn’t have been a fall trap here. And there would be more subtle wards like the one that triggered at the sound of her voice. She hadn’t even seen that one. Cautiously making her way back to the warded passage, she took pains to be silent. There were still too many wards active to make going down that path sane. And worse, there was no telling if that was the passage she should take or not.

If she had been designing it, she’d have known people would be inclined to think that passage to be the most likely. Who would take the time and effort to ward a passage that went nowhere? Syreilla would. She started to go back the way she came, suddenly realizing there was now a hole in the wall she’d had her back to.

Hollow walls? She peered in and it looked like a maze within a maze. This could be promising. Syreilla slipped into the hole and bore to the right again. No traps. No wards. No way out. She started to silently curse herself for thinking this was a good idea when she came to a flat, smooth wall. The bricks on either side might give if she worked at them enough. Looking at them closely she realized those on her left had no mortar. They were just laid there. Pushing with her legs, her back against the other wall in the narrow space, she managed to send some clattering down. Syreilla waited breathlessly for something to happen. Nothing.

The chamber she warily leaned into held thick musty air and even with her circlet it was dim inside. She climbed through remembering what Kaddal had said, the amulet was inside a sealed sarcophagus, being worn by the corpse. The raised dais with the solid, seamless looking stone rectangle might be what she was looking for.

Holding out her hand, hovering it over the stone steps cautiously, she checked for traps and wards. Hoping to feel what she might have trouble seeing before she triggered it. Nothing. She did the same to the sarcophagus. It seemed for all the world like a solid piece of stone. Probably dwarvish made. There should be some way to open it if she could find it, that would be the trick. Finding a hidden dwarvish anything in stone was damn near impossible.

Syreilla looked until she began to yawn and had trouble keeping her eyes open. She debated sleeping in the wall on the floor or on top of the sarcophagus. Stone or stone, but off of the floor, even if it was technically on top of a corpse, made more sense to her. The things that might crawl on the floors in this place were nothing she wanted to meet.

Heaving herself up she curled on her side on the stone. Lying there, she slowly realized that the stone wasn’t cold. She lay on her back. That had to be some kind of magic. Closing her eyes she tried to feel it, mouthing the words to the siphoning spell to make the stone warmer. Her eyes opened. Power. Immense power. The stone was heating under her as if it were over a fire.

She sprang off of it and kept focusing the spell. Heating the stone until it showed its seams or broke apart could work. Hopefully, the amulet wouldn’t burn. The corpse probably would. The room felt like a dry sauna and was filled with the smell of heated stone. The idea suddenly popped into her head, Syreilla switched from heating the stone to cooling it. The room cooled again and the stone cracked loudly as frost began to form on the outside. She heated it again and ducked as parts of the stone box shattered.

Inside, she found a steel and glass coffin, warded and closed with antique looking elvish locks. This is where the power was coming from. She kept heating and freezing the stone, shattering it into smaller and smaller pieces until the wards sputtered out. It would have been nice to be able to use that power to tear open the coffin itself, but it would have tripped the wards she was trying to drain.

Peering into the coffin the corpse wasn’t laid out the way most were, for display. His hands were balled instead of laid peacefully flat. He also wore a black mask that looked bolted to the bottom of the coffin. The desiccated figure inside was wearing an amulet. A glance around the room at the lack of anything else at all, not even doors, told her she must be in the right place. That’s got to be it.

Syreilla shook her head, muttering, “Why do people not just burn the bodies of those they fear this much?” She snorted to herself, probably too easy. “Why do something permanent and easy when you can do something temporary and ridiculously hard.” Yawning she pulled out her tools. She could get this done and then get out of here. Sleeping here was no longer something she needed to do.

After longer than it should have taken, she stopped and resisted throwing her tools. She tucked them back in their pocket. These elvish locks were more of a pain in the a*s than usual. Syreilla paused rubbing her face, it looked like she would be sleeping here after all. On the floor or on a creepy goddamned glass coffin. Leaning on it she realized, “It’s a glass goddamned coffin. Why the f**k am I working the locks? Syr, I swear, sometimes you are as stupid as an elf.”

Flipping the heavy coffin, it landed with a crash but Syreilla didn’t hear the glass break. F**k. Well, at least it was upside down now. She lay down on the steel underside and tried not to think about the corpse under her as she fell asleep.

© 2017 Isemay

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Added on December 26, 2017
Last Updated on December 26, 2017
Tags: dragon, elf, dwarf, thief, gods




Bitten by a writing bug! Review my writing and I will gladly return the favor! I love reading other people's stories, and I try to review honestly and give constructive criticism. I love receivi.. more..

Chapter 1 Chapter 1

A Chapter by Isemay

Chapter 2 Chapter 2

A Chapter by Isemay

Chapter 4 Chapter 4

A Chapter by Isemay