Chapter 13

Chapter 13

A Chapter by Isemay

Kaduil had been all too happy to indulge her. In the bath, against the bath, on the stair to the bedroom, and he’d proudly shown her that he’d measured the bed carefully to make it the perfect height to bend her over the edge of. Curled against his side Syreilla was warm and content.

There was the distant sound of a drum beating slow and steady as she walked the stone maze. The walls were warm and the air was close, but she could see well enough and she hadn’t come across any traps. It was just a maze. She kept walking and the sound of the drums grew louder and more insistent.

She came to a smooth stone wall and turned to go back but behind her the maze had filled with black mist that was coming closer. Pushing at the bricks on either side desperately it felt as though she were being suffocated until the wall crumbled and she fell into a dim room. 

It was the room she’d found Vezar in but there were people here now, elves and dwarves, and a handful of humans. They were gathered around the dais staring. The sound like drum beats was desperate now, and she could see what it was. It was Vezar beating on the glass helplessly. The dark-haired man she’d first seen when he’d restored himself was turning into the dried kindling corpse before her eyes, and these people were just watching.

Syr tried to push past them and felt as though she were swimming in honey. She knew how to get into those locks. Reaching for her tools she realized she was naked. No tools, no clothes, nothing to help him with. Her eyes moved over the people closest to her. Tools. She grabbed for them. They grabbed her hands and shoved her on top of the coffin as the seamless stone rose from nothingness around her.

She could feel the thud of Vezar’s fists against the glass at her back as the stone closed around her and then… then there was nothing. Syr was pressed flat by the stone. She couldn't turn to look at Vezar. He wasn’t hitting the glass. She started to scream and it made no sound. Alone in a soundless dark place.

Alone. Syreilla sat bolt upright, she was drenched in sweat and shaking. Hevtos’ horrors, what a nightmare. She shuddered. Kaduil wasn’t in bed with her and she realized she hadn’t asked him about clothes.

Rising from the bed she listened for him, moving downstairs as she did. He wasn’t in the main room and she went lower to the pantry and then the bath. He wasn’t here at all, it seemed. She took a moment to wash while she was there and had the water. Going back up, clean and alone, she kept thinking about Vezar. About Syvilas.

She should have left already. Grabbing a hunk of dwarvish bread and a bottle of mead Kaduil must have gotten for her, she went back up to eat and rummage for clothing. Kaduil had said he knew and she would come back. Coming back would be the thing she looked forward to most. But Syvilas was alone. She had to go.

He had quite a few of her things, Batran must have been emptying her room. But it didn’t seem he had any of her clothes. She pulled on one of his shirts, far too wide and not nearly long enough to be a dress. 

Rummaging through his clothes muttering to herself with annoyance she almost didn’t hear Kaduil return. 

“That’s a lovely sight.” 

Syr turned her head and laughed as she watched him toss a parcel to the side and start to undress. “That wouldn’t be my clothes would it?”

“No.” He was lying with a grin. “I think you wear my shirt well enough.” 

With a snort she tried to slip past him to get the parcel and he swept her feet out from beneath her and caught her to put on the bed with a grin. “I need to apologize for letting my own sweet wife wake up alone.”

“Did we have a wedding? I hope I didn’t sleep through it.” She teased him, sitting and bending to kiss his shoulder as he kicked his pants off.

“You’re not a dwarf, and because we’re both half human Mordaeg is insisting on the human common law custom. You’ll stay with me, having me for your husband for six months and that will be it.” He kissed her hungrily, pulling her to the edge of the bed.

Six months. Syvilas. The pain of leaving Syvilas so alone and the awful thought of leaving Kaduil before the time was over was a genuine physical pain. It felt as though someone had stuck a sword through her chest. She curled and shuddered with the pain.

“Syreilla?” Kaduil was suddenly worried, his hands that had been moving over her in desire were now searching, trying to find the source of her pain. “What hurts, what happened?”

“I can’t-can’t let him be alone. It’s too long, I need to go.” Syr pressed her face to her knees curling in a tight ball. “I want to stay.” 

Kaduil wrapped himself around her, stroking her hair. After a long silence he said quietly, “If the spell doesn’t break, I’ll go with you. Just try. Try to give it time.”

Pulling his hands to her face she kissed them and rubbed her face into their roughness. If Syv were anyone else she would be thrilled to have Kaduil offer to come with her. But she had a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach that Syvilas would be furious about having her husband come along. She took a deep breath. “You’re a better husband than I deserve.”

He pulled her tighter to him and she just breathed, relaxing, enjoying the feel of him. She almost jumped when she heard a voice calling up the stairs. “Kaduil? Syreilla?”

“It’s Batran, Syr, easy. Stay here for me.” Kaduil tentatively pulled away as if he were afraid she might bolt the moment he let go, and moved to the doorway to call back down, “We’re here. We need some time.”

It sounded like Batran was right outside the room, “Is something wrong?”

There was a pause and Syr didn't lift her head. Kaduil spoke quietly, “I thought the spell had broken but it's hurting her Batran. I told her about the common law arrangement and the six months and she acted like she’d been stabbed. She wants to stay, but she says she needs to go, she can’t let him be alone.”

Batran started cursing Syvilas in dwarvish. “Try to get her clothes on her, she needs to come see Lord Olthon, there may be something he can do.”

She shuddered at the name. Olthon. Olthon Camaenion was the name Vezar had spoken. His most bitter enemy. If he was here Syvilas must have already left. She hoped Syv had left.

Kaduil was back at her side with the parcel. “Are you alright?”

“I don’t know. I need to leave Kaduil.”

“Let’s get dressed. I need to take you to see someone.” 

She shuddered again and he climbed beside her and held her tightly. 

“Do you still want to stay?”

Nodding, she felt her throat getting tighter.

“That’s all I need. Just come with me, Syreilla. Please.” Kaduil stroked her hair and kissed the back of her neck. 

Breathing deeply, she let Kaduil help her up. She put on the clothes he gave her without argument, even though she hated the dresses Batran had sent. Syr preferred things she could work in. But when he handed her thin slippers she looked at him oddly, “These are not mine.”

“Batran said if you didn’t complain about them you probably had one foot in the grave.” Kaduil gave her a relieved smile.

“I’d kick him but in these I’d probably break a toe.” She frowned and shook her head as his smile turned to a relieved grin.

“There’s my wife.” His proud tone made her smile despite herself.

“It’s a shame I don’t have a husband who’ll keep me in decent shoes.” 

The grinning dwarf pulled her head down for a kiss. “No, you have a husband more likely to keep you naked in the house.”

Her face flushed and she nipped his lip. “You’ll be staying home with me then? Naked in the house is only fun when you’re here.”

“The forges can do without me.” Kaduil started to push her back on the bed and then thought better of it, “While you’re feeling better, we should go.”

She put the thin slippers on with a grimace and stood. “I liked the other idea better.” 

He gave her a playful slap on her rump, “You’re coming back home with me, Syreilla. You’ll be bent over the bed soon enough.”

Grinning she shook her head, “Such a charming husband I have.” She laughed and pulled the skirt up to be able to run as he came after her swatting her each time he got close enough.

In the main room, Batran was waiting with a pleased but confused expression. Kaduil explained with a smile as he took hold of Syr’s hand. “It was like this yesterday, like the spell was broken.”

Syr winced. “It’s like I forget for a moment that I need to leave. It comes crashing back. Syv’s alone and I can’t let him be alone. The thought hurts.” 

Kaduil squeezed her hand and she looked down at him with the lump coming back to her throat. 

“I don’t want to leave, but I have to.”

Batran frowned and jabbed his finger downward, Syreilla sank to her knees and sat looking at him dubiously. “My wedding gift to you.” He gave Kaduil a mischievous smile. “They said I couldn’t train an elf, but she’s only half.”

Her face was flushing as she glared at him incredulously. Kaduil kissed her head and pulled her up into a kneeling embrace, “You’re going to get such a kicking when she has her shoes back.”

Syreilla started to laugh and buried her face in Kaduil’s beard. “You’re going to have to let me help rebraid this.”

“When we get home.” He murmured.

She couldn’t help but grin as he squeezed her. “When we get home.” Saying the words somehow made her feel giddy.

The walk up to the well-appointed dignitaries’ waiting area was a long one and she listened to Batran and Kaduil discuss moving all of her things into his house. Their house. It gave her a strange feeling. She couldn’t quite put her finger on it. Almost like being in a dream that was too real. Remembering the dream that woke her she shuddered and turned to look behind her, half certain there would be a black mist hanging there.

Kaduil took her hand with a worried look, and she shook her head before he could ask, “I-I had a strange feeling. I was expecting there to be a black mist behind me…” She looked again. When they started walking again their pace had quickened and they were much quieter.

The doors were opened for them as they approached and Mordaeg looked grim. The elf who sat closest next to him however smiled almost warmly as Syreilla entered the room.

“You must be Syreilla. What surname did your mother give you?” He inquired brightly. 

Batran answered for her promptly, undoubtedly knowing she would say something impolite, “Syreilla of Clan Hammersworn is what she goes by.”

The disapproval was clear on his face. “I am aware of her affiliation here. I require the surname her mother gave her.”

“I would rather eat my tongue than be called by that name.” Syreilla made certain every word was clearly enunciated.

The elf frowned and inclined his head. “Very well, do you know the name of your father?”

“The f**k-NNG” Batran stepped on her foot and gave her a meaningful look. Syr gritted her teeth and crossed her arms. The elf was now giving her an icy look. “My mother said that the elf who knocked her up was named Tirnel Acharnion.”

“You have doubts?” He arched an eyebrow.

“I don’t give a damn who he was. I want nothing to do with him.” She glared daggers at the elf until she felt Kaduil’s hand on the small of her back. Taking a breath she looked down at him and he rubbed a light circle on her back. 

“From the items you brought here, I believe your mother spoke the truth. You are of my lineage, and my son, Tirnel, has been fond of human women from time to time.”

Syr raised her gaze and snorted, “Fondness implies affection. He likes to f**k humans from time to time. Don’t be so godsdamned precious about it.”

The elf looked surprised. “You don’t believe there was affection between your parents?”

“On my mother’s part? Maybe. Her heart was so shattered she had nothing but loathing for me. I never met the elf.”

She watched the elf’s head bow. “That would explain why you have so much anger.”

“You have no idea.” Syreilla felt like everything inside her was turning to ice, the only warm spot was Kaduil’s hand on her back.

“Does Syvilas?” The elf looked up with a penetrating gaze.

“He knows some of it.” She took a deep breath, “Some of it he couldn’t bear to hear.” 

Her eyes went to Kaduil and he stepped closer pulling her hip against his side. Reaching her hand to stroke his black beard, Syr felt the sudden urge to run away, to go back home and just hide in their bed.

“Tell me about Syvilas. What surname did he give?”

“Acharnion. He’s my brother.” The muscles along the elf’s jaw twitched as she spoke. “He’s sweet natured, hates to be alone. He’s fond of elves, I don’t know why. But they were almost pleasant to him when we met some on the road. Syv is… charming. I don’t-I don’t trust people easily, but I trust him completely.”

“You trust him as much as the dwarf?” He gestured toward Kaduil with a doubtful expression. 

“I’ve known Kaduil for years, and if Batran hadn’t encouraged me at him so firmly it would have taken even longer for me to trust him like I do.” Syr paused and gave the elf a hard look. “I trust Syv, as much as I trust Batran and Kaduil.”

“Why do the dwarves think you're under some kind of spell?”

Syr sighed and shook her head. She reached up to rub the back of her neck and Batran started to explain, “She-”

“I asked her, Master dwarf.”

“You’re rude and I don’t f*****g like you.” Syreilla snapped. “I need to go.” She tried to pull away but Kaduil kept his arm around her.

“Try, Syreilla. Stay.” Looking down at him she shook her head, but before she could open her mouth to speak he prodded her, “What was it you said about a black mist?”

The elf stood abruptly and came closer. “Tell me.” He reached out his hand toward her face and she slapped it away.

“Don’t you touch me.” Her fingers curled into fists and it took a moment to realize that both Batran and Kaduil were now holding her arms. Her heart was pounding. 

“Lord Olthon, she's not acting like herself. Tell your guard to put their weapons away.” 

The elf made a gesture but she didn’t look to see what happened. Instead, she listened to Kaduil’s quiet murmuring to calm and sank to her knees so that she could bury her face in his beard as she’d done at home. He stroked her hair and kept her pulled close.

She listened as Batran began to talk about the changes in her behavior, her eagerness to leave the mine, her sudden obedience when she would have fought and her disobedience when she would have obeyed. He didn’t know why she’d turned around looking for a black mist.

“It was a dream. A nightmare.” She whispered to Kaduil. 

Syreilla stiffened as Olthon knelt too close to her. “I need to hear it.”

Shuddering and speaking quietly into Kaduil’s beard she described the nightmare, the maze, the wall, the mist. She stopped before the part about going into the room.

“Was there more?” The elf sounded almost soothing.

“Yes.” She kept her eyes closed and felt Kaduil squeeze her.

“Will you tell me?” A hand lightly touched her head.

“No.” She felt Kaduil move his hand and the lighter hand lifted, letting him stroke her hair again.

“Tell me, Syr.” He kissed her head and she sighed.

“I pushed in the wall. Like I did in the tomb.” Syr paused for a moment. “That’s where I was, I knew it as soon as I fell into the room. But there were people there and what I thought were drums was Vezar beating on the glass of the coffin. He was-”

“Vezar?” Olthon asked sharply.

“The dark-haired man who brought me the cart and box for Kaddal. Vezar Edra. He was a little odd, but nice enough.” Syreilla opened her eyes and tried to push away from Kaduil. “I want to go home, but I have to leave. I need to go find Syv.”

“What happened next in the dream?” 

Fixing the elf with a glare she spat, “I don’t like you, and I’m not going to speak to you.”

She saw the expectant look he gave Kaduil and wanted to claw his eyes out.

“Mordaeg, I’m going to take her home. I think the elf is making it worse.”

“I have to know more.” Olthon frowned. 

“Kaduil will get your answers, Lord Olthon. Tell Batran your questions.” 

Syreilla felt a rush of gratitude as Mordaeg gave a nod.

“You can’t just let her wander off into the mine with a dwarf!” One of the other elves protested.

“No. Mordaeg, she must stay. This is difficult but it must be done, and quickly.”

The sudden sick feeling that she wouldn’t be allowed to go home again struck her. She wrapped her arms around Kaduil and held him as tightly as she could.

“Let me take my wife home, Mordaeg. Please.”

“You’re not going to get anything out of her like this, Olthon. Take her home, Kaduil, she stays inside.” Mordaeg’s concern was clear.

Her legs were shaking as Kaduil helped her up and led her back home. Once there, Syr retreated to the bedroom immediately and stripped out of the dress and slippers. Kaduil brought food and some mushroom wine up to her and looked as though he wanted to tease her before he saw the expression on her face.

“I need you to take the clothes away, hide them, burn them. Whatever you have to do, Kaduil.” 

He gave a grim smile and nodded, handing her the food he’d brought and taking the clothes, the parcel that still sat on the bed as well, and disappearing for a short while.

Syreilla took the time to make the bed and lay out a picnic on the covers. When he returned she was waiting, half dozing next to the food.

“You’re tired?” He asked worriedly as he stripped out of his own clothes.

“Exhausted. I feel like I’ve been-been” She shuddered.

“Running through a maze?” Kaduil looked at her speculatively. 

She nodded.

He shook his head at the picnic and climbed onto the bed to eat, prodding her to do the same until she felt more awake. When they were finished and she’d had what she thought must be at least half of the bottle of wine he pulled her close and tried to get her talking about the dream again. 

With a shiver she told him the rest, trying to get Vezar out and being sealed in the stone sarcophagus. Kaduil held her and rubbed her back and arm. “Being alone was the reason you were afraid? Not dying or being buried alive?”

“The feeling was so strong, Kaduil. So awful. I woke up and needed to go find Syv. I looked for you, and I washed off and grabbed a bite to eat. I was hunting for clothes when you came back. When I saw you the feeling eased. Then it came back, harder.”

Kissing his side she pressed her face to him and breathed deeply. He smelled like dwarf even after having bathed, like the forges, sweat, and leather. The smell of soap was there too. She almost asked what she smelled like to him, but he pulled her head up and kissed her before she could.

“Do I need a bath? I knew you liked to wash, but I didn’t think you’d bathe morning and night.” He was teasing her trying to lighten the mood and she grinned at him.

“I like the way you smell. I wouldn’t have agreed to marry you if I didn’t. It would be like you marrying me and then expecting me to grow a beard.” 

“You might look nice with a beard.” He laughed and kissed her jaw to her ear.

“I’ll borrow yours if I feel the need to have one.” She teased back making a scissoring motion with her fingers. He rolled her over and gave her a sharp, playful slap on the rump. Syr laughed and kissed him sweetly. “I would never cut your beard, I’m too fond of it, and too fond of you.”

“Kaduil?” Batran called from below.

“Have you ever made a door lock, husband mine?” Syr asked sourly.

Kaduil started to laugh. “Stay put.”

He rose and pulled on his clothes still straightening them as he left the room. She curled on the bed into the warm spot he’d left. Syreilla couldn’t help but feel guilty for being so happy at home when she knew Syv was miserable and alone. Thinking about it would have to wait, sleep was pulling her down like a heavy chain.

© 2021 Isemay

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Added on December 27, 2017
Last Updated on January 28, 2021
Tags: thief, dwarf, elf, dragon, gods




Spent some time away from here but I've come back to peek in and post again! Review my writing and I will gladly return the favor! I love reading other people's stories, and I try to review hone.. more..

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A Chapter by Isemay