Chapter 19

Chapter 19

A Chapter by Isemay

By dawn, Syreilla had thoroughly exhausted herself but couldn’t fall asleep. Kaduil had finally begun to snore next to her. She rubbed her face against his side breathing in the pleasant earthy smell of dwarf. He’d shown a great deal of stamina. The thought of leaving made her heart ache.


Batran called from below and she carefully got out of bed leaving Kaduil to snore on. Throwing on Kaduil’s shirt she met Batran on the stairs. Syr whispered to him, “I need my traveling clothes.”


The dwarf was studiously looking elsewhere as he offered her a sack of things, keeping his voice low, “Kaduil is asleep?”


“I wanted to give him a reason to welcome me home, and he wanted to give me a reason to come back quickly.” She grinned tiredly, “We wore each other out, I think.”


He shook his head with a smile at her quiet response, “Wake him before you go. He won’t be glad to wake to an empty bed a day before he has to.”


Syr nodded wordlessly. The lump in her throat wouldn’t let her speak.


Returning to the room she debated dressing first and decided against it. She set the sack on the bed and leaned across Kaduil to kiss him awake. He woke with a start and then a smile. “You’re not going to let me sleep at all?”


She tried to return the smile but her face wouldn’t cooperate and her eyes filled with tears. “It’s time for me to get dressed and go.”


Kaduil looked as if he’d been struck, sitting up to pull her close. Cursing the elves in Dwarvish he squeezed her until she thought he might crush the air out of her. Syr didn’t complain. He loosened his grip as if realizing it on his own. “Am I crushing you?”


“If you break my ribs I might get to stay a few more days.”


He laughed and crushed her again before pulling back to kiss her. “Come home to me.”


“I will. I promise, Kaduil.” She kissed him ardently. “As soon as I can.”


His sigh was heart-wrenching for her but he put on a determined frown and nodded before sitting up. “Get dressed, Syr. You shouldn’t keep those beardless inbred kin-fuckers waiting.” He grinned viciously making her laugh.


Syreilla stood and pulled off his shirt letting him watch as she emptied the sack and put on her traveling clothes, extra tools and picks under her clothes in strategic places, all of her pouches checked carefully. She frowned. “I’m missing my boot knife and I’m low on a few things. Can we swing by the forge stores?”


Grinning broadly, he climbed out of bed. “I have a boot knife for you. Batran told me not to give it to you, you were too proud of the one you’d made.”


“I was!” She laughed. “Even if Vezar hadn’t broken it I’d still rather one of yours this morning.” Syr smiled at him, “Your knives are better.”


In the stores, she refilled her vials and pouches and stuck another shallow ceramic bowl into a pocket. Dragon’s fire on hand was always comforting. Syr wrote her acquisitions in the ledger and turned to leave.


Kaduil watched her with a smile. “Mordaeg appreciates you writing what you take, even though you only take such small amounts.” He came closer offering her a slim knife. It was razor sharp, the handle was intricately engraved with Dwarvish runes and had a smooth milky opal for a pommel.


“This is beautiful, Kaduil.” Syreilla looked at him in amazement. “When I get home you have to teach me how to make something like this.”


“Syreilla, when you get home I’m going to keep you naked in the house for a year.” His tone was only half teasing.


She grinned at him impishly, “After that, then. After you spend a year in the house with me they may chain you to the forge.” The knife fit the sheath built into her boot perfectly, and while she was bent Kaduil swatted her a*s.


“I have a wife who can get me out of chains without a problem.”


“You certainly do.” Taking his hand she walked reluctantly up to the stable entrance.


Batran was arguing with one of the elves when they walked in. Syreilla saw immediately why. The spare horse had delicate chains and elven manacles attached to the saddle. She started laughing and shaking her head.


Olthon looked at her with a frown. “It’s for your safety.”


“Elf, you could strip me naked and I could still get out of those in less time than it would take you to search my pockets.” She gave him a look that said he was an idiot.


“Lord Olthon.” One of the elves corrected her sharply. “Be respectful.”


“If I’m not calling him, or you for that matter, a beardless kin-f****r you can be glad of it, elf. I know your kind and I loathe every one of you.” She gave him a mirthless smile that was all teeth.


The elf looked appalled, straightening himself with an offended look.


“Behave, Syreilla,” Batran ordered her with the barest hint of amusement in his voice.


“They’re dragging me away from home and my husband when I don’t want to go. I can’t promise good behavior, Batran.” Kaduil pulled her hip against his side.


“She’s herself this morning.” Kaduil grinned up at her.


“Mm. It only took how many hours of skillful dwarvish hammering?” Her grin threatened to split her face. The dwarves listening, including Batran, began to laugh and Kaduil slapped her rump with red ears and an answering grin.


“Syreilla, your horse,” Olthon spoke coldly.


Syr glanced at him and gave a curt nod before dropping to her knees to kiss Kaduil. “I will come home to you,” she murmured before rising and swinging herself up onto the horse.


One of the elves tried to fasten the manacles around her wrists and she pushed him away with her foot, putting the manacles on herself with an annoyed look. Batran went to stand with his hand on Kaduil’s shoulder, her husband looked like he wanted to murder someone.


“Let me show you something, husband.” She smiled at him and held up her hand without the manacle. “Don’t forget who you married.” He looked a little calmer as she snorted at the elf who tried to come put it back on her. She made a show of snapping it back into place.


Before they had gone far out of the stable doors she yawned and stretched, raising both of her arms above her head, showing neither hand was chained. The sound of dwarvish laughter followed as they went down the hill.


Olthon sighed as the insistent elf began to sputter. “Leave her. She’s made her point.” He gave her an annoyed look. “How did they get you to the headman’s block?”


“Vezar asked the same thing.” She shook her head with amusement.


The elf looked at her with the hint of a smile. “What was the answer.”


“Dwarven stubbornness.”


Nodding, he smiled. “Vezar found that comforting?”


“He did. He’s not fond of dwarves though. It baffles me.” Syreilla inquired curiously. “You knew him a long time ago?”


His eyes almost lit up, “I did. You wish to know what he was like?”


She gave an ambivalent shake nod of her head. “I want to know why he likes elves and dislikes dwarves.”


“That I don’t know, unfortunately. But I can tell you the type of man he was and the perversions he indulged in. The horrors he perpetrated against his own people.”


Syr waved her hand dismissively and watched his brows raise, “He’s a thief, but he steals faces and the life right out of people’s bodies. He has a good heart though.”


“You have been deceived.” The elf snapped at her.


With a sigh, she started counting as she had for Syv, “He gets upset when he hears about hopeless helpless people getting fleeced. Whatever he actually did he wanted to rule well and improve his people’s lives. Healing people makes him happy. He thinks poorly of his gifts because they require him to harm.” Syr gave him cynical look, “I’m a worse person than he is and I’m not that bad.”


Studying her face, OIthon said quietly, “He healed you. You were injured in the prison.”


“No. Well, yes, but I was able to heal myself.” She shrugged. “He healed me after we were attacked by elves.” Olthon’s penetrating gaze demanded more. “He called me his mad sister, I took on two elves with nothing but a carpenter's hammer and hope. I used the bones in my arm to-”


“Catch the blade, I’ve seen the trick done by dwarves.” He frowned. “He used an elf to heal your wounds.”


“Yes. It was impressive. I tried to convince him to take up healing as a profession. He does beautiful work.” The elves were looking at her menacingly. “All he would need to do is have the patients find a condemned criminal to use, someone no one would miss.” She shrugged. “He didn’t like the idea. My brother has more of a conscience than I do.”


Olthon studied her carefully. “I doubt that. The logistics would have been more concerning to him. You weren’t concerned that he would consume you?”


“Ha! He promised if he did he’d chew me properly.” She leaned back with her hands on the horse’s rump, grinning.


“You are mad aren’t you.” One of the angrier elves muttered.


“She’s not mad, simply fearless,” Olthon said straightening. “That is likely what draws him. Why did he choose to have you as his sister and not a lover?” Syreilla winced, and the elf pressed her, “Speak. Your husband,” he spoke the word with distaste, “isn’t here to hear.”


She tilted her head. “That’s a perversion he picked up from the elves. He mentioned acquiring a few.” Syr looked at the glaring elf and spoke candidly, “He wants me for a sister and a lover. I refused. Being his sister is something I’m content to be, but I won’t be more than that. I told him about Kaduil when I told him about home, it’s part of why he didn’t want me to go into the mine without him.”


“Your dalliance with the dwarf is…” Olthon paused. “Not recent.”


“No.”


“You didn’t tell the dwarf about Vezar’s intentions.” The elf smiled faintly.


“No. Kaduil would have demanded to come along and he would have tried to put his axe in Vezar’s face.”


“And you want to spare your brother?” An elf spat at her.


“I want to spare my husband. Vezar is far from helpless. He would kill Kaduil and I would lose a husband and a brother.” She looked at the elf who had accused her until he turned and opened his mouth to speak again. “He didn’t attack anyone at the mine despite being hungry, and despite being angry at me being ordered inside. Vezar knows harming my loved ones is the one thing I will never forgive.”


“An elf harmed your loved ones?” Olthon was probing. If he wanted to know she could educate him.


Her flare of hot anger at the question gave way to the cold feeling spreading through her and she kept her voice even and cool. “There was an elf down in Withia, he was murdered years back, do you know him? There was an outcry if I recall, elves swore they would have their revenge on whoever killed him.” She stared up into the sky keeping her face neutral. “You lot don’t care what he did to children, even murdered some. You don’t care about the other things he did. Those are just normal elvish perversions as I’m given to understand. You only want to punish the one who stopped him.”


“Those are lies.” Olthon touched her hand and she turned her head to see him leaning.


“I was eleven. There were elves at the party. Not one stopped him. You know exactly what he did.” The elf recoiled as if he could feel the ice in her veins. “Don’t tell me about lies.”


“Those are not normal elvish perversions. Elves are not perverse.” One of the other elves spoke angrily.


“Some are, Pelinel.” Olthon corrected him. “She has not met decent elves. Repairing the damage would take a century.” He ran his hand over his face. “This was what Vezar couldn’t bear to hear.”


“Yes.” Syr looked back up. The mention of Vezar warmed her slightly. “He was sweet about it. I think he understood.”


“Was he touching you when you spoke of it?”


“Yes. He’s almost constantly doing that. He’s so afraid of being alone.”


“He could feel your pain at the memory. The threads tighten with touch.”


She sighed. “I don’t understand about the threads.”


“Think of yourself as a tapestry, you are constantly being woven.” Olthon’s tone was gentle and Syreilla turned her head to look at him. “The threads can be pulled out of their right place and woven differently. Even woven into another’s tapestry, as with family and lovers when you share your life.”


“And you think he’s woven himself into my tapestry.” She rubbed the knuckle of her thumb between her eyes, feeling tired.


“I know that he has. I believe he pulled your threads in such a way as to change your behavior. Made you more obedient, perhaps more affectionate.”


Trying to lay back on the horse with the saddle was uncomfortable. She sat up and turned backward laying forward with her feet up, crossed over the horse’s neck. Still uncomfortable but bearable.


“Are you ill?” The one he’d called Pelinel asked staring at her as if she were mad.


“Tired. I was up all night making sure my husband would miss me.” Syr smiled wryly. Thinking of Kaduil was more warming than the sun.


“Vezar may try to pull you into a dream again.” Olthon brought his horse closer and touched the back of her head. This close she could feel the hum of something the elf was carrying.


“Let him. I’ll ask about the threads he moved.”


The elf laughed as she shut her eyes. “Anger. The dwarf said you were more yourself.”


“The dwarf has a name,” Syr muttered angrily.


“Forgive me. You don’t like the way I speak of him. You’d fight anyone for Kaduil, including Vezar.” There was a strange feeling at the base of her skull under his hand.


She cracked her eyes open to see the amused look on the elf’s face. “You better get your hand off of me, elf.”


He smiled as he drew his hand back. “You could feel that. Vezar has been pulling your threads often enough for you to notice.”


“Do it again and your tapestry is going to be cut short.” She narrowed her eyes.


“I can see why he found you so charming. He likes challenges.” Olthon’s smile was almost friendly. He turned and began speaking in one of the Elvish tongues to the others, leaving Syreilla to drowse.


When she was roused for lunch the food was already prepared. All she had to do was climb down to eat. Yawing and stretching, she stiffly dismounted. She eyed the food with more than a little distrust. “What is that?”


“Elvish bread and sweet cheese.” The elf smiled. “Perhaps you’d feel better about taking food from someone you know? My name is Maethion.”


Did he really think she’d be that easy? She gave him an annoyed look. “Cheese shouldn’t be sweet. Did Batran send any sausage for me? Dwarf bread?”


“You eat sausage?” Pelinel looked at her with disgust.


“She was not raised as an elf. For that, I blame my son.” Olthon gave him a stern look. “Fetch the things Batran sent for her. Perhaps when she trusts us more she will try our food.”


Pelinel brought the bag and Syreilla grinned as she opened it. Dried sausage, dwarf bread, and a bottle of mead. “Batran always looks out for me.”


The fourth elf muttered in elvish.


Syreilla ignored him and climbed back onto her horse to have a few bites of sausage and tear into the dwarf bread, washing it down with a good swallow of her mead. She looked down to see the elves looking at her with dismay. “Vezar had things to say about the way I eat.”


“He preferred refinement,” Olthon said dryly.


She grinned, “Uncivilized was the word he used to describe me.”


“Dwarvish would be more apt.” The fourth looked at her unhappily.


“Now you’re trying to flatter me.” Syr turned sideways in the saddle looking at him, he looked appalled.


“You think it’s flattery?”


“I do.” She watched him shake his head. “Dwarves are kind, warm, generous of heart. They’ve been better to me than-”


He put his head in his hands. “I didn’t think your mother would turn you over to dwarves to spite me.”


“My mother sent me to Withia to serve as a maid when I was ten. And I’ll tell you what I told Vezar, it was the worst year of my life. Starving alone in the streets was better. Elves are f*****g vicious. Humans can be decent. Dwarves have been good to me.”


The elf looked like he was going to be sick. “You blame me?”


“You’re an elf. You can’t be expected to care for anyone but yourself or to cater to any needs but your own twisted desires. If you could keep your dick in your pants or stick to f*****g your own kin until you die out the world would be a better place.”


“That’s enough, Syreilla,” Olthon spoke quietly. “When you insult us you insult yourself.”


“I’m a thief, born to die on the block.” She gave him her coldest smile. “There are very few insults that haven’t been sent my way and many of them were justified. If not for Batran, I was well on my way to becoming a monster.”


“Batran should be thanked.” Olthon looked at Tirnel sharply.


Syr adjusted herself on the horse, catching a whiff of a terrible smell. Something dead. She looked around taking in where they were, outside of Lew but not to the fork. The feeling that she knew what happened washed over her. “Was anyone missing in Lew?”


“You think Vezar is responsible for that smell of death in the air?” Maethion looked at her carefully.


“If they didn’t realize he was one of mine, yes. Mine get a free pass or I come knocking. If they saw him as just a helpless looking half-elf they might have tried to rob him.”


“They?” Pelinel inquired.


“There’s a few thieves that run up here. They had better days before I came.”


“Why would they fear you?” Tirnel frowned.


“If you go by Pale, ask about Syreilla Hammersworn. If you come across Agust No-Legs you’ll get a story and a half.”


“Why is he called No-Legs?” Pelinel looked at her dubiously.


“His master was a sadistic mage. A man by the name of Zylius. He kept me on retainer for a long while before I met Batran.”


“I know of Zylius.” Olthon leaned forward in fascination.


“He was a piece of work. But I kind of liked him. He taught me all kinds of things, nasty tricks mostly. Some of the wards in that tomb were things he’d have been proud of, by the way.” Syr noticed Olthon’s pleased smile. “Zylius pushed Agust a little too far and got himself killed. And now Agust walks around believing he has no legs. Some spell the mage dropped on him, I think. The man had a wicked mind.”


Tirnel scoffed. “That doesn’t explain why they would fear you.”


She tilted her head and stared. “If I ever wondered where I get my occasional stupidities from, now I know. Are you asking for a demonstration?” She clapped her hands together and rubbed vigorously, mouthing the words to the siphoning spell. The feeling of magic was like prickles on her skin and she’d felt it when Olthon had gotten close on his horse, whatever he had was strong enough to make a spark. Olthon began to protest but it was too late. Her hands crackled with something like blue lightning and she released it between the four. A shower of dirt and elvish curses rained down as the horses bolted.


Waving merrily, Syreilla directed her fleeing horse toward the fork. Syv would have gone to Pale to ask where Brosa was. She was almost certain. It would be quicker to go to Brosa directly, but then she’d be taking the elves. Losing them would be necessary. Syvilas would wait if he needed to, it was time to find out just how quick and cunning elves could be.




© 2017 Isemay


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


Author

Isemay
Isemay

Germany



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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..

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Chapter 1 Chapter 1

A Chapter by Isemay


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