Chapter 22

Chapter 22

A Chapter by Isemay

“You are a difficult man to find.” Vezar frowned at the sibilant rasp that came from the figure leaning against the wall at the mouth of the alleyway. “When Syreilla spirited you away and left me to the elves I had to resort to scrying.”

“Syreilla intended to give you the amulet, I prevented her.” If the lich could survive two elf attacks he was formidable. “She did not realize that your intention was to free me, and I would not risk my sweet Syreilla being killed because her usefulness to a lich was at its end.”

“Sweet Syreilla?” The incredulous hiss turned to something like a wheezing laugh. “That is not something I would have called her, not even when I was alive and she was fond of me. And there is no end to that girl’s usefulness.”

“She can be impressive when she wishes to be,” Vezar observed him carefully. “Why is it you have sought me out?”

“I need your gifts. I need to know how to replenish myself, this body is failing despite my will.”

“Ah.” His gifts couldn’t be taught, they had been bestowed. The lich might well be aware and intend to try to devour him. One had made the attempt before and Vezar had consumed him. “They are not something that can be taught.”

“Perhaps they can be bestowed?” The lich took a step forward.

“If they could, I would give them to Syreilla.” Truthfully, he had never made the attempt to give them to anyone else. Healing was one thing, to extend another’s life or to change them into what he was… He’d never had the desire to try.

“She can be charming in her own vicious way. But I might be more useful. There are perhaps things I could teach you.” The lich paused. “I have gifts of my own.”

“I have no doubt. It takes a formidable will and considerable power to survive, especially when elves are trying to end you.”

“Are you trying to flatter me, King Undying?”

“No, simply assuring you I am not ignorant of the danger you pose.” Vezar curved his lips in the approximation of a smile. “I do not know if what you ask is possible or if I would be willing to grant it to you if it were. You say my Syreilla knows you?”

“She knew me once. After my death, she emptied my home of everything of value. I woke to a plundered library and empty coffers.”

“That does sound like my Syreilla.” The memory of her stealing his crown came to mind unbidden. “She left you respectfully laid somewhere safe?”

The lich wheezed again. “Laid out like a man at rest. Courteously covered after she looted my corpse.”

“She carefully placed me back into my coffin after she stole the amulet. And then stole my crown.” He smiled as the lich wheezed in delight.

“A shame she didn't speak of what she learned before she disappeared on you.”

The lich began making the faintest of sounds and Vezar felt the wards forming around him. This might be painful and distasteful, but a mere lich would not be able to kill him no matter the strength of his gifts.

“A shame you didn't live long enough to learn what happens to those who threaten the ones I love, Zylius.” Syreilla’s voice came from above. She was leaning precariously over the side of the rooftop overhead, holding a small bowl as if it held something truly horrible. The lich paused and peered up at her wheezing for a moment.

“I didn’t think you were capable of love ‘sweet Syreilla’. You’re going to rain dragon’s fire down on me?”

“Only if you don’t back down, Zylius. I was fond of you once.” Syr’s eyes were focused on the lich, Vezar thought she almost seemed frightened.

“You fear the lich and not me?” It was almost a slight.

“I can show you why.” The lich hissed and his power focused on Syreilla.

Vezar rushed forward, the lich would suffer. His eyes were on the lich, his senses filled with the hum of power. Brilliant liquid fire rained down and the hum turned into a scream. Vezar sank to his knees covering his head. The power released was disorienting and made the air vibrate. The burst left blurs across his vision. It took a moment to realize the dancing light was the remains of the lich burning to ash.

Syreilla. Vezar staggered to his feet and lurched forward, she was on the ground outside of the mouth of the alley. “Syreilla.” Her pale eyes stared and she didn’t seem to be breathing. “Syreilla!” Taking hold of the bond he tried to pour his own life into her fading threads. He lifted her off of the filthy roadway. Life, he needed life to heal her.

Curious onlookers approached and Vezar grabbed hold of the closest, clawing and draining him, pouring all of his life into Syreilla. Screaming began as Vezar hunted the streets clawing and biting, anything he had to do, to fill the life draining from her. Guards made it easier, backing him against a wall. Men throwing themselves at the bottomless hunger trying to take her from him.

Finally, she shuddered and breathed, “Vezar. What have you done?”

Looking down, her eyes had changed, her hair and features. Pouring life into her, he had not tried to keep her features as they were. He remembered the first time he had changed himself how his body felt so strange, so foreign. “I saved you, sister. I had to change you to do it.” He touched her very human ear and she shuddered again.

He helped her stand on her new, unsteady legs as another wave of guards threw themselves at him. Lashing out he began to replenish himself. Syreilla should be safe if she stayed against the wall. The hum of power returned as she began throwing down startlingly vicious wards. Men freezing and burning at once as they crossed them heedlessly, some with skin bubbling and turning black before sloughing off. The screams echoed and the men who would have faced Vezar fled in terror from Syreilla.

“Sister, I did not need saving.” Vezar frowned at her. He needed replenishing.

“Elves are coming, brother. This isn’t the time for pride. Olthon has a nasty trick up his sleeve for you.”

“Sweet Syreilla. Come. Tell me as I replenish myself on our departure.” Vezar stalked back toward the lodging. He had once underestimated the elf, the black mist had taught him never to do that again.

Syr hurried to keep up with him occasionally stopping to turn and cast wards that seemed to mushroom out with tendrils and then fade to lie in wait. He eyed her curiously as she cast them down streets they did not use.

“Give them a reason to stay and search.” She explained with a shrug and a cold look.

“Are you angry with me, sister?” Vezar found himself amused at the thought that she could kill and maim for him and still be upset with him.

“We need to have a talk about you adjusting my threads to suit your tastes, Syv. If you were anyone else my boot would be on your throat right now.” The look she gave him was full of daggers.

“Ah. If it is any consolation I regretted it almost immediately. You were perfect as you were, my… ill-advised alterations have brought me no joy.” He offered his hand with an apologetic look.

She snorted at him. “You’re an a*s, Syv. Aside from the fact you don’t do that to someone you care about, I’m not here to bring you joy.” Syreilla took his hand as he was starting to pull it back. “You’re an a*s but I love you, brother. I wouldn’t change you. Is it so much to expect the same from you?”

“No, sweet sister. I adore you. I will put your threads back the way I found them if you wish me to.” If she willingly allowed him to manipulate her threads there would be a great deal more he could do with them.

“Ha! I’m pretty sure Kaduil hammered them back into place before I left. I’d rather you didn’t undo his hard work.” The way she spoke of the dwarf made him want to devour the creature.

“You and a dwarf. That is wrong, sister.” Vezar gripped her hand.

“Wrong would be going to bed with my brother.” She rubbed his wrist and he relaxed his grip. “I know you would prefer I didn’t feel that way. But I have a husband now and I’m-” He heard the sudden realization in her voice.

“You are changed. He may not wish a wife with my gifts.” He tried to keep the sharpness from his voice but he felt a flare of anger as she winced. “You seemed to admire my gifts before, sister.”

“I did and I do. But the thought of sharing them is terrifying.” Vezar felt her squeeze his hand. “The thought that I might not be-be…”

He pulled her under his arm and walked with her against his side. “If they no longer want you, if he no longer wants you, it would prove how unworthy they are. My Syreilla, you are meant to be by my side. My companion, until they find a weapon of my hand to kill me with.”

“Vezar, he thinks he has. Olthon has a chunk of metal he’s spent a very long time pouring power into. It does something with threads. He tried to use it on me but I’m slippery somehow.”

“You are mine, sister. As much as I could make you. If he cannot bring it to bear on you, he will have more difficulty applying it to me.”

“He says it has to touch you. He tried it on me without touching me with it.” She sounded spent.

“Are you tired, Syreilla?”

“I feel… starved, exhausted.” He smiled as she rubbed her face.

“Yes. We need prey.” He felt her wrap her arm around his waist. “That was why I did not want you to make the guards flee.”

“You felt like this and didn’t eat me?” Her tone was dryly teasing and he ran his hand over her arm.

“Yes. I knew from the moment I heard your voice, my sweet Syreilla, you were not prey.” Vezar pulled away and pushed on the door of the lodging. It seemed to have been braced from within. He pushed harder and the door began to give, bringing squeals of horror from within. “Help me, sister.” With a sigh, Syreilla joined him in pushing the door.

It moved more freely with her help and Vezar grinned as two men came forward to attack. He drained them quickly. The hunger Syreilla felt was bleeding over into his own being. Moving through the inn he caught up every man and woman he could, draining them to still the hunger. Syreilla followed almost nervously.

“Sister, you must eat.” He smiled at her and pulled her forward toward a cowering young man.

“I don’t-Vezar, I don’t think I can.” She was trembling. Vezar pulled her in front of himself and pushed her forward with his arms around her waist.

“You were so certain you were worse than I am, sweet sister.” He kissed her head from behind. “I know you can kill. Maiming does not give you pause. Easing your hunger should not be so difficult.”

“He’s afraid.” Syreilla turned her back to the boy and buried her face in his chest.

Stroking her hair, Vezar found he was enjoying this more than he had thought possible. “They are all afraid, Syreilla. Let me help you.” He clawed the boy and drained him, pouring his life into his Syreilla. Her intake of breath as she felt it flowing into her was music to his ears. “I will feed you, my tender-hearted sister, until you can summon the will to feed yourself.”

“Tender-hearted… That’s not something I ever thought I was, Syv.”

Rubbing her back soothingly, he tried to reassure her, “No one has ever quailed before you. It takes time to grow accustomed to it. Learning to feed sent me to the monastery. I had to find a way to live with myself.”

“I can’t imagine what that was like for you, of the two of us you’re the one I’d have called sweet or tender-hearted. No one has ever called me sweet but you.” Vezar felt threads of gratitude trying to curl around him. “Thank you for-” She stopped speaking as he pulled them eagerly.

“Threads of gratitude I will welcome, Syreilla. I find I enjoy feeding you.”

She looked up at him and gave him a dubious smile, “It does postpone finding out what my uncivilized table manners will look like now.”

Grinning broadly, he took the opening she offered to tease her, “I shudder to think, sister. And there is so little that makes me shudder.”

Vezar earned a laugh, feeling the warmth as the threads strengthened and tightened with her embrace as she squeezed him before stepping back. “We should be on our way. We’ve attracted too much attention and the elves won’t be able to miss it.”

“Come, my things are here.” He pulled her toward the room he had rented. Millesant cowered by the bed as they entered. “My pet, I apologize for the unexpected excitement.” The girl looked as if she would be ill.

“Unexpected excitement.” Syreilla was trying not to laugh. She stepped forward with her hand held out. “I’m Syreilla, you are?”

Millesant flinched away from her.

“She was an enjoyable distraction from your absence, sister. Now she is prey like the rest. When they cower that way there is no reclaiming them.” Stepping forward he took Syr’s hand and grabbed hold of the girl digging his nails in.

“Wait!” Millesant shrieked.

He had already begun to drain her, taking her features he changed Syr’s face and hair just enough that the guards wouldn’t easily recognize her.

Syreilla shuddered. “I swear Syv, if you put her face on me I will kick you until my legs get tired.”

“We must both change our appearances.” Vezar gestured for her to take Millesant’s things. “I remind you that you once called me a thief like yourself. Do you have such-” He turned at the sound of a soft thump. Syreilla was stripping the remains of Millesant without flinching.

“The dead don’t need much, money and things are best left for the living.” He laughed softly as she pulled the blanket from the bed and wrapped Millesant as if it were a shroud. “A little dignity is a kindness that costs me nothing.” Her look was slightly reproachful.

“My sweet sister, I will not chide you unless you start wrapping all of them.” Smiling warmly he watched her pull a dress over her head, it would look lumpy with the pouches under it. “You should strip those off and take them with us. You will attract attention looking so-” he watched as she used some of Millesant clothing to wrap around herself before pulling the loose bodice up into place. She looked plump, and the lumpiness was not jarring.

“My sweet brother, when it comes to running and hiding, I’m probably better at it than you are. The face doesn’t matter so much. Change your body if you can. Something smaller, you need to be so plain and unremarkable that no one looks at you twice.” Vezar could feel how much more confident she was, this was her element.

“Consider it done.” He stepped from the room hunting for more prey. Finding two women he used them to make himself smaller and plainer, younger looking than Syreilla. His clothes no longer fit. He stripped them off and met Syreilla in the hall as he was on his way to strip the body of the boy he had fed her.

She blinked at him and then nodded approvingly. “Get dressed, little brother. Work on your frightened little boy face while you get your clothes on, we’ll need to mingle with some ‘prey’ as you call them to make our way out of the city unnoticed.”

Stripping the boy and putting on his clothes was the work of a few moments. As he finished Syreilla approached with another blanket, gently wrapping the boy. Her sensibilities were so charmingly tender for a thief. “We require new names, sister.”

Syreilla gave him a half smile as she stood. “I know. What do you think of Adiel and Anissa?”

Vezar pulled her close and grinned up at her. “I adore the way you pair our names, sister.”

“Adiel, behave yourself.” She patted his head like a child. “There should be a way to slip out, we’re going to be frightened and you’re going to be quiet. You have a strange way of talking, it’s charming but very distinct, little brother.”

He snorted. “Of course, Anissa. I must always listen to my elders.”

The mischievous grin she turned on him made his breath catch, “You’re small enough I can turn you over my knee, Adiel.”

“Try, sister. You will find it challenging.” The thought of bending her over his own knee was almost more urgent than his need to escape with her.

“Brothers don’t look at their sisters like that unless they’re elves, Adiel.” She chided him with only a veneer of playfulness. He could feel her discomfort with his look. “Follow me, and remember- be quiet, be afraid.”

© 2017 Isemay

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Added on December 27, 2017
Last Updated on December 27, 2017
Tags: thief, dwarf, elf, dragon, 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 3 Chapter 3

A Chapter by Isemay