Chapter 27

Chapter 27

A Chapter by Isemay

“Syreilla, please, sweet Syreilla.” Vezar’s voice came to her through a mist of confusion and pain.

Her chest ached as Syr forced her eyes open, “‘M here. Vezar?”

The face hovering over her had odd ridges under the rough skin, his black hair was coarse and looked as though it had been hastily pulled to cover his ears.

The man breathed a sigh of relief, “Syreilla. Thank Zyulla.” He pressed his face down against her own.

“Vezar, what happened?” She let him help her up to sitting despite her soreness. “It feels like someone ran me through.”

“An elf tried to kill you. He stabbed you through the chest, very nearly through the heart. I…” He swallowed and looked at his hands with what looked like shame. “I changed and brought you here. I gave up my gifts to have your life spared.”

“Vezar, brother,” Syr reached out and took hold of his hand. It felt soft like the skin of a snake and she noticed he had sharp claws where his fingernails should be. “You gave up your gifts?”

“I am still undying, Syreilla, but I will be hideous until the end of time.” His eyes were watching her hand touching his own.

You are not hideous.” She lifted her hand and tilted his face to look at her. “I wish I’d known you when you were younger, I could have spared you so much pain.” Her fingers moved over the ridges of his face and brushed his hair back from indented and craggy ears. “You’re beautiful, Vezar.”

His eyes widened and the black oval in the middle of the golden brown orb expanded. “You are the only one to say that and mean it.” His lips curved and pulled back into his too wide smile. “Your hair is golden again, Syreilla. You are the golden treasure I will not part with.”

“My husband is going to take issue with that, br-” her half-teasing words were cut off by Vezar’s urgent kiss.

“I am not your brother. I love you, Syreilla. I would give up everything I ever wanted, I have given up everything I wanted to keep you alive. In time, I hope you will come to see me as a man you-you might love.” The feeling of his claws lightly brushing the skin of her face as he so earnestly spoke sent a thrill through her she’d never felt before. “All I’ve done to you has been undone, I can see you feel some desire for me now.”

The giddiness lighting his face made her smile despite herself. “I do. But it doesn’t change the fact that I have a husband, whom I love.”

“A husband you will never see again. You are here with me now, sweet Syreilla.” Vezar looked content. “Your desire will grow if you let it. I hope that you will. Kaduil will believe you dead, perhaps in time he will even remarry.”

“Dwarves don’t remarry. Even if he thinks I’m dead he’ll wait for me.” The thought made her insides twist.

“Humans remarry. I even knew an elf that did once. If you need to wait until he dies to be mine completely, I will wait, but don’t deny me your desire.” His words were like velvet, they sounded reasonable and she felt a part of herself wanting to agree.

She pulled back and shuddered, “You’re as bad as an elf, Vezar.”

“Elves wish they had my talents, sweet Syreilla.” He smiled sheepishly. “I did not say I would wait patiently.”

Changing the subject to something safer would be a good idea, Syr glanced around, “Where are we?”

“The temple of Zyulla, the goddess of mercy and the bringer of peace to the desolate. She gave me my gifts and she took them back as the price to spare your life.” Vezar studied her face with bemusement.

“Her name sounds familiar somehow.”

“The mother of Odos and Imos, the wife of Atos, and lover of his forlorn brother, Ruler of the Underworld, whose name should not be spoken?” Vezar’s smugness was almost unbearable.

“Ahhh. I think I caught the end of a sermon mentioning her once while I was robbing the temple of Imos.” Her grin almost split her face at his sour expression. “If she’s Odos’ mother she probably has a soft spot in her heart for thieves. I can’t be anything but what I am.”

“You can at least refrain from mentioning it, and I’ve seen you pretend to be an innocent before, Syreilla,” he snapped reproachfully.

“You’re going to tell me a goddess, who is supposed to have raised Odos wouldn’t know a thief when she sees one? Pretending would be offensive!” Needling him for that offended look was too much to resist.

The laughter that made him look up in startlement raised the hair on the back of her neck. It was so familiar she would have known it anywhere.

“Master Odos?” Her head swiveled around.

“Young Syreilla, my wicked little rook. I enjoyed my funeral, and a cask of mead for me to take to the grave was very generous.” Odos looked a great deal younger than he had the last time she’d seen him but his crooked grin was unmistakable. “People talked about it for a long while after, that warmed me as much as the mead.”

“I try to do my best for the ones I love, Master Odos.” She matched his grin.

“As do I, little rook.” He stepped closer with confidence, his hazy grey eyes studying Vezar. “I took a great deal of pride in finding her a family, the husband was a bonus, child of Hevtos. You’ve taken it upon yourself to steal her away without even a nod in my direction?”

“Why would you send such a beautiful creature to live with dwarves? She’s perfection and they…” Vezar trailed off, his eyes fixed on Master Odos as if he were going to be struck down.

“They adore her and know to appreciate her. She has one of the true great gifts, the ability to see beauty where others don’t, much like my mother.” The look on his face was dangerously grim and his eyes darkened like storm clouds.

“Our mother shouldn’t be compared with a common thief.” The second man entered from behind Vezar, he looked remarkably like Master Odos but with a colder set to his mouth and a priest’s robes instead of Odos’ common but serviceable clothes.

“My little rook is anything but common, brother. She’s more loyal than any of your priests.” His face cracked into his crooked grin.

Vezar looked as though he wished to sink into the floor, murmuring sickly, “Brother Somi.”

“As loyal as a hound, I’ve heard it said, brother. No doubt she also has fleas.” His scowl said he was well aware of her exploits robbing his temples.

Syr scratched her head obligingly, with a broad grin. “Not too many. I try to bathe regularly.”

Syreilla!” Vezar hissed at her, aghast.

“This one murdered an entire order that wished only to help him come to terms with his curse, to help him see the wisdom in choosing to return to his true form, and yet he still has more decorum than your little rook.” The sourness of his face as he spoke made her want to needle him, but Master Odos rested his hand on her head.

“Are you angrier that he murdered the entire order or that you failed, brother?” Odos’ teasing tone was light as he added, “Decorum is overrated, effectiveness and loyalty are worth a great deal more.”

“Tell me Edra, why did you kill those who wished to help you?”  The other god came to stand in front of Vezar.

“The words you spoke Brother Somi, that I was living in a wasteland of my own creation and that I must choose to change my lot. You said death was a gift denied to me and granted to others, you said I was a creature beyond law and reckoning and that I must embrace what I am.” Vezar took a breath and tilted his head up proudly. “That is what I did.”

Master Odos began to laugh as his brother looked sheepish. “Imos, you persuaded him to kill an entire order of your own priests.”

“He misunderstood me.” Imos eyed her. “How would you have taken my words?”

“Truthfully? They sound like you wanted him to embrace something awful inside himself, his gifts could have been used to good ends, he could have been an unrivaled healer,” she watched Imos’ eyes widen and head tilt slightly. “But you came at it from the worst possible angle. You encouraged him to embrace killing and told him he was above consequences. With guidance like that no wonder things didn’t go well.”

Imos looked at her with an unreadable expression. “How much?” His silvery eyes shifted to Odos. “How much for the rook?”

“She isn’t for sale, brother.” Master Odos looked viciously proud.

“You once said anything that isn’t for sale can be stolen. Name a price or I’ll-”

“Oh, this I’ve got to see.” Syreilla interrupted him coming to her feet. “Chains haven’t been made that can hold me, and if your temples are any indication, I wouldn’t have a moment’s trouble getting out of anywhere you tried to keep me.”

“On your knees, my little rook.” Master Odos squeezed her shoulder and she grudgingly sank to her knees. “The only way to steal her is to steal her heart. It would require you to share your own brother, a feat you’ve yet to manage. Even Vezar Edra the Undying, child of Hevtos, has managed to take a piece of her from the ones I gave her to. At a high cost. You’re here because I succeeded where you failed. My little rook is the reason he chose to return to his true form.”

“You’re not supposed to say our uncle’s name.” Imos glowered at him.

“According to you, brother. Not even father is that angry with him.”

Imos turned to Vezar with annoyance, “Is it true, Edra? Did you steal a piece of this thief?”

“I have tried. I love her. She has loved me as a brother and I have loved her as I have loved no other. I will keep her from her chosen family in the mine. I will guard her as gold for all of my life.” The set of Vezar’s jaw and the earnest passion with which he spoke made her want to embrace him as much as it made her want to argue that he couldn’t and shouldn’t keep her from her home and family, from her husband.

“The torn expression on her face is much like mother’s is it not? She loves her family and her husband, and yet she loves this one as well.” Master Odos stroked her hair and tilted her face up toward him. “My mother will speak with you and find the truth of what you want, little rook.”

“My mischievous son,” a softly sighing voice graced her ears. “For the second time, you bring before me a child of my children.”

“Yes, mother. I would ask a boon on behalf of-”

“Of your own daughter? That is unbefitting.” The soft voice almost sounded teasing.

“His own…” Imos blinked and looked at Syreilla again more carefully. “He hid her well. I believed she was a simple half-elf.”

“On behalf of one I love. I was a teacher, never a father to her.”

“Still, brother, a poor father is still a father. I would be willing to ask on her behalf, if,” his lips curved in a smug smile, “she never plunders another of my temples.”


“And-” Imos was enjoying himself now. “She secures them, preventing other thieves from plundering them.”

“There is one tiny problem with that.” Syr offered cautiously. “A clever thief will always be able to find a way in. As long as you understand that, I can offer suggestions to secure your temples.”

“I disagree. If anyone can secure a temple thoroughly it would be the daughter of Odos.” Imos looked at her sharply as if she were trying to deceive him.

“You could bar all worshippers and priests from your temples, put traps everywhere you can think of and ward the doors to do awful things to anyone who enters through them and a clever thief will get past all of it. Time and tools are all they need.” She shrugged. “I’ll give you my opinions and suggestions if Master Odos says I should, and I’ll stop looting your temples if he says, but you won’t ever keep every thief out.”

His measured look before he glanced back to his brother told her she’d been heard. “The things I could have done with a child that clever, brother.”

“I’m aware, why do you think I hid her so well?” Odos asked dryly. “She’ll stop plundering your temples, and she’ll advise those you send to her of how best to protect your temples.”

“I would have her come to the temples.” Imos looked at Odos as if he were attempting to dupe him.

“I would have her home in the mine with the family I gave her.”

“She would be wasted in a mine.” Vezar and Imos spoke at once.

“Everyone says that, but it’s not a waste if you're happy there,” Syr muttered and rubbed the back of her neck.

“Truer words, my little rook, truer words.” Master Odos beamed down at her.

“Very well, brother, but don’t attempt to get her out of her obligations. If she leaves the mine she must visit one of my temples to offer her suggestions.”

“Agreed.” Master Odos looked at her expectantly.

She inclined her head to him. “Agreed.”

“Mother, I ask a boon on behalf of my brother’s child,” Imos spoke clearly.

“I will grant her one.” The voice was sorrowful and as it died away she found herself kneeling before a sad looking woman on a throne. “I will show you two paths and my boon will be the choice you make.”

Her eyes were so familiar and filled with such pain, Syreilla had to ask, “Why are you so sad? Is there anything I can do?”

A smile lightened her face and her eyes shone like water with the sun behind it. “My Odos would be the one to have a soft-hearted child. Should I ever need you I will summon you.”

In front of where Syr was kneeling was suddenly an image of her at home in the mine, content and curled close to Kaduil, her belly swollen with what she knew would be a son with his father’s dark looks and her mischievousness. It was only a glimpse but it made her heart sing and her eyes water.

As quickly as the first image had appeared came the next, Vezar holding her close and whispering words of love undying. She could learn to be content with him, they would find joyful purpose together. The image faded and she looked up at the once more sorrowful goddess.

“Would it be wrong to ask you-”

“To show you what happens to them when you choose the other?”

She nodded.

“No, but few wish to see such sadness.”

In front of her was Vezar, his golden brown eyes filled with pain and rage, hunched and shackled in a shadowy place. His life devoid of joy and purpose, devoid of love. His heart devoured by betrayal and hatred. The image faded immediately into the next, Kaduil hunting the world over for her. His good heart aching and breaking far from home and utterly alone.

“You must choose.”

Syr’s throat was closed by the agonized lump in it and her eyes watered and burned as she tried to think. Bowing and covering her face she tried to breathe and not let the threatening sobs get the better of her. She had to think. Neither one could be allowed to happen.

Breathing deeply she lifted her head and asked with only a trace of a helpless jest, “Can you split me in two and let me walk both paths? I can’t break Kaduil’s heart any more than I can let that happen to Vezar.”

The goddess looked at her carefully and then smiled with the brilliance of the sun. “I can. One half would be the demi-goddess, immortal and gifted, the other would be the mortal thief, still a half-elf, still charming, but not as quick or as lucky.”

“That sounds… perfect.” Syr smiled and shook her head. “Vezar would need the immortal half, and Kaduil would love me no matter what, I think. I might even be a better wife to him if I have to be more cautious.”

The goddess lifted her hands beckoning her to come closer and take them. By the time she reached her and took her hands there were two identical looking Syreillas standing there holding the goddess’ hands.

“You must walk to find your way out, I know the two of you will have a great deal to discuss and I would give you the time you need.” The goddess smiled warmly and released their hands and suddenly they were left alone together in the strange hall.

“Should we change our names?” The two asked at once. “Syreilla and…”

The demi-goddess smiled “Syveilla?”

“You could go with Anissa, he liked that one.”

“He did, but he loves his perfect Syreilla.” They looked at one another and grinned.

“Syreilla Hammersworn and Syreilla Rook?”

“That I like. Rook. I’ll have to talk to Master Odos about our parentage, by the way. We’ve been blaming the elves for abandoning us and never considered blaming the gods.”

Hammersworn laughed and shook her head. “We never considered there were actually gods to blame. What’s bothering me more is the question of how much of our skill was ours and how much was inherited from Master Odos.”

“I guess you’ll get to find out, I’m a little jealous of that.” Rook smiled ruefully.

“And you get forever to find out if Vezar was telling the truth about his pleasures and perversions.” Hammersworn lifted her eyebrows and smirked.

“I hope he was, or I’ll be doing a lot of dreaming about Kaduil while I teach him some new tricks.” Rook bumped her.

“I hope Kaduil really is going to be happy with just a half-elf. He always treated us like we were some kind of goddess.”

Rook took a deep breath and grinned, blushing slightly, “I’m almost certain he wouldn’t have done some of those things with a goddess. His heart is yours Syreilla Hammersworn and you get to enjoy it for as long as you live.”

“And you get to enjoy Vezar. I almost want to ask you to tell me what that’s like sometime if you can.” Hammersworn grinned at her. “He’s affectionate and beautiful. If he isn’t too decorous you could have an eternity of fun. And what was that about joyful purpose?”

“He is beautiful, the amount of decorum he has is worrying though.” Rook frowned. “Kaduil did everything right, I can’t imagine better. Not a better lover or a better husband.”

“Focus on the good. That kiss had promise and Vezar is charming. It might be a nice challenge to teach him how to be a good lover. I think he’ll be a good husband for you on his own, he wanted the chance to make us happy and you get to give it to him.” Hammersworn offered Rook a reassuring smile.

“True. It was a good kiss. He is charming and he has a good heart. I hope you’re not taking all of the optimism with you.” Rook smiled back.

“If I do you can come visit any time you need some. Bring some divine luck with you, I might want to borrow it.” The two grinned and wrapped an arm around each other.

“I don’t feel… less anything. Do you?” Rook asked curiously.

“I feel hopeful. But I do feel a little less like I want to go out and work. Some time to rest at home would be ideal.” Hammersworn let her lips twist.

“That’s odd, I feel like I need something to do. You asked about the joyful purpose… I don’t know any more about it than you do but I am looking forward to it.” Rook paused. “What will you name your son?”

“I’ll have to talk to Kaduil about that. Oduil isn’t a bad name but neither is Edruil. I don’t know if Kaduil would agree to either.”

“I like both of those.” Rook nodded her approval.

“Of course you do!” Hammersworn laughed.

© 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