Four

Four

A Chapter by Isemay

Several hours and sums of money later, Syreilla had clothes to let her wander freely through most places in the city, as well as new work clothes and some tools of newer design. The Magpie had teased her about her old fashioned kit.


For dinner they went to The Proud Pearl. A corner booth with a view of the room was occupied by a loud man throwing money around, they chose a table in the opposite corner. 


The bar wench approached looking at the Magpie expectantly.


“Mead, your finest.”


The wench glanced at Syr and she spoke up with a smile, “I’ll have the same. And if you have any dwarf bread and sausage I’ll take that as well.”


The woman looked back at the Magpie incredulously, “I won’t have the same, I’ll have my usual.”


She nodded and moved away quickly.


“There’s only one half-elf that eats dwarvish food, Rook. You might as well make an announcement.” He looked at her with a stern frown.


“This will be the first meal I’ve had in a very long time. I’m not going to eat some elvish swill to-”


The space next to her was suddenly filled with a chair and an older man with hazy grey eyes. “What are you doing out of your hole, little rook?”


“Master Odos,” Syr beamed at him, “Uncle and I had some… differences of opinion and I decided to come back to the land of the living.” The two cups of mead were brought and she handed hers to Odos, “I’ll have another, please.”


He inclined his head appreciatively and sipped it. “I know you, little rook, and I know Uncle. You didn’t slip out, you were set free.”


She gave him an impish grin, “Imagine that.”


“What have you been sent to do?” He was smiling faintly. 


“I’m a born troublemaker, Master Odos. I’ve been sent to do what I do best.” 


“What use would Hevtos have for an out of practice thief whose greatest skill is wriggling out of death’s grip?” He took a longer pull from his cup.


“That is hurtful, Master Odos! I like to think my greatest skill is getting out of trouble in a more general sense.” 


“And helping others out of it when they mean something to you.” He set his cup down and eyed hers as the bar wench brought it with her bread and sausage. 


Pouring half into his cup, she sipped hers. “Mm, that’s good. It’s been a long time.” She took a large bite of the bread and wiggled in her chair. “Ff gut.” She offered him a chunk and he shook his head with a smile and a sigh.


“I can guess his reasons for letting you out, little rook. And I don’t have any inclination to thwart your plans…”


She washed the bread down with mead, “But.”


“But I won’t allow her to be taken from one confinement to another, into his realms.”


“I liked her, I wouldn’t wish that on her.” Syr looked at his grim expression. “Even his idea of reward is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone I care for. I’m going to try to fix that. And I’m not going to send her there to do it. I’ll try to convince him to change a few things in the run up.”


He blinked. “You’re going to…” 


“You’re the one who taught me how to con people, old man. But there’s a possibility I might be able to deliver.”


Master Odos’ shoulders shook as he laughed silently, covering his face. “My little rook.”


“What is she talking about Master Odos?” The Magpie was carefully eating a flaky looking pie.


“You don’t mind if I borrow your Magpie do you?” Syr asked cheekily before he could respond.


Odos began to laugh in earnest. “I do mind, but I think he already agreed.”


“I’ll let him out of it if it’s a problem.” She smiled and shrugged with one shoulder. “I like him,” lifting her cup she let them know two more were needed, “and I want to stay on your good side.”


“Take him. He’s idolized you all his life, letting him see you up close might be the best cure for it.” Odos took his cup from the bar wench and looked at Magpie with a mischievous smile. “You’re going to get an education, little magpie.”


“I have to help her shake the dust off of her feathers first.” He was trying to hide his excitement with nonchalance but his eyes were sparkling and there was a light flush on his cheeks.


“When did you get dust on your feathers?” Odos snorted looking at her with amusement. “The rumors of Hevtos’ Golden Rook say you still breathe dragon’s fire and walk through wards like a wraith.”


“I haven’t gotten to play with many locks or use these new tools your Magpie’s been showing me. A little bit of feather shaking is very much called for.”


The grin on Odos’ face brought out one on her own. “Make sure my magpie stays safe and away from Uncle and you’ll stay on my good side, little rook.”


“Understood, Master Odos. You wouldn’t want to come make some mischief with us would you?” She leaned close, dropping her voice conspiratorially, her arm brushing his cloak, and her hopeful question was rewarded with the theft of her cup and a chunk of sausage.


“That depends on how well you do.”


“Please,” Sitting back up, she pushed her plate slightly toward him, “It’s the least I can do since you’re buying dinner.” Syr dropped his old leather purse on the table in front of them.


“Don’t forget you have to visit Imos.” His hazy eyes sparkled.


“I haven’t forgotten. I somehow think he’s going to have the door locked by the time I get there though.” She composed her face into a look of innocence.


“Keep the purse, little rook.” He drained the cup and rose, placing a kiss on her head before popping the chunk of sausage into his mouth and moving away from the table.


“I think he made sure we found each other.” Magpie looked bemused. “I’ve never seen him quite like that, and how did you get his purse?”


“Divine luck,” Syr pulled the purse back, tucking it down her front into the place she kept her own money and noticed the peculiar tingle of magic as she did. Something in the bag had power. “And a hefty measure of divine indulgence.”


“I-” He looked behind her and frowned. “We’re about to have company.”


Taking a bite of sausage she placed her elbows on the table and her arms protectively over her plate, leaning forward slightly, “Good company or bad company?”


“Why is it I have a little bird singing in my ear that Syreilla Hammersworn has come out of hiding and turned up in my city?” The booming voice was the same she’d heard when they’d entered.


“I can’t imagine.” Syr took another bite of sausage and held up her cup for more mead.


“Tark, I don’t think-” Magpie started to interject.


“Shut up, Kwes. You should have stayed in your brothel.”


“I can teach him some manners if you’d like, Magpie.” Syr gave him an impish grin.


“I doubt it, but if anyone could it would probably be a Rook.” He returned it like a mirror.


A heavy hand grabbed her by the shoulder and tried to yank her out of her seat and she immediately began mouthing her siphoning spell.


“This is my-”


She followed it with one of a few contact spells she’d learned, having drawn just enough from whatever was in the bag and the man released her with a scream of pain. At the sound of drawing weapons she turned slowly letting them get a good look at the cold smile on her face. “It’s been some time since I was a Hammersworn. As far as I know Syreilla Hammersworn went back to the mine and lived a happy life with her husband. I am the Rook. Ask a mage about me before you decide if you really want to attack me.”


“That’s a myth.” A elderly tattooed man pulled back his hood and looked at her curiously. “Hevtos’ Golden Rook that rides a dragon and goes through wards like a wraith…”


“To take lich and the lingering dead home to my dear uncle. Unfortunately, he doesn’t appreciate my personality. I’ve been turned loose on the world of the living.” Syr smiled brightly and watched several men flinch back. “If you’d like to know what’s in store after death I’ll be happy to let you know. For a price, I’ll even give you a few tips on how to stay out of the worst of his punishments.”


“That’s why he said to keep me away from your uncle.” Magpie breathed into the quiet.


“You’ll end up there eventually, all humans do, half-humans too if they don’t embrace the gods of the other side.” She shrugged without turning back to him. “But I’ll show you a trick to make death easier,” glancing over her shoulder at his ashen face she gave him an encouraging smile, “I’ll show you for free.”


“What trick?” The tattooed man eyed her dubiously, “Did he set you free or expel you.”


“He’s not overly fond of thieves, and apparently my personality is… unpleasant.” Syreilla put on her best imitation of saintly innocence. “But being locked in that hole and only let out to drag back lich was almost unbearable. A girl has to do something to keep herself occupied.”


“You stole from the god of death?” Magpie leaned forward fascinated and horrified.


“It’s hardly stealing if it’s family.” She raised her hands and turned her innocent look on him.


“How is someone he threw out going to get us out of his punishments?” One man sheathed his weapon and pulled a chair to where he could see her better.


“You should never throw out someone who knows your back doors. But we’re going to talk price first.”


The room erupted into conversations as they began to argue about what she was offering and what she could deliver. Syr held up her cup to the bar wench and the woman almost seemed afraid as she came to fill it. Tucking back into her meal until the noise died down seemed the best way to deal with it.


“Alright! Enough!” The tattooed man shouted and beat his hand on the counter. “What kind of guarantees can you give?”


“You’re asking to come back from the dead and let people know whether I’m telling the truth? I can’t give you that.” The voices started to raise again and she got a little louder, “But what I can give you,” she waited until it was silent, “is something to think about. You know how things stand now. You can all either go change your ways and be pious beggars or you can keep living this life until it ends. If you do what I suggest, you’ll get the same reward as those pious beggars and you won’t have to give up a thing.”


There was muttering about it being too good to be true. “And what is it you suggest?” The tattooed man had a hard glint in his eyes.


“Any thief who jobs for me, and helps me on jobs, I’ll show them the back door.”


“That’s the price, what’s the door? And does it need a key?” The man sitting in the chair staring at her asked pointedly.


“The door is a statue, the key, well, I suppose if you cross me you’ll get a chance to try it sooner than you wanted to.” She took a bite of dwarf bread making them wait. “You have your ashes or an image of yourself brought to the statue, your friend offers a prayer for your soul not mentioning any bad deeds, have them talk you up a little. They should leave a small offering that has sentimental value.” Syr took a long drink of her mead. “This statue used to be guarded by priests, only the purest and holiest could use it the way I’m telling you. It’ll get you out of punishment and into paradise. Eternal sunshine and fields of green.”


“Impossible,” the tattooed man breathed. “You’re talking about the statue of Hevtos in the Garden of Night. It was destroyed. A thousand years ago, it was destroyed!”


“That’s what people were told. The statue was walled up, the garden ruined, scorched and salted. People forgot all about it. Hevtos without his priests can’t protect it, he can’t keep people from slipping in the back door.”


The room had gone silent. 


“You’re telling me what she’s talking about is real, Erebrim?” Tark pushed his way back to the front holding his arm gingerly.


“Yes, but-” his words were drowned out by the sudden raucous chatter.


“What if you don’t have someone to take your ashes?” The room quieted again. A young man timidly stepped toward her. “If you don’t have family or,” he glanced around, “reliable friends.”


“An excellent question.” Syreilla gnawed on the hunk of bread contemplating it. To the Magpie she murmured, “If Master Odos hadn’t left so abruptly I’d ask him if he had any suggestions.”


“If Hevtos is your uncle, that would make you a demi-goddess at the least.” Erebrim looked speculative, “They could pray to you.”


She shuddered, making several of them snort. “I don’t know if it would work or not, but if you don't have anyone else, I suppose you’re welcome to try. You could ask me to do that for you. BUT!” Syr tried to make herself heard, “BUT!”


They quieted back down. “The small offering of sentimental value is important. If I don’t know you and I don’t have anything that makes me feel sentimental about you…”


The murmuring began again. This time the Magpie spoke up, “You like birds, maybe if they carry a feather for luck, or a medallion with a golden rook on it?”


“That might work.”



© 2021 Isemay


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Added on January 29, 2021
Last Updated on January 29, 2021
Tags: thief, dwarf, elf, dragon, gods

Golden Rook

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Author

Isemay
Isemay

Germany



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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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One One

A Chapter by Isemay


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A Chapter by Isemay


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A Chapter by Isemay