Seven

Seven

A Chapter by Isemay

Cyran knelt before the altar. He had taken all five with him to intercept the spawn of the god of death, the dragon once known as the King Undying. His reputation had been fearsome, but the White Hands were far more competent and formidable than he had been prepared to face. It was why only two were sent to fetch his servant, the less dangerous of the two. 


As instructed, Cyran had brought all that the dragon had with him before the altar. It had only been an old battered leather purse but Imos was interested in it. He waited patiently for the Divinity’s next commands.


“Why were only two sent to fetch me the Rook?” Imos’ voice was sharp.


“I did not deem her a threat worthy of more, Divinity. She is merely a servant of a servant-”


“She is far more than that. The daughter of Odos is clever and quick. It seems she has a talent for magic as well. I have lost two of my Hands to your ineptitude.” Imos’ severely disappointed scowl made Cyran swallow and bow his head, bending until his forehead nearly touched the floor.


“Forgive me. I will fetch her myself.”


“No. She will come to me. It seems she has intended to, she claims she has stolen nothing from me.”


“She is a thief and a liar.” Cyran spat, not raising his eyes from the floor.


“Of course, she is the daughter of Odos. But she is honorable in her way, as is my brother. And she is loyal, when she has a master.” Imos sounded speculative. “She refers to herself as the Golden Rook and does not wish to be called Divinity, though there are already those who would worship her. When you greet her, call her Lady Rook.”


Cyran lifted his head incredulously. “Divinity?”


“If she truly is between masters I’ll take her. My brother took a creature of incredible promise and turned her into a reprobate. She can, perhaps, be salvaged. There was a good heart within Syreilla Hammersworn. There may be within the Rook as well.” The god turned his hard silver eyes upon him, “Have what is left of your brothers fetched home. If the Golden Rook should be encountered she is to be offered neither insult nor harm.”


“As you command.” 


He was seething inwardly as he fetched the remaining three Hands. As the highest of the Hands he should have known better, the blame of this loss fell upon him. “Garrym, Jenlan, Antien, with me. Toreth and Jeris have fallen to the Rook. We are to fetch what is left of them home.”


“What do you mean, ‘what’s left of them’?” Antien rose from his seat outside of the inner chamber. “What happened?”


“We’re going to find out.” Cyran stalked past them and out of the temple into the dark street, Imos would guide their feet on the paths they needed to walk. 


The Storm Cauldron had a crowd gathered outside of it as they approached, “It was the Golden Rook. I swear to you, Kors.” 


“I was right that she mixes her dragon’s fire, wasn’t I!” Another voice called out exuberantly. 


“Yes! She blows on it after mixing it, it was a thing of beauty.” The first voice sounded viciously pleased in the dimness of the torchlight.


“Breathing dragon’s fire… dangerous.” An older voice murmured.


“Did she truly slay two of my White Hands?” Cyran let them hear the anger and ice in his voice.


A man stepped forward and bowed, “Lady Rook did try to warn them but they attacked her, my lord. She slew them as if they were as helpless as lambs.”


“Why was she in your establishment?” Cyran noted that some in the crowd were slipping away.


“She required the ingredients for dragon’s fire.” As if anticipating his next question he added, “The Lady wished to have it on hand before solidifying her plans, she said.”


“I imagine she won’t be happy with you for offering that so freely.” Jenlan sounded sceptical.


“On the contrary, she told me to tell you what you wished to know.” The man straightened, “Lady Rook is concerned with her uncle’s ire, not yours.”


At the sound of Jenlan’s throat clearing, Cyran realized he was gripping his sword. 


“She should be concerned with mine.”


“My lord, with as much as she asked for I think you should be more concerned with hers.” An almost smug smile twitched across the man’s face. “If she wished to burn down Tirnel Acharnion’s home, and the three closest towns, she would still have enough dragon’s fire left over to cause you some concern.”


“She said nothing about her plans?” Garrym stepped forward, “No one would gather that much and draw so much attention if they didn’t have a firm plan.”


“What did she speak of?” Cyran scowled at him and he glanced at the men next to him. “Speak.”


“She stole something from one of her uncles. It’s what caused her to be sent back to the land of the living. She may wish to fetch it. We spoke of mages, Zylius, Agust No-legs, who are both dead, I mentioned Agust had trained some very competent mages…”


“She truly stole from Hevtos?” The older voice spoke again. “What would he have…”


“One of the shards that he placed power into to help maintain his vast realm.” The man spoke as if he were sharing something precious.


“Gods… that’s why she’s recruiting thieves, and she needs mages and dragon’s fire to breach his realm.” A tattooed man shuddered as he spoke. “Does Hevtos have any priests that you know of?”


“That name should not be spoken. None are permitted to serve as his priests, any who dared would be hunted down.” Cyran looked at the man who had spoken. “How is she recruiting thieves.”


“If he has no priests, she can deliver on her promise. She only has to get into the Garden of Night and clear the barrier from the statue.” He traded knowing looks with the shopkeeper. “Difficult to get to. The door opens from one side and not the other.”


“Hammersworn wasn’t one to cross, the Golden Rook is worse. Even death has to think twice.” One of the others nearby muttered.


There was wheezing laughter from the old man.


“What promise has she made?” Jenlan asked insistently. 


Cyran wasn’t concerned about that, the Garden of Night was her goal. She would be seeking a way to reopen it. Whether she intended to fetch something out of it or whether she intended to serve Hevtos by giving him a hold here above once again, it could not be permitted to happen.


“Nothing that would concern Imos.” The tattooed man pulled up his hood. “I have preparations to make. I’ll be back for supplies, Riman.”


“Hold.” Jenlan commanded as the crowd murmured in agreement and began to disperse. 


“Let them go. We know where she intends to go, they know only the legends.” Cyran gave Riman a hard look. “The two White Hands. Where are they?”


The shopkeeper took them into the smoky shop. By the door, Toreth lay in a pool of his own blood with his chest caved in. Further in… It must have been Jeris. There was only ash where his head and chest should be.


Their weapons were missing, and it appeared Toreth had been stripped of all of value. “She stole from them after she murdered them?”


“She is a thief, my lord. But she killed them in self defense. I tell you again, she warned them.”


“Tell me what exactly was said.” Antien stepped toward the man and frowned down at him menacingly.


“They demanded she return what she stole. Lady Rook insisted it had been a very long time since she’d stolen anything from ‘Uncle Imos’ and said she expected them to be here to escort her to the nearest temple. She said she’d given her word that she would visit the last time she’d seen him.”


“They were here to recover what she took. They were to search her for it.” Cyran glared at the man.


He continued with a shrug, “They demanded she turn and face them, calling her a Servant of Evil. Lady Rook disputed that before telling them that if they put down their weapons, which were drawn, she would put away hers. There was no reason for this.” The man gestured at the corpses. “They chose to attack. The fight was over in a moment’s time.”


“What was her weapon?” Cyran looked at the ashes carefully, if it had been a magical weapon, to do so much damage it would need more power poured into it.


“Dragon’s fire, my lord. She had been mixing a small sample of ingredients to make certain that my goods were worth what she intended to pay for them.”


“A small sample?”


“Yes, my lord. It reached from the bowl as she breathed on it.” He seemed almost giddy, “Few truly know the art of mixing it. The lore says that breathing on it makes it more potent, but it reaches for its master like a living thing if you attempt it.”


Cyran stood frozen in place. If she could do this with a small sample meant to test the ingredients, if she had such a grasp on the art of it… “A creature of incredible promise.”


“Cyran?” Garrym placed a hand on his shoulder.


“Before we left I was given a command, if we encounter her we offer neither insult nor harm. The divinity said she is a creature of incredible promise that might yet be salvaged.”


“My lord, if her uncles are Imos and Hevtos, she is a goddess, no matter how loathe she is to be called one.” The mage looked at him as if he were a fool. “It was beyond foolish to attack her, and to call her merely a creature of promise is to damn Lady Rook with faint praise.”


“Correct me if I’m wrong, mage, you intend to try to steal the shard she stole. You don’t think that unwise?” Jenlan narrowed his eyes at the man.


“I’m certain she would appreciate the effort. The daughter of Odos didn’t let it slip for no reason.” His smile raised the hair on Cyran’s neck. “She may even reward anyone clever enough to get to it with her favor.”


“And what would she have to offer?” Cyran couldn’t help but ask. 


“She knows spells and wards that no mage would have taught to a student for fear they’d be used against him. And if that isn’t enough, that shard might allow a competent mage to remain alive and out of her uncle’s reach.”


“And if she wants it when it’s recovered?”


“I’m certain something could be arranged. Lady Rook is truly something to behold.”



© 2021 Isemay


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

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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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A Chapter by Isemay


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A Chapter by Isemay


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A Chapter by Isemay