Nine

Nine

A Chapter by Isemay

Cyran rose from his kneeling position with the other Hands. Prayers had been said and the remains of Toreth and Jeris had been laid in the appropriate chamber to be attended to. Now he wished to wash and rest. The morning should bring clarity.


He felt the pull toward the innermost altar and tried not to sigh. It seemed his punishment was to begin now. The feeling of dread pursued him through the Temple.


Entering the holiest chamber he sank onto his knees and bowed, waiting.


“Cyran, I have a task I would entrust to you.”


“A task, Divinity?” He lifted his head feeling certain he’d misheard. It certainly wasn’t the chiding he expected.


“A difficult and dangerous one. I would have you follow and protect Lady Rook.”


Tilting his head, he was almost certain this was what going mad must feel like, “Divinity? You would have me protect a Servant of Evil?”


“She is my niece, whatever else she may be, and I would have you watch over her carefully. The assassin that murdered Syreilla Hammersworn may try to do the same to the Rook. Should you encounter him I would have justice done swiftly.”


“It will be done, Divinity.”


“As you perform this task for me, learn what you can of her methods and mission. I am not certain that she is masterless. I would learn who she serves and what she intends.


“My brother has always said she is as loyal as a hound, and I know the woman obeys him, impressively at times. I have my suspicions that he put her in our uncle’s foul service for a reason. Listen carefully to what she says and win her trust. It will require you to obey her commands, I promise you, what you do will be forgiven.”


“If she commands me to open the Garden of Night? She spoke to a mage-”


“I have no doubt it’s a misdirection, my brother enjoys them. The god of death has no worshippers or priests to make it whole again much less keep it protected. But if she does command you to open it, agree to it and pray to have my presence granted to you. I will take her to task myself.


“Rest well tonight, in the morning you will go to her lodging and take up your task. ”


“Yes, Divinity.”


Cyran’s head swam as he made his way to his chamber. The task was expansive. It showed, however, that his god still had faith that he could serve, and serve well. This was not a task to give a man you expected to fail. He washed from his basin and then gave thanks before climbing into bed and sleeping the sleep of a man forgiven.


It was before dawn when he woke and began preparing for his tasks. Armed, dressed in his crisp white tunic over his light brigandine, blessed and as white as snow, he accepted the satchel of extra clothing and a few travel provisions from the priest awake to see him off. His feet found their path toward one of the more ragged parts of the city, and he came to a stop in front of a rotting building purporting to be an inn. 


That any form of divinity might choose to spend even a moment here was unfathomable. Steeling himself, he made his way inside. Filthy looking men were sleeping under and on top of the tables. Kicking one awake, he glowered down at the man, “I seek Lady Rook.”


“Upstairs.” An old beggar he’d overlooked sat huddled near the fire. “She was in a foul mood when she came in. I would wait here for her.”


Ignoring him, Cyran headed toward the stairs. “What room?”


“The one with the wards that will leave you a charred husk. Don’t worry, you’ll trip them before you see them.” 


The man had the gall to sound cheerful and Cyran stopped with one foot on the bottom stair. “How do you know?”


“She’s famous for nasty tricks like that.” 


As if summoned, an angry looking half-elf came stomping down the stairs toward him.


“I’d hoped you would arrive later, I’ve got errands to run. I’m going to collect my bag and then I’m going to show that f*****g mage why the Golden Rook is not to be crossed.”


“You’re angry that the mage told us about your intentions?” Cyran opened his mouth to tell her he had no intention of stopping her when she fixed him with a black look.


“No. Riman was decent enough. Messus or Erebrim or whatever he wants to call himself is the one who helped murder Syreilla Hammersworn. Old mages are vicious and quick, I don’t want Uncle upset that I’ve gotten you killed on the first day. Go back to him and let him know I’ve found the mage and I’m going to burn the name of who hired him and the assassin he used out of his worthless tattooed hide.”


“I was commanded to protect you. A mage is no-”


The woman exhaled loudly. “I forgot he was sending me one with no ears. Did he forget to tell you to listen?”


“I was commanded to protect you. I was told to obey you and to learn from you but my command is to protect.”


“That is f*****g adorable.” 


One of the men under a table snickered and the half-elf smiled unpleasantly. “Whoever you are, come out here and fill his head with stories of the Golden Rook in my absence. A few of Syreilla Hammersworn wouldn’t be amiss either.” 


Before he could protest, the woman muttered and gestured to his feet and he found himself rooted in place. If she thought a White Hand could be contained by a common ward… Cyran tried to grip his sword and found his arms refused to obey. He couldn’t even make his mouth move to speak the unbinding prayers and a wave of panic washed over him.


“It won’t kill you, and anyone who harms you or steals from you in this state will answer to me. You’re mine for now and no one f***s with mine with impunity.”


The Rook stalked out and the beggar approached with a speculative look on his face. “I told you she was in a foul mood. Do you really not know who you were sent to protect?” The man glanced to the door and hesitated before looking him up and down. “If I let you out of that and you go running after her she’ll do worse to you.”


“She’ll do worse to you too, old man.” One of the others came into view, it might have been one onlookers from the evening before. “Riman was ready to do anything she asked, even challenge Hevtos on his black throne, for the chance to learn the spells and wards the Rook knows.”


“The Golden Rook has Hammersworn’s temper and all the lessons a little more than a hundred years of service to Hevtos could teach. This Erebrim she’s after will tell her all she wants to know.” 


The old man muttered something under his breath while making a curious gesture and it felt as if Cyran’s bones turned to jelly. He slumped forward unable to stop himself and hit the floor with a groan.


“Syreilla Hammersworn would make everybody connected to her murder pay for it on principle. The Golden Rook will take dragon’s fire to their souls and all they hold dear for cutting short the life of her other half.” The old man looked grim and certain, “Hammersworn was a mother and a wife, she had a clan and home. The Rook has none of that and as much as she envied Hammersworn she was grateful that Hammersworn had all of those things. For that life to be cut short…” 


“By Orsas’ beard and all the Nightforged.” 


Cyran managed to lift his head to see a dwarf with a large axe strapped to his back. 


“She said she was here for mischief.”


“No one had told her what happened. She thought her father had allowed Syreilla Hammersworn to die on a job. It would have been too soon, but a good death by her standards.”


“She’s out for blood.”


“If she stops at blood I’ll be amazed at her restraint. Anyone who can leave Withia should, that includes you Master Dwarf. How much dragon’s fire can she make with her supplies?”


“The mage…” Cyran sat up carefully, “The mage said she could burn Tirnel Acharnion’s house and the three nearest towns with what he sold her. She slew two of the White Hands with what she was given to test the ingredients.”


“She’s had more practice with it than anyone alive.” The old man sounded almost proud. “Whoever hired the assassin and the mage will want to be sure she doesn’t learn his name. If you want to protect her, White Hand, I suggest you come with me and do it from a safe distance.”


“What distance is safe?” Cyran took his feet and tried to dust off his tunic.


“With her temper? The other side of the Acrine?” The dwarf offered with a shrug.



© 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
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