Ten

Ten

A Chapter by Isemay

It didn’t sit right. 


Syreilla had gone out of one of the higher, unbarred windows instead of a door as she left the temple, much to the surprise of the scribe working by candlelight. Hammersworn would have felt unfriendly eyes and to have a mage close by in case the assassin missed his mark… Mages would know who they were attacking.


It would have to be someone who thought they could get away with it, who thought they could keep themselves from being dragged down to death by the Golden Rook… A suspicion nagged at the back of her mind. Someone who thought they knew her true name and thought their wards were something she would be wary of, perhaps? The old man did like to arrange things and he was better at finding things out than anyone she’d ever known.


Reaching into her front pocket she pulled out the chain and gem, wrapping it around her hand and glancing around. No immediate danger leapt out at her and she headed toward the Storm Cauldron. Messus had worked with an assassin once before. She needed to know what method had been used. It was best to be sure. Straightforward wasn’t a direction Master Odos liked to move in.


The shop was dark as she approached and the wards that should have been in place were not, she could see that clearly with the gem from where she stood, concealed in shadow, across from the shop. Syr slipped away and around to the old exit. It wasn’t intended to open from the outside but she chanted a dispelling in case someone had thought she might try it and jarred the mechanism as she had earlier. The door opened enough for her to squeeze through and she smelled blood the moment she stepped in.


There was what looked like a small river of it down the passage and at the foot of the ladder that would lead up to the shop was Riman’s crumpled body. Syr moved to inspect it and saw the quarrel sticking out of his throat. It had been coated in something, she could smell that just from crouching so close and his skin was still warm as if he’d had a fever as he’d bled out.


“Uncle Hevtos… I don’t know what kind of man he was, but Riman helped me and he didn’t deserve to die this way. If you can find something better for him than the blank faces I would appreciate it. But the ones I’m going to send to you, the ones who murdered Hammersworn, I hope you find something far more horrible than the sunless pits for them.”


My Golden Rook… The words were quiet like a whisper at the edge of hearing, Do not get distracted.


“I’m angry, Uncle Hevtos, but if I don’t kill them first, they'll try to do to me what they did to her. I ask you to hold Vezar back, I have a suspicion that the mage owns something that can harm him.”


Is there anything else you would request? The voice sounded annoyed as if she were being demanding and she broke into a smile.


“Many things Uncle, I’ll try to earn some good will before I ask for them.”


She stood and glanced up the ladder intending to go that way when she heard the soft sound behind her and snapped her head around.


“You should be more careful.” Master Odos stood not far away with a frown. “The assassin hasn’t gone far. She’s deadly with that crossbow.”


“In the dark-”


“She has Hammersworn’s circlet. It was stolen off of her burned body.”


Rubbing her face she took a deep breath. “I hate to burn this place down but… I can mix dragon’s fire here with the ingredients…” If she’d left him enough, if not a regular fire might do in a pinch. “It’ll be bright, too bright to keep the circlet on, and probably spectacular enough to distract her.”


“You could ask for help, little rook.” Master Odos leaned against the wall and his face softened into a smile, “Or are you too angry with me?”


“Less angry. I thought you’d let her get herself killed on a job.” She exhaled as his smile faded. “It was what we always expected, and it wouldn’t have been a bad death, but… it was too soon.”


“It’s always too soon, little rook.”


“Have you ever thought about trying to raise poets or travelling storytellers or something instead? Something safer?”


Master Odos snorted a laugh and his smile returned. “I never raise them, I spent longer with you than with any of the rest. Hammersworn told me… she said, ‘Father, I love you but if you have my little ones following you out of the mine and into trouble, you and I will go on a tour of the flooded mine shafts with a length of stout chain.’ 


“Raising them, little rook, makes you too attached. You don’t want to risk giving them the chance to fully spread their wings.”


The memory was vague and hazy but it made her smile. Two sons and a daughter and it was the younger boy that was the troublemaker.


“What are their names?”


“You wouldn’t rather ask your Uncle?”


“I suppose I can. He’d probably like to meet the Magpie.”


Odos was no longer amused. “I keep my children away from him for a reason.”


“You didn’t keep me away. You sent me into-”


She stopped as the old man seemed to blink out of existence. “You’re lucky I love you, old man, and lucky I liked the Magpie. You’re not as good at hiding us as you used to be.” Syr leaned to peer up the ladder again and was greeted with Odos’ silent, sour stare from above.


“How so?”


“When I mentioned I had a brother he was curious. He wanted to know if this brother was being raised as a thief or as something else, something safer. I said he was called the Magpie and his curiosity vanished. He already knew. There was something specific he was hoping to learn from me.”


The language that he started to swear in made her ears tingle and her eyes water.


“Either teach me that or f*****g stop! Aah!” She rubbed her ears and shook her head before laughing at his frustrated sigh. “Go. I can take care of myself. You’ve got fledglings to look after. I know how to spread my wings.”


She felt the hand that grabbed the back of her collar and yanked but before she could react she was no longer in the underground passage. In a small patch of woods, the old man was dusting off the ragged travelling robes he hadn’t been wearing a moment before.


“I can’t do that often, my little rook, you’ll have to walk back. But first I want to persuade the ones watching over my fledglings, as you called them, to stay away from the city.”


“This should be fun. What kind of birds are these, F-” She stopped herself with a wince. “Broken glass.”


“Master Odos will do, Rook. Put the gem away or stay out of sight.”


Syr tucked the gem into the sleeve of her shirt and pulled on a glove to help hide the chain still wrapped around her hand. She tugged the hood of her cloak up to cover her hair and shadow her face, moving as silently as she could, circling the glimmer she saw him moving toward. A ring of brightly painted wagons, travelling performers if she had to guess, with a fire in the middle. 


The sound of people talking and laughing wafted out with the smell of food. Master Odos was greeted with surprise but warmly, she noted. Settling in to watch, she could feel the wary eyes on her and sighed.


“I must have more dust on my feathers than I thought. You don’t have to worry, I’m not here to rob you or cause mischief.”


An elf crouched next to her and tried to peel back her hood. She swatted his hand and did it herself. 


“Who are you and why are you skulking in the trees if not to rob us or cause trouble, half-elf?” His pale delicate brow furrowed.


“You can call me Rook.” With an annoyed sigh she removed the gloves and made a show of waving them, distracting him, as she slipped the gem and chain into a more secure place. “Are you part of that or are you out here for another reason, elf?”


“Why would you approach if you don’t know who we are?”


“I’m not approaching, I’m trying to watch from a safe distance and see what-”


“Why do you keep doing it?”


“This is the first time I have.”


“Your friends then. I’ve seen them watching but they haven’t been this bold.”


“I’m almost certain they weren’t my friends. Do you belong to the wagons or not?” Syr eyed him with a growing feeling of trepidation.


“You’ll answer my-”


She let out a burst of muttered spell that made him slump mid-sentence and started rifling through his pockets. 


“You could have told me whether or not you belong here but you wanted to do it the hard way.” She was murmuring mostly to herself, “I don’t mind the hard way, you understand, but I’m annoyed tonight. A little cooperation would have been nice.”


A boot knife, dwarven and expensive looking was the only thing on him, a good indication he was camped close by. 


“Give it back.” A child’s voice made her look up to see a small half-elf peering around a tree trunk with wide terrified eyes.


“You belong with the wagons, yes?”


It nodded.


“Does he?” Syr gestured with the butt of the knife.


It nodded again.


“Thank you.” She smacked the elf’s shoulder twice, letting the spell fall away from him, “Wake up, elf.”



© 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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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


Three Three

A Chapter by Isemay