Thirteen

Thirteen

A Chapter by Isemay

Kwes studied the building Rook had disappeared into. Despite his advice, she’d chosen to take a room at The Hollow Jester. Whatever the place might have once been he was certain it wasn’t anymore. The Bent Elf might be a brothel but it was at least comfortable and no one would bother her if she didn’t want to be bothered.


“I thought she’d go there.” Erebrim had sidled up with a smug smile. “You offered her a room at your favorite brothel?”


“She gave me a look that suggested I shouldn’t press the matter. Why she’d choose to stay here, of all places…” 


“It was the inn the thieves favored until forty or fifty years ago. There used to be rooms that had access to the roof and walkways above they liked to use to get around the city unseen.”


“She doesn’t know they aren’t there anymore.” Kwes breathed a laugh and shook his head. “That’s why she was so insistent.”


The old mage wheezed a laugh, “Thieves have their habits. In a hundred years you may still be staying in brothels.”


“They’re comfortable and I like the company.” He folded his arms and studied the old building wondering which rooms would have access to the roof and how. His brothel had access to some of the catacomb tunnels honeycombed beneath the city. The businesses he’d set up at their entrances did brisk, mostly legitimate trades and he kept his name well away from them. 


“She seemed almost friendly with you.” Erebrim edged a little closer and Kwes gave him a speculative look.


“You want me to ask her for something?”


“Syreilla Acharnion was never a trusting woman. I’ve gathered some tales of the woman, I wanted to prepare to meet the Golden Rook someday.”


“And?”


“And if you have value to her, she’ll bargain for you.” A quiet female voice behind him made the hair on the back of his neck stand on end. “Don’t turn and don’t run. I tip my weapons with poisons so unpleasant death is a relief.”


“Why would you need to bargain with her?” He managed to keep his voice calm even though his mind was racing.


“You were never a quick one, Riellan Fethurin.” Erebrim wheezed another laugh, “How did Syreilla Hammersworn die?”


“I never believed she did. I thought she’d just gone into hiding.” Kwes felt a chill as the mage spoke the name his father had given him.


“Why would she value this one?” The quiet woman sounded vaguely annoyed.


“They share a father, Tirnel Acharnion.” Erebrim beckoned. “Family means a great deal to the woman. According to the tales, the King Undying bound her as his sister at first.”


“You’re certain she values him enough to be manipulated?”


“She’s gone to the old inn, as I said she would. I’ll make certain to be waiting outside the Storm Cauldron when she finishes her business. Syreilla Acharnion bought supplies there before and she’ll go back. Thieves are more predictable than they want to believe. You’ll keep him alive for now and I’ll make the arrangements.”


“What do you want her to do for you?” Kwes had a feeling that it wasn’t going to be a task the Rook wanted to complete.


“Do you think she actually stole something from the god of death?” Erebrim wheezed another laugh.


“I think she wanted to steal from Mabor. We made an arrangement. She’d help me take back something from Tirnel and I'd help her with the Temple here in Withia.”


The mage turned to study him with an unreadable expression. “She’s a goddess, a minor one with no worshippers and no priests, but still divine. If she wants to take their power… Maybe she did steal from death after all.” 


“What does that mean for us?” The woman behind him prodded him forward.


“It means we should be careful, very careful.”


Kwes heard nothing more as the mage cast something at his feet. The world went black and silent but he knew he wasn’t asleep. Master Odos had told him about things like this before. The important thing was to keep his wits and be ready when it lifted. He began running over the things he knew in his mind and the things he suspected.


Hammersworn was rumored to have been murdered outside a temple in Brosa, but it was also rumored that it was a misdirection. As far as thieves went she was almost legendary. It was easier to think of her as having gone into hiding than having been murdered but… If the Rook was here, if the stories were true and they’d been split… He’d come back from the underworld if someone murdered the other half of himself.


If she was murdered outside a temple, was she trying to rob it? Did someone confuse the halves of her and think they were killing the Rook? What was it the Rook wanted from the Temple of Mabor?


The sudden realization of the time of year struck him. The Festival of Song, Mabor’s festival. The highest priest wore a crown that had a gem, brilliant blue that caught the light like no other. Every thief that saw it lusted after it and knew it was out of reach, a temple might be robbed if the thief were reckless enough but that crown would be unfence-able. It was only taken out for the Festival and worn as the singers, performers, and casks of wine brought before him were blessed but anyone would recognize it. 


Was Rook here for the crown, for revenge, or for both? If she was here for revenge she wouldn’t give that up just for him, they’d only just met whether they were half-siblings or not. Tirnel had always sworn Syreilla wasn’t his but, the resemblance, Kwes could see it clearly. Still, if she were a goddess it put everything in doubt.


A dull ache in his chest began as his mind went back to the idea of Syreilla Hammersworn, the sister he’d idolized all his life being murdered.


Lost in his thoughts, he almost didn’t notice as sounds began to filter back into his hearing. He shifted his focus and waited. 


Kwes wasn't certain how long it was until he heard Erebrim’s agitated voice, “She’s clever but not as clever as she thinks.”


“How so?”


“She tried to claim she spoke to the dead while she was there and that Aizem gave her my name, she demanded I return the book he finished and pay for it.”


“If she’d spoken to the dead why would she care about that?” The woman sounded almost amused.


“She’s a liar. She spoke to Riman at the Storm Cauldron before she murdered two of Imos’ White Hands.”


“She slew two?” The woman sounded surprised and Erebrim gave an unpleasant wheezing laugh.


“With dragon’s fire. She was testing the ingredients she was buying as they came in. The woman breathes across it to wake it.”


“Was it beautiful?” The woman sounded envious.


“Riman said it was the most magnificent thing he’d ever seen. Syreilla Acharnion breathes dragon’s fire, indeed.” The mage wheezed a laugh, “But she stored her supplies in my floor. She has enough to murder Mabor himself if it came to it. Whether or not she knows about Hammersworn I can’t tell. She suggested that her cursed uncle would let the King Undying off of his chain on principle if someone tried to harm her, despite their disagreement.”


“For all the good that would do. I’ll go… speak to Riman. Where is she now?”


“She said she had to visit the temple, I suspect she meant the Temple of Imos.”


It was the woman’s turn to laugh, a low throaty sound. “Perhaps the dragon’s fire isn’t meant for Mabor? The god of justice had her murdered once, she may want to kill him before he tries again.”


“She would have used the dragon’s fire on Mabor’s Temple and taken the crown. The power is what she needs to consider challenging Imos. I suspect she’s bluffing about the King Undying she wants to make certain she isn’t killed and sent back to the god of death. I can use her but I need her injured.”


“I can mix something that will put her in agony but not quite kill her.” The woman sounded smug. “I’ll take what I need from the Storm Cauldron. Do we still need this one?”


“It would be unwise to discard him so soon. Keep him under the floor to wait.”



© 2021 Isemay


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Added on January 30, 2021
Last Updated on January 30, 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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One One

A Chapter by Isemay


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A Chapter by Isemay


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A Chapter by Isemay