Sixteen

Sixteen

A Chapter by Isemay

Syreilla stole a kiss just before Vezar slipped through after the family now on Hevtos’ doorstep and was smiling to herself as she turned to look at the amused Master Odos. “Now what? Should I start laying down a few wards to protect the wagons?”


Odos snorted, “No. We’ll make our way back toward Withia and meet them as they come to us.”


“Are we going to be in danger?” A dark-haired woman stepped closer, taking hold of a man’s arm.


“It would be wise not to go into Withia, even without them.” Odos shook his head. “We’ll meet them on the road and keep them away for tonight, but I can’t promise your safety beyond that.”


The older man who’d convinced Cellindir to go cleared his throat, “If we don’t go into Withia and get blessed by Mabor other troupes may-”


With a sigh, Odos held up his hand, “How many of you are needed for that, Master Selles?”


“Ten.” 


“Choose ten to come with us now and send the rest to wait in a safer place.” Odos pulled her aside as a small argument began among the group. “The longer they take, the closer your uncle’s hopefuls will get. Scout ahead, Rook, and find a good place to meet them.”


“Keep giving me orders like that and I might ask you for real feathers, old man.” Syr laughed as he gave her a sour look and made her way toward the road. 


If she had one of the horses from the priests it would make things easier but she could keep up a quick pace when she needed to. Pulling the gem and chain back out and wrapping it around her hand she kept an eye out for anything that might cause her difficulty. She wasn’t certain exactly how far from the city they were and unless things had changed there were always a few thieves and bandits waiting patiently along well forested stretches of road to greet travellers. 


There had been a good reason the priests had taken Virilla out of the forest to an open farmer’s track. Perhaps two miles, or a bit more, further down the road and she chanced upon one of those good reasons. The two thin ropes stretched across the road were lit red in her vision and she found the drowsing watchman nearby. This would be a good place to meet riders, it just needed a little extra work.


She began with carefully placed wards past the ropes that faded nearly from sight of her enhanced vision, any horses or men for that matter who made it through the ropes would find themselves mired in what would be, for a few moments at least, sucking mud. It would harden and leave them trapped however deep they’d been pulled in the blink of an eye once it had run its course, as if it had never been mud at all. Some wards of holding along the edges… 


“You there! What are you doing?” The thief had woken and taken a step toward her.


“There are some riders coming and I want them to stop here. You’ve already got ropes up, I’m just laying a few wards down. I don’t mind if you take the spoils once they’re stopped.”


He uncovered a lamp and she shielded her eyes. 


“What are you, a mage? You don’t look like one.”


“I’m Syreilla the Rook. Cover that up, you’re ruining my vision as well as your own.” 


“Maybe I want to ruin your-”


Syr muttered and used the stone to loose a spell that would render the man blind and mute for a few hours. His mouth opened in a silent rictus of a scream.


“I don’t enjoy having to repeat myself and I’m not in a good mood tonight. Someone cover the lamp or I’ll do worse to everyone within the sound of my voice.” 


Another man scrambled out of the nearby bushes and covered the lamp. “Who-who are you?”


“Syreilla the Rook, perhaps you’ve heard of the Golden Rook? It may be only mages-”


“I-I’ve heard of you.” The man had started to tremble. “Who does-does death want collected?” He barely caught his friend as the blind man crumpled to the ground.


“This is personal. I had a quarrel with some priests. More will be coming, if you want to help me you may find it worth the effort. I don’t have the time to quibble over price.”


“N-no, we’ll be,” he was already trying to drag his friend into the bushes, “We’ll be on our way Mistress Rook.”


“As long as you don’t cross me and warn anyone about my work here his eyes and voice will return by morning and I’ll try to clean up after myself when I’ve finished, too. Otherwise you may all find yourselves blind and mute. Or worse depending on my mood.” She gave them the widest, maddest smile she could manage and heard them crashing through the brush with a few others.


The encounter gave her an idea. She didn’t know how many she’d be facing… Casting the spell along the ropes, anything that hit them would find itself suddenly blind and mute. Casting wards of holding over the edges of the road in case they decided to go around she moved to where the men had been lying in wait and surveyed her work. It didn’t feel like enough. Syr moved carefully behind the miring wards and began laying the most vicious sort she could think of, wards that would burn and freeze at once, those that would cause blood to boil and bones to turn to stone, for good measure she tossed a few dead sticks among them with the blindness spell laid on them, and decided to put a few in front of the ropes as well. Blind horses being urged forward would panic.


It looked better to her and she settled into the woven seat the drowsing thief had been using. It seemed like moments later that the thunder of hoofbeats approached and curiously stopped just before her wards.


“We know you’re here Servant of Evil!” A man called into the dark and she let out an exasperated sigh.


“That’s starting to get tiresome and if it continues I’m going to start doubting my-” She ducked as lightning shattered the tree next to her. “Most of my wards are here to hold you, they don’t start getting nasty until the back. If you’re going to try to kill me I can change that.”


One of the men screamed in rage and she heard a horse start forward as if viciously spurred. Very quickly he and his horse ended up caught in a holding ward on the other side of the road. She heard the sound of weapons being unsheathed. 


“One of us will make it through to carry out the Divinity’s will. We will rescue the chosen children from iniquity and prove our worthiness! She does not dare to harm the blessed of Imos!”


Syr opened her mouth to correct them but they charged forward. At a glance it looked like at least a dozen blundering through. Blind horses going mad and getting roughly half of them stuck in holding wards. Then they hit the ropes, at least one of the men went blind, and the miring wards managed to catch four. Three made it past, trampling their companions to do so. As the first hit the more vicious wards and screamed, the other two horses panicked and tried to turn, one tossed off his rider directly into a nasty ward and fled back the way they’d come, the other bolted directly into one of the few remaining holding wards.


The screaming stopped quickly as they blundered into the sticks but the agony continued. With a grimace she made her way out and took the sword from an unresisting hand holding it above the now hardened dirt, patting a panicking horse’s head as she passed, and began clearing away the worst of the wards. Using the sword she killed the silently suffering horse that had gone down among the nastier wards quickly.


“Poor thing.”


“P-p…” 


Syreilla looked up as Master Odos approached with some of the men from the wagons and at least two of the men she’d sent running. One was stuttering and stopped as she looked at him turning pale and shrinking back. 


“I did try to warn them Master Odos. And I’m getting very tired of Uncle’s priests shouting at me and trying to kill me. I’m starting to think Uncle’s burning desire to protect me may not be entirely genuine.”


“Are-are you going to spare them?” One of the men was staring at a writhing priest. 


“No. They’re beyond my help. It would be a kindness if you killed them quickly, Rook.” 


One of the men with him stumbled to the trees and began to vomit.


“I suppose I can, I dispelled the wards they were caught in. These were always fun. Zylius…” She stabbed down into one priest’s chest and steam came out as his boiling blood bubbled out and met the air, “He made sure these wards would do the same to anyone trying to spare their friends pain. The wards I learned from him were spectacular, effective, and impressively vicious.” Dispatching the other she turned to go back to the men caught half-buried in the ground. “Do you want me to deal with these too, Master Odos?”


“No.” With a wave of his hand and a mutter she didn’t catch, the earth softened and three of the men lurched and stumbled out and four shaking horses did the same. “There are moments I regret sending you to learn from Zylius. He was a horror.”


“I kind of liked him. Until he became a lich.”


Odos sighed. “Dispel the rest of the wards, Rook. And don’t forget to clean up your sticks.”


As she glanced around it seemed a few had gone missing. “You don’t want to keep all of them?”


“I only needed a few.” He gave her an annoyed smile. “They may help your Uncle remember his manners.”


“It’s usually only his priests who’re rude, Master Odos.” She flashed him a grin, “Perhaps they’ll make up for it and let us borrow their horses?”


“I suspect they will.” 


He shooed her to work and she took her time making certain that the wards were all properly cleared. The horses needed some soothing but calmed quickly and, after Odos spoke quietly to them for a few moments, the priests huddled together as if they were terrified of what she might do to them and caused no trouble.



© 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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A Chapter by Isemay


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A Chapter by Isemay


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A Chapter by Isemay