A Chapter by Isemay

Lies! It had to be lies! Cyran made his way as quickly as he could toward the temple, it grew harder the closer he got, having to battle through fleeing throngs. The sight of Antien fleeing in terror as well gave him pause. He managed to catch the man and push him out of the flow of people into an alleyway. 


“Hevtos’ Golden Rook! She laid waste to the temple and the Divinity couldn’t stop her! She slew Garrym and Jenlan as if they were nothing, their flesh melted from their bones!” The man stopped to vomit and stood trembling for a moment. “She said the divinity is a hypocrite and a liar, any priest who ran and chose to take up with any other god instead would be spared. We all ran, all that were left. And then-then the temple began to burn. It isn’t a fire like a hearth fire, Cyran… this…” 

“She’s using dragon’s fire.”

The crush of people had mostly passed and he began running toward the temple. The flames roared, reaching to the sky, reaching to the buildings on every side. The heat and hunger could be felt, this flame felt alive with the intent to destroy and consume.

The great doors of the Temple of Mabor, doors that he was almost certain hadn’t been opened in a lifetime at least, groaned open and the Rook stalked out. She took in the sight of the flames, raising her hand with what looked like a mutter and a sharp gesture and they were dampened and nearly extinguished as the building crumbled, falling in. The monstrous woman began to laugh and did it again and the flames died.

She turned and said something to the priest of Mabor in the doorway with a bow. To his horror she was presented with the crown. Cyran watched as she stripped the jewel from it and tossed it back as if it were a worthless trinket.

The Rook vanished and then reappeared in front of him a moment later, grinning maliciously.

“I’ve finished my errands. Are you still here for an education?”

He stared. “You…” 

“Uncle and I quarreled. I’m more than willing to explain to you the lies he’s told, the injustices he’s done and allows-”

“That’s enough, Rook.” Odos’ voice came from behind him. “Your cousin’s had a hard day and he protected you as he was sent to do.”

The fact that Odos had called him nephew and was now calling him the Rook’s cousin was slowly sinking in. He felt a little woozy and found himself seated on the cobbles with the Rook crouched in front of him with what might have been a look of concern.

“I’ve still got a lot of work to do and it’s not going to get easier. I’ll give him what I promised to if he wants it but I understand if he needs some time to recover. Hammersworn and I were always good at accepting things and moving on quickly but being… it’s something that takes a moment.” 

“You knew you were exceptional, my little rook, and Cyran knew the same.” Odos sounded amused.

“There’s a difference, old man, in being proud of your skill, believing you’ve become the best… Learning it isn’t because of something you’ve done but because your parents aren’t exactly who or what you thought is jarring.” She was giving the Divinity a sour look and Cyran summoned his wits.

“Does it-does it give you free rein to murder?”

“I gave them a choice, Cyran, was it? I almost always do.”

“You could have destroyed the city,” the half-elf who had followed Odos spoke and his voice was timid. He stopped when the Rook looked at him with a small smile.

“I didn’t.”

“That fire was…” Cyran felt the righteous anger stirring within himself, “You spoke of injustices, what of all you have done?!”

“I don’t pretend to be a shining beacon of goodness.” The Rook stood and looked down at him coolly but offered her hand, “And burning the temple wasn’t justice, that was revenge. Justice without mercy isn’t just, I don’t pretend it is.”

Her words and gesture put out his anger as quickly as they’d put out the temple fire. He buried his face in his hands and remained sitting, trying to make sense of things. Cyran shuddered as he felt the Rook place her hand on his head. 

“Until you decide otherwise, you’re mine. You were sent to me and I’ll look after you as best I can. My quarrel with Uncle has nothing to do with you until you say it does.”

“You didn’t tell him you would wipe his priests from the land of the living?” Odos sounded amused but Cyran looked up to the Rook’s mirthlessly grinning face with dread.

“I didn’t, Master Odos. I’m a thief not an assassin. I don’t want to kill them, but I’ll steal his place and give it to someone who’ll do his job as he should’ve. He was meant to be the god of justice and righteousness, he’s supposed to put things right.” 

“Putting things right would be punishing you.” Cyran felt suddenly uncertain.

“Mercy alone isn’t just either.” She offered her hand again. “Thieves don’t like to be punished, but we understand that’s the way of things if we get caught. Justice in general is something the world needs more of. But I’ve never seen it given out as it ought to be in life and I’ll settle for revenge.”

Accepting her hand, he let her help him to his feet. For a moment he studied her face. “I expected you to be evil.”

She broke into a broad grin, “I’m not nice, cousin, and I’m known for being unpleasant and bad tempered, but I’m not quite nasty enough to qualify as evil.” The Rook glanced around, “People will be coming back soon. Let’s go get the rest of my things and maybe get you some fresh clothes and rest.”

“If you can…” Cyran frowned; he was certain she’d vanished and reappeared. “You were over there and then…” 

“Are you asking to walk across Uncle Hevtos’ doorstep to go from here to there? I’m sure he’d enjoy meeting you but…” 

“No.” He could feel the blood draining from his face.

“Good. I’m not supposed to be doing that myself, but telling me no is almost a guarantee I’ll do it again.” She grinned at him impishly and he felt the urge to laugh, not because it was funny but because she looked so childlike while saying something so insane.

“You stole from him and then walked across his doorstep?” Kwes was staring at her with an incredulous expression.

The Rook shrugged and then folded her arms, “What is it you need from Tirnel, Magpie? I still have enough of my ingredients to burn his house down on our way out.”

“No, no, that’s,” the half-elf held up his hands, “I just wanted a painting of my mother and a box she kept, things that I was supposed to inherit years ago but I allowed him to keep because I didn’t have a place for them. He refuses to give them to me now unless I come back and stop embarrassing him. I don’t need to burn down his house.”

“No one needs to burn a house down, Magpie. You do it because it’s fun! The offer is open.” 

Cyran tried to stifle the mad hysterical laughter that wanted to bubble up at the woman’s disappointed but still hopeful expression as Magpie hid his face.

“No. I’m certain, Lady Rook. Thank you.” 

“Your Magpie is no fun, Master Odos.” 

The Rook sighed and headed away from the ruins of the burned temple with all the surety he felt when Imos guided his steps. 

Odos put a hand on his shoulder, “You’ve done well.”

“I feel as if I’m going mad…” 

“My rooks have always had that effect on people.” He was smiling faintly when Cyran turned to look at him. “They’re the rarest of my… little birds.”

“May all the gods be thanked.”

© 2021 Isemay

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Added on January 30, 2021
Last Updated on January 30, 2021
Tags: thief, dwarf, elf, dragon, gods

Golden Rook


By Isemay


By Isemay


By Isemay


By Isemay




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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