Twenty-two

Twenty-two

A Chapter by Isemay

Time hadn’t been kind to Zyulla’s temple. Vezar ran his hand lightly across the top of a broken column as he watched the two half-elf children running and laughing in what might have once been a garden for reflection. It was overgrown but it didn’t slow them, they moved like Syreilla, with all the grace of elves.


“I expected…” Cellindir came to stand nearby with a curious look on his face, “This is a temple? And someone is here?”


“It is and she is.” Vezar offered a small smile, trying to be careful not to smile too widely. “Syreilla calls her Grandmother, and she is our grandmother, but I prefer to speak more respectfully.” Noticing the frown on the elf's face he tried not to laugh, “She doesn’t mean disrespect, for Syreilla family is something more…” he hunted for the word.


“Important than gods.” Phiphla stepped closer to take her husband’s hand.


“Family is something solid she can hold onto.” Vezar inclined his head.


“If she wasn’t so terrifying, I might like her.” Cellindir smiled faintly and glanced toward where the children were. “What are they into?”


“They’ve gone quiet.” Phiphla sighed, and then raised her voice, “Rivoril? Virilla?”


The pair walked down to the garden to see what the children were doing but Vezar went inside to what had once been the altar, where he had brought Syreilla years before.


“Divinity?”


After a long moment the voice came as soft and gentle as a summer’s breeze, “I have them. I wished to see them and speak to the children of Odos.” Zyulla’s sweet laughter made the room fill with bubbling joy, “They are regaling me with the tale of the Rook rescuing Virilla and of Odos letting her quarrel with their mother. The Rook sent them to me.”


“She thought they would be safe here and that you would enjoy the company.” 


“My Odos and his sweet children.” There was a pause, “Hevtos told them to be kind to me? They wish to sing for me to ease my… my heart will burst with joy and thanks.”


He bowed his head and smiled. “I will tell them.”


“Vezar!” Phiphla rushed into the chamber, “My children! They’ve vanished!”


“They are with Zyulla. The Divinity wished to speak with them and she is filled with joy and gratitude that they are here.” He gave the woman a warm smile and she blinked at him as if she hadn’t understood. “They were regaling her with the tale of Virilla’s rescue by the Rook and of Odos allowing her to quarrel with you. And then they began to sing for her.”


“I thought we all would… I don’t begrudge her the company of my children, I just…” 


Phiphla vanished and Vezar smiled to himself, “You have them all, Divinity?”


“I do. He chose a loving family for his sweetest children.”


“I was asked to remain to keep watch. Enjoy your guests,” under his breath he added, “I thank you for all you have ever given me, Grandmother.”


Peace and warmth washed over him. He had never been much of a gardener, but his time in the monastery so long ago had given him some small idea of what could be done to bring the reflection garden back into order. Feeling content, he chose to set his hands to the task while he waited and watched for any intrusions.


He stripped off his robe and laid it aside choosing to work in just his undergarment. Syreilla would have been teasing him, or distracting him. Setting to work, he couldn’t stop smiling at the memory of her pleasure in seeing him. She was almost a different woman now to the one he’d been growing accustomed to, more like the one he had first come to love.


By the time a small corner of the garden had been made less wild, the sunlight in the temple was fading and he found a small spring to clean the earth and plant matter from his hands before he settled onto a stone bench to rest for the evening.


His slumber was disturbed as the morning light timidly made its way into the temple, by the sound of a furious voice, “Mother! I ask you to take back the boon you granted to my brother’s daughter! She has threatened to-” Imos stopped and vanished as Vezar lifted his head to see the angry god.


“What has my golden treasure done?” His question was more for himself but Zyulla’s answering whisper was pained.


“She will do to my son what he has done to his Uncle. I cannot take back the boon I granted…” 


“Hevtos has already reunited them, Rook and Hammersworn.” He waited to see if the divinity would return.


Imos looked stunned some time later as he stumbled back into view. “She… even my White Hands… My temple in Withia is burning, Mother.” 


There was silence and Imos looked stricken, “Mother?” The god’s eyes fell on Vezar and hardened in fury.


“She cannot take back the boon that was granted.”


“Why are you here, Vezar? Have you come to beg for more from my mother?”


“No, I-”


Odos appeared with a faint smile on his face, “Brother. I thought you might come here. You murdered your mortal niece and thought no one would be the wiser. My Rook has claimed what may be your last White Hand, my nephew no less-”


“Claimed?” Imos stared in horror. 


“Until he choses otherwise he belongs to her. You sent him to her to be educated and she accepted the task and the burden of his care. But what I want to speak to you about now is the attempted theft of my fledglings.”


“She burned my temple! She slaughtered and-”


“My little rook has Father’s temper and Mother’s soft heart. Her anger is focused on you, brother. She won’t slaughter your priests if they abandon you and she’ll give them the choice every time. Thieves are already praying to her as an intercessor to Uncle, she’ll be a goddess of vengeance as well before she’s done. Those who have no hope of justice will turn to her-” He stopped as Imos vanished and laughed softly with a vicious smile. “Offer harm to my children and you get what comes to you.”


“Divinity…” Vezar tentatively spoke up and Odos turned to see him.


“Vezar?”


“Will he not go to-to your father and ask for her to be punished?”


“He won't be the first. She threatened to burn the entire city of Withia if the priests of the god who cherishes it didn’t hand over his stone. They couldn’t stomach so much loss.”


He blinked and then, stood from where he knelt on the bench, “She was bluffing.”


“Perhaps. You know how much she loathes that city.”


“Yes, but she’s too tender-hearted to burn it while innocents are present.”


Odos broke into a broad grin, “Try not to ruin her terrible reputation. She relies on it to make people break and run from her. Why are you here?”


“I was told to stay and watch over-”


He laughed and waved his hand, “Mother will keep them safe. My brother now has more to worry about and too few White Hands to try to take them from her. They’ll stay until she’s free. Go back to Uncle and let him know you may be needed.”



© 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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