Twenty-four

Twenty-four

A Chapter by Isemay

The bath was surrounded by lewd mosaics and from the depictions it was very clear that bathing to get clean wasn’t what this pool was customarily used for. Cyran did his best to wash without touching the tiles and he prayed fervently that it had been cleaned recently. At least the water was hot, in other circumstances soaking in such a spacious pool would have been enjoyable.


A loud yawn wrenched itself out of him. Shaking his head he tried to hurry his ablutions. 


“The bath is occupied for the moment, find somewhere else.” Lady Rook’s firm tone through the satin draperies was oddly reassuring.


“No one can close the bath except the Madame and you shouldn’t be anywhere without a companion.” The smug female voice was followed by a giggle and a man’s laughter.


“Why don’t you join us in the-” The man’s voice stopped abruptly. 


“I don’t like repeating myself, so let me be clear. The Rook has closed the godsdamned bath. No one goes in until I say they can. But if you want to know what it feels like to boil, freeze and have your bones turn to stone inside your body all at once, please, insist one more time. I’ll let you satisfy your curiosity for free.” There was a pause, “Was that clear enough?” Her viciously cheerful question was followed by the sound of at least one person hitting the floor, whimpering, stumbling, and footsteps fleeing. 


Cyran climbed out of the water and dried himself, there were no fresh clothes yet but his lower undergarments weren’t bloodsoaked and he’d insisted that they be left. He put them back on and took up his sword.


“I’ve finished, Lady Rook. If you wish to bathe I can guard the door for you.”


“That’s adorable, cousin. I-” She pulled the curtain back to speak to him and flinched at the sight of the obscene mosaic. “You can tell he was raised by elves. No, I’ll wait to bathe. It isn’t urgent and even a cold stream would be better.”


“I would have preferred that as well.” He couldn’t help but smile at her distaste for the image behind him.


“If I could have given you a choice I would have, but you needed to bathe.” She gave him an apologetic look and he inclined his head.


“Thank you for keeping them out, without bloodshed.” He stepped out and allowed her to close the curtain.


“I promised I would guard the door and the choice of bloodshed or not was theirs to make.” She gave him an impish smile. “Let’s go find the Magpie, apparently his dove didn’t speak to everyone and whorehouses usually have some one to protect the-”


“I don’t know a Magpie.” The low gravelly voice came from a large angry looking man approaching with a length of wood in his hands. “And I don’t think you should be here.”


He watched as the man blinked and took a small step back as Lady Rook’s face split into a wide mad grin that looked less like amusement and more like a creature imitating a human expression.


“Sagard!” The Madame hurried over, “They’re to be left alone.” The half-elf woman looked nervous as she sized up Lady Rook, “Do you need fresh water to bathe?”


“I won’t bathe here, but thanks for the offer. I want to find the Magpie.”


“Of course-”


“Amtalia, Milla came running to me saying some witch had closed the baths.”


The Madame paled but Lady Rook burst into laughter, “She and her friend wanted to go into the bath. I told them it was occupied and they tried to argue with me. If she’s got me confused for a witch, bring her back and I’ll show her just how wrong she is, there’s no witch that can do half of what I can do.”


“Mages marvel at Lady Rook.” Cyran scowled at the man and she turned to give him a delighted smile.

“You’re making me understand why everyone else has priests, cousin. I might look for a few if they’re as good at priesting as you are.”


“White Hands are exceptional, Lady Rook.” He tilted his chin up proudly and she nodded.


“A few exceptional priests rather than many who might choose to take advantage of those who seek me out would be wise.”


“Rook… Like Tark was fussing about? The one who…” Sagard eyed them both more warily. “Here with a White Hand?”


“My uncle wanted me to give him an education. I may no longer be on speaking terms with him but I keep my word. You can rely on a Rook.” She gave Cyran an impish smile, “And I’m starting to like you.”


“They came with Kwes. I said no one was to disturb them but I must not have made myself clear enough.” The Madame gestured respectfully for them to come with her, “No one is to bother them, not for any reason.” 


As they followed the half-elf woman, she nervously glanced at them, “Rooms are being readied next to Kwes’ and the clothes will be ready soon. I sent the white clothing to be washed and a seamstress will be here to tailor some clothes to you, my lord.”


He opened his mouth to thank her but instead found himself yawning.


“I think he needs some sleep more than he needs clothes. He’s had a hard day.” Lady Rook stretched her arms over her head, “I should be getting moving, but I wouldn’t mind an hour or two of rest either.


“You may want to warn people a second time not to disturb us, I intend to lay a few wards in his room and mine so that we can both rest easier.”


“Wards?” Amtalia arched her brow, “Is that… I don’t mean to argue but-” 


“But you want to anyway?” Lady Rook grinned while wrinkling her nose and the expression was unnerving.


The other woman looked down and shuddered.


“I don’t like surprises. I don’t like people wandering into my room when I’m resting, and I really don’t like having to repeat myself. The warning has been given and my wards…” 


“Her wards are effective.” Cyran frowned. “Even I couldn’t escape one without help.”


“I put you in one of the nicer ones, cousin. It just held you in place and drained a little energy away. The ones I intend to lay are deadly, after a few agonizing moments to reflect on why they shouldn’t have disturbed us, of course.”


“Of-of course.” The woman looked ill.


“Please, only put the holding wards in my room, Lady Rook.” 


“If you wish. I’ve learned some really exciting ones while working for Uncle. Dragging lich back to him is educational. I’ll teach you a few if you like. And the art of dragon’s fire if you-”


“Kwes!” The woman hurried ahead.


“The divinity gives me the strength and what you might call spells are a form of prayer, Lady Rook. I have no need of wards or of dragon’s fire.”


“It’s always good to be prepared, cousin. The more you know, the more skills you possess, the greater the tasks you can accomplish. He wouldn’t have sent you to me if he didn’t see any benefit to my skills.”


Her words made sense. “I was told to protect you, to learn what I could of your methods…” He glanced at her, “And your mission.”


“I don’t doubt it, cousin. You can watch me as closely as you like and I’ll teach you what I can. But bear in mind-”


“Rook? What is this about you terrifying people upstairs and threatening to put down deadly wards in your room?” The Magpie came hurriedly out of a room with a towel draped around his hips, dripping water.


“I hate repeating myself.” The flatly annoyed look on her face reminded him of Imos.


“There is a… family resemblance, Lady Rook.” He smiled faintly as she sighed.


“That’s one of Master Odos’ faces.” Kwes shook his head, “However much you hate repeating yourself you’ll hate it worse if the city guard tries to storm the brothel to get to you. And they might if you terrify everyone here into the streets.”


“Beast of Brosa had a certain ring to it, they’d probably start calling me the Witch of Withia if I had to do the same thing here.”


Amtalia began saying something in elvish that sounded frantic and the towel clad man in front of them turned to reassure her in the same tongue.


“Don’t worry, my little magpie. I’ll send her to wait outside the city.” Odos came from behind them smiling and shaking his head. “Fly away little rook.”


“Someone needs to-”


“I’ll watch over your cousin. He’s well behaved, the city guard won’t interfere with him.”


“And neither will the w****s, old man. Magpie spent too long with elves-”


Odos held up his hand, “Neither will the w****s. He’ll remain safe and unbothered by anyone.”


She looked as if she wanted to argue but instead folded her arms, “Get some rest, Cyran. Let me know if anyone slips past the old man or gives you any trouble, I’ll come back and address it myself.”


“Yes, Lady Rook.” He couldn’t help but smile. “I’ll join you as soon as I have clothes.”



© 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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