A Chapter by Isemay

Syreilla held the doorway open and the woman in front of her trembled. “I hate repeating myself. So I’ll start by making certain you understand who I am. I am Hevtos’ Golden Rook. I have taken lich and the lingering dead home to my uncle for some time and I’ve tried to build a reputation as someone you don’t want to cross.

“There are some who have been blessed by various gods or who have been born with gifts that bring them into the Temples and see them raised to the highest ranks of priests. Edun, that sweet little boy, is one who was born with a gift, one that would see some harm him or mistreat him. Long ago you would have been proud of him and taken him to one of Hevtos’ temples to learn how to best use his gifts.

“The doorway I can open is a solid wall to the living but to him it’s more of a sheer curtain.” She let the door close and the woman stared at her. “He didn’t curse his father and brother. They passed through the door and one of them tried to touch him in passing. Distance is nothing from the threshold. Do you understand?”

The woman sank into a seat. “Wh-why are you here?”

“Your son is being brought back to you. He needs your love and a safe home. There may come a time when Hevtos has priests again but it hasn’t happened yet. Edun needs to be-”

“He can’t come back here-”

“So you don’t understand.” Syr put on her widest, toothiest imitation of Vezar’s smile and watched the woman shudder. “He comes back to a loving mother and a safe home or he comes back to ash and rubble. I will burn this house with you inside it and drag you screaming through the door.”

The woman’s mouth dropped open and all color drained from her. 

“Distance is nothing. I can walk out of your house and return in an instant. If this child crosses the threshold before you I will be back to make your passing the most agonizing hours that any creature has ever experienced in the world of the living. I will drip dragon’s fire like candle wax onto you, I will turn your bones to stone and boil your blood. And then you’ll deal with me on the other side of the door. Forever.” 

Stretching her arms over her head she let her face take on the seriousness and anger she felt. “That boy loves you. You will be a mother to him or you will burn with agony like a hearthfire. That is the choice I give you.”

The woman fainted.

My Golden Rook. Hevtos faint voice prompted her to open the door and step through.

“Uncle, before you scold me-”

He held up his hand with a faint smile. “No one can be threatened into loving someone else. Her husband says she loves their son but she is a cold-natured woman. I will allow him to speak with her while she is… sleeping.

“I have something for you to give the child.” He held up something the size of a coin and she took it looking it over.

It was black with a coiled dragon in relief, edged with gold on one side, and on the other a golden rook’s head etched in profile.

“It’s beautiful, Uncle.”

“It will allow him to reach out to you, or to Vezar should he need protection.”

She felt like she could breathe a little easier, “Good, I was worried for him. I may still look in on him if you’ll let me.”

“That is how the fledglings were found, my Golden Rook. Your father looked in on them too often. The more you seek him out the less safe he will be.”

Syr exhaled and felt her shoulders slumping. “And if someone takes this away from him…” 

Hevtos was smiling as he tilted her face up, “Teach him my name, I will listen for him. If he summons you, you may go directly to him. Teach him of Vezar as well.” 

“I will, Uncle. Thank you.”

Stepping back into the house she waited impatiently for the woman to wake, choosing to make herself some tea and fry a little bit of bread in a pan with butter, melting some cheese over it. She was carrying it back to the table to sit when the front door flew open and Grimgrip stalked in with a scowl. 

“Where is she, Rook?”

“At the table. She fainted.” 

The dwarf hurried past.

“What did you do, Lady Rook?” Cyran was frowning at her.

“I gave her a choice. She hasn’t decided yet, but I expect her to make the correct one.” Syr arched an eyebrow at him.

Edun came in with Odos and eyed the food in her hand, as hungry as she was she offered it to the boy. “I have a gift for you-”

The boy’s head tilted and his eyes unfocused, “You need to apologize to my mother.”

Syr took a sip of the hot tea and made a sour face. “I don’t want to.”

He blinked and then gave her a stern look, “Lady Rook…” 

Meeting his pale gaze for a long moment she finally sighed and inclined her head, “If I have to, but I’m not happy with her.”

The boy’s face softened, “You don’t know her, she isn’t like your mother.”

She pulled the bread back and looked at it carefully as she tried to find her voice.

Odos came to rest a hand on her shoulder, “I’ll speak to her first. You can have a talk with Edun.” He took the cup of tea out of her hand and went into the other room.

The boy came closer, taking hold of her free hand and leading her out. Next to the wagon they stopped and she offered him the bread again, he took it with a shy smile and broke it in half giving part of it back.

“I was very upset with her for sending you out like that. I think Master Odos told you a little about…” 

“Your mother sent you out of the house that way when you were ten and bad things happened to you.”

“Yes.” Taking a bite she peered over the side of the cart. Magpie was sound asleep where she’d left him. “Did they just leave my little brother here by himself?”

Edun laughed and took a bite of bread, settling on the ground by the wheel. “Master Dwarf said that anyone who woke him would be facing an angry Rook and that it was safe enough.”

“I suppose that’s true.” She settled on the ground next to him. “I protect those I love, sometimes a little too fiercely. But if people are afraid of me, it keeps my loved ones safer.”

“I don’t understand why they’re afraid of you.” He smiled and peered at her with eyes that felt like they could see a little too clearly.

“You don’t because you don’t need to be.” Balancing her bread on her knee and wiping her hands on her shirt, Syr then pulled out the coin. “I have this for you. My Uncle Hevtos gave it to me to give to you. He’s the god of death. My uncle takes care of everyone who goes to him,” She let the boy take the coin from her hand. “He judges and gives reward or punishment as it’s been earned. Uncle Hevtos is fair and often kind. If you speak to him, he’ll listen.”

Smiling as he put his bread on top of hers and turned the coin over in his hands, marvelling at it, she started to explain, “He’ll listen if you have the coin or not. That’s so that you can call me easily to you. Or Vezar. You need my name and his.”

“I can-I can call you to me?”

“Yes. The rook, Hevtos’ Golden Rook, is me.” She pointed to the image of the bird, “Syreilla the Rook.”

“Syreilla the Rook.” He ran his fingers over the image.

It felt like being inside a bell for a moment, the vibration around her as her name was spoken.

“Yes. And on the other side is a dragon, Vezar Edra, the Undying. He’ll come when you call as well.”

Edun caressed the image of a dragon, “Vezar Edra, the Undying.”

The door opened and Vezar looked startled as he stepped through, “I was summoned?”

“He’s learning how to use it. Edun, this is Vezar, Vezar, Edun.”

“The Divinity says I may not linger…” He gave her a longing look and she smiled at him, gently caressing the threads.

“Go, ask him when you can visit me for longer.”

The half-dragon broke into a wide smile and stepped back through the doorway.

“He loves you.” Edun looked at her with surprise.

“And I love him, but I start to lose my mind if I can't stretch my wings.” She gave the boy an impish smile and he smiled shyly back.

“And your Uncle Hevtos will…” His eyes unfocused slightly and awe dawned across his features as he sat straighter. 

Syr picked up his piece of bread and held it as she began to eat her own. After a few long moments, just as she was finishing her piece, he came back to himself and turned an amazed look on her.

“Syreilla the Rook.”

“Yes.” She offered the bread back and he beamed, taking it.

“He says you’re a goddess of righteous vengeance and a protector of gentle souls.”

Bowing her head, she exhaled. “I do what I can.” She hadn’t actually wanted to become a goddess but it didn’t seem like she could remain just the Golden Rook if even her uncle was calling her one.

He began to eat and she heard something shift in the cart. “Are you awake, little brother?”

There was a pause, “I am.”

“How much did you hear?” She grinned and gave Edun a slow playful blink.

“Ahh, Syreilla the Rook? Goddess of righteous vengeance and protector of gentle souls?”

“You’re a terrible liar.”

The boy looked like he was trying not to laugh with a mouthful of bread.

“I’m a fantastic liar, ask Master Odos.”

Laughing, she shook her head. “Perhaps Master Odos can make something like Edun’s gift for you. I would come if you called, Magpie.”

As if summoned, Odos walked into view with a mischievous look on his face.

“I thought you were Hevtos’ Golden Rook.” Edun looked at her curiously.

“I am, but I have a soft spot in my heart for Master Odos, though I occasionally wish I didn’t.”

“Lady Rook is my daughter, Edun. I haven’t been the best father but she’s a good daughter.”

“She’s the goddess of righteous vengeance and the protector of gentle souls.” Edun came to his feet. “How can you be her father?”

“That would take a great deal of explaining, little one.” Odos’ hazy grey eyes brightened as he looked her over, “Distinguished choices, my little rook.”

“I’ve always liked a challenge.” She got to her feet with a rueful smile as Edun’s mother approached cautiously, “Edun says I have to apologize to you.”

“You,” the woman licked her lips and took a breath, “You think I deserve…?”

“Do you have any idea what can happen to a child alone? A child abandoned? I do. My uncle chided me, very gently, because he understood why I was so angry.” She took a breath and Edun looked up at her as if he were waiting and made an impatient gesture with his hand. “I’ll get there!”

The woman made a small sound that might have been a smothered laugh. 

“Edun says you’re not like my mother, and maybe you don’t entirely deserve everything I offered to do, so…” Syr folded her arms and tried not to look sullen, “Sorry.”

“That’s not a very good apology, Lady Rook.” Edun frowned at her.

“I’m not very good at apologizing, I’m much better at setting the people who upset me on fire.”

The boy folded his arms and turned to face her, “You’re not going to set my mother on fire.”

Sighing, Syreilla looked up at the sky for a long moment, whether it was having a godhood pressed on her or something else she was suddenly feeling as if she’d been behaving childishly and it annoyed her. She finally looked back down and kicked at the dirt, a little more childishness on top of the rest felt appropriate. “Fine, I won’t set your mother on fire. But only because I like you.”

© 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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A Chapter by Isemay

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A Chapter by Isemay