Thirty-four

Thirty-four

A Chapter by Isemay

Syr had her tent set up outside of the stable next to the cart but she was lying on her back on the stable roof looking up at the evening sky. The sounds of the horses were mildly distracting. They’d all been fed, though not as much as they probably should have been, and only the two who lived here had been brought in. The rest would spend the night in the fenced pasture but either they wanted to come in or the others wanted to go out. 


Rubbing her face she tried to focus, turning over the possibilities of how she could protect Edun, without putting him in danger, in her mind. Leaving him alone didn’t sit well with her. There had to be something. 


“Syreilla?” Edun called from near the cart and she sat up to grin down at him.


“Up here.”


“Why do you have a tent if you’re sleeping on the roof?” He smiled at her and held up a plate, “I brought this for you.”


“I’m not sleeping yet, I was just thinking. I like to have room to think.” She sprang down from the edge easily and took the food, gesturing for him to join her for the meal as she placed it on the back of the cart. 


“What were you thinking of?”


Syr started to pick at the food and took a bite, chewing the fried salt pork for a long moment before answering. “I don’t like the thought of leaving you here unprotected. Uncle says I can’t come back and look in on you to make sure you’re well and looked after. He said it would draw attention and make you less safe. But I’ll worry.”


Edun smiled shyly and stole a piece of the well browned potato chunks that hadn’t been covered in the gravy, leaving the fork lying next to the plate as she had. “I can call for you.”


“Would you call for me if you were hungry? Or if you needed money to keep your home in order?” She studied his face as his smile faded.


“No.”


“I want to make sure you’re looked after. I’m trying to think of a way.”


“Everything will be alright, Syreilla, you’ll see.” He looked so earnest she couldn’t help but stroke his head.


“It will be, because I won’t allow it to be any other way. I promised a few things to those who job for me in Withia, if I enlist Kwes as a go between…” She could feel the nagging doubt that even that would be too direct. “Would your mother move closer to Withia? I hate that city but Kwes lives there and-”


He put his hand on her arm and squeezed, “We’re going to stay here. It’s a safe place, Syreilla.”


“If you moved up to Pale-” She stopped as he wagged his finger at her. “I’ll find a way to have you looked after even if you’re too stubborn to make it easy on me.”


Edun grinned and she took a bite of the potatoes and gravy, scooping it onto a strip of the pork.


“I brought you a fork…” 


“My way tastes better.” Syr pushed the meat, with potatoes balanced on it and dripping gravy toward him, “Try it!”


The boy laughed and stepped back shaking his head. “You’re making a mess! Mum would be scolding you for your table manners.”


“I’m used to it. Vezar is a dragon and he scolds me. He likes things very neat and meals to be,” she paused to take a large bite and chew, resuming speaking before she was entirely finished, “delicate elvish bits of things that you don’t even have to chew!”


He was smiling at her adoringly and then it started to fade, “Father would have liked you. He would have teased you and taught you table manners.”


“I wish I could have met him.”


With a sigh, Edun looked down and traced the wood grain of the cart with his finger. “Would you… could…” 


“What do you need?”


“We want to bring them home and bury them. To-to do it right.”


“You want me to ask where they are and bring them home?” Syr licked gravy off of her finger and frowned. Something at the back of her mind insisted she should ask in as small a space as possible. “Come into the tent with me?”


Leaving the plate on the wagon she sent the boy into the tent and set a few holding wards a few paces away to make herself feel better. Joining him, she frowned and wrapped her arms around her knees, speaking quietly, “Uncle Hevtos, you may be tired of hearing from me at the moment but…” 


Edun scooted close and lay his head on her arm.


My Golden Rook… you put the boy in danger by reaching out to me.


“He wants his father and brother brought home for-” Syreilla stopped feeling a chill down her spine.


The place is difficult to get to, far too difficult for the child. It would be too difficult to bring them out of that place. They are covered in stone and it is enough. They are at peace.


She looked at Edun and his chin trembled. “Uncle. I may want a little help but if he needs this…” 


No.


Edun scrambled out of the tent and she murmured the dispelling to clear the wards before he hit them.


“Uncle Hevtos, I love you and I don’t want to disappoint you, but he needs this and I can do it. I need to know where they are and I can try to do it without Vezar or crossing your doorstep but I’m going to try.” There was silence. “I’ll go look for them myself if I have to, Uncle. He needs this.”


In her mind’s eye, an image of what might have been a cave or a cavern with a small entrance and a great yawning depth beyond it appeared. Somehow she knew where to find it. “Thank you, Uncle. I’ll try to be quick.”


Be safe as well, my Golden Rook.


“I’ve never been good at that part, Uncle.” Syr clambered out of the tent and headed toward the house. Edun had left the front door open in his distress. The boy was clinging to his mother at the table and it yanked at her heartstrings.


“What…” Cyran was standing with a frown in front of an empty plate.


Odos lifted his hand, silencing the question. “Nothing that concerns you, nephew.”


Coming to lean in the doorframe, she corrected him, “It does, and Grimgrip.” Edun’s mother looked vaguely nervous so she continued, “He wanted to go get his father and brother and bring them home, I asked politely where they were and we were told not to go after them. The bodies are covered and it’s dangerous, Uncle said to leave them. But it means a lot to Edun and you know I don’t like to be told not to go somewhere, old man.”


“How does it concern us?” Juddri leaned on the table, narrowing his eyes.


“Someone has to dig the graves.” A dwarf could make short work of it on soft earth, she was mostly certain. Turning her gaze on Mylena she said pointedly, “I don’t need an offering for my work, but Uncle will want one. He likes things with meaning behind them.” It didn’t matter that he’d tried to discourage her, he’d offered a little help and he might offer more if they showed a little gratitude.


“You’re going to defy him?” Cyran moved toward her with an incredulous expression on his face. “Is that not unwise?”


“Cousin…” Syreilla did her best to put on an imitation of Vezar’s wide toothy smile, “If I only did wise things I’d have died of boredom by now. Dig the graves. I’ll bring the bodies home.”


“Do you need a hand?” Odos stood from the table and placed a hand on her brother. 


The intent was as clear as glass to her. If she wanted his help he’d give it for what she’d done for the Magpie. Whether he would be much help she wasn’t sure, getting bodies out of a hole wouldn’t be like robbing a tomb there was no wit involved just grunt work, dangerous grunt work at that.


“I can handle it, but you’re welcome to join me if you can keep up, old man.” She wouldn’t turn down a spare set of hands if he was intent on offering but it would probably be best if she went alone, turning Syr headed back out to gather what she needed.


Behind her she heard Grimgrip snort and grouse, “She needs a lesson in manners if nothing else.”


It didn’t help her overall bad mood but she focused on the task at hand. Going over the list in her mind, it was clear no wagon could get to the place she needed to reach, but a horse might. She'd want something to drag the bodies back on, one of the spare tents maybe, ropes to get down and haul up… maybe she could wrap the bodies below and haul them out that way, limit the amount of-


“Rook.” Odos stopped her as she was tossing the ropes she could find on top of a spare tent. “I was offering to help.”


“I don’t know how much help you can be. There isn’t a lot of wit involved here. I have to get down a hole, wrap up bodies as best I can, and haul them out. I remember that you were never fond of-”


“Your mother should have named you Ateilla, you’re as stubborn and single minded as your grandfather sometimes.” 


The sour look on his face was somehow gratifying. “He can’t be that bad, people seem to like him.” Folding her arms, she inclined her head, “Alright, how are you offering to help? I know you’re not planning to haul on ropes or do the dirty work I’m dreading. So…” 


“I can use my ‘door’ as you like to call it and bring them here directly. We wouldn’t need ropes or,” he looked at the tent and gestured at it with annoyance, “whatever you were going to use the tent for.”


“Wrapping the bodies to drag back.”


Odos pinched the bridge of his nose. “Perhaps we will need that after all.”


“I thought you said-”


“I can’t do it often, that doesn’t mean not at all.” He glanced back toward the house with a frown, “And we’re already moving more slowly than I’d hoped.”


“What stops you from using your door to take all of us directly to the mine?”


“If I hadn’t lent my gem to Uncle? Very little.”


Wheels started to turn in her mind and she shrugged, “What if we borrow someone else's? I can siphon off a bit for you before I take it to Uncle and that way we can get more accomplished tonight than just the one errand?”


He was starting to grin, “You think it would be easy? An errand to complete in a night?”


“Uncle let me talk to the ones who built the temples that house the stones and a few disgraced priests. Provided they’re where they’re supposed to be, these should be in and out jobs, I’ve looked at them enough. If it were me, I’d have had the plans and work done piecemeal by dwarves and humans, maybe run a few versions past an elf like Olthon for ideas. I have difficulty thinking they’re really not clever enough to at least stay on Uncle’s good side when most of them sent at least a few who knew their secrets to him.”


His hazy grey eyes looked almost lit from within. “Who looked easiest, Rook.”


“The goddess of war and hunting. She-” Syr paused as Odos broke into laughter. “She built a complicated temple, traps, probably wards, but the builder showed me the plans. Like the Nameless, there are hollow walls in parts that you have to use as corridors because she was trying to be too clever. She wanted it set up so that only certain priests knew the right time to enter and the right way through. But if you go up the middle you can get past all of it. We could be in and out before they knew we were there.”


“How would we get in? It’s more of a fortress than a temple and the maze is the innermost part.”


“From underneath. There’s a waterway that passes beneath, the water drives the wheels that keep the dial in motion, depending on different days and months the doors either can’t open or only specific doors can open. I’d planned to follow the water in, take a few teeth off of the-”


Odos held up his hand with a grin. “I’ll get you there and you can do the hard part. Bring out the gem and we’ll collect the bodies and get to the mine the easy way.”



© 2021 Isemay


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Added on February 1, 2021
Last Updated on February 1, 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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One One

A Chapter by Isemay


Two Two

A Chapter by Isemay


Three Three

A Chapter by Isemay