Thirty-eight

Thirty-eight

A Chapter by Isemay

Syr turned to go and before she’d reached the stable the back of her neck tingled as she heard soft but clear, “Thank you, Syreilla the Rook.” 


Glancing back she saw Edun giving her a small smile. She dipped her head and returned it. 


Odos joined her shortly after with a peculiar smile on his face, watching as she hitched a horse to the cart. “How did it feel?” 


“It was nice.”


“Nice?” The old man grinned, “Was that the first time you were offered thanks?”


“The first time anyone thanked me and it tickled like that, yes.” She couldn’t help but smile as he laughed.


Before Grimgrip and Cyran managed to fill the grave in, the cart and horses had been readied and positioned where Odos wanted them to be. She’d even had time to draw some water for them to rinse the worst of the dirt off with. Kwes had been woken, with some difficulty as the pair were finally washing up, and brought out so that she could make certain he was comfortable in the back of the cart. 


He looked as if he hadn’t slept at all. “Should he be so tired? Give me the stone, old man.”


Odos snorted at her as if she’d made a jest.


“He’s tired because he was awake all night keeping watch, Rook.” Grimgrip heaved himself onto the cart. “He’s resting the way you should be.”


“I’ll rest when I get to Delver’s. You do the job first, Juddri, then you rest.” She stretched and eyed the tiredly grinning half-elf in the cart, leaving out that there were rare occasions it was acceptable to avoid a scolding from Odos. “You’re feeling alright, Magpie?”


“I am. You looked just the way Master Odos always does when he says that.”


“Where do you think I learned it?” She grinned back at him, “Rest. Your work is done for now.”


“I’ll send you first, my little rook.” He shook out the faded, patchy black and grey piece of cloth she must have dropped, hopefully on the doorstep and not with the bodies. “A souvenir for you.”


Laughing she took it, wrapping it and draping it as she had the night before, using it as something of a makeshift hooded cloak. It still stank slightly of wine but mostly of smoke, thankfully not of rotting corpses. “Thank you. I liked this thing.”


Pulling the door open in front of her, Odos smiled, “It suits you.”


She stepped through into an alleyway in Brosa. The smell of smoke hung in the air and the feeling of fear she remembered from her last visit to the city resonated through the stones. Why and how she wasn’t sure. Stepping out of the alley, she was surprised at how empty the streets were as she made her way toward the city center.


A pair of nervous looking guards were standing in a doorway speaking to one another and she decided to ask.


“Pardon me, I’ve only just arrived, why is everyone-”


“Whatever your business you should see to it and go.” The shorter of the guards scowled at her, “No one wants strangers here right now.”


“Why?” Syr tilted her head.


“The Beasts of Brosa are coming back.” The taller glanced around, “Or so they say.”


She glanced around as well, “Wasn’t that just some old legend?”


“I thought so.” The short guard reached out and pulled her in closer to speak with them. “What’s your business here, girl?”


“I’m going to visit the Temple of Imos and then-”


“You can turn around and go home,” he interrupted her. “It was the priests of Imos that started all this talk about the Beasts of Brosa. They said they were coming to burn the Temple.”


“They whipped people up so much, the citizens here burned the temple for them. If there’s no temple the Beasts of Brosa won’t need to come.”


She tried to keep the grin off of her face and failed. “I don’t think the people here need to worry about the Beasts of Brosa. I need to meet my uncle there and then I’ll go. Thank you for the warning.”


The short man looked baffled but the tall one started to pale and gripped his friend's shoulder.


“Are-are you…”


“Not anymore. I’m Hevtos’ Golden Rook now. I’ve come because it was Imos who had the Hammersworn girl murdered. I’ve come to see vengeance done, not to harm any who mean me no harm.”


They didn’t look reassured but she smiled and slipped away from them moving purposefully toward the temple. She was certain he’d be there waiting.


He was standing in the ashes as she approached and she started to laugh.


“Isca!” Imos’ furious shout echoed.


The name made her grin. The goddess of war and hunting. A sharp featured woman dressed much as Tona had been, stepped out of nowhere.


“This is the one who stole from you and burned my temples!”


“Uncle Imos! Still a liar, I see. I didn’t burn this one. I’d have done a more thorough job with dragon’s fire.” Syr gave him a wide toothy smile and he glowered at her.


“I want what you stole back, thief, and you’ll feel my steel for burning my temple. You didn’t follow the rules.”


“You’ll get it back when Uncle Hevtos is finished. I’ll even bring it to you if you’d like. But I didn’t burn your temple. Go have a look at my work in Withia, that’s what it looks like when I burn a temple. I took a little bit of dragon’s fire to the wood supports around that center rod. Your people are good, by the way, they were ready for a fire but not for dragon’s fire. Most of the damage was done when the cold water hit the hot stone.”


Still grinning at the furious looking woman, Syreilla held her hands out and open, “But if you need restitution I can give you advice to prevent it from happening again.”


Isca’s fury seemed to abate slightly, “You’re Odos’ daughter?”


She pulled the hood back, “I’m Hevtos’ Golden Rook, daughter of Odos, goddess of righteous vengeance and protector of gentle souls. I’m here because Uncle Imos is a liar and a hypocrite. He had Syreilla Hammersworn murdered, accepted gifts from her grieving children, and swore to see justice done while he protected and rewarded the assassins.


“I have no qualms about killing in defense of myself or others, or if you provoke me, but to use assassins to murder your own kin…”


“Whatever he may have done, we’re addressing the wrongs you've done me first.” Isca put herself in between them. “You-”


“Are you going to stand and protect one who would murder innocent children to strike back at me? If you want to put yourself there you’ll see how well steel holds up against dragon’s fire.” Syr met the goddess’ gaze without flinching until the woman stepped aside.


“I am not protecting him. I won’t involve myself in this quarrel.”


“I will discuss our business as soon as I’ve finished with my uncle, you can rely on a Rook.”


“You have no right to be here, Syreilla the Rook!” Imos spoke in a booming voice, “You are not wanted here! Can you not feel how much they want you to leave? This is my place!”


Like a wave, discomfort, fear, and anger washed over her. Syr started to laugh mirthlessly, tilting her head back and waving her hand. “You think this is your place?” She gave him the widest maddest grin she could summon, matching his volume. “They burned your temple, Uncle Imos. They would rather see you gone than see me walk down their streets. You offer them nothing but lies and empty promises, but you can rely on a Rook. My promises are solid. 


“Can you feel it Uncle? The pure and certain belief they have that I can take you apart with my bare hands? I would prefer to rain dragon’s fire down on you, and if you so much as threaten to harm a child to provoke me ever again I will drown you in it, but if they want to see me rip the flesh from your bones-”


He’d begun to tremble as she spoke and vanished before she could finish. She called after him, “I’ll add cowardice to your list of faults, Uncle.”


Isca was looking at her speculatively as she turned to finish their discussion. “You’re young but strong.”


“And you’re fun. I told Master Odos I wanted to come back when you rebuild.”


The goddess’ face soured and Syreilla grinned at her.


“It’s a compliment, I promise. I like a challenge.”


Coming closer, Isca tugged at the wrapped garment Syr was wearing, “You like the clothes my guards wear as well.”


“You took all of the danger out of your city, they follow the rules but they don’t remember why. My first run I tried it dressed like a w***e, I didn't get far but they didn’t treat me like a threat. I took this off of the one who pinched my cheek and said beauty like mine didn’t need to come with intelligence.”


“I’ll remind them.” Isca folded her arms and then glanced around before opening a door, “Come with me. We can discuss this more comfortably.”


Stepping through into the ruined temple where the statue stood Syr grinned and inclined her head. “There should be no wood in the wheel rooms, by the way, not in the supports, not in the wheels, nowhere, not even the doors.”


“How did you get into the main wheel room?” The goddess walked to look down the still open hole. “You shouldn’t have been able to. My priests placed wards.”


“And I dispelled them.” She shrugged as Isca gave her an annoyed look, “You did a good job of drying up the…” she gestured around at the air and the goddess smiled faintly.


“Thank you.”


“But one of your men pulled a weapon on me holding enough power in it that I could dispel the ward in front of the opening.” She paused as Isca looked thoughtful. “There should have been grating. You trusted too much to the force of the water if the ward should fail. If I were building it, I’d have made the waterways smooth, rough stone even when wet gives purchase, put in two or maybe three grates, one on each end and maybe one in the middle as a nasty surprise just in case anyone got that far, and definitely more than one ward. You could place it on the ceiling of the waterway deeper in. Even if you dry things up you can’t assume a resourceful thief won’t find something to draw from.”


“Things get caught in the grating and cause problems but the rest seems sensible.”


“You’d have made me work for it with a few small adjustments.”


“You still think you could get in even with those precautions?” Isca frowned.


“All the luck you need is time. With enough of it a good thief can always find a way. Locks are deterrents, wards are deterrents, but all you’re doing is forcing them to find another route.”


The goddess’ eyes lit up and Syr grinned.


“You can absolutely leave a path open as a trap, but don’t make it easy or obvious. I’ll come back and test myself against your temple as often as you like.” She spread her hands wide and put on as innocent a face as she could manage, “To help you secure it, of course.”


“We’d need to discuss rules, Syreilla the Rook. I don’t want to rebuild after every visit you make.”


“That seems fair.”


“I can guess why Hevtos wants the stones. Lending them would infuriate your grandfather.” Isca folded her arms but didn’t look entirely displeased.


“I haven’t met him yet, he sounds delightful.” Syr stretched and tried not to yawn, “Everytime I irritate him Master Odos suggests I take after the man.”


Isca laughed and rubbed the bridge of her nose, “There are certain similarities but you’re clearly Odos’ daughter. Walk with me and see if you have any other suggestions.”



© 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

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


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A Chapter by Isemay


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A Chapter by Isemay