Forty

Forty

A Chapter by Isemay

Stepping through the doorway that Isca opened, Syr inclined her head, the space in front of her wasn’t what she expected, however. The stone walls looked rough-hewn and it didn’t smell like a mine.


“I asked Isca to send you here before you go to Delver’s.” Odos leaned in an unfinished doorway. “You haven’t seen my home.”


“It’s… not what I would have expected.”


“I didn’t have priests long enough to have the work completed. After they died I decided I didn’t want more. Come,” he beckoned her in deeper. “How did you get along with Isca?”


“Surprisingly well. I like her. She’s as quick and sharp as a mage, her temple is definitely a challenge. I'm looking forward to going back and seeing how she’s changed it.”


He grinned, “Is she changing it again?”


“We walked through it and discussed ideas, I don’t expect it to look the same at all. She’ll probably catch me more often than I get through. It’s going to be fun.”


Laughing, Odos opened a moss covered door. “You impressed her as well, little rook.”


Inside, the room looked more like what she would have expected of his home, it was somehow lit by mirrors and it looked like a sizable library with a few cloth draped alcoves.


“Did you get any of Zylius’ books when I sold his library off?” Syr started browsing the shelves surprised to find that the ones she was in front of weren’t written in a language she could read. “What language is this?”


“I wrote those myself, the language is… one I need to teach you.” He was smiling when she glanced over at him. “Vezar was born speaking it, it was something between a gift and a curse Hevtos bestowed with his immortality. It’s harsh on mortal ears, more so when anger is behind it and there are curse words that are painful.”


“I’ve noticed.”


Odos looked at her curiously, “It shouldn’t have been painful when I spoke it at the Storm Cauldron.”


“It wasn’t, it made my ears feel like they were ringing and my ear wax was melting. When Vezar was upset years ago, though, he said something that sounded like it was full of stingers it was painful.”


“I meant that you shouldn’t still be mortal, Mother split you in two.”


“Uncle tried to put us back together, Hammersworn and I, but she didn’t want to and I let her stay… separate. As separate as I could. She’s…” Syr tapped her chest, “here. Sometimes she tells me bits of things she remembers but Uncle takes a great deal away.”


“I miss her, my little rook, but I still have you. You should have told me he gave you some mortality back. I'd have come with you into Isca’s to make certain you stayed alive.”


“I didn’t need you to.” Folding her arms, she tilted her chin up, trying not to show him that the words rankled. “And you’d have probably gotten in the way, you’re a little slower than you used to be, old man.”


His hazy gray eyes shimmered. “Am I, little rook?”


“I don’t think you could still get through the treasury in Vreya-”


He broke into laughter and she grinned at him despite herself.


“I kept the egg.” 


“No! You said you had it carved up!” Syr looked around and he laughed again.


“I’ve been thinking about giving it back to Zhetrahmihethrah.”


“Who?”


“Your Uncle. One of my brothers who were cursed.” His amusement faded.


“Ah. I didn't know it was his. Uncle hasn’t let me meet them. He takes time to warm up and he doesn’t like thieves.”


“Vezjahehdhethrah was Vezar’s father. His stone was stolen and carved up by dwarves. My brothers destroyed the mine and took all they could from it trying to get some pieces back.”


“That might be why Vezar disliked them so much.” Syr winced. “I didn’t know it was possible to be half dragon when he said he was only half human and not half elf. I was trying to convince him to try his hand at a forge.” 


Odos sighed and covered his face, but she could tell he was smiling again.


“His mother loved and worshiped his father, to look as he does I suspect his father was a little more,” he paused, “direct with the conception, taking her to bed after Vezar’s human father had finished to give his blessing. That never appealed to me.”


“Vezar said his mother wasn’t the most loving…” 


“She mourned his father and had to hide him as much as she could during his childhood. He was treated as an object of disgust and ridicule but she was reviled and mistreated as well.”


“He didn’t seem offended when I said I’d always wanted to find a dragon and try my hand at stealing his treasure.” 


Odos grinned. “That might be why Uncle took so long to warm up to you, little rook.”


“I just want to see if I could! I’d give it back.” She studied the oddly carved ceiling before adding, “If Uncle said I had to.”


“I may hold onto the egg and use it to buy you out of his service.” The look on his face was oddly doting as she glanced at him. “I need to send you to the mine, you’ll meet an old friend of mine and he’ll help you teach Sirruil how to use the circlet. Take this, it should help you keep up with him.” Odos drew the gem on a chain out of his sleeve and offered it to her.


Trotting over to take it she gave him a small smile, “Thank you. They took in Cyran and Magpie?”


“No. Sirruil looked at us and saw danger. Your brother is a thief and he doesn’t have the sentimental attachments that would keep him from stealing in the mine-”


“I could keep the Magpie from-”


“You weren’t there. With Syreilla’s Eye, my grandson can distinguish divinity and he has an idea of what danger looks like. He loves me but he knows I’m dangerous and his mother was the one who vouched for me. Without her I’m not permitted in, I visit with them in Lew. And Cyran… He is still in the painful process of growing into himself, it makes him look strange in Sirruil’s vision.”


“They may not let me into the mine. He doesn't know me and I think Grimgrip was a little afraid of me.”


“Grimgrip used the circlet to look at you, he said you looked like dragon’s fire shrouded in black smoke.” The old man looked proud and she couldn’t keep from grinning. “Khiril will bring you into the mine if they ask you to stay outside. I’ll keep an eye on Cyran and your brother for you.”


“Thank you. Tell Cyran I haven’t forgotten about the lessons I owe him.” The mischievous look on his face made her suspicious. “Old man?”


“I may give him a few for you. Don’t forget that Uncle needs the dwarven stones as well.”


“I don’t steal from dwarves, but I’ll see if I can persuade your friend to lend them to me.”


“And if he won’t?” Odos smiled as she tucked the stone into her front.


“I can always offer to do some work around the mine.”


He snorted and opened a door, “Try charm instead, little rook. Khiril might try to give you an impossible task.”


“Is there such a thing?” She grinned at his annoyed expression before she slipped through the open door. 


Standing in the stable’s doorway, she looked around and gave a nod and a smile to the stunned looking dwarves standing nearby. “I’ll see myself to the entrance.”


One of the younger dwarves went barreling past as she started walking uphill. By the time she got there, Aledelver was standing with a frown next to a younger version of Kaduil wearing her circlet.


“What do you see, Sirruil?”


“That’s not my mother… she’s dangerous but not to us. By the Nightforged she’s beautiful.”


Syr started to laugh. “You’re Hammersworn’s youngest, Sirruil?”


“Yes, who are you?” The Master of the mine spoke up and stepped slightly in front of the younger dwarf.


“I’m Syreilla the Rook. It’s been a long time since I’ve been here, am I still welcome?”


“Someone will have to vouch for you, Syreilla the Rook.” Aledelver’s face softened. 


“Where’s Batran? I’ve missed him.”


“He’s dead now. For a few years.” 


The news felt like a blow. 


“Someone else from Clan Hammersworn may-”


“I will,” Kaduil’s voice rang out before she saw him and he looked stunned as he came into view. “I’ll vouch for her and she’ll stay with us.”


“Thank you, I’ll cause neither trouble nor harm while I’m here. You can rely on a Rook.”


He blinked and then inclined his head.


“What do you want to be called?” Sirruil moved past Aledelver and gazed up at her.


“Rook will do, but Cyran insists people call me Lady Rook. His father likes formality. As much as I hate to admit it, sometimes it does feel nice.” She grinned down at him and he mirrored her smile back to her. “That doesn’t hurt your eyes in the daylight?”


“Not when I focus on something.”


“True, but you shouldn’t focus all the time, you’ll miss things, and if you rely on it too much you might wish you hadn’t. It’s useful, but your wits and experience are always with you.” She bent to touch his face and he drew a deep breath. 


“My mother used to do that.”


“She’s here.” Syr tapped her chest. “I carry her with me.”


Sirruil stepped back and then lurched forward to put his hand on her chest. She laughed and put her hand over his. “We’ll teach you how to use our circlet. It’s yours now, your mother wanted it that way and anyone who wants to argue can try it with me. I’m not as sweet as Syreilla Hammersworn and I still breathe dragon’s fire.”


“No dragon’s fire in the mine, Syreilla,” Aledelver spoke firmly and she gave him a bright smile.


“If you insist, Mordaeg. If someone tries to take his inheritance from him we’ll take the matter outside.”


He didn’t look pleased, “Master Aledelver will do.”


“If you want to be formal, I request the same courtesy, Master Aledelver.”


“On what authority do you request to be called ‘Lady’?” The old dwarf’s chin went up and Syr stood straight, pulling away from the young dwarf in front of her with a grin on her face. She opened her arms as if embracing her titles.


“I am Syreilla the Rook, Hevtos’ Golden Rook, daughter of Odos, goddess of righteous vengeance and protector of gentle souls.”


“The Lady of smoke and flame.” Sirruil added with what sounded like awe.


“I’ve already given my word to cause neither trouble nor harm here and to make no dragon’s fire in the mine. Do you require more?”


Aledelver took a deep breath and studied her face. “Stay with your hosts, Lady Rook.”


“As you request, Master Aledelver.”


She could feel the speculative eyes on her as she followed Kaduil into the mine, flanked by Sirruil. The smell of the mine and the feeling of stone above her was comforting, Syr looked around and couldn’t keep the smile off of her face.


“You have my mother’s smile.” Sirruil was looking at her curiously, without the circlet. “You look so much like her without Syreilla’s Eye.”


“We used to be the same person. This used to be our home and it still feels like home. It’s strange to think Batran isn’t here anymore.”


“Bhirren Hammersworn will probably come to speak to you.” Kaduil eyed her with a faint smile. “Syr used to help him with his locks. He took his father’s place as the finest lockmaker we have and head of the Clan.”


“Had she gotten new tools? Magpie made fun of my ‘old-fashioned’ kit and insisted I get a few new ones. I haven’t gotten to try them out yet.”


“She collected all of the new tools she came across. Not many made it into her kit.” Kaduil glanced at her with amusement. “My wife was always choosy about her tools.”


“Your tools are life and death, every bit as much as wits and luck.”


“Take care of them and they'll take care of you.” Kaduil responded with a grin as if she’d said it before.


“Did Juddri really make her promise not to make dragon’s fire again? I can’t imagine giving it up. It was one of our tools, one of the most valuable and useful.”


“And one of the most dangerous, Syr-” Kaduil stopped and cleared his throat, “Rook. I’d argued with her about it.”


“You can call me by name. There are a few who do. I just thought Rook might be easier.”


“It is and it isn’t.” He gave her a rueful smile. “Grimgrip said you would need to rest when you arrived. I told Kyrilla to get the bath ready.”


“Thank you. I haven’t gotten a lot of rest in the past few days and I’ve been busy. I don’t think I’ve bathed since… It’s been awhile.”


“You’re as thin as Syr used to be. No one’s been making you eat?” Kaduil frowned slightly as he glanced at her again.


“I hadn’t needed to eat for a hundred years or so. My first meal back in the land of the living was dwarf bread and sausage-”


Sirruil laughed and cleared his throat. “Sorry, Oduil spent years pestering our mother to stop calling it dwarf bread.” 


“We’ll have a meal for you too, Rook.” Kaduil smiled and shook his head.



© 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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A Chapter by Isemay


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A Chapter by Isemay


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A Chapter by Isemay