A Chapter by Isemay

Syr was watching Sirruil talk animatedly to his siblings as they ate, about the ways he’d seen into the treasure rooms with the circlet on. Most of them weren’t ways a dwarf could take but he was certain he could swim into the back through one of the flooded shafts with the circlet.

Orefinder moved closer, into the spot that Kaduil had vacated. “I had my concerns when you took him outside.”

“The air vents are a vulnerability. Just because no one has taken advantage of it yet doesn’t mean that they won’t. I wanted him to see it.” She turned her attention to the dwarf next to her, “No nasty tricks means no nasty tricks. I wouldn’t have attacked you outside of the mine, you’re safe until our business here is concluded. As long as you act like a dwarf and not a human mage you should remain that way.”

He narrowed his eyes and after a moment he asked, “Why did you choose the dragon? I would expect you to be better suited to a dwarf.”

“We were granted a boon. Grandmother let us have a glimpse of what would happen either way if we chose either Kaduil or Vezar. And then she let us see what would happen to the one we didn’t choose. We couldn’t let Vezar be alone with his misery, chained up in a hole any more than we could let Kaduil keep searching for us, alone with his heart breaking.

“When we asked if it was possible for her to split us in two and let us walk both paths, she said it was. That’s the choice we made.”

“But why did you,” he pointed at her, “go with the dragon?”

“He’s undying. He needed the immortal part of us, and we thought that Hammersworn might be more cautious, having been warned she would be a little slower than we were together, and that it might make her a better wife to Kaduil.”

“I would never have called that woman slow.” Orefinder sat back in his seat with a small smile. “In some ways she might have been quicker than you.”

“I spent a hundred years or so mostly locked in a hole, Orefinder. I have dust on my feathers. Teaching helps show you the gaps in your own knowledge, it helps you grasp things more fully, or so the mages always said. It’s why they taught others, knowing they were probably going to murder their students or be murdered themselves. Teaching Sirruil, and even Cyran, is almost as good for me as it is for them. But, of the two, Sirruil is less likely to try to murder me.” She gave him an impish grin and he snorted.

“As long as you stay out of the treasure rooms.”

“It’s a good thing I don’t steal from dwarves.” She picked up her cup and took a sniff before sipping the mead.

“I promised no nasty tricks, Rook. You can drink without worrying I've poisoned your cup.” Orefinder looked amused.

“It’s a habit of mine around devious people, if no one else is drinking out of my cup I tend to-” Syr paused as the dwarf laughed and shook his head. “Have you met the old man? Never trust your cup. Any time I haven’t given him half of it and I forget to check, there’s never what I expect in it.”

At that the dwarf pounded on the table and roared with laughter. The three other dwarves at the table looked down at them curiously. She grinned and gave them a small shrug as Orefinder managed to compose himself.

“Remind me to tell you a few stories about the old man some day, Rook.”

“I’d like that.”

He gave her a satisfied smile and then shooed her, “To bed, Rook. You need to be rested for tomorrow.”

She looked pointedly at Sirruil. The young dwarf didn’t seem to understand what she expected him to do and she looked back to Orefinder, “He’s going to make me repeat myself, isn’t he?”

“He’s young, Rook, and it’s his first day of lessons.”

“I suppose it’s going better than my first day of lessons with the old man. No one’s been stabbed yet.”

“Who did you stab?” Orefinder narrowed his eyes at her and she gave him a broad grin.

“I didn't stab anyone. The thief I was learning from decided he didn’t like the old man’s tone when the matter of my education and housing came up and he ended up with his own knife pinning his hand to his shoulder.”

“You did try to blind me.”

“That spell isn’t permanent even on humans. It doesn’t even count as a scratch.”

He snorted again, “It was rude.”

“Yes, that ward you laid was rude.” She arched an eyebrow at him and he broke into a grin. 

“Sirruil, you need to look over the house and make sure things are in order before you go to bed. Your grandfather hates to repeat himself and the Rook seems to have inherited that at least.”

“Yes, Master Orefinder.”

“Check my room twice?” Syr gave him a playful blink, “From the way Orefinder just slightly emphasized ‘nasty’ in front of tricks a moment ago, I think friendly tricks are still on the table.”

The dwarf next to her broke into laughter again. “You are your father’s daughter, Rook. Lessons resume in the morning, we’ll walk the inside of the treasure chambers.”

Orefinder made his way out of the sunken seating and Rook did the same, waiting until Sirruil had gone over the house before making her way upstairs. The bedroom was clear, she checked it once herself but even after undressing and lying in bed for a while she couldn’t settle in to sleep. Feeling restless she put her kit back on and tried to be silent as she roamed the house, the red gem and chain wrapped around her hand. She looked at the figurines, each in its place, the bath was in order, the pantry, the dining room was clean and waiting patiently for breakfast. Making her way back up she cautiously opened each of the bedroom doors a crack to peek inside. Three grown children in their places. The only one not where he was supposed to be was Kaduil.

Syreilla couldn’t help but go inside the room once she’d opened the door. It was… familiar, but not the same. Running her hand over the carved bed, she paced the room. This was why she couldn't sleep. Hammersworn wanted him in his bed where he belonged.

“Amad?” Kyrilla’s soft voice came from the doorway calling for her mother in dwarvish.

“No.” Syr turned with a rueful smile, “But she won’t let me sleep. Your father isn’t in bed where he should be.”

“Our mother used to look in on us the way you did.” 

“I didn’t mean to wake you.”

“I sleep lightly.”

“You keep watch while they sleep.” She gave the dwarf girl a warm smile, “You took up part of your mother’s worries. Do you walk through and make certain everything is in its place before bed?”

“Yes.” Kyrilla smiled and stepped into the room before stepping back out and beckoning for her to come along, “It’s too strange to speak to you in here.”

“I understand. The room feels… it’s so familiar but so different.” Syreilla shook her head and came out, closing the door. “You know your mother isn’t going to let me rest until I go find your father, yes?”

“I’ll get dressed.” Kyrilla sighed and disappeared into her room.

She decided to wait downstairs, looking over the figurines on display again. On close inspection one looked as if it had broken and been carefully put back together with barely noticeable cracks.

“Sirruil broke it.” The voice made her jump slightly and Kyrilla laughed. “Sorry, Rook. Our mother was away and that’s the only time I’ve seen Father get upset. My brothers both sat with glue and put every silver they could find back into place.”

“Did she ever tell you the story of how she got them and why?”

“No, just that she’d loved them since she was a child. After her death one of the priests came into the house and said that everything she’d stolen should be given away and he picked up one of her figurines.

“Father explained to them that she didn’t bring stolen goods back to the mine often. She did a job, got paid and brought home her pay. Anything she stole was never stolen from dwarves, and what goods were brought back were given away as a gift, no one could fault her. They couldn’t prove them stolen and I couldn’t be forced to give them up.

“Oduil gave up a portion of his inheritance, though. Our mother had earned and saved enough money that he could give them something generous and still have a comfortable inheritance.”

Syreilla nodded, Hammersworn was annoyed by it. Her oldest inherited her wealth, her daughter inherited all the household items she brought into the marriage, her youngest son would inherit any tools she had accumulated to pass down to him. That was the tradition.

“I’ll tell you the story of how we came by the figurines if you’d like. You can consider them payment for services rendered. A year of our life was exchanged for them.”

Kyrilla’s eyes widened. “Tell me.”

© 2021 Isemay

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Added on February 2, 2021
Last Updated on February 2, 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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