Sixty-five

Sixty-five

A Chapter by Isemay

Syreilla had managed to climb carefully up to the wooden beams and she sat on them wiggling some feeling back into her fingers. The wood above her was angled like a roof and she hoped that’s what it was. She hoped it was old, rain soaked, and half rotten. If he didn’t intend to leave her here for days she might be running out of time until that a*****e grandfather of hers showed back up.


Finding a promising looking seam in the boards, she lay back to brace herself and use her legs to kick and push until it gave. Every thump and each time the boards creaked she was afraid Atos would be shouting from below or yanking her down. The fear lent her strength.


The boards finally creaked and cracked pushing outward. Syr was sitting up and wriggling through the jagged opening in an instant. She was on a high roof but if she went down the outside of the tower she could reach another wall and it looked like that might get her to a window.


Taking a breath she took an extra moment to survey. There was too much that could go wrong, she needed to get that stone and get out of this place, Finwion’s insistence on coming and going a short distance from places made much more sense now. Until she got the stone far enough from this place to open a door she was exposed and vulnerable. 


No paths lit in front of her, nor was there any fog. He’d probably done something to the damned gem, she would have if she’d been in his position. The large room had been round and had several doors… Many of the structures here were round with other round rooms attached. Syreilla chose the largest as the place to start. It had the right number of branches from the large center round room and one was a tower that almost looked like a glassed in lighthouse at the top. That was promising. If that were where it was kept… she studied the layout and mapped a route down and to the nearest wall. She couldn’t see what was on the other side but it barely mattered. As long as she could run and get some distance from this place…


Stealing from the King of the gods… if she lived through this and if anyone ever carried the tale, she wouldn’t have to put up with the old man smirking and saying he was the better thief! Syr felt herself grinning as she began her climb down. The outside wasn’t nearly as smooth as the inside had been and she was able to move faster. There didn’t seem to be priests or guards roaming but she kept herself from view of the windows as much as possible, no sense in being careless.


The first real challenge came at the glassed in tower. Up close it didn’t seem like glass. There was no metal or wooden frame; it was more like a cut crystal dome in place over the stonework. 


She was certain, however, that the stone was inside. The hum of power could be felt through the wall. Clinging to the side of the tower as the sunlight beating down heated her back and the stone under her hands unpleasantly she remembered the sarg in the Nameless. Mouthing the siphoning spell she chose a section of stone below the dome and drew carefully from the power she felt within, heating the stone until the air shimmered and she felt as if she were far too close to a fire, then cooling it. It cracked as frost covered the stone. The second time it shattered.


Under her breath she muttered, “Should have had dwarves do your stonework.”


Syreilla wriggled in through the hole and dropped down, trying not to laugh at the melted gold decorations along the wall. The sizable stone was on a white marble perch in a shaft of pure, focused light from the dome above. It would probably burn if she reached her hands in to grasp it. Taking a decorative golden sun emblem from a nearby wall she wrapped it in a silk cloth draped over a statue of a golden youth and used it to knock the stone from its perch.


The silk was burning and the gold melting but the double-fist sized spire of stone was unharmed and cool when she tentatively tried to touch it. Tucking it securely down her front she went out the way she’d come. She made it to the wall exactly as she’d planned and looked over at what she hadn’t been able to see before, the terrifying drop. There wasn’t a tree or a near ledge in sight and the foot of whatever mountain they must be on was obscured by mist.


“ROOK!” Atos' enraged voice echoed over the wall and she started to laugh.


Stepping up and looking down, it was jump or find out if he could build a cage she couldn’t get out of, she was certain. Syr pushed off from the wall with all her strength, diving and hoping she would get far enough away to open the door before she hit the ground.


It felt for a moment as if she really were flying and then she came through the mist and the ground came into view, luck was with her and she was moving out, away from the stone beneath her as if the wind was pushing off of the stone face and taking her with it. In that moment, she had time to think. If she opened the door too soon she’d just go right back where she’d started from and the scrub covered dirt and stone at the base of the mountain was closing quickly. She muttered a plea to Hevtos that he might be on the doorstep and ready to help her and waited until the last possible instant to fling open the door, hitting the dirt and stone of Hevtos’ doorstep instead of the mountainside and feeling bones break.


The air had been knocked out of her and for a moment she couldn’t even scream. Black and white stars were exploding in her vision and then suddenly a familiar face was in front of her. Hevtos had his hand on her head and one on the spire of stone that felt half buried in her chest. 


“Breathe, my Golden Rook.” He’d begun to smile. “My dear one, did you try to fly from his walls?”


“I did fly, Uncle, I just didn’t land well.” Syreilla breathed a laugh as his smile widened.


“How did you survive as a mortal?”


“Luck, Uncle. A great deal of it.” She gingerly sat up, reaching in to pull the stone out for him. “He thought he was clever, but the wall was the hardest part of it.”


He laughed as he took the stone and then helped her to her feet. Every bone in her body ached in the places she’d felt them break.


“A few day’s rest will see you whole again, my-”


“Uncle,” Syr tilted her head and looked up at him feeling an unaccustomed nervousness, “Will you call me by name?”


“Syreilla the Rook, you wish to hear your name?”


It felt like warm water and she nodded, “I need to hear it, I’m not sure why.”


He tilted her face up and looked down into her eyes for a long moment and the same warmth as she’d felt the last time meeting his gold-flecked gaze washed over her before Hevtos kissed her forehead. “You are loved, Syreilla. Come inside and rest, you have done well and made me proud.”


For a moment she wrapped her arms around him and just breathed as he stroked her head. “Thank you, Uncle.”


The thought of walking back inside, however, brought all the thoughts she’d been shoving down and blocking out of her mind of Vezar and what it would mean to return here bubbling up and she hesitated at the entrance. 


“I have something for you, dear one. Trust me, and enter.” 


Taking a breath, she followed. To her surprise and relief, he walked her to a chamber other than Vezar’s. The door bore a carving of a rook and the inside looked like the top of a tower with open balconies. The floor and walls were of black stone but the cloth draped from ceiling to floor beside the open balconies was sheer and white. The bed was round and the sides, nearly all around it except a narrow gap, rose like a peculiar woven nest of gold toned wood that she could peek through, and over if she stood on the bed. 


“Uncle?”


“A chamber of your own that may ease your feelings of being ‘locked in a hole’, Syreilla.” He was smiling faintly. “It is unfinished, I will allow you to change it as you please.” Hevtos touched the stone she had forgotten she was wearing around her neck, “And I will give you a stone of your own. May I take this one?”


She removed it without hesitating. “Of course. This is beautiful, Uncle. I don’t like a lot of clutter. A garden on a balcony might be nice though.”


“You’re a thief…” His eyes sparkled. “You don’t keep your treasures?”


“I’m a thief for the challenge, Uncle. There were few things we liked enough to keep. We preferred to take money for our work and spend it on mead, tools, or mischief. If we had too much money we buried it to keep for later or took it home to our family.”


He touched the plain black wall and looked pleased, “I may have more challenges for you. My sons would enjoy having their treasures returned.”


After he left her in the chamber, Syreilla went outside onto a balcony. It looked like a clear day but as nice as it was the sky was too empty. Glancing up above the doors to the roof of the tower she imagined that instead of the smooth shingles it was covered with moss and short stubby trees that, at this height, would serve well enough for nests. The roots could cling to the walls inside. 


Once the trees were the way she wanted them, she began adding nests, intending to add rooks, and perhaps a few songbirds, or at least the images of them so that the skies wouldn’t be so empty.


A cough from behind her made her turn in surprise to see one of the spectral servants that roamed. “The Divinity asks why you wish to build nests? If you wish birds he must bring them to you.”


“The sky seemed too empty.”


“Ah.”


The air felt like water rippling and a wind blew through the chamber. A terrible sound between a wail and a roar shook the air and then stopped.


“Your skies are no longer empty.” The servant bowed and departed.


Syr went back out on her balcony curiously to see a dragon, his hide in iridescent shades of blue, some of which seemed dark enough to be black, and far larger than Vezar circling her tower with curiosity. She started to laugh and leaned on the black balustrade to watch.



© 2021 Isemay


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Added on February 3, 2021
Last Updated on February 3, 2021
Tags: thief, dwarf, elf, dragon, gods

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Author

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


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A Chapter by Isemay


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A Chapter by Isemay