Once again, tis time to visit the cobbled streets and dark alleys of Myrrhn, following the adventures of Ragnar Grimfang, Twiceborn exile.
This is a serial, if you are new to it, start here and follow the links in the comment section of the post.
If you missed last week’s episode, I am happy to link it to you!
The Priest looked at me, wide eyed, then back to Sildus. If he were a true Devout, I expected that he would have attacked immediately, regardless of the obvious outcome; the Devout were a powerful force, but ultimately brought down by their reliance of brute force and attack, even when it was ill advised. Priest Madrinpo looked frightened: he obviously knew something, but he was not one of them. What then, was the connection?
The sound of the water cascading from the fountains soothed me, banishing the images of Sapphire, Bjorn, and Crimson Wind for the moment. Priest Madrinpo was obviously already terrified of Sildus; I needed to give him the impression that I was willing to cut a deal with him, that I was the reasonable one. Perhaps not the best role for me to play, but we were improvising. I took my hands off my weapons and sat down on the bench opposite Madrinpo. With Git and Murith standing guard, the isolated area between the fountains may as well have been an alcove in the Obsidian Tower. I was confident that we would not be overheard by passersby.
“I saw the look in your eyes when I mentioned Sapphire and Crimson Wind Madrinpo,” I said. “I saw you at your funeral. I know about the Devout. Tell me how you are involved in all of this and perhaps I will let you walk away.”
“They will kill me Northman,” said Madrinpo. “They will kill us all.”
“If you don’t talk, I am going to teach my friend here the throat screw,” I said, referring to a gruesome method of execution used in Sirutiran lands. “He is Sapphire’s former lover, you know? We might die, but you will die screaming, assuming you can draw breath past all the blood.”
If there is one part of deception I am skilled at, it is threats. Besides, I think Sildus was seriously considering the idea. The assassin’s eyes were bright and hard, like a hawk before the kill. Madrinpo’s eyes went wider as he looked between us. He didn’t seem as brave as I expected a Sirutiran Priest would be. After a moment, he looked down.
“The Devout are here, in the city,” said Madrinpo. “They are posing as followers of Kamesin Greeneyes as cover. They were trying to recruit Sapphire to get to her sister and her clients. They recruited Crimson Wind to get to Madame Glorianna. They want to start a war in the city. They have found something under the city, something–“
Water rose like a tidal wave crashing down on Madrinpo and Sildus before I could clear my chair. The assassin reacted with characteristic swiftness, hurling three little blades as he moved, but his attacks merely passed through the water. As I stood the liquid began to force itself down their throats. Madrinpo’s eyes bulged.
“ELEMENTAL!” I shouted, pushing my hand into the water, reaching for Madrinpo and Sildus.
Renoit leapt over the fountain behind the elemental, his rapier slashing through the water. I stood my ground, growling, as a glistening pseudopod of solid water slammed into my head, reaching into the water. One would think that being smashed by a watery limb wouldn’t hurt, but it felt like a blow from a solid oak branch. Murith ran forward, grabbing my belt to brace me. I felt her strength added to mine as my fingers contacted something in the slippery depths.
“Ragnar, I can kill it!” said Git, excitedly, pulling a charge of powder from his belt. “You need to get them out!”
“I’m trying…” I said, grunting. Then, just as I felt a strong grip clasp my hand, the Pseudopod’s shadow fell over me again.
“No so fast, villain!” said Renoit. leaping over the elemental, slashing the Pseudopod with is Rapier. It was enough to distract the beast and I heaved, muttering a little prayer to Magni for strength.
“Now Git!” shouted Murith, hauling me back, inch my inch.
Git tore open the powder charge and tossed the contents into the elemental. I roared and shouted, pulling with all my might. I was quacking with strain and fighting for inches when suddenly resistance ceased and I fell to the ground.
The elemental wavered, turning a weird shade of green, then brown. It moved toward’s git, who stood his ground, fumbling for another charge. Then with a shudder, the elemental simply collapsed into a puddle of foul smelling brown goo.
“Good word Git,” I said.
Murith was helping Sildus, who was on his hands and knees, spitting up water and blood. Madrinpo was dead. Judging from the blood and grey matter leaking from his nose and mouth, the elemental had done more than try to drown him. His face was frozen in terror. I shivered at the thought.
“I don’t see anyone nearby,” said Renoit. “I don’t think more than a dozen people even noticed we were being attacked. I saw no sign of any assailant.”
“Good,” I said, looking down at Madrinpo.
All ascended can sense a little magic. Looking closely I saw that one of his rings was active. I picked it up and handed it to Git. The goblin turned it over in his fingers for a moment.
“Its a trap,” said Git. “It looks like it was enchanted to summon an elemental nearby when he spoke or was about to speak a certain keyword. Whoever he was dealing with did not want him to talk.”