Across from the church, two small figures prowled the shadows. Waiting to see if they would again glimpse their quarry before sunrise.
“Glop, glop, glop, cruck.”
“What are you doing?” The older watcher screeched, his irritation forcing his voice up high enough to embarrass himself.
“Chwingg...glop, glop” The younger watcher spewed out unabashedly.
“Chewing what?” Asked the older one.
The younger of the two bared his prize through clenched teeth.
“You swiped her eyeball?!” The eldest was shocked at seeing the wench's orb held between his companions teeth like a sweet candy. Even now he marveled at how vividly blue their victim's eye had been. The youngest simply shrugged and grinned, “Oh, her memories are SO sweet.”
The eldest began to chastise his bratty ward's behavior, both for making such a rash decision and because he was angry he hadn't thought of it first, but the wind shifted and when he caught the scent he froze before ranting. As he looked to his left to warn the younger one, he realized they'd both smelled Her by the look of fright on his companion's face.
Their mission had brought them into the Gibbous Queen's territory and they were trespassing. If she caught them, she would have the right to punish them and there would be no way for the Crescent King to interfere on their behalf. Not that he would, he had refused to ask her permission in the first place and put them both in this jeopardy by asking them to spy on the knight.
“We have to go!” The oldest hissed frantically, only now realizing that his younger partner had already begun squeezing down the rat hole they'd used to enter this alley, the wench's eyeball long forgotten, having dropped to the ground and rolled next to the alley wall. The older looked longingly at it and then began squirming down the hole, deciding it wasn't worth the risk.
She read through his poetry again and wept, sobbing, knowing that the young boy who had written his love for the world in these verses was gone forever. She knew her sadness was compounded by the fact that he had been truly lost to her for almost seven years before his actual demise...no not death, murder! He had been murdered and she would find out by whom and she would have her revenge. Yes, an eye for an eye.
The anger almost hid her sadness, at least for a moment, but then she cursed herself. His downfall had begun when he'd joined that....that....cult. The beautiful young poet, the little brother with eyes full of light, had disappeared fully then. She knew his grief at their mother's death had caused it. In many ways he'd died that day, as well as her. And now she was all that was left, gone were her mother, father, uncle, two sisters and now her third and last brother. All cruelly leaving her here, so she could rot each and every moment her fetid breath escaped her lungs.
She should have fought that cult's grip on him. She should have pulled him back to her. Shame made her remember that he'd look so much like their beloved mother, that it hurt to see him. To look upon his face and see their own mother. The sobbing overwhelmed her.
No, grief would not guide her. Vengeance would, first with the cult and then with his murderer. And maybe, just maybe, she would be blessed enough to join them all in the hereafter, sooner rather than later.
Deep under the earth, he stood in front of the double doors to the inner chamber. Their stone faces etched in the language of the Wind Swords. He read their grave warnings, but they held no fear for him, his destiny was nearly at hand.
He looked to the last three members of his party. They had started with nine, and this was all that was left. He had worked with most of them for over a decade and each had known and accepted the risks. They were, after all, professionals. He would honor them all later, but now was not the time for nostalgia. Not here. Their requiem would not be in this dank tomb, but at a wake in the light of the sun.
He looked at Rutger, the trap expert and motioned with his head to get started. He watched his oldest comrade inhale deeply and make a sign to the pagan god, Krysis. Then Rutger went to to work on the doors. He joined the rest who were all listening tensely for more denizens of this deep, dark hole shuffling toward them in the blackness. His senses took in the dampness of the cavern's walls and ceiling; the foul air that wrapped through the stone and his lungs; the elaborate stone tiling with it's symmetrical pattern that made up the floor. Finally, hen he heard the soft click of the door's mechanism and a small whirring as the ancient doors parted easily.
He had requested that no one follow him into the the small chamber and none of them challenged it. The fleece was the only thing in the room, not even dust gathered here. It hung on the far wall on a small peg. It's wool as fine as the day it had been shaved.
He removed it and began to study the words on the skin. The secret had been entrusted to the dwarves, hidden deep within the Jarl's Freehold. Such a remarkably odd choice, but the dwarves had owed the Monks at least that much. To protect the secret, to protect the world.
He sighed and brought the fleece out to his waiting party. They had the practiced ease of tomb raiders, but he could see they were hopeful this quest was finally over.
He shook his head and fished into his sack for the Scroll he'd purchased and handed it to Wessely. “The Scroll will easily teleport us from this hole, read it quickly, please. And then we go to Jarlsburg where we will finish this.”