Here’s the latest taste from the epic pail of sorry stew that is Lore of the Underlings. A dish from the menu of courses to come…
The doorflap suddenly flew wide open, filling the room with warm sunlight. Fyryx squinted and shielded his eyes, then gasped as he caught glimpse of Arrowborne’s shape. Despite the life-giving yellow glow, his vell looked a pallor of bloodless death.
A Guard clad in sea green and blue burst in.
“Forgive the intrusion, sir my sir!”
Fyryx returned a watery glare, then barked something out, his throat too dry.
Surprised at this scene, the Guard stepped back.
“Do you want for assistance, sir my sir? May I serve you in some way?”
“No,” coughed Fyryx, seeking his voice. “What is it, Taan-syr? Speak.”
“The Finder’s plainsmen have caught a leaver attempting to flee through the Western Way. A lone man they say, no accomplices.”
Fyryx hoisted the strangers’ sword and stabbed it into the floor. Blood-red anger filled his face.
“I thought that we’d killed this disease off at last! And now there’s a new case to cure? More bad blood to let? But those foreign bodies might be to blame… an alien infection the source of it…”
The Guard Taan-syr looked puzzled as he handed Fyryx a flask of drink. “Have you orders, Treasuror sir?”
Fyryx gulped down a long swig of the liquid and tossed back the flask with a nod. Then he spoke to the Guard in a much clearer voice. “Thank you, Taan-syr. My orders are these. Bring the prisoner here to the dome room for trial, but hold him aside in the wings a while. For first I must meet with my inner ring on all of the recent threats to our Keep. Make the call for council now, to convene before this hour is up…
“But we must dine and sup as well to fill our bellies for the day. Have folk fetch us fresh meat, hard loaves from the hearthstone, and brewn ale, of course, by mugglet or cup. When the talking is done we shall break fast together before we turn judge to break bones.”
“Sir of sirs!” snapped the Guard with a cross-arm salute. “If there’s nothing else, sire, I shall…”
“Hold there, coast Guard. My nephews I need.” Fyryx turned his dark eyes from the vell’s lifeless carcass, just short of giving up the ghost. “Have their mother wake all three and send them here to sit for me.”
“As you wish, sir my sir, shall it be!” Taan-syr made a bow to leave then spun on his heel to march away.
“Wait,” called Fyryx. “There’s one more thing… The tall male stranger, the foreign warrior… bring him to the hall as well.”
Taan-syr touched one knee to the ground and dipped his head. “My Treasuror!” Then he was up and gone.
The room seemed suddenly vacant, the space between life and death vast.
The man moved into the light of day, to the vell. The distance fell away.
Fyryx leaned over his fading friend and kissed him on the crown of the head, just between his nascent horns. The man’s lips instantly blistered and bled, just as he had to know they would. But Fyryx simply wiped them clean, leaving his hand stained red instead.
“And still you sleep, my beauty. I’m afraid there’s no magic in me, old boy, only the blood of a lonely brother, destined to be the last, I fear…”
… This concludes Chapter 3, but the Lore goes on …
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May the Lore be with you!