In the previous episode, Gremlaw utilized the spaces between people and places, traveling in shadow form, to arrive at the deepest heart of the castle in Gul-Maz. Realizing that where he wanted to go next was locked, readers voted that he wait to attack anyone who approaches and hope they have a key.
The shadowy figure almost disappeared into the darkness behind a wall, giving him a view of the iron gateway he needed access to. He tensed and relaxed his muscles over and over, keeping his body from resting too much as he waited for someone to turn up, hopefully with a key to the gate.
The sun streamed in, warming Mar-Tshi-Srin’s face as the bright light chased the shadows from her eyelids. She stirred and wriggled against the immobile form of her husband who grunted in his sleep. Eventually the pair woke fully and dressed in near silence, less due to any need for quiet, more because they were slowly drifting away from one another.
“I will go and see what Gremlaw’s plans are,” the Lavashian magician stated, receiving a grunt from Dornoyen.
“Yes,” he said bitterly, “Go see the master of all things so we can do his bidding some more.” A rage shot through Mar-Tshi-Srin as she caught his tone and magic sprung, unbidden, to her fingertips ready to attack the man she had loved.
Dornoyen paled as he felt the tingling at the nape of his neck, signifying the summoning of his wife’s magic. He stared at her for a long time, actually watching her internal battle as she debated whether to attack him or not.
“Marshi…” the commander began but was halted by her hand which flew up.
“Do not,” Mar-Tshi-Srin said in a cold voice, “even bother to speak to me.” She turned towards the door, as if to leave, yet stopped and faced him again, “That man, who you are so jealous of for no reason, is like a brother and father to me. Without his aid and his memories, I would still be being used by the emperor, as a tool; as a weapon.” Tears sprung to Mar-Tshi-Srin’s eyes as she recalled her life before Gremlaw had been involved in it, “Emperor Haz-Tchin-Kavash made me believe my mother was dead and he alone commanded my loyalty. I killed for him, in his name because I thought I had to atone for what my mother had done. Gremlaw showed me the truth, he had my mother’s memories, and he remembered giving birth to me! You think I love him, and I do, but like a parent! Not as a potential mate.” Mar-Tshi-Srin swiped a hand at the tears which fell from her large eyes and a silence fell in the small room.
“You know,” she continued after a few seconds, “I see him covering hundreds of miles and facing insurmountable odds in an effort just to see his wife and daughter again and I feel sick to my stomach.” She looked deeply into her husband’s eyes, “Because if it happened to be me and little Salmira who had been kidnapped, I doubt you would even care.”
Dornoyen remained silent as his wife slipped from their room, partly due to the fact he could think of nothing to say but mainly due to the fact, he realized with self-loathing, she had been horribly accurate.
Shin -Tazu was sick of this chore he had been stuck with, carrying the food and slop bucket all the way down these wet, slippery stairs and carrying the full, stinking bucket back up. He remembered the incident a few days back when he had slipped on the moss-covered stone, the bucket of feces and urine sailing up and out in front of his eyes before landing on the step almost level with his gaze. The excrement jumped out of the bucket, leaping impossibly high and spreading to fill his vision as it splashed down around him.
The others who populated the castle had laughed when he arrived back in the early morning light soaked in shit. The laughter had stopped when he had slammed the bucket down over one man’s head, hard enough to smash the planks from the bottom, and then snapped his neck.
Now he was back down here with an empty bucket and some awfully pitiful food. Dropping the bucket outside the gate, he felt around in his pouch for the key, fumbling at it with his thick fingers.
Nothing alerted him to the man who leaped on his back, wrapping his arms and legs around Shin -Tazu like a boa constrictor. He felt his legs take an automatic step backwards with the extra weight on his back at the same time an iron-hard forearm began to crush his windpipe.
The mountain of a Lost Ancestor staggered and gripped one of the bars making up the gate as he began to choke. The incessant pressure on his throat was near agony, yet he was unable to make a sound. Who or whatever held him squeezed his lower abdomen with hard booted feet, crushing his testicles at the same time as strangling the life from him.
Shin -Tazu felt panic kick in and began to thrash, flailing blows on the arms and legs which were killing him. It was already too late. His breath was unable to get into his lungs and he collapsed to his knees, clawing at the arm which squashed the cartilage in his throat shut. As darkness swirled in from the edges of his vision, Shin -Tazu fell sideways and backwards, his hand falling ineffectually to his side as unconsciousness took him over.
His still form lay partially on top of the dark cloaked figure who struggled to get out from beneath him. Lightning fast hands grabbed the key, opened the gate and dragged the corpse into the darkness.
Gremlaw stood and pulled the cowl of his cloak from his head, looking around him. The area behind the gate was divided into a few sections and he began searching for whoever was in here.
The first two room-like sections were empty but Gremlaw’s heart nearly stopped in his chest when he looked into the third cell and saw… Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.