In the previous episode, Huleta and Neevis are once again being held hostage by two Lost Ancestors and as Gremlaw goes to free them, the voice of a female Ancestor breaks through the shadows, telling him to put down his weapon or watch Neevis die. The woman reveals who she is, but readers voted that Gremlaw gets knocked out from behind before he gets the chance to ask any more questions.
Gremlaw sensed the blow that slammed into the back of his neck before it hit.
Forewarning of the blow did not make a difference to the outcome, however, and his limp body crashed forwards to lie on the stone floor. Neevis screamed and struggled against the strong arms that held her, seeing her father and her freedom being ripped away from her again.
Gremlaw’s gray eyes swiveled to find Huleta’s green ones as darkness crept over his thoughts.
King Lormenio Ethrinsal reclined in the comfortable chair manufactured for his stateroom, deciding long ago if he had to spend long hours in this small and dusty room, he would do so in comfort. He swung one leg over the cushioned arm and studied the young man before him.
This was one of the best spies The Academy had produced? He looked barely out of his teens and was splattered from head to foot in filth, which hid the rags he wore for clothing quite well. Despite his outward appearance, which Argrotiern DeLarouge had informed the King was to help him remain inconspicuous, the young man seemed alert, lucid and a little forward.
He had barely nodded to his king upon entering and was about to speak before being asked until DeLarouge had cleared his throat in a polite warning. Now Kelsen stood before the king with no sign of impatience on his face. Lormenio sipped wine from a crystal goblet and brought his gaze to bear on the youth. Kelsen remained unimpressed.
“Report!” the king barked, annoyed at the insolence of this boy. He would take this kind of attitude from some, but not a filthy, former thief from his capital city. Lormenio did not allow the surprise he felt to show on his face when the boy spoke in a deep, manly baritone that belied his thin frame,
“Sire, his grace had me follow my former mentor, Gremlaw, northwards,” Lormenio glanced at DeLarouge who nodded slightly, “My instructions were clear and precise. Follow his small party until it becomes difficult to do so and then report back.” Kelsen paused as if to make sure the king understood before carrying on, “Three days ride north of the border town of Vivulge I came to an army of, what I can only describe as, armed Lavashians.”
Lormenio spat his wine out in a spray of shock as he sat forward bringing his piercing, light brown eyes to bear upon the youth. The king’s stare was so powerfully charged this time, even the stoic Kelsen showed a little fear.
“An army of Lavashians?” the king asked aloud, “There is no sense in Lavash invading us; we are currently on fairly good terms.
“Sire,” Kelsen spoke again, “I don’t think these were normal Lavashians, they looked the same but had strange designs tattooed into their skins.” Lormenio looked at DeLarouge, his eyes wide in shock as his knowledge of the Lost Ancestors came to him.
“How many of these, tattooed Lavashians would you say there were?” he asked the spy. Kelsen took a moment to think,
“I would estimate at least twenty thousand, sire.” King Lormenio dropped into his comfortable chair, his face turning pale.
“God help us!” he whispered.
Pain seared across the back of Gremlaw’s skull and neck when he finally woke up. His wrists felt heavy and he twisted to look at them, confusion wrapping around his thoughts as he looked at the iron clamp holding his arm to the wall. Further painful exploration proved his other wrist was secured in the same way and his clothing had been stripped away.
He was in a room he had not seen yet, filled with sunlight, which poured in through vast openings in the far wall. There was, however, the same air of neglect about this room as he had seen in the rest of the citadel, with chunks of stone left where they had fallen and wrecked furniture scattered about.
The chained man heard a sound from his left and swung his aching head in that direction. With ropes binding them securely to heavy, wooden chairs, his wife and daughter struggled to utter a muffled shout through the cloths with which they had been gagged.
Gremlaw smiled weakly at them,
“I don’t know about you two,” his dry mouth was barely able to form the words, “But I’m looking forward to getting back home.” He could see the tears forming on both their faces and his chest felt as heavy as his wrists.
“Go tell Zhul-Quin her little toy has woken up.” A gruff voice spoke to Gremlaw’s right. He looked over to see a heavily muscled Lost Ancestor with so many tattoos his skin had all but been completely covered. He walked across to where Gremlaw was suspended and growled in his face, “One of the men you killed was my brother and another owed me money.” Held up by chains, the manacled man could think of no response, which seemed to anger the burly man on the floor even further.
Faster than Gremlaw thought possible, the Lost Ancestor slammed his fist into his belly, just above the navel, air exploded from Gremlaw’s lungs as Huleta and Neevis screamed into their gags.
“Enough!” Zhul-Quin’s voice echoed through the small chamber like a whip crack and the man who had just punched Gremlaw stepped away,
“But he killed…” Zhul-Quin cut him off,
“Then he should have learned to defend himself better.” She said dismissively, “Get out or you will join him!” Gremlaw wondered what power this diminutive Lavashian woman had over these men as he tried to get his breath back.
“So, Gremlaw,” she began in Trathlainian, “I am going to hurt you,” her lips formed a twisted smile as she looked at the fright this caused the Trathlainian women, “Lots.” Zhul-Quin giggled evilly and Gremlaw knew for certain she was completely mad. Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.