Memories of Connor's Adventures

Orlando the Adventurer pulled a Scimitar from beneath his Robes and smiled...

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Short fiction: Su-lus (part 2)

Su-lus (part 2)

Zemiros explained the rather unbelievable chain of events that had caused him to be buried alive in the family crypt at some length; the gathering crowd slowly settled in for repeated telling before someone burst into laughter and compelled the others to dig him out.
His naked and filthy form evoked some nods before one fellow offered him use of an old cloak that covered him sufficiently.
Armand had been Warden of the Village of Sulescu for some years. He placed a hand on Zemiros’s shoulder and drew his attention.
“It’s probably not likely the others will speak of it but we buried your family last evening along with a number of the servants – it’s likely that fiend from the crypt you mentioned had escaped and done for them all.” Zemiros collapsed and emptied what little was in his stomach on the ground.
Zemiros struggled to his feet and made for the main house.
“Gregor, go with him.” Johann turned to Armand.
“You could have at least waited until he had a meal in his belly and a half mug of ale.” Johann shook his head.
“He needed to know.” Armand was adamant he had done right by Zemiros.
“He needed food and shelter. He won’t find it in that house.”
Zemiros stumbled through the field of fresh graves until the great broadsword drew his attention. Would that be the last moments of Alt Sulescu, the Knight who swam the river Volga in armour?
“They said the King of Darokin give him that sword for battling an army of Orcs in the Halfling lands three years ago.” Zemiros touched the hilt listening to Gregor’s words.
“The Battle of Black Fire or some such up in their Mountains;” Zemiros nodded. That would have been just as he had travelled to the land of Braejr.
Zemiros found the Manor abandoned and dark. There was no life here in the blood stained halls of its ruination. The Villagers had simply removed the corpses for burial. The signs of a brutal slaughter were everywhere.
It didn’t seem to be the work of a mere skeleton. Not this much carnage. Whatever it was, it wasn’t over. It would never be over.
The two foot thick reinforced walls were banded with iron straps and great iron Spikes that gave the Manor an indestructible quality. Zemiros pushed a concealed door panel on its central axis and opened the concealed stairs that would take him directly into his father’s bed chambers. The path carried a price. He found the body of his youngest sister; her little body dashed to pieces on the Iron banded stairs and drained dry. He picked her up gently and made his way up the stairs to the abandoned bedchamber. With the concealed door pushed aside, he placed her gently on the bed and went to look out through the window at the raging sea. A merchantman sailed there, plying the trade routes. Zemiros wished he was there now.
After a time he accepted his fate. He was bound to the estate for the rest of his life. He left the room sealing the bedchamber. For now Mirsa would rest.
His own bedroom had been emptied. His father’s anger no doubt had taken a toll on his collection of personal artefacts. Still Alt could not have had access to the prize he sought. At the end of the bed chamber, where a vacant wall that never gathered dust and never held any art propped up the ceiling. He reached through the permanent illusion causing it to vanish. A collection of prized artefacts that had once occupied the corner of a Tavern in far off Braejr revealed themselves. On one shelf his spell book sat, the book end that propped it up was a radiant crystal sitting in an ornate gold frame rather than the shuttered iron lantern that it had called home.
Somewhere in Braejr a tavern held a collection of very good fakes, which unless you looked closely would seem as they had always been.

Amdar Sulanov was a Knight. You could tell that instantly by the way he sat on his Warhorse. He had been instructed by his Monarch to investigate rumours that the Knight of Sulescu had perished with his household at the hands of some undead thing, and if so lay claim to the Estate as his own.
Finally his years of loyalty would be rewarded. Still an undead foe would pose risks. Amdar was not an overly pious warrior of the church of Traladara. He never really considered the immortals to have any place on a battlefield and he certainly did not want anything they or their ‘worshipers’ had to offer.
A marker stone caught Amdar’s eye and he halted his destroyer. The Words were barely visible. Su Lus - the old word for Sulescu. He had reached the outskirts of the Estate. He nudged his destroyer forward.
The Villagers seemed to stare at the Knight advancing toward them on the warhorse as though they had not seen such a spectacle in their lives. Only when he was close did he halt his loyal companion.
“You there”; Gregor looked around to be sure the nobleman on the horse was referring to him, yanking his old cap from his head; “Yes you! Is it true the Knight of Sulescu and his family have been butchered by some undead beast?” Gregor nodded.
“Yes my Lordship, Sir Alt Sulescu and his entire household butchered to the last servant, not two weeks ago. A terrible thing it was.” Even better; “And the undead beast, does it still trouble the Village?” Gregor puffed himself up with pride prepared to tell him the entire tale.
“Oh no my Lordship, It was destroyed by His Lordship’s Son in a furious battle of some telling“. Amdar Sulanov had no time for the tale now. He held up a Gauntlet to stop the peasant from imparting it.
“Where is Sulescu’s heir now?” It seemed he had not yet earned his estate. Gregor was a fountain of information.
“Up at the Manor house my Lord...still grieving the terrible loss.” Sir Sulanov tossed a copper at the serf and pushed his Warhorse forward ignoring anything else he had to speak of.
The king’s Knight pushed open the great reinforced portals that he was expecting to be locked and impregnable.
“Lord Sulescu!” Amdar didn’t wait for an answer, he simply entered the hall. His fine armoured form reflected in the great mirrors of polished bronze. He was all alone.
“Lord Sulescu!” He turned to discover a poorly dressed man standing in his shadow; a servant perhaps?
“I seek Lord Sulescu...” Amdar wasn’t entirely sure the wretch had comprehended him. There was defiantly something wrong with the fellow. Perhaps it was that only Amdar was reflected in the mirrors.
“Vampire!” Amdar screamed the words as he attempted to leap back against a mirror, pulling for his sword. Zemiros decapitated his foe with a curved Dagger.
Zemiros stepped back from the dead knight. He rummaged through his belongings and discovered a letter signed by the king granting him the Sulescu Estate if Sir Alt Sulescu and his family had indeed perished at the hands of some undead beast. Obviously Zemiros’s presence was going to be an inconvenience to anyone of ambition.
It was time to send a message to this disrespectful King.
The King of Traladara returned to his bedchambers on the summons of his panicked Guardsmen and Servants.
There amongst the blood soaked sheets and pillows a severed head drew every one’s attention including his.
“Whose head is it?” One of his most trusted Soldiers rolled the head over and examined it thoroughly. “Well?” He wasn’t use to waiting for answers.
“One of your Knights...Sir Amdar Sulanov, I believe.” The one he had given the Sulescu Estate, if he had the ability to claim it. Apparently he did not.
“Ready my personal guard and warhorses; we ride now.”

Zemiros wasn’t sure how long the orange light of a burning village had flickered through the window as he sat contemplating the collection of spells only that for some reason he had felt nauseous and looked up to consider whether they might be cooking a meal at the village tavern. The Village burned in the distance. There were perhaps a dozen riders on horse and four times that dismounted, all of them clad in armour plate that now had a distinct orange hue to them. Several were rounding up villagers who objected to having their homes burned by their betters and butchering them.
The Tyrant Marilenev sat on horseback at the centre of the field surrounded by most of his Soldiers. He was overseeing the shaping of an Impaling pole.
Zemiros emerged from the dark manor house and caught the King’s attention.
“Zemiros Sulescu! So the vampire’s hunger reveals itself at the smell of blood.” The King snatched the Impaling pole and advanced on the Wizard, most of his men following on Horse and foot.
Reap Field; what happened next was a horror. The ancient farming magic Zemiros had plundered from the crypt that was designed to sever every stalk of grain in an acre field at half a foot above ground became something more terrible the greater the power of the magic user. Every horse and every horseless soldier simply no longer had feet attached to their legs, vital blood sprayed from arteries; A great and terrible scythe had reaped its harvest. The screams of wildly flailing war horses and warriors alike erupted across the acre of turnip field where survivors had for the most part simply been thrown from their terrified and tormented steeds into the mud and others crushed and flailed upon in the panic.
The horror of what he had unleashed had paused the Soldiers and villagers in the next field.
The King was however still standing, having used the impaling pole to vault from his maimed warhorse. Still the King was alone with a Wizard of considerable power and called his few remaining men who could stand.
“Soldiers rally to your King!” The baker’s dozen that still had their feet advanced through the carnage to their liege.
“I’ll have you on my spear yet vile wraith.” Zemiros turned and walked toward the chapel that sat over his family crypt; the Iron Fist of Marilenev waited for his soldiers to be around him before following.
Zemiros was standing by the great cover-stone that had proven unwilling to step aside when the Marilenev pushed in the doors of the chapel.
“You certainly are a formidable foe; but how formidable? I will be in the crypt below this cover stone if you care to send me to my rest.” Zemiros opened a Dimension Door and vanished from view. The King of Marilenev compelled his men forward. Those who advanced on the stone to move it found themselves grappled about the ankles by great stone hands that grew from the sides. Some were crushed, and others torn asunder with a brutal force. The Tyrant of Marilenev turned and fled the destruction.
In the distance Peasants were spearing the maimed horses. Others were taking instruction from the deceitful Vampire with regards to his maimed soldiers.
“When you are done butchering the injured horses for meat, dig a large hole and bury any of his surviving soldiers in it. Don’t take chances; use spears on the ones you are unable to drag to the pit and push them in.” Zemiros Sulescu watched the dark shadow of a fleeing Marilenev dog departing the chapel with as much haste as possible and he was suddenly stricken with an odd hunger.
The Marilenev monarch ran for his life, stripping off his burdensome armour as he searched for an escape. The woods offered some cover and he made for it. By the look of it he could journey the whole distance to the Castle in a week; Sooner if he could get one of the surviving Horses.

An hour of hard travel had put some good distance between him and the community of Sulescu. The King of Marilenev emerged from the wood a good mile from the village at the Marker stone to the estate and the Road to Marilenev. He would send his Wizards to dispose of this fiend.
Zemiros was waiting for him. He had wiped the moss from the marker that he had never noticed to reveal that this was no Estate marker. It warned Vampires that this was the private estate of a Nosferatu Lord titled Zemiros.
His invisible hand grabbed the King by the throat and Zemiros whispered to him.
“I’m going to make it last for a very long time.” and they rose into the air, hunter and prey flying toward the distant fortified Manor house that would now become a larder. The Tyrant of Marilenev screamed.

Mirsa Sulescu ran through the mist, the wolves close behind her. Somewhere to her left the Lendheu pushed their wagons faster. These landless Traladarans would serve her needs perfectly.
Balkrin Vanagas had heard the tales of the child who ran with wolves. If the nicest of the rumours were to be believed they would lose at least one horse to that pack, and they didn’t have a horse to spare, but he could not bring himself to lose family or friends.
The shutter behind him slid open and his wife Zanthira whispered something barely audible.
“Yes. She is still out there with her wolves.” Would she attack if they failed to reach the safety of the next village? Balkrin shook his head and returned his attention to the road ahead. He had eight wagons to keep safe.
Then all at once the child and her wolves were gone. Balkrin’s mind exploded with curiosity. For a great many hours he had experienced a strange feeling that they were all being herded. The pack could have attacked fresh and overwhelmed them all, but now they had stopped chasing entirely.
Balkrin considered what that change might entail. They had found a point of weakness?
They were not going to make it.
Ezerina stared out at the road from the back of the last wagon. A child fleeing wolves appeared from nowhere. It was the first time anything strange had happened to her. The first time ever that she had needed to make a decision that affected the lives of her fellow clan.
There was a child, distressed and in need.
Ezerina Galynis had a feeling that this child could create change in the way the others treated her and her husband. Change was opportunity, and that was all she needed.
Ezerina unlocked the back door to the household wagon, looking over her shoulder to see if Trynkara Prusas might notice.
“Come inside quickly, before the wolves have you,” her concern almost motherly.
Mirsa smiled at the invitation and leaped into the arms of her waiting family. Ezerina stared into the eyes of the beautiful child and could only smile as she surrendered her breast to her new daughter.
Trynkara Prusas was on the verge of dozing off when the shutter behind her opened.
“Ezerina?” Hands grappled her forcibly and she lost the reigns. Trynkara Prusas could no longer manage a physical resistance as she was pulled backward into the Wagon that had been her house for so long. Everything she had been vanished into the darkness that now embraced her.
The rear wagon entered a terrible shadow and did not emerge. Rymvid Galynis waited a moment more to be sure it would not emerge. He turned to the boy next to him sitting amongst the goods bundled in this goods wagon.
“Dinmiel, Alert your father. We have lost the last wagon.” Rymvid opened the rear door to the wagon, his sword in hand, and stepped out as the Wagon stopped. Rymvid walked back alone toward the shadow of the old household wagon, Bronkar and his son stopped at the rear of the merchant wagon.
“What is it?” Bronkar was concerned as to why the wagon had vanished.
Movement stirred a fear in Rymvid Galynis. Rymvid had his sword out and then put it away laughing. He waved Bronkar and Dinmiel to move their wagon on.
“Bronkar! Your wife fell asleep at the reigns, and my wife tells me that she will drive the Wagon.” Bronkar Prusas turned the idea over in his mind. There was something wrong with this situation but he couldn’t put his finger on it. The Wolves were gone. Where were the wolves?
“Rymvid, ride with your wife.” They needed to get moving again.
“Dinmiel. Run to the front wagon and get them moving again. All is well. Then join me up on top.” The boy ran forward to signal the other wagons on. Bronkar paused for a moment and then walked down to the last Wagon to check on his wife.

Mirsa awoke to the warmth of her parent’s bedchamber. The monstrous nightmare of something chasing her through a mansion filled with screams was quickly washed away with the morning sunlight. Her father was slumped at his desk, likely scribing some letter to the King.
“Papa?” her frail voice didn’t get his attention. Could he be asleep? Mirsa slipped out of the great bed and stalked her prey; a tug to his sleeve.
“Papa...Are you sleeping?” A terrible face filled with horror and ash and blood spoke to her in an unfamiliar voice.
“Mirsa. You must feed.” Her world became cold and dark but she could make out some beast shackled to a distant wall. She screamed at what happened next.
Mirsa woke in the warmth of her parent’s bedchambers. Despite the darkness and cold outside, she could feel the warmth of the bedpans. Had the servants warmed the bed just for her?
The door in the distant wall pushed open and a shadowy figure carrying something entered.
“Mirsa. I found you food.” Mirsa screamed at the sight of her brother Zemiros; Her brother who was dead and sealed away in the family crypt.
“Mirsa...Silence!” The effect was horrible. She felt nothing but compulsion in the commandment.
Zemiros approached with a plate of food and Mirsa retreated diving over the edge of the great bed putting as much cover between them as possible.
“Mirsa...come and eat.” The child wanted to resist but her body betrayed her.
She fell on the food like a hungry dog forcing the now foul tasting foods that had once been her favourites into her mouth. Zemiros reached out to stop her but she couldn’t.
“Stop...Stop that.” She halted mid chew and he fell back with some understanding of what was happening.
“Do what you want,” Mirsa spat out the food. She couldn’t fathom why it would taste horrible. It was the first time she had ever been offered wine. It tasted like blood but her body didn’t rebel against it. She could feel an overwhelming desire for more.
“It’s blood.” Zemiros spoiled everything. Mirsa hurled the glass across the room. She was angry with him now. He had forced her to drink blood and made her like it. He was a monster. Where were her parents?
“Go way!” Mirsa crawled back around behind the bed putting distance between them. Zemiros didn’t move.
“Mother and Father are dead.” It was like a hammer blow to Zemiros. For Mirsa it was just another Lie. She looked angrily at him. He was a Wizard. Her Papa never killed wizards. Wizards were bad. He had hung that Wizard Barble...Bargle? Barble, and his brother swore vengeance. They were bad for Stealing that wagon of Turnips. If they wanted turnips she would have gladly given them hers every dinner.
“Liar, you’re just like the other bad Wizards.” He was obviously lying. Zemiros moved toward her and she moved away in response. She didn’t have much choice. Mirsa ran for the door in an attempt to escape.
“Mirsa...STOP!” It was like a wall. Mirsa found her body paralysed; her hand just short of escape.
“I’m sorry Mirsa.” He scooped her up into his arms as he had done before he left, but this time she could not forgive him; would not forgive him.
Zemiros would have to show her. He carried her toward the door, and suddenly she wanted nothing more to remain in that bedroom. Mirsa screamed as he carried her out into the hall where she had been chased like prey, where her father had been impaled on his own sword, where her mother had been fed upon.
“Shush.” She reduced herself to a ball of fears in his arms and cried.
“Murderer;” Mirsa hurled the mirror at Zemiros stepping over the wine glass and spilled blood.
“Must I command you to drink it?” Mirsa snarled at her brother the beast of Sulescu.
“I will not have you feeding off the villagers when you finally succumb to hunger.” Zemiros approached the cornered child.
“You are no better, feeding off criminals.” Mirsa tensed. “I won’t be like you, Monster.” Zemiros drew up at the scornful word. That pause was all that Mirsa required. The child ran now at all haste, diving through the glass windows that looked out over the sea.
The bedchamber exploded with wind and glass shards sprayed across the floor.
Mirsa. Zemiros rushed forward to the shattered window at the thought of her injury and looked down. At the bottom the sea was smashing against the cliffs in the moonlight. She was gone.
Mirsa found herself clinging to a throne of rock no more than ten feet above the breaking waves. She felt soaked. Had she gone into the water? She had never learned how to swim and the water seemed very destructive. Her parents were dead; her brother an Undead beast that had murdered them; and she...? Mirsa curled up in a ball against the rock and tried not to think about it.
The Sun would rise soon.
Mirsa snuggled for warmth in the memory of her mother. A dream perhaps; she stirred for a moment in the warmth of her mother’s lap.
“Mama, I had a terrible dream.” Mirsa could feel the warmth of her.
“Shhh...The storm will pass Mirsa. You will be safe on my throne awhile.”
“Mama,” Mirsa awoke to a sunrise with a compulsion to rub away the moss on a rock. ‘Petra’ revealed itself scared into the stone to the depth of a dagger’s hilt.
“Mirsa!” the mother of her dreaming screamed the words in her ears and Mirsa fell from the Throne of Petra into the Sea. The churn of the muddy water and kelp dragged the child into the darkness of a forgotten bore in the cliff wall and the blow of a rock stole the moment from her.
Mirsa awoke in darkness. All around her she could hear the drip of water; the smell of salts, and feel of the wet of stone, and something else...
“How did you get in here?” The question was perfectly legitimate. Unfortunately it wasn’t hers to ask. Mirsa could see nothing, but she felt the rough hands lay themselves upon her small body, patting her down.
“Damn shame that...she’s know...for a dead girl.” The hands had a friend. A hand in her mouth was suddenly checking for something.
“I’m not dead.” Mirsa struggled to speak out against the heavy handedness of her unseen interlopers.
“Halav’s Nipples, It’s an undead thing...a Vampire!” The hand jerked out of the mouth.
“Quick, kill it! Drive a stake through its chest afore it falls on us in a frenzy of feeding.” Mirsa screamed at the thought of anyone driving a stake through her anything, falling back into the water.
“I’m not a Vampire thingy you nasty monsters in the dark; Leave me alone!” Mirsa felt the gentle tug of a turning tide in the water around her legs.
“I don’t know Bartov, She could be just really cold. She might not be one of them Vampire things; Look out!” The bore jerked at Mirsa and a hand snatched her out of the Water before she could again be dragged away.
“Good enough for me...” Bartov liberated her from the raging water.
Mirsa found herself in powerful arms of something really hairy. The feeling reminded her of her father. The touch of it itched like a hair brush.
“Not going to eat me are you?” Mirsa felt uncertain at her prospects.
The darkness erupted with laughter of several voices.
“Nay little fish, you’re far too scrawny for a meal,” came the whisper from the Itchy beard of Bartov.

Mirsa could feel it at first; A terrible rhythm through the beating of her chest. Was that her heart? Then after a time a faint glow from the tunnel ahead and she could hear it; metal on metal – a great hammer, striking on a distant anvil.
Bartov carried Mirsa past the smithy’s forge. The opposite wall was decorated with a collection of large wooden buckler shields that seemed embedded into the wall of the long narrow tunnel.
Dwarves worked metal over a large anvil.
“ didn’t just bring a Human into our...Forget it;” The voice admonishing the bulk that carried her. Bartov halted.
“Does it look like I’m in your precious forge Tarpov? No. I’m way over here in the corridor with my guest.” Bartov continued on toward the stairs cut in the stone that would take them up.
“Bartov,” Bartov halted at the voice of the little fish in his arms.
“Yes little Fish?” Bartov’s voice seemed a little more relaxed.
“I can walk if you like.”
“Let us see, shall we.” He touched her ankles. They still felt sore as his rough hands tested the bones until she made a noise of discomfort.
“All right, you seem to be healing.” He lowered her to the floor and she put some strength in her ankles.
“Up the stairs little fish;” Mirsa climbed the stairs, her head just below the stone of the ceiling. Bartov followed her.
“Bartov, My name is Mirsa.” He grunted at the whispered name as she climbed toward the sounds of an argument.
At the top of the hand carved stairs Mirsa found a great hall filled with more Dwarves than she could imagine leaning over a large table arguing. The chamber ceiling soared to twice Mirsa’s height at its domed centre. They halted, almost surprised at the sight of a Human child in rags.
“Fellow Dwarves, the plan progresses quicker than we’d hoped;” Bartov caught their attention with mention of their mutual problem.
“This is the Lady Mirsa Sulescu, My Hostage.” In that instance of betrayal Mirsa leapt at Bartov, Her hunger and anger taking control. She was instantly met with Strength.
“All Vampire, this one...” Strong, rough hands restraining her, her animal scream mixed with the outrage of a child’s betrayal, Mirsa was dragged toward a stairs leading up into the dark.
The chamber had one resident. The old dwarf, an iron throne against the wall coughed as the riotous struggle roused him from his rest.
“Bartov? How goes the search for a solution to the question?”
“Success, my King.” Bartov grappled with the ravenous child, a firm grip on her neck.
“Ah my hungry little fish, you get to feed to your heart’s content.” His King coughed.
“Good. Bring her forward. This will require some delicate manoeuvrings...” The decrepit form of a very ancient Dwarf was revealed to her.
“What is the creature’s name?” The old King waited for an answer from his most trusted friend.
“Her name is Mirsa Sulescu my Lord.” The Old Dwarf smiled through diseased teeth.
“I am King of all the Halfling Lands and you shall make me Immortal that I may reclaim my Kingdom.” A coughing fit wracked his old form.
Mirsa, held firmly by the Dwarf she had trusted as her father, fed on the blood of a Dwarven King.
“My Lord?” Bartov pulled Mirsa off the old Dwarf.
“Gurnvic, check him.” Dwarves went to the corpse of their old King slumped bloody on his Iron throne.
“He is without life.” Gurnvic Orc-smasher turned to face his brother Bartov.
“All is as it should be.” Bartov laughed.
Now you my little fish are going to return him to us...In due course. Gurnvic, fetch the others.” Bartov smiled at his brother.
“That wasn’t the plan Bartov.” Gurnvic smelled Treason.
“The plan has changed. Now get a move on, Sunset cometh.”

Zemiros picked at the shattered glass. The windows that had been hand-poured by his great grandfather from molten beach sand were gone. He absently searched for a bell to summon a servant who would never come.
He would need the services of an Artisan from the village. The sunlight, indirect though it was, reminded him that it would not be during the day. They usually gathered at the village tavern around sunset. Zemiros contemplating an uncertain future stared out at the sea. Ale would be nice.
The Village was still. Zemiros approached the village Tavern just after sunset. The crowd, tenuous as it was in their sombre mood, conversed on the horrors in which they recently become participants.
The conversation froze in terrible silence when they noticed the entry of Zemiros once again into their once simple rural lives.
A few familiar faces caught Zemiros’s eye. Gregor and Johann didn’t seem all that keen on conversing, their grim faces stiff at the sight of him.
The Barkeep was the only one who smiled and spoke his name.
“Lord Sulescu, if you would care for a table...” Zemiros raised a hand and dropped a collection of gold coins on the makeshift bar top.
“Drinks for everyone...could you have someone who knows how to work in glass speak with me, I have a shattered window in need of repair.” Zemiros was already retreating for an empty seat against a wall.
“Of course my Lord...Drinks on Lord Sulescu!” The barkeep subtly indicated to one of the villagers that he needed to speak with him.
Armand, Village Warden, approached from the smoky side of the Tavern.
“My lord, a merchant named Alma Radu wishes to converse with you.”
Zemiros contemplated the fact he as yet had no drink. His brow furrowed at the prospect of giving over his gold to some travelling hawker.
“Send him over.” Armand waved the merchant forward.
“Lord Sulescu.” Let the sales pitch begin. Zemiros had experienced this sort of thing with the Traders of Darokin. He didn’t much care for it. He held up a hand to pause the merchant in his tracks.
“’Wares on the table good merchant.” Alma Radu was surprised by the comment. He had heard it from Darokin traders. He didn’t expect a backwoods Traladaran lord to be that well travelled.
“Of course;” The Cloth wrapped parcel in his arms was considerably weighty. He placed it gently on the table in front of Zemiros and began to remove the cloth wrapping that concealed his most valued prize.
It was an ancient clay pot with a large stone stopper in the shape of a dog’s head. A stele of strange symbols marked what must have been the front of the pot.
If there was anything that Zemiros enjoyed it was something new. His eyes opened wider at the lure of it.
“Where did you find it?” Alma Radu smiled. He would finally be rid of the wretched thing.
“I acquired it from a dealer in such rare artefacts in Selenica...” He could tell by Sulescu’s interest that he knew the community.
“He assured me that the Item was found during an excavation near some place called Surra-Man-Raa.” Zemiros knew of it. It was a coastal community of Ylari Sorcerers. He also knew the penalty for raiding tombs in the Nithian Highlands carried a death sentence. There were no legitimate dealers in such antiquities.
He still wanted it.
“How much do you desire for it?”
“It was purchased at considerable expense. A price may be beyond anyone’s means to estimate simply because it is as you see...unique.” Zemiros nodded.
“Indeed it is.” Zemiros reached within his fine Ochalean silk coat and fished out a Diamond. The Merchant choked at the sight of it. He reached out for it, incapable of resisting the first offer.
“Deal done;” Zemiros knew merchants. This one had been no different.

To be continued...

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