Joined: 01 Feb 2008
|Posted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 3:03 pm
Post subject: Side Project The Vessel
|Myla circled the camp’s perimeter a second time, silently making her way through the darkness like a wraith, flitting from tree to tree. She knew from the placement of the guards and the orderliness of the camp that finally she had found the correct one.
Earlier raids into warband camps headed back to Taratha had led to naught. It had to be done. It was a necessity. She had to either recover or destroy the vessel. If she didn’t accomplish either, the dark god would return.
Damn Danyl, she cursed silently, for not wanting to wear chainmail. If he had just listened he would be here now when I need him. Not lying dead in a makeshift grave with a warband spear in his side.
Her brother, she didn’t curse. Jayne had been caught in one of many traps set by Derask. A trap set for her that he had sprung and had paid the price. The healers had said it would be a while before he recovered the use of his leg and that he was lucky to still have his foot. Derask’s curse should have killed him.
Blessed Lanna, she thought reverently, our lady in heaven, thank you for showing him a bit of luck and your mercy.
Now though, she was alone. Derask had betrayed her and all the protectors of
the vessel. Jayne had been left behind. The other clerics sent after their commander were all dead. Derask had killed everyone that King Gildass had sent to stop him. Everyone but her. A small shiver of fear crawled down her spine at the implication of what Derask was now capable of.
There was a good reason that she was still alive. She knew all his traps, all of his tricks. She wouldn’t be killed by any them or his curses. She had been trained by him for well over ten years. She was all that was left. There was no one to chase after him and the vessel.
No, scratch that, she thought. There was Jayne but he wouldn’t stand a chance trying to retrieve the vessel without her. He didn’t have enough skill. Derask would kill him, like all the others he had trained to protect the vessel. Maybe Derask’s cursed glyph had been meant for him and not her. She shook her head ruefully. It was hard to tell with the ex commander, she knew, she knew him better than anyone.
The shivering guards were patrolling in patterns taught to her by the ex commander. Two by two sweeps, checking in with other pairs every two minutes. The cold kept them from being totally alert.
Hoping that she knew what she was doing, Myla cast a silence spell over herself and prayed that she had not missed any other of Derask’s wards. She had bypassed and marked several cleverly set ones.
She had not seen Derask on her first patrol but she had seen the vessel. Nallia, her beautiful daughter, had been eating near the fire. The sight of her had pulled at Myla’s heart.
As she had watched, Derask had stepped out of his tent and dropped his hand down onto Nallia’s head, ruffling her hair. Myla had a flashback to her own father, he had done that to her when she was that age too. The memory of her father was swept away as Myla saw the silver runes covering her daughter’s skin turn glistening black as her father’s hand caressed her cheek. The dark god, Ragda, living inside their daughter was answering the touch of his high priest with flickers of power. Her stomach tightened, nausea rolling through her insides as she thought again of Derask’s betrayal.
Watching him depart, her eyes betraying none of the emotions that coursed through her Myla counted to fifty. Derask turned and walked out into the darkness, she knew what he was doing. Daily inspections helped to hold and instill discipline. Soon it would be her chance.
Two passed and moving silently in their wake, she entered the camp. Dressed like one of the servants of the dark god’s she hoped that she could make it to her daughter without being caught. Darkness shrouded the camp, there was no moon and that alone offered her the best chance of making it to her daughter. With Derask being out on patrol and everyone else resting, thinking that any intruders would not be inside their perimeter she walked through the darkness looking like she belonged, avoiding the orange light of the inner camp’s fires.
Nallia lay huddled in the darkness, blankets and furs wrapped around her for warmth.
It only took Myla the merest instant to recognize her sleeping form. Her eyes cast about in the darkness and she saw no one else in the tent.
That’s just like Derask, she thought to herself smiling. Other than her, he hardly ever had allowed anyone into his personal quarters, he didn’t like intrusion and that helped her now. It also, she thought bitterly, explained a few things more to her about the man she had once loved. Being a dark cleric of Ragda, he had needed that separation so that he wouldn’t be discovered. How had she not known?
Lightly she touched Nallia’s face, her fingertips caressing her cheeks with a mother’s love. The swirling silver runes on her skin that kept the dark gods life force from touching other mortals flashed. She froze, the runes had turned a deep shade of blood red, it only lasted for an instant but she had never seen them do that. Her daughter’s eyes opened and the eyes that met hers were not her daughter’s. Different eyes that sent a wave of fear flooding through her met hers. She stared into those eyes, unable to look away as for a brief moment Ragda’s dark gaze held her in place. Fear freezing her she tried to tear her eyes away but couldn’t. The silver runes flashed and her daughter blinked. A soft voice filled the air. “Mother?”