Sitting around the table at Rumbleguts, surrounded by the crumbs of breakfast (the service does leave something to be desired) Ian said, “It’s about time we were heading back. I mean, (he looked around the table) I think we could head back. We did what we came to do.”
Before I could open my mouth, Acgar spoke. “We did find the mayor and we now know that Vhalantru is not Vhalantru, but there is still, as I’m sure Indira was about to say, the matter of Embril.”
“Yes. Yes, thank you, Acgar.” I gave her a long look. Why was she being supportive of me? Have things finally begun to swing back toward trust? “Embril is behind so much of this, this plot to destroy Cauldron. If she’s here, I aim to talk with her. Talk (I held up a finger) and bring her to justice. This is not about killing.”
Teresa, a rogue we’d met in in town, spoke up. “OK who’s this Ember chick and why does she want to destroy Cauldron? It’s not exactly high on my list of places to visit, much less destroy.”
I smiled. “While you guys fill her in, I’d like to try to find Embril. Acgar, can I borrow you and Hamouk? I think we can do a batch of locate object on that unusual brooch of hers.” I held up the map of Sasserine. The temple of Wee Jas, the main one, is here in the upper right hand of the map.
And if we fly in expanding half circles we can, perhaps find the brooch and Embril.”
We were, unfortunately not successful. An hour of flying allowed us to cover a good portion of the city and the brooch was not anywhere. At least, not that my spell could detect.
“Well,” Acgar said, rubbing her chin, “either she’s not here or she’s ditched the brooch.”
We got to Rumbleguts in time to see Ian leaving with the animals. “It will take some time to find a coastal pine and then of course we’ll land in Kingfisher Hollow…..” Acgar nodded. “Right. Travel by tree.”
We told the others our bad news. “I’m not convinced that she’s left the city. She’s probably just taken off the brooch and put it in a lead box.”
Teresa laughed. “You really have a grudge against this woman! Wow. It’s um, gratifying to see someone so….. focused.” I put my hand to my heart. “Pelor has laid this task upon me. I know he has a task for you, if you let him in.” I stared at her. That ought to shut her up, I thought. She dropped her eyes and said, “We could disguise ourselves and take a look around.” Myntilly clapped her hands excitedly. “I have the disguise spell. And we have Ragnara’s hat of disguise.”
We made our plan. Myntilly and I would dress as acolytes of Wee Jas tasked with delivering a letter to Embril. Acgar would keep watch and Teresa would scout around back, dressed as a tourist. As we broke apart Acgar started to speak. “I know. No killing. Got it.”
Myntilly is much more charming than I am so I let her do the talking. We got inside the temple. A young man walked up to us and Myntilly showed him the addressed letter and explained that we were to deliver it to Embril herself. “I am sorry. There is no one here with that name.”
“Obviously,” Myntilly smiled, showing her dimples, “there is some mistake. Could we speak with the High Priestess? If she’s here.” He bowed and backed away.
A few minutes later a finely dressed older woman walked up to us. She made the traditional sign of Wee Jas. She placed her hand on her belly, then moved it to her forehead and then to her mouth. We followed suit, mumbling the words. “Feel Death; think Death; eat Death.”
She folded her hands in front of her. “I am Krystana, high priest of Wee Jas. What would you have of me?” Myntilly went into her letter spiel. I really got the sense that all of these people were telling the truth. They had no idea who Embril was. At this point I just wanted to get out of here alive.
Tears welled up in my eyes. “I can’t believe that Brother Jackson would do this to us!” Krystana turned to me, startled at my outburst. “Child! What are you talking about?”
I grabbed the letter from Myntilly’s hand. “We came from Cauldron. We walked almost the whole way! (My voice hitched up as real tears began to flow down my cheeks.) And, and, and she’s not even here! She’s maybe not even real! I was so scared. I’ve never been outside of Cauldron and he said we had to come. Had to come to complete our training!”
Myntilly patted my shoulder and smiled in bewilderment.
Krystana nodded. “I understand. My father was a carpenter and as an apprentice he was sent to a neighboring town for toe nails. Toe nails!” She smiled at me. “Let me see that envelope again.” I handed her the slightly damp letter. She read the name: “Embril Aloustinai. I am sorry, child. The name means nothing to me.”
I nodded and sniffled. “Could I have some water, please?”
Myntilly grabbed my arm. “Please don’t trouble yourself. My friend is overwrought. We’ll go back to the inn and begin our return journey in the morning.”
Krystana smiled. “Waxing moon guide your journey. Go in peace.”
Teresa met us around the corner. “Are you crying? What happened in there?”
“Embril is not there. They’ve never heard of her,” Myntilly said grimly. “And then Indira let loose with the tears.” She turned to me. “What is up with that?”
“I just suddenly really felt like crying. I mean, I believe them. They are good people, you know for death worshipers. And I thought Yes! Get yourselves out of there quickly! And a country bumpkin having a crying jag seemed as good a way as any.”
I blew my nose. “Let’s go home.”
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.