The blog has a full Table of Contents and Reference page for Part One: Inundation. It is also advisable that one reads the added scenes with the new character Brisa tu’Onr. (PDF download) Otherwise, we are beginning part two of When Comes the Firetide: Emergents.
WHEN COMES THE FIRETIDE | PART TWO: EMERGENTS
Chapter Ten: Emergent Truths
The Viridian Cattedrale, Western Tybraes
2nd Set Respect, month of Foundations 8178
Morning bells tolled, the alarms having ceased the night before. The aqueducts were not yet cleared to be flushed and run with water again, so the odor of burning oil still hung over the enclave. As the Vesvudak and her entourage of Kithoth Falenoth marched through the halls, the stench of smoke, blood, rot and some unidentifiable other followed them in a cloying aura. Daunet directed the bulk of the consort to the chapterhouse war room, whereas four others were directed to follow her.
The massive doors to the Temple room were sealed. Calling to one of the guards further down the hall than should be, the woman demanded, “why has Massafera sealed the chamber?!”
The guard bowed. “No one knows, Vesvudak. Sealed himself in five days past. Takes no food or water. Has refused the cries of the people in the plaza.”
“Is this why I have rotted food and dead livestock littering the Cattedrale steps?”
“Yes, Vesvudak. Many are spiting him. Say he abandons them to spare himself.” The Guard bowed again. “Vud-Yaffeta wished to calm them, but… her keepers disallow it.”
Pointing at the door, Daunet barked, “I want this door opened now. With axes if need be.”
Her compliment all nodded, as did the guard who jogged to join them. The thunder of their shoulder pauldrons alternating against it in force, echoed through the halls. Faces of all hide began to poke about the corners until one timid Erahs tip-toed forward. “I have a key, Vesvudak.”
Fear trembled the hand extending it. The woman appeared to believe would hit her rather than say thank you. Daunet took it with great care. “And you are?”
“No one important, Vesvudak, but I can fetch you food or start a bath, if you like.”
“I’d like to know your name.”
Shamed and more timid, the woman blinked at the floor. “Adeil.”
“Well met, Adeil. I would be quite refreshed to have some lemon water, thank you.”
The woman bowed then fled. Daunet shook her head with a heavy sigh as she returned to her troops still battering the door. “Stop you ram-skull idiots. She brought us a key.”
They stepped aside and let her through. Thrusting the doors open, Daunet strode in ready to demand answers of the man, about to name hundreds dead from the mines, those he sent to their deaths, prepared to lobby an affront to his false god. She was prepared for many things, but not for what awaited her behind the temple doors.
Although they had become accustomed to their own battle-stench, the Falenoth knew they bore it. The waft of what swept over them, from within the great hall, however, was a hundred-fold worse. Two soldiers stepped back to hold their stomachs just outside the door, as Daunet proceeded forward. In the markings of the ancient Ganroth writing, blood painted the center of the floor. Daunet carefully maneuvered around the large runes representing the concept, ‘UNMADE.’
From these there was more than one blood trail, but the thickest led up the dais, then over into the shadows at the back of the hall. The giant throne that previous stood upon the dais as the Jaed seat had been moved to the blackened recess, and slumped beside it in the dark was the Valk Malvud. Arms draped in his lap, head slumped low, he looked to be unconscious, asleep or dead. At Daunet’s gesture the soldiers took to drawing the drapes. As the room illuminated with more than just the morning light of the oculus, the scene grew more horrific.
Daunet turned to the guard, the Valk Malvud not yet disturbed. The Ntaesk soldier stood with his dagger out. From the end hung a tongue. “Found it laying in the grooves of the jade seal, vess.”
Waving him off, she nodded and looked back at Massafera as another soldier barked, “Rotta’s tits– …found a hand!”
Using her sword, Daunet nudged the seer’s arm to pull it from his lap enough. One was, indeed, severed cleanly by a blade. Lifting the other, it looked as if he tried to gnaw it off. Raising her arm to her mouth, she braced her elbow on her knee a moment fairly confident whose tongue the guard found. Duty being what it was, she crept a little closer and tipped his head back by one horn–
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