Read Kathir's Redemption (Book 6) Online

Authors: Kristian Alva

Tags: #YA fantasy, #epic fantasy, #dark fantasy, #fantasy, #dragons

Kathir's Redemption (Book 6) (2 page)

BOOK: Kathir's Redemption (Book 6)
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Tallin stood up and stepped outside, his hands still bound. The guard wrinkled his nose as he passed. The cell door was closed behind him, and the guard remained stationed outside while the two assassins escorted Tallin to a smaller cell at the end of the hallway.

The room had a bucket of water in the center of the floor, and a clean pair of breeches and a tunic were folded neatly in the corner. Skera-Kina said a quick spell, and the enchanted ropes binding Tallin

s hands fell away.


Strip down and bathe yourself, dwarf,

Skera-Kina said.

You must be clean if you are going to be in the presence of the High Priest.


I wouldn

t smell if you idiots had allowed us to use a proper toilet, or given us some clean water,

Tallin retorted.


Shut up, filth!

the other assassin barked.

Tallin stripped down to his underwear and reached inside the bucket. The water was ice cold. There was a pebble of soap at the bottom, and he lathered his arms and face with it. He took a moment to scrub his hair before he poured the bucket over his head to rinse off. They didn

t give him a towel, so he was still wet when he pulled on the clean clothing.

He smiled despite himself. After so many days inside a filthy cell, it felt good to be clean.  He slipped his boots back on carefully, making sure that the hidden crystal didn

t fall out.


Turn around and put your hands back behind your back,

Skera-Kina ordered.

Tallin paused, biting back his desire to fight. He couldn

t risk fighting both of them at close range, especially with Mugla and the elves still in their custody. He had no choice

he had to obey.

He turned around and put his hands behind his back. He felt new ropes being tightened around his wrists. His body tensed as they placed a cloth bag over his head and cinched it tight around his neck. Tallin stiffened.


Where are you taking me?

he asked quietly.


No questions,

Skera-Kina said.

You

ll see soon enough. Now move.

She grabbed his shoulder and pushed him down the hallway. Tallin winced as her silver-tipped nails dug into his flesh.

Tallin tried to focus on memorizing the space around him. He counted his steps as they walked and listened to the sounds. They paused a few times while more doors shut behind them. He couldn

t see through the bag, but he felt the air go from sour to fresh and could tell when they walked from stone floors to carpeted ones. 

Skera-Kina said nothing as they walked, but Tallin could hear her rasping breaths behind him. He also heard conversations in the distance. Servants chattered idly and bickered nearby. He heard a sloshing sound as someone used a mop and bucket.

They walked for a long time, and when they finally stopped, the air smelled faintly of incense. Skera-Kina removed the covering on Tallin

s head. 


We

ve arrived at the High Priest

s chambers,

said Skera-Kina.

They stood in front of a huge wooden door. Skera-Kina waved her hand in a slow arc. There was a spark, and the door swung open on its hinges. Then she removed the ropes that bound Tallin

s wrists.

Tallin stepped back, rubbing his wrists and searching her face.

Why are you removing the ropes now?


Enchanted objects are dangerous in this area,

she replied.

That includes your enchanted ropes. I

ll explain why later. You must kneel in the presence of the High Priest, and do not speak unless he addresses you first.


I

m not going to bow and scrape to one of your priests,

he said.

She shrugged.

Have it your way. Your obstinacy will only compound your misery. Have no doubt about that. My responsibility is to deliver you to the High Priest

s chambers for questioning. What happens to you afterwards is not my concern.

The younger male assassin shoved Tallin

s shoulder.

Get moving.

Tallin turned and looked over his shoulder at the other man.

Push me like that again, and I

ll break your arm.

The assassin laughed and taunted him, lifting his foot to kick the back of Tallin

s knee. But the man was too slow. In an instant, Tallin spun around and grabbed his forearm. Tallin bore down hard, twisting the young man

s wrist until his whole body turned. Tallin rammed his elbow down hard on the assassin

s chest and heard a whoosh of air as the assassin lost his breath.

Skera-Kina didn

t intervene; she just stepped back with her arms folded across her chest, and waited for the fight to be over.

They grappled and both fell to the ground. Tallin rose to one knee and trapped the man

s arm in a viselike grip. He brought his knee down onto the man

s shoulder until the joint popped. The assassin howled in pain.


Stop. That

s enough.

Skera-Kina separated them calmly.

Tallin rose up and backed away.

Skera-Kina pulled the younger assassin up by his collar, so that he cried out in pain. His right arm hung limply at his side, the shoulder already swollen and jutting outward at an unnatural angle.


I

m disappointed in you, apprentice. You

ve lost control and overstepped your boundaries again. Tell me, how will you train for the slave races next month with an injury like that?

The apprentice hung his head.

M-mistress, forgive me, I only wanted to
—”


Be quiet, you hot-headed fool,

she snapped.

Your temper has always been a problem. You must learn how to control it. Return to your chambers and await my displeasure there.


May I request a healer for my injuries, Mistress?


No, you may not,

she said.

I shall set the joint for you personally. But not yet. Now go.

She dismissed him with a wave of her hand.

The apprentice

s lower lip trembled, but he didn

t argue. He turned around and left. Once he was gone, Skera-Kina turned back towards Tallin.


I warned him not to touch me,

Tallin said, matter-of-factly.

Skera-Kina merely shrugged.

Indeed you did. Perhaps I should thank you. It

ll be a good object lesson for him to live with the consequences of his actions for a few days.


A few days?

asked Tallin.

He

s your apprentice

and it

s a very painful injury. Why would you leave him in that condition?

She stared at Tallin with an amused expression.

His injury isn

t life-threatening. An apprentice must learn how ignore pain, so this is a good lesson for him. Besides, it

s only a temporary discomfort .

She stepped aside for Tallin to pass.

Now, after you

brother

the High Priest awaits.

 

2. The High Priest

Tallin walked into a darkened hallway with Skera-Kina trailing behind him. Her steps were soundless on the thick carpet. Part of him wanted to dash for the nearest exit, but he couldn

t attempt an escape while his aunt and the elves were still imprisoned in the dungeons below. His mind raced

he needed to come up with a plan that would allow all of them to escape.

As they walked, the smell of incense grew stronger. Tallin reached out and touched the embroidered tapestries lining the wall. The same gory scenes that he had seen in the temple when they were captured also lined the walls here. But despite the gruesome subject matter, the fabric was thick and of very fine quality. A great deal of money had been spent decorating the High Priest

s chambers.

They turned down another hallway and came to a stop before a locked metal door. There wasn

t a single piece of furniture in the room. Another door on the far wall indicated more rooms beyond.  Skera-Kina opened the first door with a large key that she drew from a pouch at her waist. The door swung open with a soft click.


No magic this time?

Tallin asked.


No spells can open this door. It is warded against magic, as is the High Priest

s chamber. Anyone who attempts to open this door without the key will be killed instantly.


By what?

Tallin looked around him. He saw nothing in the room except for a few wall hangings and some light crystals embedded into the walls.

Skera-Kina smiled, revealing her sharpened white teeth.

Look under your feet.

Tallin looked down. The tiles below his feet had colorful spiral patterns on them. Watching them carefully, he noticed that the patterns seemed to move of their own volition, turning and churning slowly, menacingly. Tallin gasped.

Are those things
…”


Yes, those are spirit creatures,

Skera-Kina explained calmly,

trapped inside the floor tiles. They are stimulated by magic. Watch.

Skera-Kina opened her palm and sent a single glowing spark toward the floor.

Tallin looked down and watched as the patterns swirled wildly beneath his feet. Ghostly, grotesque faces came into view, pressing against the tiles. They looked as if they were trapped behind a mirror. The spirits screamed silently, pounding at the walls of their flat prisons.

You

ve trapped dozens of spirit creatures in here?

he asked incredulously.


Many more than that. There are dozens in this room and even more in the chambers beyond. They are forced to protect the High Priest. That is the nature of the enchantment.

Skera-Kina

s voice was emotionless.

The spirits have a direct order to kill anyone who attacks the High Priest with any spells. Between the spirits and his personal guard, he is well protected from both physical and magical attacks.


It is evil,

Tallin spat.

It

s an abomination to trap spirits in this way.


Evil? Is that what you call it?

Skera-Kina replied with a smile.

Are you shocked? There are good reasons why Balbor has never been conquered. Our magic is not like yours. It is stronger. We are not afraid to use spirit magic to protect what is ours.


Spirit magic is dark magic. It is the magic of death. Trapping an unclean spirit is a gamble, even for a mageborn as powerful as you. It

s an evil thing to keep a spirit trapped in this way.

Skera-Kina shook her head.

Only a weak-minded person would think that. Spirit magic is useful for many things. The spirits are bound to their duty, and they shall be trapped here until the god of death chooses to claim them for his own guard.

BOOK: Kathir's Redemption (Book 6)
6.62Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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