Read Kathir's Redemption (Book 6) Online

Authors: Kristian Alva

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

Kathir's Redemption (Book 6) (4 page)

BOOK: Kathir's Redemption (Book 6)
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Kneel! Kneel before me, or die!

the High Priest commanded.


Never,

Tallin spat. He touched his dragon stone and felt the magic pulsing within. It was now or never!

Tallin tore the glowing stone from his chest, groaning in pain as the implant was ripped away from his skin. He listened to the frightened murmurs around him. The guards stepped back, unsure of what to do. The tiles in the room quivered and hummed beneath Tallin

s feet. Instinct helped him push away his pain and fatigue.

The High Priest

s mouth dropped open.

W-what are you doing with that?

His tone had completely changed. Before, his voice had been full of arrogance and contempt, but now there was a hint of fear.

Tallin

s voice was low and steady as he replied.

I
told
you that spirit prisons become unstable over time. The bonds that hold the spirits inside these tiles become weaker and weaker as the years pass. After a while, the prisons can be shattered using a magical object

like the one I have in my hand.

He opened his bloody palm and revealed the glowing dragon stone in the center of it.

The priest

s eyes widened with fear.

Don

t try anything, dwarf! You cannot attack me inside this chamber!

he screeched.

You will die!


You don

t seem to understand. I

m not going to attack you

at least not directly.

Tallin raised the dragon stone high above his head, ignoring the blood that ran down his arm and dripped off his elbow. He brought the stone down in an arc, shattering the tiles directly beneath his feet. The tiles exploded outward with a burst of energy. The reaction was so violent that Tallin was thrown back, and he slid into a darkened corner of the room.

The sharp odor of sulfur rose in the air. Tallin blinked, and his eyes slowly came into focus. One by one, grey shadows rose up from the shattered floor. The ghosts twisted in a macabre dance and moved slowly toward the guards and the now-trembling High Priest. Tallin held his breath, crouched in a dark corner of the room, and covered himself with a tapestry. His gamble had paid off. Now he just had to figure out how to stay alive.

The High Priest screamed, and the guards turned to run, but it was already too late.

Dozens of spirits filled the room. Some of the spirits left immediately, escaping through an open window, but a few stayed behind to mete out their long-awaited revenge.

Tallin hadn

t performed any direct spells against the High Priest, so while the spirits were now freed from their prisons, they were not compelled to attack anyone in particular. Instead, the spirits were now free to choose their victim. Tallin desperately hoped they would attack those who had trapped them for so long instead of him.

The spirits fell upon the terrified guardsmen first. The guards screamed as the furious spirits tore into their flesh. It was over quickly. Seconds later, they turned on the High Priest, who was now cowering behind his chair.

Tallin watched as one of the spirits floated up to the priest and poked him, only to be repelled by the heavy warding tattoos that covered the priest

s chest. It tried again, and the old man flinched, but the wards held. The spirit howled in frustration and retreated back to where the other spirits were waiting. The spirits ignored Tallin completely. Either they hadn

t noticed his presence yet or they had decided to leave him alone. Tallin gripped his dragon stone tightly in his palm, thankful that his plan had worked. He wasn

t performing any direct magic, so as long as he stayed quiet and out of sight, he was safe

at least for now.

The spirits huddled together and whispered to one another quietly. 

On the other side of the room, Skera-Kina entered with Mugla and the elves behind her. The elves looked somewhat improved; the wire had been removed from their ears, but their eyes were still glazed over, and they were still shackled with iron chains. Skera-Kina

s mouth dropped open in shock when she saw the destruction in the room.

Mugla gasped and then breathed a sigh of relief when she spied Tallin hiding in the corner.


Skera-Kina, help me!

the High Priest cried.

It is your duty to protect me!

Skera-Kina frowned and stepped forward.

Yes, Your Grace.

She sounded frustrated. How many times had she warned the High Priest only to be ignored? She turned to the spirits and spoke without enthusiasm.

Leave now, darkshades, or I

ll be forced to destroy you.

The spirits parted from their huddle, examined Skera-Kina up and down, and took a moment to determine their next move. Two more decided to exit, leaving only three spirits remaining in the chamber. The largest one spoke, its voice rasping and stiff.

This priest has kept us trapped against our will for centuries. His life is forfeit. His death belongs to us.

Two spots of color spread on Skera-Kina

s cheeks.

I won't warn you again. Leave this place now.

The other two spirits moved toward Skera-Kina, surrounding her. They reached out to touch her with their icy fingers, but she struck first, wrapping one of them in a thin whip of pure energy; it shot out like glowing string from her fingertip. She tightened the whip until the shade cried out in pain. The creature howled and strained against the bonds, but it could not break free.

The second spirit reached out boldly, striking a tiny patch of bare flesh on Skera-Kina

s shoulder. The area was small, but untattooed, so the jab drew blood. The spirit gave a squeal of triumph. Skera-Kina drew a sharp intake of breath, but she didn

t move. The third spirit stepped forward and struck her other shoulder, drawing blood again. She felt a searing burn strike her flesh. The pain was more intense this time.

The first spirit was still trapped in front of her, held fast by her magical whip.

Tallin watched as the cowardly High Priest stood back, cowering behind his chair as Skera-Kina suffered blow after blow without flinching. Her arms streamed with blood.  She seemed reluctant to perform any more spells

she couldn

t risk drawing any of the remaining spirit creatures from their tiles.

She glanced in Tallin

s direction and saw him hiding in the corner. She said nothing, but implored him with her eyes.

Tallin decided he

d seen enough. He stood up, tucked his dragon stone into his pocket, and walked over to where Skera-Kina stood. Tallin reached down and pulled out the tiny light crystal that he had hidden in his boot and put it in the center of his palm.


Attention, spirits! Do you know what this is?

The three shades stopped moving and looked at him with their cloudy white eyes.


It

s a crystal trap,

hissed one of them.

I can feel its power.

Tallin opened his hand. A tiny purple stone glittered in his palm.

You

re right,

he said, without hiding his smile.

It

s a crystal trap. I usually use this stone as a light crystal, but it has other uses as well. For instance, it can also trap spirit creatures

such as yourselves.

The smallest shade narrowed its eyes at him.

It

s a small trap

it can

t possibly hold all three of us.

Tallin smiled thinly.

Perhaps you

re right. It may not be large enough for all of you

but it

s certainly large enough to hold one of you, maybe even two. So which one of you would like to volunteer to be trapped again? Or was hundreds of years imprisoned inside this floor long enough for you?

The shades exchanged worried looks. They knew they were beaten. In unison, the spirits lowered their arms and stood still. Skera-Kina released her spell, and the strand holding one of them dissipated. Then, one by one, they floated out the window without looking back.

Skera-Kina wiped the blood from her arms with a piece of fabric that was belted to her waist, but the jagged cuts remained open and visible.

The High Priest crawled from behind his chair.

Is it safe to come out now?


Yes, Your Grace,

Skera-Kina replied in a flat voice.

You may come out.

The High Priest looked down at the ragged group assembled below. All his guards were unconscious or dead, their bodies scattered about the throne room.

The old man looked embarrassed. He had completely lost control of the situation. He struggled to salvage what little dignity he could by directing his anger at Skera-Kina.

Why are you just standing there, Skera-Kina? Do something!

Skera-Kina looked at the priest with hooded eyes.

You aren

t in any danger at the moment, Your Grace.

The High Priest

s face turned so red that his nose flushed dark purple.

I don

t care about that! Look at my chamber. Look at my guards! The room is destroyed. Kill him! In fact, kill them all!

His whole body shook with anger.

Skera-Kina looked at Tallin, and then back at the High Priest. She stood silent as she struggled to make a decision. There was no doubt that Tallin had saved her life. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, she said,

No. I shall not kill the dwarf. If you want him dead, get someone else to do it, or do it yourself.

The High Priest recoiled as if he had been struck in the face.

What?

he asked with an outraged whisper.

You
dare
refuse a direct order from me?


Yes

I refuse,

she replied.


Your refusal to obey is a death sentence, Skera-Kina! You shall be stripped of your office! Stripped of your honor!


So be it,

she replied.

You may execute me, but I will no longer be manipulated by you. I will no longer be used. My death will free me.

The High Priest glared at her.

I am deeply disappointed in you, Skera-Kina. Very, very disappointed. I believe that I chose poorly when I promoted you to Blood Master. Now I must correct my mistake.

The far door swung open, and a fresh group of guardsmen entered the chamber. The High Priest motioned to the new guards.

Soldiers! Take these prisoners to the main square! Skera-Kina, too. Tie them to the dog posts and wait for me there. The executions shall begin at sundown!

The guards moved forward to arrest them. Skera-Kina clenched her fists tightly at her sides. One of the guards touched her shoulder. She jerked away but otherwise did not attempt to fight. When the guards moved to surround Tallin, he braced for a fight, but there were too many of them. He decided not to resist.

As the guards led all of them out of the wrecked chamber, the High Priest

s voice could be heard echoing behind them.

Blast it! Call my servants in here to clean up this mess. Move these bodies out of here! By the gods, my chambers are ruined!

Tallin, the elves, and Mugla walked out of the chamber surrounded by guards. Skera-Kina lagged several steps behind them, flanked by even more guards, all of whom wore frightened expressions on their faces.

BOOK: Kathir's Redemption (Book 6)
4.16Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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