The Callindra Chronicles Book 3: A Fall of Stars – Chapter 41

“A remarkably charming man for all that you’re as blunt as a tree trunk.  I am willing to wait, and I’m sure you’re eager for me to produce the promised results.”  She cocked an eyebrow at him, “You have a plan to kill her I assume?”

“Of course.”  Durrak took a satisfying drag on his cigar, waiting until she she grew frustrated enough that her left eyelid twitched.  “I do be going to cut her filthy head off.”

“With that?”  She indicated his Gisarme with an elegantly painted fingernail.

“Indeed.”  He was starting to feel slightly apprehensive at her look of honest concern.  “Femurslicer do be quite efficient at removing stubborn problems.”

“May I?”  Ellen Eth reached out a hand and Durrak shrugged and flipped the weapon easily into the air, catching it just under the blade.  The flat smacked into the plate steel that cased his forearm and he held the heavy counterweighted end out towards her.

She gestured absently, and the weapon leaped from his hand, shedding its coating of dried viscera as it flew toward her.  It stopped inches from her hand, lifted to point at the ceiling and began to slowly pivot.  Her eyes began to glow a vivid purple and she shouted a word that shuddered with power.  Violet light streamed from her mouth as she mouthed a long incantation that seemed to be all one long word.

The blade began to chime like a struck bell and the entire shaft quivered in response.  Runes of Power reluctantly faded into view, climbing the haft in twin spirals that eventually blossomed into an intricate latticework on both sides of the blade.

“It may do.”  Ellen Eth said, sounding as though she was surprised and grudgingly respectful.  “Cerioth has grown in power over these last few decades though.  I will do my best to make sure you are not simply throwing your life away.”

When she fluttered her hands at his weapon as though shooing away an annoying fly, it streaked back toward him, spinning through the air with blurring speed as though it was in a rush to escape the embrace of her arcane Power.  If he hadn’t been ready for something like this, Durrak knew he would have suffered serious injuries.  He caught it only using the thumb and forefinger of his right hand.  Just because he could.

Ellen Eth beamed at him.  “Yes, you will fit right in here.”

Damn.  He hadn’t meant to show off, but her display of magic had been more intimidating than he thought it would be.  She was better than he’d anticipated too, and he’d known she must be powerful to be able to maintain her leadership over these people under these circumstances.  He had underestimated her.  He bowed slightly from the waist, politely returning her acknowledgement of his earlier point in their mental fencing match.

“I do be out of practice.”  Durrak said, dropping the still smoldering cigar butt back into his belt pouch.  “Also I never did be the most skilled at court games.”

“It has been a fascinating evening Lord Caverstorm.”  Her eyes twinkled, “Thank you for the entertainment.”

“I do be thanking you for your kind hospitality Lady Ellen Eth.”  He said carefully, “By your leave, we do be departing.”

She nodded graciously and both he and Lorin bowed, backing away three steps before they straightened and turned to leave the room.

“Durrak.”  Ellen Eth’s voice cut through the room with a snap of command that his training couldn’t ignore.  He stopped and turned to look back at her.  “I will hold you to your word.  Do not think you can take from me without giving my price.”

He shuddered, feeling icy fingers crawl down his spine.  If ever there was a question about keeping his bargain, he knew he had his answer.

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