Cry of the Glasya Part 2 (Vacay Post 4)
We continue with our second part of The Cry of the Glasya.
Keirn slammed the portal behind him. The wood groaned beneath the force pummeling from the other side. He could feel it bending and warping as he braced it with his back. Visions of broken fingers tearing through and ripping him into the accursed hallways filled his mind and he could feel more sweat running down his back. But these drops weren’t from the heat.
“It’s not going to hold!”
He felt the wood cracking beneath his fingers.
“You better have a damn good plan! And if you don’t do something miraculous with those bones…”
Keirn cut off mid sentence as he craned his neck to see Derrek standing placidly in the middle of the guard’s quarters. The sorcerer growled in annoyance. Of course, the bloody bard couldn’t hear him with the damn wax.
The door banged again with the force of the bodies smashing upon the other side. It was a stroke of luck that Keirn was able to snatch the key for the lock before the frenzied guard fell, disappearing beneath stampeding feet. Complete madness was not something the young sorcerer was accustomed to. He wasted no time with remorse over looting the still twitching and groaning bodies of those who succumbed to the horde while fleeing the massacre.
Like a torrential river people scrambled after them. It was all Keirn could do to dislodge ornamental suits of armour and other decorations to impede their pursuit before he found the quarters and tossed Derrek inside.
And if he didn’t do something about the door then the crazed court would soon reach him again.
Keirn motioned madly for one of the large chests at the foot of the bunks. Then he remembered the bard had blinded himself as well.
By the gods, Derrek was impossible to deal with sometimes.
Twist against the door, Keirn stretched with aching fingers towards the container. It was just out of reach. He unhooked his scabbard, trying to slip it through one of the handles so he could pull the chest towards him.
A great surge of force pounded against the door, knocking Keirn to the ground. Freed of its impediment, the portal began to open inward as fingers snaked along its edges. Keirn kicked as hard as he could, slamming the wood on the poor bastards’ hands. He kept kicking until they retreated then he stretched as best he could and slipped the scabbard through the handle. Grasping the weapon on either side, he inched the container towards him, the metal scraping across the floor as he twisted his feet, trying to keep the only entrance into the room shut.
Once he got his fingers around the chest, Keirn pushed it up against the door and stepped back to admire his work.
Still the persistent men on the other side banged against it, but it looked like it would hold for a time. Frustrated, Keirn stomped towards his friend before grabbing him roughly by his earlobe.
“CLEAR THE WAX!”
Derrek wrenched his ear free but obediently began to dig out the plug. Keirn flopped down on a bunk himself and began to work on his own wax clogged ears.
As he dug the offending substance out, he could begin to hear the monstrous banging against the door clearer. Through the wood were the howls from the assailants outside. They didn’t even seem to be speaking, just making deafening noise as they attempted to bash their way into the room.
“So where’s the bag?” Derrek asked.
Keirn frowned at the small pile of scrapped wax sticking to his shirt. He then briefly surveyed the quarters.
“It was somewhere in here. I don’t know, have you checked under the beds?”
“Going to be tough with these glasses on, boss.”
“Then take them off!”
Derrek merely shook his head. But once it became clear that Keirn wasn’t moving from his perch, he dropped to his hands and began to search blindly beneath the bunks.
“By Helja’s frozen tits, what is going on out there anyway?” Keirn asked.
“Precisely,” Derrek said.
“The hells,” the bard said matter-of-factly.
“Wait, you knew this was going to happen?”
“I told you I heard this one before.”
“Are you saying Songsinger brought that… thing… here?!”
“Isn’t it obvious?”
Keirn could feel his blood begin to boil.
“I think it would be best if you started from the beginning.”
“I hate to give unwarranted credit, but it was a masterfully done piece…”
“I mean, who would have thought of hiding the binding ritual in the lyrics of an aria? But it wasn’t even that straight forward. They only placed it partially within the song. It wasn’t until the concluding stanza that the summon would be complete.”
“So… she summoned that thing with her song?”
“Of course. The first hint was the lyrics were off tune from the music. A real minstrel would have noticed that!” he shouted to the wall. Keirn could only assume that was directed at the cursed singer still presumably locked in the audience chamber. After a moment of no response, Derrek cleared his throat. “Course, the salt seal beneath the step was also a dead give away.”
“What seal? I didn’t see any seal!”
“It was obviously dissolved with water,” Derrek said, standing and brushing his hands. “Why do you think she wasn’t moving? The problem was figuring out who was being bound.”
“But how did she conjure a person here? That’s impossible. Even an archmage couldn’t do that.”
“Didn’t I say it was a binding ritual? I thought I said it was a binding.”
“What’s the difference?”
“I thought you attend the Academy?”
“We’re not going to start this again,” Keirn growled.
“Not my fault you can’t remember your studies.”
“So who… or what… did she bind here?”
“A demon. I couldn’t tell which at first but then it became clear from the hanging tapestries.”
“Stags of course. The Duke is an avid hunter, we passed through his dog kennel when we were shown the grounds. Also, the crimson backgrounds are an obvious indicator. It’s the demon of bloodshed.”
“Then what’s the business with the wax?”
“The demon can incite fury in those that can hear it. And can charm those that look upon it.”
“And the nudity?”
“It was going to get warm.”
“Alright, let me get this straight,” Keirn said slowly, standing to his feet. “The four of us were hired on to protect the Duke from a sinister plot on his life. You convinced us that it was nothing but paranoia and superstition and that this would be the easiest gold we could ever make. You then spent the entire time touring this keep looking for evidence of not only an assassination but a demon… binding of which you recognized the moment the guest bard started singing but felt it more prudent to strip naked than to stop?!”
“Can I be frank for a moment.”
“Oh,” Keirn growled, “you better.”
“I couldn’t stop her, it would have ruined me.”
“The aria. It’s… well… her singing was too… and with that accompaniment…”
“You. Were. JEALOUS?!”
“Maybe not jealous, oratorios really aren’t me field of purview…”
“YOU NEARLY KILLED US TO DISCREDIT A RIVAL?!?!”
Keirn stood to his feet. Fury burned in his eyes as he took one murderous step forward, his twitching fingers outstretched for the other man’s throat.
“Now Keirn, what you’re feeling is just the influence of the demon.”
“I thought you were blind!”
“The charcoal is starting to rub off.”
“Get over here!”
Keirn lunged for the bard, chasing after the man as he bounded across the room. He duck and wove through the bunks, putting as much mattress and pillow between himself and the murderous sorcerer.
“I can explain.”
“I think you’ve explained enough!”
“See, minstrelsy is a difficult business. We have to keep each other in check, you know. Otherwise if someone gets too much prestige and fame then they will just dominate the courts. It’ll stifle creativity as the lords and dukes will vie for the same material to be replicated over and over. Homogeneity suffocates the muse!”
“So all these people are going to die because you can’t let some tart take a position at a court you’d never entertain at in the first place?”
“Lychee is not just any bard.”
“Oh, I heard.”
“She is a demoness in maiden’s clothes.”
Derrek thought for moment.
“Well, apparently she’s some sort of devious assassin. How do we stop her?”
“Considering the Duke is currently being digested by twelve different stomachs, I don’t think that’s possible.”
“They have more than one.”
Keirn wasn’t going to debate the point.
“Alright, so how do we get rid of this demon?”
“That’s where we need the swine legs.”
Keirn sighed, standing on his toes and peering over the top of the bunks.
“Try the bed on the end.”
Derrek hurried to the bunk, clambering up the side and kneeling over the small pile of worn leather packs. He began to rifle through them, the sounds of clanking pots, tin, pieces of metal and only the gods knew what else shook from the bags as he searched for his prize. Keirn only hoped that he didn’t start emptying them or else he’d never hear the end of it from his sister and her “perfect” packing.
Assuming, of course, she was still alive. But Keirn pushed that thought quickly from his mind. She was still out there. He knew it. They just had to get these bones and then…
Something. He didn’t know what but they would come up with something. It was the only thought he could entertain. The alternatives were too unthinkable.