Empire of Whispers

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 12 (v.1) - chapter 12

Submitted: June 12, 2019

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Comments: 1

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Submitted: June 12, 2019

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Chapter 12

 

Irverta’s ass ached. Planted upon the hard rock of a cliff, its edge thick with pines and juniper bush, she had been there an hour shifting aside the branches to stare at a town below. Her sore butt begged to move but with four murders on her hands, she had no intention of being surprised by a garrison of guards searching for the only dark elf in Dylon. For a time more, her ass would had to suffer.

A rocky path, dense with root and rock winding its way down a steep incline to a large field of fresh grassland, a small river cut through the middle, and while the water shallow, its current frothed upon smooth rocks.

A water wheel spun within the rushing water attached to a rickety wooded house, the rooftop coated in moss and dry leaves. The creek of each wooden spin ebbed and flowed with the river’s strength. Dozens of cabins were built further upstream and a tower of stone rose from the treetops.

The surface has its beauty, she thought almost with a smile. Unlike like the purple obsidian caves and violet flames of the deeps, the surface realms held a more cheerful charm. No wonder humans were always so happy.

“It’s safe to go down there.” Tayla spoke, her hands were bound with rough hewn rope, but the gag had been loosened and fell around her neck.

“I didn’t say you could take that off,” Irverta said shoving the gag back into Tayla’s mouth, “and sit down.” Pushing Tayla to the ground, the child fidgeted and grasped at the gag till pulling it out.

“We can’t go down there if I’m bound. It will attract attention.” Irverta shot her a glance and pulled up the gag.

“I told you not to talk.” Tayla shrugged and lifted her tied hands towards the village. Tayla was of course right, walking into a Dylonians town with a prisoner would present some challenges. While she liked challenges, this would present more than her daggers could solve.

“I won’t escape.” Tayla said her gag pulled back down. Irverta scowled and yanked the gag back up.

“I said, be quiet.” Tightening the gag with an extra knot, she hoped this time Tayla would not be able to slip it off so easily.

Taking hold a few pine branches, she pushed them aside to inspect the town further. Peasants scurried through the small path of streets. They mostly wore earthen tones, a loose pair of trousers, a vest and tunic.

A shame. She almost pitied them, How could their dress be so uninspired, living in a world of such brilliant colors?

A single guard stood near the tower by the town square. While most Dylonian soldiers she came across had red plumes, his was much taller and brighter. Trying to remember all the sigils and uniforms of the Arthan empire, a task far too boring for anyone to remember, a voice cut through her thoughts.

“Daku sunu gabbu.” whispered upon the winds, the voiceless words pressed upon her ears like icy hallow breaths.

Not again, what do you want? But they never told her, not when she pleaded or when she killed, with hot blood soaked upon her hands. The voices only whispered the same three words in her ancient tongue, “kill them all.”

Lightly pressing her hands against her ears, the whispers crept closer, their once far off cries becoming hard struck demands. Focus, please, focus, she begged, but begging always made it worse.

“Daku sunu gabbu.” A cacophony of voices rained. Stop... please, but they would never stop, not till she gave them blood. Taking out her dagger, she slid the blade across her skin and cut till the pain overtook the voices. As the sting ran deep across her arm, the words silenced sated for a time, but only for a time.

Taking a breath, her palms dug into her face rubbing against a few scars, a reminder of how often the voices grew hungry.

Tayla, wide eyed, sat motionless, her gag removed.

“Don’t do that,” Irverta chastised Tayla, “I am in control here.”

“Are you?” Tayla questioned.

“Don’t mock me, figment. Don’t think I will not...”

“Cut out my tongue or eyes or some other cliché threat?” Irverta squinted and grabbed Tayla by the wrist to cut the rope.

“Don’t try to escape or I will skin the flesh from your belly,” she tapped Tayla’s stomach with her blade, “then I will make you eat it.”

“Do you always hurt people who anger you?” Tayla said, her gaze drifting to Irverta’s fresh open wound. Picking Tayla up by the arm, she held tight till her finger dug into the child’s skin.

“You don’t see anything?” She seethed.

“You’re not crazy, sometimes I hear them, too.” Irverta released her grip. “More will hear them soon, then more and more. Louder and louder till you snap and take your own life, but even then, you can’t escape their whispering. They will never stop...” She slapped Tayla across the face, leaving a red marking across the child’s cheek.

“Shut up.” Yanking Tayla by the arm, Irverta headed towards the path. The creature would not get the best of her senses, she would remain in control.

“An elven child with an elzari dark elf.” Tayla said barley a moment later. “People will have questions.”

“They will mind their business.”

“They are Dylonians, they did not subjugate half the worlds by minding their business.”

“They will learn, too.”

“No, they won’t.” She shook Tayla.

“I said, I heard enough from you.” Irverta growled.

“Are you sure? There are four dead guards and two witnesses who can describe our exact likness...” Irverta shook Tayla by the arm.

“The couple went north, we are going south,” she yelled, hoping the logic sounded more convincing aloud than in her head but it did not help. She had made a mistake. I should of killed them, she thought. Every elzari teaching warned her about mercy.

She could still see the aged lines of her mother’s cruel face under the glow of the hearth. Disgust exhaled from her mother’s cracked lips and the long black whip she so fondly used, would uncoil in her veiny hands. Striking with hatred disguised as lessons, her mother would rant about humans and the filth of the world, while her own body screamed in agony. Not till her skin blistered and her tear ducts ran dry would her mother stop.

“Compassion is letting you live,” her mother claimed, “and what has it down for me but bear witness to endless disappointment?” Fuck you, Irverta thought. Showing mercy defied her bitch of a mother.

“Killing them still would have been safer.” Tayla interrupted like the child witnessed her very thought. “You do seem like a sloppy assassin.” Irverta pushed Tayla to a tree holding the knife to her neck.

“Push me, child.” Tayla put her hand on Irverta’s knife and pushed the blade down.

“You won’t kill me and you know why, besides, unlike your mother, I’m only trying to help.”

“Then help by being quiet.” Taking Tayla by the hand, she nearly dragged the child down the path into the villi. She would have drove the girl into every rock and root if she not had to explain the injuries.

A group of Dylonian men stood on the outskirts of a stone cottage smoking pipes. They held their hands under suspenders and dipped their broad rim hats as she approached. She made sure to sway her hips with every step. One started to whistle.

Perfect.

“Hey boys.” the man said, “look at what the gods brought to us here today. A fucking dark elf.” All the men approached. “Last time your kind had the balls to show, we cut em off.”

One with a stubble patched face and blonde curled hair removed his pipe from worn teeth, stained yellow with years of smoking.

“What’s with the scars on your face?” he said.

“Fuck off.” Irverta replied trying to move past. The men blocked her path.

“Hey now, lady, no need to be rude, just getting to know each other is all.” He moved in closer till the stink of his breath assailed her face. “When I was a child, a wee lad about that girl’s size you have there, my parents told me about the dark elves. They said they would sneak into your bed, stab your guts and wear your skin. After seeing how ugly you are, I can see why.”

She grabbed his crotch. The man titled his head, all words extinguished in a single touch.

“Is this better?”

“Well, now, if your people came up here grabbing cocks instead of cutting out our guts, I don’t think we would be having any problems.”

“I’m just grabbing yours.” she said, “Your friends can go grab themselves.”

“And with me you won’t be having any problems.”

“Where is the king’s diplomat, Berthevin?” she asked. The man tapped his pipe upon his teeth and let out a smirk.

“Left the Celtian Union from what I heard. Soldiers and lords making a great what to do about it. Some knight commander came here the other day, making everything ready for when he passes through this town. hey say Berthevin is guarded by a thousand men.”

“Why was he in the Celtian Union?”

“Over seeing king Lockin’s admission into the Alliance. Town criers been talking about this for a month now. Damn near every town center has a dozen parchments explaining this. Why you care?” She let go of his growing bulge. Taking Tayla by the wrist, she dragged the child towards the village center.

“Hold on, lady,” the man said clutching her by the shoulder, “just going to grab my cock and go like some time type og whore?”

“Whores get payed.” Tossing a copper in her face, he grabbed her breast.

“How is that... whore?” With a knee to the groin, he spasmed and fell to the ground into a cradle position. Taking out two daggers from her bandolier, she faced the others.

They backed away leaving the man red-faced on the street. Tayla began to shake her head.

“What did I say about hurting everyone?”

“It feels better when I do.” Irverta said. “Pick up the copper.” Tayla took the coin and followed Irverta to the town square.

A wooden post nailed with parchments stood in the middle of a barren square across the tower. The guard kept watch from gated steps, his massive arms crossed like folded logs of iron. His head mirrored her movements and followed her ass all the way to the post.

Letting her fingers run across weathered parchment, the man was right, almost a dozen sheets contained information on the Celtian Union joining the Aliance.

The ink mostly faded as rain had destroyed much of the older posts, she only needed the most current. Her fingers stopped and she ripped off the page.

“To all citizens of the Timberlain reach. Your Grand Ambassador, head of hediplomats and Grand Advisor to the God King has negotiated a most wonderful alliance with King Lockin of the Celtian Union.” She read on through the fluff till coming to what she needed.

“Berthevin will be moving through the Timberlain on the way to the capital and it is asked all citizens open their homes to barrack the grand army as they pass through your town. Lord Gerricho Timberlain.”

“Does not narrow down his route.” Tayla said reading the paper. Irverta folded the paper and stashed it by her breasts under her leather tunic.

“He will come through this way.” she said.

“I did not take you for someone of chance.” Tayla replied.

“I don’t take chances, I find people predictable, then I arrive before they do.”

“Sounds like chance.”

“I found you, didn’t I?” She pulled on Tayla’s arm and pointed to the tower. “How many towns have a keep? He will be housed there. His garrison will camp the field and with a knight commander already here, I am certain this is where he will stay.”

“You didn’t stumble upon this town, you always knew it was here?” Tayla questioned.

“I could ask you the same, catching you a day’s travels from this very place.” For a moment they both smiled with suspicion of the other’s secrets.

Scanning the square, one building looked promising, a tavern with a bright red sign with golden lettering spelling, “The Redwood Inn” and for those who couldn’t read, a golden painted beer stein.

The hours were early for drinking though she couldn’t be sure, getting used to reading the sun and light in the sky had never been her strength coming from underground.

Pushing open a door, a small duty expanse of round tables lead to a bar. A short pudgy man with no hair and a neck obscured by fat washed a few glasses, happily whistling. His white towel rubbed over the clay cups as if his hands had nothing to do but wait for the tavern’s drunks to arrive.

“Good afternoon, miss.” he smiled, the rolls of his extra several chins jiggling.

Prodding Tayla to the back of the tavern, she pulled out a small coin purse and tossed two Dylonian silvers onto the bar. “An ale for me and milk for the girl.”

The bartender inspected the coins for a moment before tossing them into a tin and began pouring her order.

“An elzari,” he said bringing over the glasses, “don’t get many travelers out here, don’t get much of anyone and never get a dark elf. What brings you here?”

“Heard Berthevin is coming through, only excitement I had since the war.”

“That’s what they say, some knight all the way from Arthanis is patrolling the ground. A thousand soldiers,” he smiled to the ceiling, “I’ll make more in that day than in a lifetime. Have to get a few more barmaids that day.”

“That’s why I am here. I need a few coins and it seems you will be having a few extra to spare.” He inspected her up and down.

“I suppose I will. Having an exotic woman in the bar will help keep them drinking till their pockets go empty if you don’t mind me saying, miss.” He reexamined her body. “You would have to wear something other than those leathers. Something more revealing in the bosom area.”

“I’ll find something.”

“The child, she willing to work as well?” the barkeeper asked. “I’ll have a lot of dishes to clean that day. I pay only copper for a child but...”

“As long as she stays where I can see her.” The portly man rubbed his sweaty hands along the folds of his apron and extended it in her direction. Sitting back with a jolt, her hands already on her daggers, she forgot about that stupid human gesture of handshakes and thought for a moment he had been an assassin. Grabbing his fingers, she squeezed and pumped his arm up and down. The barkeeper had an expression of bewilderment but soon corrected her hand placement and they shook.

Smirking with how easily her plan was unfolding, the doors opened with a loud bang. The men from earlier walked through with clubs.

Sooner than expected.

“You fucking bitch.” the one with sore genitals cried. The barkeeper blocked their path as they moved to Irverta’s table.

“Henry, now don’t do anything stupid.”

“Listen, Grant, you don’t get involved. This bitch done me dirty, hit me in my balls.”

“The way your hands fall upon the girls of this village, I am surprised it has not happened sooner. If your father was here...” Henry slammed his club into Grant’s stomach knocking the man to his knees.

“Don’t you talk about my father, old man,” Henry seethed, “he died a hero against these purple fucks.” The group approached the table and Irverta glanced upward, relaxing her posture and leaving her stance open.

“ I would go away if I were you.” Tayla said sipping her milk. “You won’t like how this ends.”

“Shut it, kid.” Henry squeezed both ends of his club. “Me and the boys been talking...”

“Apologize to Grant,” Irverta said putting down her drink, “say sorry to the girl and leave while your balls and pride remain the only things you lost today.”

“If you fight them, the mayor will have you arrested.” Tayla said to Irverta, “They don’t like elzari in these parts.”

“That’s right,” Henry smiled, “and they certainly won’t miss one elzari bitch.” He pressed his club against her breast. “So where were we...whore?”

“Daku sunu gabbu.” the voices whispered. Her fingers tightened around a pair of daggers with such force, veins bulged from her hands.

These could not possible be them, but fuck it, the voices wanted blood.

Her grip loosened, she stood up and spit in Henry’s face. He wiped it off with shaking hands, then punched her in the nose. She could have dodged, blocked his fist, broke his arm, any number of things, a handful of villagers would pose no threat, but instead she let them beat her with fists and clubs. The first few blows stung and she could feel the blood already rush to her head. By the time she fell to the ground, the cries of pain were no longer fake, though barely; her withered bitch mother could hit harder.

She screamed and let herself be tossed into the table, the more noise the better. As blood soaked, her vision and a few ribs were sacrificed, someone came into the bar.

“ Let her go.” the man yelled.

“You’re protecting this elzari bitch? Whose side are you on, knight?”

“The side of law and the God King.” Chairs scraped against the ground as a scuffle sounded around her and within a moment, she was taken to her feet and placed in a chair.

“The mayor will have your sword, knight.” Henry cursed stumbling out the bar with his friends.

“Ma’am, are you alright?” the knight said. Wiping the blood from her eyes, the world moved in and out of focus.

Maybe I should not have let them hit me in the head so many times. Pinching her nose, it didn’t hurt. At least its not broken.

“I’m sorry,” she said, “I shouldn’t have tried to stop them, I was scared.” She clutched the guard’s sleeve. She could never get the crying down, but choked out a few tears.

The guard, a larger man with shoulders fit to carry logs rubbed his fingers through a coat of curly black hair. Age already invaded his face, setting the first few wrinkles upon his brow like a fresh battlefield trench.

He unloosed her bandoleer to inspect her daggers and placed them on the table, then to her surprise, he put his hands under the waist of her leather leggings and took two more daggers from underneath.

Impressive. Made of obsidian, they held a purple hue and curved to a point like crescents.

“I am going to take these.”

“I use them to defend myself.” she said.

“You can have them when you leave.” Kneeling in front of her, she made sure to let the blood pool into her hands. “Them boys have been trouble the moment I arrived, though never quite like this.” Grant came over with a towel to wipe her face.

“I’m sorry,” she said, “I know what the elzari did to your people.” The soldier went to his feet.

“Vigilante justice is not the Dylonian way. You committed no crime. I will talk to the mayor but it may not lead to much, most of these noble houses preach vengeance among this backward kingdom of the empire.” His fist curled and his tunic tightened with muscle. “They should know better, the God King would never approve.”

“The people didn’t approve when Kharis let Richard go,” Grant said, “Dylonians suffered more than anyone.This is the only form of justice they feel they have left.”

“I understand,” she tried to sob into the towel but struggled to fake any further tears, “elzari aren’t welcome much anywhere after the war but I don’t have anywhere else to go.”

“I can take her in.” Grant said. “I have a room out back she and girl can share. I don’t have many coins but if she helps with some of the chores, I can provide you at least food.” Irverta nodded taking Grant’s hand.

“You are a kind man. As are you....”

“Xanthran. Knight commander.”

“You are the knight I heard about.”

“Stationed ahead of Berthevin’s arrival. Where were you headed.... Miss...”

“Itara... I am a drifter. I was going nowhere.”

“You fought for Richard?”

“No, under General Carson of the Tyrassian guard against elzari raiders.”

“One of Issvera’s blackguard.” Xanthran said sounding surprised. “Your regiments were legendary, why the hell are you here and not at home being a hero?”

“Elzari don’t think of those who help humans as heroes. So many blackguard are strung up as traitors, we have more bodies than banners waving in our streets. Came up here hoping to not have an angry mob saluting my corpse.” She lowered her leather tunic over her shoulder to reveal several bright silver scares running down her back. “Found this instead. Revenge for my people joining Richard, they said. That I should bare the scars of their loss. They burned their anger into my flesh, even when I screamed I had no part in their pain, but they made sure I was to feel theirs.”

Xanthran took a breath, traced the wrinkles of his brow with a finger. She could tell he was bothered. “You will be safe here, you don’t need to run anymore... Eitehr of you.” he said to Tayla, who waved still drinking her milk.

“An orphan,” Irverta said, “found her after the war, doesn’t talk much but I take good care of her.” Irverta brushed Tayla’s hair behind Tayla’s sharp pointy ears.

“Let’s make things a bit more happy,” said Grant cupping his hands together. “welcome to your new home, m’lady and also my little lady.” he bowed. Irverta kissed Grant’s hand and Tayla giggled. “I am no prince, save that for royalty. I will go and make your room ready.” With a shuffle of his feet, he took off far faster than a pudgy man should have been able. Xanthran picked up her weapons.

“I will send for the local apothecary. Will you be alright?”

“It’s not the first time someone hurt me, Xanthran. It is said when Alaza made the elzari, she forged us with hate and steel. We were made to endure the ugliness of this world.”

“Gods should spend more time fixing the world than crafting people to survive their failures.”

“A very human outlook.” she said. They both smiled and with a bow, Xanthran left the tavern. Irverta rubbed her already swelling cheek.

“Why did you tell them the truth about fighting in the war?” Tayla asked.

“How do you know its true?” Tayla shrugged and finished her milk.

“I know you gained their trust,” Tayla said, “but if you’re going to kill Berthevin, why not fight him? Why waste all this time?” Irverta shoved her hand over Tayla’s mouth.

“You don’t know what I am here to do, so shut up about it.” Letting go, Tayla had an odd grin.

“You’re a bad assassin.”

“No assassin could fight their way through a thousand soldiers.” Irverta snapped, “Now, I’m one of them. Human weakness is pity, hide among it and you will never be found.”

“I knew you were going to kill him.” Iverta grabbed Tayla’s tongue.

“Say it again and it’s the last thing you say.” Letting go, Irverta pressed the cold glass of her ale against the welt of her eye. She now only had to wait, no one in this town would bother her again.



© Copyright 2019 Srchaud. All rights reserved.

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