“This is the door that we need here.” Kolas told them in a low whisper.
Dagger pushed past Sarn, readying himself against the stone door.
“Do something with that torch.” He whispered to Sarn.
Sarn tossed the torch down the flight of stairs hoping that it would stay lit to help them find their way back down to the siege lodge. They heard the torch sizzle as it hit the stairs and rolled down several more steps, few seconds later they were in the dark again. Dagger pushed against the door and as it slowly opened the trio entered the semi dark room, moonlight lighting the room through the windows.
Dagger asked Kolas what the room was used for, and was told that it once had been part of the Queens chambers and as far as anyone could tell it had not been used for nearly sixty years.
“Jares has no queen,” Kolas continued. “He has a few women and…, but they have other chambers elsewhere in the palace.”
“So your telling us that he has no idea of this door or the stairwell we just climbed,” Sarn half asked.
Dagger had noticed his friends near slip of the tongue and wondered what he was going to say and nearly mentioned it choosing instead not to let on that he had noticed it. He and Sarn found it hard to believe that no one had been in the room for sixty years that could not have found the doorway.
“I do not like this,” Sarn added. “I have a bad feeling that there is….”
He abruptly stopped talking and began to push himself against the wall into the shadows. Tig was showing signs of his own nervousness as well as he began pacing the floor. Dagger and Sarn pulled their swords at the same time. Tig went to the far corner of the room and crouched as Dagger pulled the outer door of the chamber open. Kolas stepped back into the room and into the darkness as light flooded in from the torches in the hallway and so did three guards that had been waiting just outside.
“I am sorry old friend but I …,” Kolas’ voice trailed off as a silver dagger plunged into his chest, driving the old man back against the outer wall of the room.
The three guards pushed their way into the room and as Kolas lifeless body dropped to the floor a second silver dagger plunged into the first guards’ throat, dropping him as well. Tig pounced on the second guard through the door knocking him back into the hallway, as he tore at his throat. Sarn took on the third guard, driving him back toward the hall when Dagger slid his sword into the guards’ side. The fight in the queens’ chamber was quick but bloody, leaving the three guards lying dead on the floor. Both Sarn and Dagger escaped the skirmish unharmed, but it was a long way from being over. They still needed to get the tablet and get back out.
There was little time for them to worry about much more than themselves as more of the palace guards made their way into the room. Tig was the first to react pouncing on the first of them taking him by surprise as he tore at his throat. Sarn and Dagger forced the others back into the hallway where they began dying one by one. Sarn took a hit to his hand and arm, while Dagger seemed to avoid the swords strikes as well as all the advances of the guards. Tig appeared behind them with both silver daggers in his mouth and watched as the two would be thieves finished off the last of the guards.
“Are you injured?” Dagger asked as the last guard fell under his sword.
“Yes, but not badly,” Sarn answered.
Dagger got Tig to drop his daggers from his blood covered face before giving him a short sword from one of the dead guards sending him back to the siege lodge telling him to take care of the girl. As Tig bounded back to their hiding place with the sword in his mouth, Sarn could not help but pray that Sala was still all right, Dagger too hoped that Tig was not too late.
“Let us see if we can still get the tablet out of here,” Dagger said trying not to linger on his thoughts.
“I am sorry about your friend,” Sarn returned.
“I never could trust him fully and I will miss him as much as I would miss a headache from too much drink from the night before.” It would be all that Dagger would say about having killed Kolas before changing the subject. “Your wounds, are they bleeding much?”
“No, they should be fine until we get out of here.” Sarn found himself chuckling over Daggers statement and yet he was not sure why his death did not seem to matter to him.
Dagger nodded in agreement as they headed down the hallway towards the room that Kolas had told him that the tablet was in. They pushed open one door after another looking into each chamber they passed in their search for the tablet while keeping a look out for more of the palace guards.
“Did you kill them?” Jares asked without turning his attention away from the naked dark-haired girl in his bed.
“No, I do not believe we killed all of your guards, but I would say that it was enough that we are alone for the moment.” Sarn said before ducking back into the hallway keeping one eye behind them.
“Ryn Mar,” Jares said more than just a little surprised to see Dagger. “I would have thought you would have learned by now that you can not get away with anything in my kingdom.”
“If this truly were your Kingdom by law then I might agree with you,” Dagger snarled. “But, since it is not I think I will get away with as much as I would like, as always.”
While the dark-haired girl did not know exactly what or who Ryn Mar was she knew that the time would not get any better to move on her plan. She reached under her torn dress pulling the knife that had cut it and held it to Jares throat.
Sala heard the noise of the battle coming down the stairwell. She fought back the overwhelming feeling that she needed to join the others as long as she could. She was beginning to climb the steps when Tig appeared with the short sword in his mouth. Dropping the sword at her feet Tig leaned into her placing his head in her hand. Grabbing the sword she immediately turned from the stairs to finish her chore of seeing that the horses had been fed and watered and ready to leave the cavern as soon as the boys returned. She tied a pack horse to hers horse and one to Pel as well. The remaining horse she tied to Daggers thinking it might come in handy, or perhaps they could always sell it.
Simon returned to his home just before the first of the guards entered the village with torches in hand. No one was questioned no homes were searched, and none of the villagers knew what was to happen next. When the sentries were placed through out, and had surrounded the small ramshackle village, the leader raised his torch then tossed it onto the roof of the nearest hut. In just seconds the entire village was ablaze and then they waited to kill any that ran from the village. Those that were too afraid to run were burned alive in their homes.
“Chelseah,” Jares pleaded. “What are you doing, you are my love, my life.”
“I have waited a longtime for this.” Chelseah returned.
“It seems that I am not the only one that would wish you to kill you.” Dagger said chuckling at Jares situation.
“You have tried before Ryn Mar and failed, what brings you back?”
“You know what I am here for,” Dagger told him stepping forward and pressing his sword to his chest.
“Dagger it is only a matter of time before those bodies are found,” Sarn interrupted. “We have no time for this.”
“You heard the boy, tell us where the tablet is.”
“The tablet,” Jares scoffed. “What is it about that tablet that makes everyone want it so much?”
“Just tell me were it is,” Dagger yelled pressing harder against his chest. Blood appeared from Jares chest mixing with that of his guards on Daggers sword.
Chelseah pressed the knife harder and pulled across his throat. Jares eyes widened and his head fell forward as the knife separated his skin. Jares body went limp falling against Daggers sword. Pulling it back he let Jares fall to the floor.
“I hope you know where the tablet is.” Sarn said to Celseah as he crossed behind her.
“I will show you,” she said smiling and stood naked from the bed.
She brushed against each of them pausing against Dagger who immediately pushed her away.
“I have no time for your game.” He told her
“I am sorry I did not mean to offend you sire I only meant….”
“I know exactly what it is that you meant,” he said raising his sword up to her chest. “It would be a shame to waste such a body as yours, but I would not hesitate to do so.”
“I happen to agree with you,” Chelseah smiled at him and ran a hand down his chest before turning and walking out the door.
The two thieves followed the girl down the hall, as she led them past the dead guards. Walking quickly past several doors before finally opening the door to one and led them into the candlelit room.
The tablet lay on a table in the center of the room surrounded by candles.
“Is that the tablet?” Sarn asked as Dagger ran his hands over it.
His hand touched each of the carved figures as if he were trying to recall each one of them from somewhere deep in his memory. It was smaller than Sarn thought it would be. Just about the size of one of his fathers’ books he thought.
“Yes, this is it.” Dagger said as if he were coming out of some sort of trance.
Chelseah backed slowly out of the room as they talked nearly unnoticed by them.
“She is gone,” Sarn said noticing first.
Dagger lifted the tablet from the table and slipped it into his cloak
“Then I guess we had better be on our way as well.” Dagger added as he headed toward the door.
Once in the hallway the thieves headed back toward the secret stairway that was not so secret any longer. Chelseah stood in the hallway just before the door to the queens’ chambers.
“They killed King Jares and have taken the tablet,” she began yelling as the two headed towards her. “Do not let them get away.”
Like what you have read? Order your copy of Adventures in Valdore: The Beginning here!