Ch9: Cursing in the Tongue

Chapter Nine: Cursing in the Tongue 
A caw broke out over the dark forest canopy as a black colored bird fluttered among the jagged trees. This side of the island was unlike the other. While the other side had been full of color bursting from every crevice and rock, this side was nothing more than bland grey bark and faded leaves which hung from the trees and layered the gently sloping ground.
It was dark within the forest which was good since it provided enough shade to stay cloaked, and even if they couldn’t cloak, the canopy would prevent any aircraft from spotting them. Arius kept this in mind, but still questioned the situation with skepticism. They were on a small island with hostiles soon to be combing the land for them, and yet they expected to find their contact there. Something just didn’t seem right about it.
A stone wall was ahead of them, and the mercenaries moved through the open gate which looked old and unused. The Gray Tower was just ahead of them, and seemed to be surrounded by maze like walls which kept them away from the entrance. Soon they made their way through however, and Arius wondered at the purpose of the tower. It didn’t appear to be a lighthouse of any kind, but it was tall enough to be.
Thorim led the way, taking pause at the entrance. He motioned for Jayvolni to take the door which he did. The door opened with a snarl as the bottom of it scrapped across the stone floor. The mercenaries rushed in to clear the first room which consisted of half of the bottom floor. The next room was the other half, and a rounded staircase circled up to the second floor. The place was old and clearly abandoned. Could their contact really be there, Arius wondered.
Dueson led the way up the wooden stairs which creaked under their weight. The higher they climbed the more skeptical Arius became. Their contact was like them and would surely be aware of their presence now, but no one showed.
The door at the top was open, and Dueson headed in first followed by the rest. A round table was at the center of the room and a single chair beside it. Its back was toward the door, and a figure sat upon it. They slowed when they saw it, and Dueson carefully moved around it to get a better look. Arius took to the other side and soon they were all before it.
“We have a problem, sir,” Dueson said, as Thorim entered the room.
Arius eyed the corpse which was slumped forward. A dagger was in its gut, and florescent blue veins could be seen traveling up the corpse’s neck and face where they accumulated around the eyes. A deep blue substance lingered within the figures eyes, and Arius recognized it for what it was.
“Someone got to our contact before we did,” Dueson said.
Thorim moved in for a better look, pulling the head back to see the eyes. He cursed in his own language when he saw it.
“It’s one of ours,” he said, grabbing the dagger.
Pulling it out, he examined the blue edge of the dagger. It was definitely theirs as the blue substance coating the knife was known as Suedoth. It was a poison they coated their knives with. Once the Suedoth reacted with the blade a simple cut would infect the blood stream where it would make its way toward the brain.
“How?” Grem asked, casting a glance across all of them.
“Who’s missing a dagger?” Thorim asked with regret.
Everyone began to search their bags and belts to show themselves innocent. Arius started for his bag where he had put his, but his mouth turned sour as soon as he remembered earlier that day. His dagger had been missing from his bag, except for the blue Suedoth stone which was used to line the knife. His stomach grew heavy as he watched everyone else present their daggers. Soon their eyes were upon him, empty handed.
“Arius, where is your dagger?” asked Thorim.
“I don’t know, sir,” he stuttered. “I don’t have it.”    

Thanks for reading chapter nine, and be sure to stop by next Saturday for chapter ten. I'm not sure how many chapters this story will have though I am sure it is near the halfway mark. 
Meanwhile, be sure to check out my book, Ground of Oam, here.
Also, check it out in paperback here.


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