Friday, July 8, 2016

Fiction Friday: Shadows of the Silent Sorcerer (Part 3)

In which Kurach enters the Tower of the Silent Sorcerer, and what he finds therein.

Shadows of the Silent Sorcerer
(Part 3)


John R. Lehman

For a few moments, Kurach's dim intellect pondered the problem of entering the tower.  He could scale the wall and enter through the window, perhaps surprising the sorcerer, but it was dark and the stones would be like ice beneath his fingers.  Falling to his death would be a poor ending to this expedition.  The door seemed to be the best way, but what wards would have been placed on that portal, none could say.  Never one to over-think a problem, and with no other apparent means of entry, Kurach crept out from behind the boulder and slunk through the shadows until he reached the base of the tower.  The moon had just begun to rise, and by its silvery light, the door appeared un-threatening.  Truly, it was of poorer construction than the doors of some of the huts of the mountain people that he had seen.  Worm eaten, and knot-holed, its wind-scoured planks barely seemed adequate to keep out the wind.  It would be no impediment to a determined thief.
Hesitating for only a moment, Kurach pushed against the door and to his surprise it swung silently inward.  No alarms were raised.  No guards accosted him.  No infernal powers were summoned from beyond the great void to bespell him.  Only the darkened interior of the tower greeted him with a faint breath of musty air.
Silent as a jungle panther, he crept forward into the blackness.  Once inside, he paused to listen and allow his eye to adjust.  Among his people he was considered keen of eyesight, even though he had lost one of his eyes long ago to the barbed claws of a Shango Leopard.  Slowly his vision began to make out his surroundings.  The room in which he stood was vaguely circular and as far as he could tell took up the whole base of the tower.  Opposite the entrance, he could see rough stone stairs winding upward into the tower.  There was only one other feature of the room and that piqued an even  more immediate interest in him than the stairs.  A large iron cage was built into the wall on the left side of the chamber.  Within the cage, he could see the sleeping form of a girl wrapped in ragged furs.  No doubt she was some mountain wench stolen by the Sorcerer for his unknowable purposes.  Kurach smiled to himself.  When this task was done, he knew to what purpose he would put the girl.  But now was not the time for such thoughts.  There was a treasure to be won, and like-as-not bloody deeds to be committed along the way.
Crossing the room, he cautiously set his foot upon the first step.  He heard the girl stir faintly in her sleep, but no other sound reached his ears.  No sounds of activity filtered down from above.  Perhaps the Sorcerer too was asleep or out upon some black errand.  Looking upward, he could perceive the glow of the light that he had seen in the window filtering down from the upper chambers.

He was about to start up the stairs, when he suddenly thought better of it.  Instead, he crept over to the cage and knelt beside it.  The girl’s head rested near the wide set bars.  Her hair was dark like all the mountain people he had seen, but her features were smooth unlike most of the hags he had seen in this part of the world.  She would not pass as a great beauty, but she was not uncomely.  Should she awaken though, she might alert the sorcerer to his presence.  He briefly considered simply killing her, as it was the surest way to ensure her silence.  A quick stab through the bars would do it, but that seemed such a waste.  He pondered his next move for a moment then reached through the bars and clamped his hand over the girl’s mouth.  Her eyes sprang open, and she struggled violently against his grip, but his hand was like a vise holding her in place.

(To be continued...)
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