General Fiction posted January 4, 2020 Chapters:  ...19 20 -21- 22... 

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Poor Thador never had a chance.

A chapter in the book Sefiros Eishi - Timelines


by Sefiros

"Tell me again about this Thador."

Robert Jekai glanced at Lazarus before speaking. The old man had been stiff as stone the whole way here, hard and fixed of purpose. Of what purpose was unknown, as the old man answered with nods and silence. Mykel had fenced with him, prodded for a response. All he knew was a name: Thador. Not even his role in this pursuit. It set Mykel's teeth grinding. Not important enough to know the whole plan. It was becoming more and more irritating.

Jekai lowered his voice, though there wasn't anyone to eavesdrop. "Thador is part of the smuggling network Lazarus uses to spirit Weirwynd to safety."

"He smuggles them out of the country. I already know that."

Jekai made a sound; it took Mykel a second to realize it was a muffled laugh. We're creeping through slums, and he thinks this is funny. Mykel had half a mind to turn back right now. Only he couldn't. He was too deep into this now, bound as securely as if he was cocooned in a spider's web.

"Thador," Jekai ventured, "was the one responsible for guiding Malcolm and his family to the next sanctuary."

"And instead they were captured by the Mageslayer," Mykel finished. "You think Thador and the Mage -- and Melissa -- are connected?"

"My contacts got Thador in the harbor. He was trying to get out of the city. I think that's suspect."

"Your contacts?"

"I still have a few friends here. They brought Thador to me, and I stashed him ahead." He squinted towards Lazarus and muttered a curse for the latter's impatience; he was taking the path quicker. "Blasted fool. Haste is one thing. Ignoring caution --" Jekai made an exaggerated sigh. "We'd better hurry before he breaks his fool neck."

Mykel hurried to catch up, but his mind was on other things. Robert Jekai was a Lord General of the Solvicar. Yet he said, "a few friends." A man like Jekai would have dozens of comrades. Why would he imply the opposite? For that matter, why was a Lord General live in squalor? Mykel dashed the thought; he was falling behind.

The house Lazarus was studying was a run-down, shoddy-looking place with wide, cracked windows. Of course, all the surroundings were run-down and shoddy-looking; this was the slums, after all. Were it not for Jekai's instructions, Mykel knew he'd be lost.

Jekai took point now, moving swiftly through the house. Up creaky steps they climbed, dodging spiderwebs and dust motes. The upper floor was lined with windows and doors, making the moonlight pure and bright. Jekai went to the farthest door like an arrow. "I drugged him to keep him quiet," Jekai explained. "He should be waking up soon."

Thador turned out to be an unremarkable-looking man. His eyes and ears could have come from a farmer; the set of his jaw, the narrow lips, from a village innkeeper. Even his clothes were dull. No one would look twice upon the man. Which, Mykel supposed, was the point. A man deep in illegal smuggling needed to be invisible.

But most important was that Thador was waiting for them, framed in the harsh moonlight.

Something's wrong. "I thought you said he was drugged.," Mykel whispered.

"He was," Jekai whispered back.

"I'm sorry, Lazarus." Thador said.

Mykel expected Lazarus to spit fire. But he didn't. He looked like an old man who lost too many friends. "Your family?"

Thador nodded -- and then grunted as something slashed a line across his stomach. Thador's hands clutched the wound too late. His top half slid to the ground with a meaty plop; the lower half following a heartbeat behind. Revealing, at last, the murderer. The Mageslayer.

Lazarus pounced on her like a lion. Rampage of Hell. Boiling Tartarus. Meteor's Crashing Fall.

The Mageslayer matched him blow for blow. Furious Whirlwind. Chaotic Cyclone. Hurricane's Roar.

"Lazarus!" Mykel rushed forward -- and found himself pinned in a bearhug. "Lazarus!" Mykel swung his head wildly, saw Robert Jekai holding him fast. "Let go of me!"

"No, lad! This is not a battle you can win!"

Mykel struggled, but the former Lord General had the strength of ten men. He even dragged the younger man back a few steps. Furious, buckling, Mykel watched the nettle unfold.

Fountaining Magma. Descending Inferno. Volcanic Temper.

Growling Thunderhead. Cut of the Desolate Wind. Rattling Wind.

Lazarus wasn't a man anymore. He was a monster. He was aggressive, merciless. Each blow had his full strength behind it, and the Mageslayer bore the proof of his ferocity. Blood glimmered in the harsh moonlight, and they grew in numbers.

Dragon's Breath Blazes. Wrath of the Phoenix. Shower of Hellfire.

Rushing Whirlwind. Hurricane's Wreckage. Rampaging Tornado.

The Mageslayer misted from Lazarus' last strike, backed against the wall of blazing light. She looked bad. Weak. She knew, and she knew Lazarus knew.

Lazarus, a giant, like death itself. Monstrous. Unbeatable. Inevitable.

He took a step forward.

The Mageslayer threw up her hands, and the spaces flanking her shivered. The man-hounds burst from the tingling nothingness, primal and angry. They launched themselves towards Lazarus like the mindless slaughterers they were.

Lazarus dispatched them without breaking stride. One step forward. Two steps forward.

The hands that held Mykel fast now turned him to Jekai's face. The Lord General looked strong, but sad, too. "I can't let him kill her." And before Mykel could question why, Jekai ran full tilt at the Mageslayer. He ran fast, almost a ghost in the moonlight, tackling the Mageslayer through the window. With a cringle of glass shattering they fell.

Lazarus and Mykel exchanged a glance, saw the horror of their faces reflected back at them. As one they scrambled out of the room, slipping and sliding down the creaking steps, racing a race they already knew was over.

The scene outside was plain. Robert Jekai was a bloody mess on the cobblestones, arms and legs in awkward, unnatural angles. Lazarus hunched down to feel Jekai's neck and came away angry.

He's dead, Mykel thought. Robert Jekai was dead. Of the Mageslayer, there was no sign.

Rain began to fall, as if in mourning. Rising from the gloom, Lazarus picked up Jekai's body and began to walk through the mist; the last favor for a dear friend.

Shivering, Mykel followed.

Among other things, the character of Lazarus engages in smuggling Weirwynd (wizards) out of the Amden Kingdom (where magic is outlawed). However, one Weirwynd is caught and killed. Thador was the man responsible for guiding the family to the next sanctuary. Our heroes track Thador down and plan to confront him.
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