Friday, March 09, 2018
Flash Fiction # 293: Honor Among Thieves/6
Heading into the building the same way I had escaped was foolhardy. Some might even have considered it downright stupid. Kimlin would have set up traps.
Darkin and I had been eluding traps all our lives, and Kimlin was never good at setting them.
We only found one, just a few steps from the door to the room where I had escaped. I had the distinct impression Kimlin had never dared go farther on the stairs.
"I'd feared he might have someone helping him with these," I said as I lifted the wire from an obvious explosive. Darkin took the device apart. You never knew when you might need a few of these things. "Maybe even his Shadow Demon --"
"No," Lady Yeti said. "A Shadow Demon doesn't have much of a solid form. He might understand about killing someone like the mayor, but setting traps would not be in his mindset."
"It also means he's not won over any member of the Guild who could do this for him," Darkin pointed out.
"Or he doesn't trust anyone else with the knowledge of this secret passage," I pointed out. "We can't count on him having driven away anyone."
"I don't know. After today, I'm willing to bet that Kimlin has fewer people today." Darkin reached over and caught my arm when I started to slip on one of the steps. "Sinton?"
"He's still not fully recovered," Lady Yeti warned from behind us. "But we dared not wait any longer. The Shadow Demon is aware. He will only grow stronger."
Darkin nodded, made sure I was steady, and then we moved on to the door. There was a trap on it as well, but as quickly put aside.
We stepped into the room. Dusty. Dark. I knew my way around without any light. I had no trouble reaching the door, and I waited there, ear to the crack. The other two remained silent.
"No one else is on this floor," I said. Then I rethought that line. "Well, no human."
"I do not sense anything close," Lady Yeti said. She created a small blue light that barely lit the area around her and Darkin. He looked startled, but then gave a nod of appreciation. "There is a sense of powers below, but that might be residual from the Shadow Demon."
"Good." I had stayed by the door, giving the room one quick look. There wasn't much out of place, but it was evident that Kimlin had gone through all the drawers and cupboards. Well, except for my special secret ones. Did the fool really think that someone who spent his life as a thief was going to leave anything of value where it could be easily found?
The more I thought about Kimlin, the more I realized that he had never really taken to the life he'd chosen. Or maybe he had been aiming at something else all along?
Not that it mattered to me. I just liked to have a good idea of what I faced. We were not going to spend much more time here in the room. I wasn't really ready for this fight, but I knew we wouldn't have a better chance. I had to trust that Lady Yeti and Darkin were not going to get killed here with me.
So we went out of the room and headed down the stairs.
Yeah, that drew a stir from those below. I heard our names running like a wind through the building.
Then Kimlin appeared, and he was not alone.
I noted a couple interesting things as he opened the guarded door to the right. First was that he was not alone, but he didn't have humans with him. Half a dozen magical creatures came out of the room at his back, including two orcs, two goblins, and two Shadow Demons.
The second thing I realized as the three of us took a step backward was that I could not see a single member of the guild who was not equally shocked by Kimlin's companions.
"You stepped over the line today, Kimlin," I said as I took another step down, forcing myself to stay steady. "And then I learned who is really behind your rise in power. Where is the Shadow Demon who has med you his pet?"
Kimlin gave an inarticulate shout and a wave of his hand. His companions started forward, but Lady Yeti came to my side and lifted her hand. The little blue light she had been carrying grew in size and brightness, and she whispered a few words in a language I didn't understand. Even the sound of those words made the hair stand up on the back of my neck.
The creatures who understood what she said took it far worse. The orcs appeared to be caught between screaming in fear or attacking without mercy. The smaller things had backed away, though, and Kimlin didn't look happy about losing his companions.
"Shall I finish?" Yeti suddenly spoke. She had a deceptively sweet voice and smile. "One more line and I send everyone before me to Elvern's Hell."
I took a quick step backward, just to be safe.
"You wouldn't," Kimlin said and suddenly sounded far too assured. "I know how magic works. If you opened a gate to Elvern's Hell or any other realm you would owe the soul of that realm a debt, and it would not be an easy price."
"Would I?" she said. Her fingers spread out and she made a small circle in the air. Or perhaps it is Elvron who owes me the debt."
A symbol formed before her and one even I could interpret. The flames of Elvern's Hell, but encircled by the symbol that hung on Lady Yeti's door that I had always taken to be something like a daisy chain.
It was a very different sort of chain, and she was far more powerful than I could have imagined.