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Chapter 8, 1st Book of Serinity revised

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Chapter 8, 1st Book of Serinity revised

Postby SerinitysChild » Sat Oct 08, 2011 12:09 pm

:oops: My apologies to those who've already read this. It seems that one of the Sisterhood of Parth was being in two places at once.

Chapter Eight

“Time to put away the tools of our trade and see if we can find more information on the goddess of the North.” Serinity returns her sword to the rack and then watches as Ashera grins sheepishly while she returns her own weapon and armor to their places.
“One of these days I’d like to try this again,” Ashera says with a wince. “It’s been a long time since I was so throughly beaten by anyone. Today I got taken in by two people.”
Suddenly she grins and says, “It’s bad enough that you beat me, but to be beaten by a mere male is so much worse.”
Serinity laughs at her friend’s discomfort and says, “Oh, I’d not be so upset by Pearim beating you. Before he came to work for House Artris, he commanded the loyalty of soldiers by being able to best any of them with any weapon with which they were foolish enough to challenge him. Now, let’s get cleaned up and ransack the library.”
An hour later the two warrior women are busy reading book titles and pulling likely tomes from their shelves. As the minutes fly past the pile of books and scrolls grow.
After several hours of pulling knowledge from floor to ceiling shelves, Ashera yawns and stretches. “Time for this little girl to head for bed,” she says as she leaves Serinity pouring over an ancient tome. “Don’t stay up too late sister. Tomorrow is another day. G’night.”
Two hours after the mid watch sounds, Serinity is still engrossed in her exploration of the library. One subject leads her to other subjects and her quest widens to the point that a tenth part of the library covers every table surface.
Shadow, languid with a heavy meal, lays snuggled down on a feather pillow resting on the hearth’s warm stones. Her sleepy eyes watch distantly as her companion wanders about the library searching the tall shelves. Being more a warrior and less a statesman, Shadow never bothered with learning to read, or write, or any of the many things her companion seems to think are useful. Scratching absently at a flea that’s invaded her left ear, the middle-aged lynx pauses in her pursuit of this pest long enough to assure herself that Serinity is happily wandering through the stacks of inedible leather and paper arrayed around the room. With a soft purr of contentment, Shadow rubs her head on the pillow, and is about to pursue her second favorite activity, that being sleeping in a warm place, when someone, or something, suddenly turns her world upside down, literally.
Not since the time an itinerant tinsmith tried to steal her as a kitten has the mountain lynx punished anyone so severely. Four sets of razor-sharp, shiny black claws flash outward and rip cloth, leather and flesh as easily as a sharp knife slices through warm butter. Her half hiss, half battle scream, is enough to give any sensible being a full second of warning before the enraged eighty pounds of fur-covered buzz-saw mutilates everything within reach of those claws.
Echoing throughout the library is the man’s scream of intense pain as Shadow does unto him before he can do unto her. Blood splatters across the hearth’s facade as Shadow unleashes her fury on her attacker. Bloody bits of cloth, covered in warped and ripped chain mail flies across the library, some landing on the table, other bits landing on Serinity.
Having removed one source of irritation, Shadow, now fully awake, and looking for a fight, glares around the library to see if her would be attacker has any friends who want to play. Across the room she watches as Serinity unleashes Hel’s fury in magic fire against two other attackers. With her right arm extended at shoulder height, her index finger pointing at the attackers, she summons arcane powers through a ruby ring she’d rather others never knew she possessed. The closest attacker falls to the floor, tattered, blackened flesh showing spots of toast colored bone as the flames reduce him to a pile of grey ash. The second attacker is less fortunate.
Magical flames wash over the attacker’s armor turning it first cherry red, then white hot. Inside the armor the unfortunate man stews in his own juices, dead before his body falls to the floor. As the flames die to minor flickering surges of magic, the fourth, and last attacker vanishes in a billowing cloud of smoke.
Serinity removes her magical ring, and comments, “Spoil sport! Drop in on a girl unexpectedly and expect her to be ready to dance.” Carefully she re strings the ring on a bit of leather that’s hidden by her long sleeves. Carefully she sets it to drop into her hand at a moment’s notice.
Having returned her nasty surprise to its hiding place, she looks around the library, checking books and scrolls to make sure she’s damaged none of them in the fracas. Finding that wards restricted her magic fire to the attackers, she walks over to the hearth, checks Shadow for wounds, and then gathers up a boom and dust pan.
As she sweeps her first’s attackers dust into the pan, she hears from the doorway, “A man’s work is from sun to sun, but a woman’s work is never done.” Looking up from her sweeping, she sees Ashera leaning against the door’s jam, her arms folded across a thin nightgown and her short sword dangling from her right hand.
“There you go again, never letting anyone join in the fun,” Ashera comments as she saunters over to the cooling armor. She’s about to kick it with her bare foot when she notices a small flame flickering under it. Carefully she rolls the hot armor over with her sword’s point and watches as the tiny flame tries to flare up. Stomping the flame out with her heavily callused bare right foot she can clearly see the image of the attacker burned into the rug. As she puts out the minor fire she murmurs, “You’re going to have to buy a new rug, this one’s got a burn spot on it.”
Reaction to the sudden attack sets in and Serinity laughs. Finishing her sweeping she stands up, looks at the ruined rug and sighs. “If it’s not one thing, it’s another.”
Turning to Ashera, Serinity smiles brightly. “It looks like we’re going shopping tomorrow. Isn’t that going to be fun?”
Pearim Dalnas, major domo of House Artris, stands in the library’s doorway dressed in a red nightshirt, blue slippers, and holding a rapier in his right hand, watching as the two women banter about the sudden deaths of three men.
“Mistress?” Pearim lifts his left eyebrow in question of the events that’ve just transpired in the library.
Serinity stares at the major domo, then suddenly breaks into peals of laughter. Holding her sides with both hands she stammers, “Don’t you know that it’s not polite to let a lady see you in your nightshirt?”
Shadow, watching the byplay of her companion with the others stands stiffly, her back arched, her teeth bared, and her attitude one of unease. Four attackers entered the room via magic. Three of those attackers are now knocking on Hel’s doors, the fourth seemed to vanish in a puff of smoke. Suddenly, the strange bit of odor that’s been teasing her highly refined sense of smell moves.
The library’s walls echo with the lynx’s battle cry. The hair along the arms and across the back of the necks of those present stand on end as the cat’s cry sends nerves quivering with ancient fear, then the lynx attacks the last intruder.
The intruder, having used his last magic trick, drops the invisibility spell he’s been hiding behind, and draws cold steel to meet the lynx’s attack. A dozen warriors, dressed in full plate armor could have warned the intruder against his folly. However, he’d have to visit them in Hel to question them on his foolishness.
Serinity, seeing Shadow’s attack, quickly grabs Pearim’s rapier and follows her companion’s lead in attacking the intruder. Cold steel and hot anger meet in front of the bloody hearth. Warriors slam together and blood flows from bleeding wounds as Shadow uses her natural weapons against the intruder’s armor.
Long ago, somewhere between kitten and cat, Shadow learned to attack the weak points in armor. Leather straps fall apart as black claws reduce them to twisted bits of flotsam that spray outward from the man’s sides and shoulders. As the last tether fails his cuirass falls away, leaving him open to attack from bell to belt.
Years of offense and defense have melded the two females into a formidable fighting force to be reckoned with. Pearim’s rapier slips silently through chain mail, padding, and flesh, pushing the man’s back plate off him. Ignoring the cat’s ministrations to his legs, he stares wide eyed at Serinity, a questioning look floods his face, then follows his soul to the gates of Hel. Blood drips from the rapier poking out either side of the intruder’s chest, spackling the burnt rug that soon will become his death shroud.
“You might have saved one of them for questioning,” Pearim comments dryly. “I’m sure the guard would have been curious about their master’s intentions.”
Serinity, pulling the narrow bladed sword from between the dead man’s ribs, looks up at the major domo, smiles, then meticulously cleans the blade on a bit of cloth from her former foe’s body.
“Perhaps,” she muses, “however, if I hadn’t had taken advantage of an opening, he might have used more magic to escape us completely.”
Finished with her cleaning, she hands the sword back to Pearim. “I’d give it a good oiling, but my kit’s upstairs. If you like, I’ll oil it tomorrow. I think I got all the blood off it.”
Inspecting her cleaning efforts, the major domo nods his satisfaction, and lays the rapier across the arms of a nearby chair. “I’ll oil it later, when things aren’t so busy.”
Between Shadow’s war cries, and the screams of the dying, they have roused the entire staff from their sleep. Half-dressed guards hold their weapons in defensive postures while the women on the staff, most still in nightgowns, hold hastily grabbed objects.
Pearim nods to the night guard sergeant. “Have some of your men remove this trash, then inform the city guard about the attack.” Seeing the look on the sergeant’s face, Pearim frowns, then explains his orders. “It’s better that we tell them the truth of the matter, rather than some wagging tongues tell them a wild tale of our inability to protect our mistress, and her guests.”
Having issued his orders, Pearim turns to Serinity. “I think it would be best if we move to the den, and allow the staff to clean up this mess.”
Before they leave the room, Pearim leans close to one of the older women, issues instructions too softly for Serinity to hear, then leads the small party to the den. Once there he opens an aged bottle of brandy, splashes two fingers’ worth into two glasses, and hands one to Serinity, the other to Ashera.
After taking a shallow draught of her drink, Serinity motions with her glass at the still open bottle. “Might as well pour yourself a drink and drag up a chair. Looks like it’s going to be a long night.”
In obedience to Serinity’s orders, Pearim pours himself a small glass of brandy, sets it on the mantle, and then asks the obvious question. “Do you know who it is that wants to see you dead?”
“I’ve no idea,” says Serinity with a sigh. “Ever since I took that cursed blade in my hand someone or something has been trying to kill me every chance it or they get.” Shivering with a sudden chill she continues, “I thought the worst of it was over when a dragon, that had been chasing me for two weeks, fell apart just shy of Milesport. Then I’m attacked by strangers at the Griffin’s Inn and now tonight four more attackers show up. I’m beginning to think that someone, or something is out to get me.”
Ashera sets her glass of brandy on the desk and walks over to her friend, laying a hand on her shoulder she says quietly, “Us dear. Whoever it is, they’ll rue the day they attacked a Sister of Parth.”
Looking up, Serinity says quietly, “Thank you.”
Picking up his glass to hide his embarrassment at the show of emotion between the two women, Pearim tosses it down his throat and then sets his glass down with a thump. “Celin isn’t going to be happy about this. However, I’ll do my best to lay her fears to rest.”
“Thank you Pearim,” Serinity says. Looking down she watches as Shadow rubs against her legs, as if to say, “We’ve been in worse spots and got out of them. We’ll get out of this one too.”
More rampant silliness.
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