“We are in so much trouble.”

The winds from the outside spun through the great caves. Howled up through the temple of the death goddess of vengeance, swirling around the Acolyte’s clothes. Rafe stood off to a side, looking at the altar. The half-dwarf hadn’t cowered in ages, decades even. But he thought about it now, and his trembling knees were in agreement.

“Maybe not.”

Greta held up the clay prison of the Scourge of Darrenfell. The clay jar rang hollow, and looked the part. The gnome had a curious expression on her face, contemplating two ideas. One, that the embodiment of chaos and destruction, the foundational calamity of the Order, could be held in such a container. And two, what it must have been like.

“Maybe not? The Order has kept the Scourge locked away for thousands of years. Protected the world from her wrath, locked her away in secret. And now we, because we are the ones who found it, are the ones who are going to be blamed for her release.”

“If we hadn’t investigated,” Greta said. “And instead trusted a simple silver amulet, we would be on our way home, none the wiser. And it could be a hundred years before the Order thought something was wrong. That is, of course, assuming Arlyle had not destroyed the world in that time.

“All in all, I think we did a remarkably fine job.”

Rafe nodded. “Great. Wonderful, even. Absolutely fantastic. I’ll make sure to be in a different country than you when you give that particular report to the Masters, but good on you, Greta!”

“Good on us, Rafe.” Greta said. “And we are not going to the Masters.”

Rafe stared. And then he started back down the great temple steps. “Nope!”

“Rafe. Raphael!”

“Nope nope! Not doing that, not at all!”

“We have the freshest trail there is going to be. If there is even the slightest chance that we could find her, then we have an obligation…”

“To be obliterated out of existence when she discovers who we are.” Rafe started to take two stairs at a time. “Not my idea of a fun Thorsday, but you do you.”

“What would they do for the people who found the Scourge…” Greta trailed off into thought. “Spy training would be the least of it. And you, well, you could have your very own command!”

“They’d all be trained in hand-to-hand combat, have perfect aim from five hundred yards, and be able to float on a bee because they’re imaginary since it would never happen!” Rafe said. “Good day!”

“I’ll fill out your paperwork for an entire year!”



“Let’s find us a death goddess!”

Greta followed him down. All the preparations were running through her head. The messages to be sent to the Order, supplies and horses would need to be requisitioned. And then start developing contacts, and informants. Back alley deals by the light of a sliver of moon, all while chasing down the most hated enemy the Order ever had! Greta von Hammersmit, secret agent, on the case!

Rafe made it to the bottom. “I still don’t like you!”

copyright 2018 Jack Holder

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