throne swung around to reveal Araknik the Gray Wolf: cold, heartless eyes;
tight placid skin pulled tautly over the cheekbones; thin strands of long
jet black hair hanging down, uncut for years and draped over his
shoulders; curved beak-like nose; and absolutely no smile. He looked
wearier than ever. His voice cracked again, “Lie.”
stood still, heart almost stopping.
lie,” his master continued. “You took the chest when you saw the
other knights kept the drakard occupied in battle, didn’t you?”
heart did skip a beat. The
rumors are true, he thought.
shook and cowered back a step. His master rose up to his full height
with fists clenched, a tall man, as tall as Firesmyth Mancuso, almost a
head above the rest even without the couple of steps that ascended to his
throne. He looked more menacing now than weary.
dropped to his knees and begged, “My lord, he was a real Firesmyth.
I beg you to accept your gift and have mercy on me. Was it not for
this that you sent us?” With that, Consus fell prostrate before
him, hands splayed out in front offering the now revealed chest.
master showed no emotion but took the chest. He studied the exterior
for a long time. Consus remained unmoving on the floor before him.
Then Araknik pointed a stylus of some kind at the brass inlayed lock.
A brilliant red beam of light flashed from the tip of the stylus to the
lock casing. Tucking the stylus in the folds of his robe, he lifted
the lid up just enough to glimpse its contents.
smiled. For a man of 678 years, it was amazing he still had teeth.
Then he spoke. “You may have redeemed yourself, Consus son of