I am leaving and will return the end of next week. A little something extra to make up for the time I am gone. Be Blessed and be the Blessing! CES
Mistress Trudy, The Rune’r
Before I could draw my blade I heard, “You are expected. Il Cuore del Sole assassin, leave the tools of your trade outside. They are not welcome in my home. Make sure that you do or the door will not allow you entrance. Once you have cleansed yourself, enter here; I’ll make tea and we will talk.”
Her attention was now riveted on me. Her eyes spoke of the ages and how my life could be forfeit at a moment’s notice.
“Tea?” she said with a toothy smile.
“Yes, thank you,” my three words stumbled over each other.
“Good, I will put the kettle on,” something that must be laughter came from her mouth. Or hell, maybe we were the savory to be served with the tea.
“You’re part dragon,” Aed was having a difficult time keeping his hand away from his blade. “How is it that you ended up here?”
“Correction. I am all dragon and I have just been here so long I have started taking on the human construct. In another thousand years, I may look completely human.”
The door appeared in the center of the house as we followed her through the guardian stones and past the altar. It was ancient and blood covered it. All parts of it. Even under the sacrifice stone itself. And not just blood-letting. But complete sacrifices. The life forces of those who had offered all reached out to me. I shuddered inside as I willed myself not to listen to their pleading.
“Do not touch it,” she said turning to me, her eyes blazing, her voice a dragon hiss. “I want none to know that you passed this way.
Your guards,” her eyes settled on Gael, “are vampire in this realm. Bad for humans, good for my business. “
“You know who she is,” Aed’s voice cut through the stillness.
“Child,” Trudy’s eyes caught those of the Aed and held him. “I am of the house of Il Cuore del Sole.”
He faltered in mid-step.
“Oh my,” she winked at him. “Surprises abound. Cleanse yourself and come in.”
The chairs were comfortable and the tea tasted highly of licorice. Pleasing to the palette and…and it left me wanting something more. There was now a hunger growing inside of me. Something…sexual, perhaps, as I felt my belly warm and Aed’s aura became sharper. His features more defined. There was now a crackling sound around him that I could hear…dragon fire. It was both comforting and frightening.
“All assassins,” she began after she had drained her cup, “are dragon in their bones. You are our descendants from an age when things were simpler and not over thought with rules.
Assassins are nobles, not royals,” she sneered and her teeth became longer. “Noble is correct. We are a race of magnificent and dignified persons. The royals are self-proclaimed heretics.
You,” she motioned to Gael, “are here because Roland is a hungry animal and you are wondering if I can Rune the brewing of a war and a new king in the making. Well,” she smiled as she picked up a pouch that looked like it had been fashioned from dragon hide, “let us see what the future holds for the house of Rowan.
Seven runes to grow the tree
From roots come life or death for thee.
For the tree to live Berkano we need to see
For the tree to die, Sowilo needs to seed the tree.
Pull one,” she said tossing the bag to Gael. “And place it on the table.”
Taking the bag, she inserted her hand into it and felt the electric charge build. She had been struck by lightning, before. She thought she was going to be, again, as all the hair on her body began to lift.
Gingerly she set the rune down.
“Sowilo,” Trudy smiled. “The Tree of Life for the house of Rowan is now the Tree of Death. Continue,” she said with a nod of her head. “Pull six more. Three for the next line, two, and then one. Then our Tree of Death shall be complete.”
I watched in fascination. Once the four runic lines were complete, it resembled a sketched tree. Then a living tree began to grow upright from the runes. Staring with Sowilo as the roots, you could see each rune acting out the atrocity that was to befall Rowan’s house. At the top of the tree sat Mannaz. There was no help for Rowan. All of his house lay dead. I could see their faces, hear the pitiful cries of those who had not been granted a clean kill. You could see the crows and ravens feasting on their flesh.
Trudy swept the runes into her hand and placed them back in the pouch. “Just cast the gold onto my altar and be gone,” she said darkly as she rose. “Rowan will have his own Rune’r and will come looking for anyone who thinks to help you.”
“Thank you,” Aed and I both said as the door appeared when we stood. I was ready to go. What was to befall Rowan’s house was pukingly horrific.
Once outside, we stopped by the altar. Aed took two gold coins from his pouch and handed one to me. “Heads or tails,” he asked me, his face saying nothing.
“Heads,” I answered. “So I can see where I am going.” I flipped the coin up into the air and watched it land onto the blood-smeared surface. Heads…
“Heads or tails?” I asked him.
“Heads,” he said. Landing, with satisfaction I saw the Eagle’s eye staring back at me.
“Do you know how assassins mate?”
My face showed confusion. “No,” I replied.
“They lace our drink with licorice,” he took my hand. “We flip a coin. Will gratification be face to face or do you take your partner from behind.
We need to be gone,” he said as he looked to the rumbling sky. “Appalling things will come this way once the dark settles.”