As they withdrew, the champions scattered the Magistrate’s treasures beside their path. Torn sacks of coins and golden cups and bejeweled rings tempted the pursuing mercenaries into shadowed alcoves on either side of their route. This slowed the chase as the greedy mercenaries stooped to claim these baubles. Before she climbed down the narrow stairs into the cellar, Sabit had witnessed three fights erupt between mercenaries over their share of the bounty.
In the tight space of the cellar, the remaining champions bound up their wounds. In the corner there lay a broken shackle where the Magistrate had been chained. Murmurs of a hunt for their former captor rippled throughout the champions.
“The mercenaries will not be delayed forever,” Sabit said. “The Magistrate’s escape must not curtail our own.”
The mighty champions gazed into the dark hole where the others had left. The damp, chill air seemed to instill greater fear in these fighters than had the horde of mercenaries above.
Her eyes flashing with anger, Sabit seized a torch and marched into the tunnel. Qaansoole followed. One by one, the others came after them, Illi barely able to squeeze his girth through the narrow opening.
Sabit came to the bottom of the rough-hewn passage, her feet splashing in the water. Not two steps later, her stride stopped at something in the water, neither cold nor stony. The Magistrate’s body lay cooling in the stream. A dagger protruded from the man’s throat, its ruby-studded hilt still gripped tightly in his right hand.
Sabit would never have called the Magistrate a brave man, but he was not one to underestimate the value of his own life. What could have driven him to discard it?
Wayfarings of Sabit: Tumult is copyright (c) 2017 by Michael S. Miller. All rights reserved. New chapters post every weekday. You can support this and other stories on Patreon: https://patreon.com/michaelsmiller or http://ipressgames.com/fiction/