Allamu and Sabit worked together to haul Illi out of the river and onto the ship. The massive champion’s throat was bruised and bloodied from where he had tried to strangle himself to feed the hunger of the ghosts. Qays handed his mother, Qaansoole, a scrap of cloth to press against the big man’s wound.
The ship’s captain, Melcior, made what room he could aboard the stout ship. Several of the former hostages had drowned in the tunnel. The Magistrate had not been the only one to offer up his own life to the bottomless appetite of the ghosts. A number of champions had died by their own blades, consumed by the loathing within their own hearts.
In the distance, a plume of black smoke rose from the Magistrate’s house. The sounds of battle echoed through the ruins of Vert as the mercenary bands turned on one another to claim the most valuable loot.
Sabit watched the smoke, like an ugly scar across the sky, grow smaller as the ship made its way downstream.
Allamu laid his hand on her shoulder. “I saw such terrible things in that tunnel, Sabit. But they were not true. Lies in the dark cannot stand the kiss of daylight.”
Sabit’s face remained impassive. “Those visions bit so deeply because they were grown from the seed of truth.”
“Truth may have been the tiny seeds that gave rise to those awful sights,” Allamu replied, “but it was secrets that provided the fertile ground for them to root.”
“We all have secrets,” Sabit said, a weariness in her voice like one who has been awake so long that she has forgotten the feel of the sweet kiss of slumber.
“Perhaps we do,” said Allamu, “but I would have one less. Let me tell you the real reason I brought us to Vert.”
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/