Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The King's Challenge #7


The old man gets up and leaves his book. I have the feeling this is an unusual event for him, for he gives the tome quite the look as he rounds his scarred table to come towards me.

“Girl,” he says, “I do not want to know who you are, but I must warn you. Many folk are wary of the two eyes and will stand aside for you, even help you. More will seek to kill you, for fear is better set to rest that way. If you insist on heading further into the marsh, hide your face.”

I smell his sour breath, and it churns my stomach, but as he is being kind I do not allow it to show. “I hear you and thank you, but I must find Damin. What do you know of him?”

Attis, I notice, stands in the doorway as if guarding it from listening ears. The boy, if that is what he is doing, is wise beyond his years.

“Damin Mur has a price on his head, girl. Up there …” The old man gestures at the higher city. “… they call him the Marsh Devil.”

When Attis gasps, I understand this is bad. “What does that mean?” I ask, swallowing.

“Girl, he is the underground leader, a revolutionary stoking others to rise against the authorities. The marsh hides him, for many agree Normur needs change. If you go in asking about him, you will lose your head. Why do you seek him?”

I feel the need to sit. There is no strength in my legs. “He is my betrothed.”

The old man stares at me. “Girl, he has turned his back on all matters relating to Grenmassin. Best for you would be leaving this place.”

I cannot. This is not merely about my future.

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