Emerald of Garrul (A Chuck Wendig Challenge)

Posted: March 12, 2015 in Uncategorized

Am feeling a bit burned out this week from work, so perhaps not my best work. still, I think there’s a solid base here that could get fleshed out into a decent story. It would need a lot of work though. Original challenge can be found here.

The Emerald of Garrul

“What do you need the Emerald of Garrul for?” Poloxines, a thief for hire, leant against a wall in the antechamber of Olinizes. The amount of wealth in the room would have lasted a minor king for a year, but here Olinizes was, hiring a thief to steal a gem for him.

Olinizes’ smile didn’t touch his eyes, and the fluid way he moved, the way he stared unblinking, reminded the thief of a snake.

“What concern is that of yours?” Olinizes reclined in his chair, sipped from his golden chalice. “Is it not enough that I agree to pay your fee? Is it not enough I bring you into my sanctum? What do you care what I do with this bauble?”

Poloxines coughed into his fist. “I’d hardly call the emerald a bauble. It is the holy relic of Gorag the Unfathomable. What you are asking me to do will involve no small risk to a person I’m deeply attached to, namely myself. If I could mention a different gem, one that perhaps glitters as much but is easier to obtain-”

“A glittering gem is not enough.” Poloxines watched as the chalice crumpled in Olinizes’ hand, though his employer’s countenance remained unchanged. “I require the emerald. Now, are you up to the task or do I need to inquire with one of your competitors?”

Poloxines arched an eyebrow at his would-be employer. “There’s not many would be willing to steal from a temple, let alone from one of the Mystery Cults.” His lips curled up into a cruel smile. “I reckon you already know that, though, and you know I don’t work cheap.”

Olinizes stare didn’t waver, though he inclined his head an infinitesimal amount. “And I am willing to amptly reward you for your skill, your daring, and most especially your discretion.”

The thief pressed a hand to his breast and inclined his head a like amount. “I wouldn’t have it any other way. About the amount-”

Olinize gestured to a coffer by the wall, richly adorned with silver and mother-of-pearl. “It, and its contents will be yours.”

Poloxines relaxed his smile and bowed a hair lower. “Then we are agreed. Tomorrow night, the emerald shall be yours.

***

A sudden sound, like that of glass breaking, broke Olinizes from his meditation. He snapped his head around, tongue flicking out to test the air for intruders. As an initiate of Ptoras Serpentis, he benefited from certain blessings bestowed about initiates. Such blessings came with a price, however, and so Olinize sought other means to power. Means such as items venerated by other cults.

“Who is there?” Sitting up, he drew a silk robe about his scaled shoulders and placed his hand on the dagger he kept on the table near where he sat.

“One who is returned from the errand upon which you sent him.”

“Poloxines? Show yourself man. Come, claim your reward if it is as you say.”

The thief emerged from the shadows of the chamber. He walked with a jerky movement, unlike the fluid grace Olinizes had previously observed. A dark cloak was wound tight around his body, concealing most of his body, and his arms and hands were buried in it. The thief’s eyes were sunken and ringed with shadows.

“Do you have it?”

“The emerald? Oh yes, I have it, magus.”

“Where is it then? Give it here.”

Poloxines removed one hand from the robe. In it, he clutched the gem. It gleamed with a verdant light, its illumination filling the room, and giving Poloxines’ skin a ghastly cast. The gem fit comfortably in his hand, but was of a masterful cut. AS Olinizes watched, it seemed to pulse, not unlike a heart.

“This then, is the emerald I requested?”

Poloxines smiled, but it was an unfriendly look with too many teeth and not enough warmth.  “You doubt me?”

“Not at all. Here, give it here, and take your reward.”

Poloxines tossed the gem into the air, and Olinizes dived to catch it, fear and apprehension fixed onto his face. His fingers brushed the surface of the gem before it smashed into the marble flooring, shattering like so much cheap glass.

“What is the meaning of this?” Olinizes demanded. Where the gem had struck a verdris light blossomed. Vines shot forth from the light, quickly encapsulating Olinizes, but leaving Poloxines untouched.

Olinizes struggled to free himself, but the vines were unyielding, suspending him above the ground and twisting him to face the thief.

“Did you think such an object of veneration would be unprotected?” Poloxines asked. His voice did not sound like his voice, however, sounding more resonant than any human voice had a right to. “Think you to pervert the power of Gorag for your own selfish ends, sorcerer?”

“Great Ptoras, protect your servant-” Whatever Olinizes was to say next was lost in a choked gasp as the vines tightened around the sorcerer, squeezing the air from his lungs and cracking his ribs.

“Your benefactor cannot protect you, and in fact dares not to. Think Gorag would bow to a serpent?” Poloxines smiled, green light dancing in his pupils. “Ptoras slithers away in fear when he sees my shadow. As you should well remember. Alas, it is late, and the time for lessons is past. Goodbye, sorcerer.”

“Wait-” Olinizes managed to gasp, but what he wished for Poloxines, or whatever being was channeled through Poloxines, to wait for was unclear. The sorcerous vines constricted tighter, and with a final effort, snapped Olinizes’ neck.

When his servants discovered him the next day, he was slumped unmoving on the floor, his neck broken, and what looked to be deep groves pressed into his neck and bare chest. Who, or what, could have caused the wounds, was nowhere to be found in the chamber.

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Comments
  1. Definitely potential here. The names are a bit confusing, maybe because I didn’t get a good picture of Poloxines at first. Just a thought. Awesome that, even with crazy work, you still write.

  2. Nicely done. A good start there and reminds me of the Arnold Schwarzenegger movies of Conan.

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