Read The Sage Seed Chronicles: The Unraveling Online

Authors: Holly Barbo

Tags: #animals, #psychic, #sages, #sentient, #low tech, #female role model, #animal companion

The Sage Seed Chronicles: The Unraveling (33 page)

BOOK: The Sage Seed Chronicles: The Unraveling
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Raz came over the dune to Erin’s right. “ I
knew Robse and Shamra. They were good people. Who are you to judge
and execute them!” Bure whipped around to face the new threat. The
righteous anger now mixed with the panic of a trapped animal.

Drune arose from behind the sand at Erin’s
back and stepped beside her. “Zinar was a good man. He didn’t
deserve to die!” he said. Bure had both hands on the vial now and
kept twitching from person to person in his stance.

“Zinar was a witch!” he said hoarsely. His
emotions were fluctuating wildly from arrogance and anger to fear
and panic.

Lor appeared on the top of the dune, on
Erin’s left, with Nuit on his shoulder. The moons were behind him
and in the mist diffused light he seemed to be an apparition. Bure
was breathing hoarsely and his hand with the, now, uncapped vial,
was stretched out in front of him as he rotated from person to
person.

From the top of the dune to Erin’s left came
Mayor Harra. “We have all heard your confession and justification
for killing Ru, Robse, Shamra, Zinar and Thera. Do you affirm your
confession, Bure?”

The trapped man hissed, “I should be given a
medal. You should make me the Great One. I am the hunter and killer
of witches. I have told others of the conspiracy. They will be
looking for those evil conjurers. We need to save the realm. Kill
them! Kill them all!” His voice ended in a shriek.

No one could approached the now unnerved and
unstable man as he whirled like a crazy compass back and forth
between the people encircling him. Erin felt someone else standing
to her right side and looked over to see Ree with Keir on her
shoulder. Climbing to the top of the dune to her left was Kaas and
Kennet came into the light to stand beside Terk. Bure was becoming
unhinged. His emotions were filled with flight or fight and he
vacillated between the two. He was totally surrounded but nobody
was approaching or physically threatening him.

Making his decision he lunged for Ree with
his arm outstretched. Raz saw the move coming and launched himself
at Bure’s arm to deflect the thrown vial away from the old woman.
Erin lifted Ree and spun around to put the woman behind her. Terk
and Kennet tackled Bure from behind, throwing him face down in the
sand. Terk had his knee in the center of the man’s back and was
securing his hands and yanking him to his feet to face mayor Harra
who was striding down the dune toward them.

Tempo, who had waited on the lee side of the
dune for fear that the sight of a skunk would trigger Bure, rushed
forward. Confusion was everywhere. Raz had effectively knocked the
vial away, saving Erin and Ree, with his flying forward momentum.
As individuals checked with each other Erin realized that Raz was
slow to get up and she quickly knelt beside the man. “Raz are you
alright?” He shook his head groggily then collapsed. His answer to
her question fading unspoken from his lips. The poison had spilled
into the sand, all of it except the one small splash that had
caught him high in the face as he was coming down in the lunge. The
poison had gone directly into his eyes. Raz was barely aware of the
confusion of sound as people realized what had happened. He felt
Erin’s hand on his wrist and Tempo’s whiskers brush his arm and his
lips twitched in a small smile then his consciousness slipped away.
There was nothing they could do but stay with him as he
died.Chapter 33
The Boiling Cauldron

They sat up talking, long into the evening,
at a communal campfire just beyond the caravan wagons. Earlier in
the day, when Drune and Erin had circulated among the guild,
selecting people to be in the dunes, they had been very discrete.
They hadn’t wanted too many people to know, not wanting a crowd or
the possibility that Bure would get wind of the plan. They had
opted to ask Kennet but not Raz. They trusted Raz completely but at
that point it had been a matter of numbers. Raz had seen certain
people ambling toward the dunes and had cornered Kennet, who had
explained. Raz wanted to be a part of stopping the murders and he
liked Terran, whom he suspected was really Robse’s daughter. He
most likely saved her by his heroic act and inadvertently died
because of it. Raz had been part of the guild caravan for years and
was well respected and many called him ‘friend’. They grieved for
the loss.

Ree sat beside Erin at the fire. She had been
in the hills behind Yerra, gathering herbs, when Keir had informed
her of what was being planned. She had been in Erin’s head
reinforcing her during the emotional storm, helping her from being
swamped by Bure’s fanatical onslaught. She had also felt that she
should to be there in case a healer was needed. This evening Ree
was there to grieve for the loss of a friend and to discuss
tomorrow and future tomorrows.

Erin had, for the most part been very quiet.
She was processing all that had happened. She felt deeply the loss
of Raz, and that would take time to ease, but there was more. “Bure
has been contained and though I am incredibly relieved, it came at
a high price. We can’t lose sight of the fact that this does not
stop the problem. Bure talked to people who were superstitious or
those susceptible to blaming misfortunes on people who are
different. The seeds that he planted are, I fear, sprouting like an
invasive thorny vine in these times of quakes and bad weather.” She
stoked Tempo’s back as he lay on her lap. “Tomorrow’s presentation
in front of the people should be enlightening. What I am saying is
that though Bure, Wras and Targ have been stopped, the killing may
not be.”

Alliz spoke up for the first time and chose
her words carefully. “I have received word from the Great One, for
whom I sometimes serve as council. Wras and a few of the miner’s in
the prisoner detail were killed in a rock slide in the Sidetel Pass
when a quake hit.” There were groans and exclamations of dismay
from people around the fire. “From the original three, only Bure
survives. If what Erin and Drune have been saying is true, and I
fear it is, Bure can become an imprisoned symbol of ‘injustice’.
The danger is still very real.”

Kennet slapped his knees and stood up. “Well,
folks, I raise my cup one last time tonight in the memory of our
friend Raz. We’ll miss you man and you will be forever in our
hearts.” Everyone stood and drank to their departed companion. “We
need to be fresh tomorrow for the presentation of Bure to the
people. I bid you good night.” The crowd dispersed to their
respective beds. Char was putting them up for another night and
they walked in silence through the mist to his shop.

.........

Morning came with a solemn feel. The overcast
sky seemed to match everybody's mood. The herald stepped out onto
the city green and trumpeted, calling the people to the important
business of the day. Mayor Harra stood on the steps of the city and
raised his hands to quiet the gathering crowd. When they had, he
started to speak. “Good people of Sawblen Province, today I have
something of a serious nature for you to bear witness to.” He
gestured behind him and Bure was escorted onto the steps by big
tradesmen. “Bure has confessed, in front of nine witnesses, to
poisoning the following individuals of Sherroton: Ru, who lived
here for many years and raised Bure and his siblings as her own,
Robse the weaver, Shamra, Robse’s mate and a herbalist. He also
poisoned Zinar of Morraton, a weaver. Bure assisted in the deaths
of Hormis of the timber guild and Thera, a herbalist, both of
Sherroton as well as Auntie Jes, of the weavers guild in Morraton.
Further he assisted in the attempted murder of Holm the jeweler in
Sherroton. He attempted to murder our Char, the woodworker, two
days ago. Last night, following his witnessed confession, he threw
his poison on Raz, the tinker, who has subsequently died.” There
were gasps and mutters from the crowd. Several people were shocked
into silence, but it appeared that everyone present knew one, if
not several people on the list.

Bure was brought forward a step. “Bure do
confirm this?” The prisoner muttered as if he was chewing his
words. “Speak up, Bure.’ said the mayor.

“I killed them and would kill more! Our
terrible storms and the quakes other provinces have had were caused
by witches. Our realm is infested with them. I am trying to save
the realm!”

The mayor motioned him to silence. “What do
you, citizens, have to say?”

There was a rumble in the crowd and one by
one the responses came. “I knew these people! They were good decent
people who wouldn’t hurt anyone. They were not witches!”

“Are you crazy, seeing witches in every
shadow and misfortune? There are no such things as witches.”

“I have known Raz for years! He was a good
man! You should be banished!”

“Robse was a good man as was Zinar.”

The comments went on for several minutes and
when it seemed that people’s outrage had been vented, the mayor
stepped forward again. “Will anyone speak in defense of Bure or to
his character?”

A man called out. “I knew Bure and his family
when they lived here. They were like us: hard working folk who
didn’t believe in children’s stories. If he thinks that witches are
causing the storms and quakes I think we should believe him.”

Another man spoke up. “I agree with Har.
We’ve never had disasters like we’re havin’ now. I’d like to hear
another reason if it ain’t witches.” There were murmurs of
agreement in the crowd.

“Did anyone catch the names of the witches,
Bure missed?” came a voice from the center of the crowd.

“Now listen up!” said Mayor Harra in a gruff
voice. “They’ll be no more murder! When Bure started killing it was
in late July, long before we had and problems with our weather. He
admitted last night that he enjoyed killing and the ‘witch’ story
was an excuse! THERE ARE NO SUCH THINGS AS WITCHES! Bure and his
cousins killed a lot of innocent people. Were you folk listening to
the people in this crowd that knew his victims? He killed his own
aunt who took him and his brother and sister into her home to raise
them with her own. He poisoned her! The punishment for murder is
banishment. He will be transported to the Great One to carry out
the sentencing. And you,” and he paused, pointing in the direction
of the people who defended Bure and wanted the other names, “you
will be prosecuted and banished also, if you murder!”

Harra turned to the men guarding Bure. “Your
horses and pack animals are ready. Leave now and all speed to the
Great One. May the ancients protect you.” The crowd was taken aback
with the haste of the sentencing and the departure, but the mayor
had covered the points in the law and justice had been done.

The men mounted up and a protesting Bure was
secured to his saddle. The detail saluted the mayor, the legist and
the elder and turned and left town at a trot. Before they were out
of site they were moving at a gallop. The mayor turned again to the
assembled people. His voice was quiet but it carried. “Our world
has gone through restless times before. This will pass. There are
no such things as witches. Bure has been using that as an excuse to
kill as he wished. If ANY of you follow his example, you will be
criminally wrong and will spend the rest of your days banished in
Obsidian Island!”

As he turned to walk
inside a voice came out of the crowd, “If the planet don’t settle
down soon, I’ll start thinkin’ that Bure was right and act
accordingly.” There were murmurs of agreement. Erin and Drune
looked at each other. Ree shook her head. “We have some ugly,
troubled times ahead.”Red Willow Books

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BOOK: The Sage Seed Chronicles: The Unraveling
13.24Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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