The Seven Stones

Meanwhile...

aka, what is going on with the 'bad guys'

“What is it you see?!”

“Hush. The more you speak, the more I must ignore your sweet voice to concentrate.” Her sarcasm left him gritting his teeth, but he suffered her tone as he always had.

“Isstiin moves closer even now,” she said, her pair of blank orbs reflecting the blue light of the chamber. “The battle is on in full. They are seven in number, these infidels I see through his eyes.” A smile curved her cold, azure lips into an appreciative grin. “Quite clever, that,” she whispered.

“What happens? What happens!!” His voice grew in anger.

“They have hidden in a space beyond space. Oh, they are crafty. Gordenharn thought them retreated to the outside, but they were right in the Mother’s Womb the whole time. They will slaughter them to a man.”

He laughed loud and the sound was like icicles thrown against glass. “We cannot be opposed! Not here!”

“You mistake me,” she said, her sightless eyes turning to his. “It is the intruders that will send Isstiin and the others to the barren paradise of our Mother.” Her face turned back to where it had been, looking where nothing was, yet seeing all.

“Even through the cold-folk’s shaman, from this distance, I can feel the warmth of them. They’ve a tree-priest with them, and the half-wit Earth bitch’s follower that She warned us of.” Her forehead lined with a scowl. “A wizard as well. Thayan, it seems, from his illustrated skin. By her frigid hands, what have they in this?” She gritted her teeth. “Two swift ones. A man and a woman. They protect their spell-thrower. And a dwarf whose axe moves like the teeth of Sekolah.”

He hissed at that. “I suppose that one’s here by chance as well?”

“Hush.” Her concentration deepened. “Their seventh is a knight of Torm. That one will sink the quickest to her cold embrace, I would think.”

She shook her head and her eyes returned to their deep green color. “Isstin is being attacked, and it is only a matter of time before Kiissath and Luchtiiss fall as well.” She waved her hand over a pond of ice that lay on the table before them. They both looked into the mirror that formed and watched as the battle waged beneath their gaze.

“They would seem formidable were it not for the limping foolery that you send against them.” His teeth clenched together and she patted him on the side of the face.

“To gauge their power, dear one. They are fanatics, true, but they would hold no place in my mistress’ holy kingdom.”

What was the nearest thing to a frown came to his mouth. “You have said the same of the Otersdotter, and even you cannot deny her strength.”

She looked at him with incredulity. “And where shall she keep it? In the crystalline place she holds in the Spine Of The World?” She turned back to the scrying surface. “Let her keep her bed with Obould and his smelly ilk They would make a fitting royalty for a land filled with enemies from Silverymoon to Waterdeep, for that is what they have awakened.”

She bent down to kiss the ice, to dart soft licks on its surface and feel the sweet ecstasy as the grip of its cruel cold tore a thin strip of skin from her tongue. “My Mother’s empire shall be as she sees fit. Flat. Cold. Empty. She has no use for the creatures that live in the mountain holes for the good folk to mine for and slaughter. The Jarl’s daughter will join us or die, if she is not killed before.”

“What of the planes is that?” He turned his head about to watch as a mound of frozen vegetation attacked the dwarf in silent violence.

She giggled softly. “A gift from the Mother. A little token to show the Southern fools that She can hold even their warmth and heat within her merciful embrace.”

“Quite ingenious,” he said. “You see? We are clever in our own right.”

“And we must stay so, dearest, and ruthless as well, lest you become as your doddering cousin.”

He hissed at that and she placed a finger to his mouth.

He pulled away from her. “I have had enough of your voyeur’s delights. I hie to the halls once more.” He looked at her fiercely. “And I feel you knew I would be saying that.”

“Of course,” she replied. “Once we have freed the Mother, we shall have fuel for the fire, so to speak. And if we stomp on the intruders in the process, more the better.”

“And if they finish what they have come to start?” he asked.

She waved her hand dismissively. “Pointless to consider. Either they cull the weak or are culled themselves. The fires eat at the mountains and widen Her alter upon this earth. Let them eat into her followers to see who deserves to stand in her winds. You shall return to the halls and ensure we move as needed there.” She noted his impatient stance. “And, lest you feel left out of the mysteries we so try to keep around you like shadows, my handsome brute, here is what Gordenharn and I have planned for the infidels…”

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