Soothsayer pt.3

Outside the tent, one of the caravan guards had stopped but was not at all paying attention to the strands of meandering conversation that could be heard coming from within the tent. Instead Leo was listening to the compelling, mesmeric words being spoken directly into his mind by the old Lich. Heeding them without any conscious ability to resist, the guard knelt down and quietly opened Horo's pack. Inside he discovered two items of magic: a strange and ancient bottle, and a battered old tome.
Leo riveted on the book which was urging him to hurry, pick it up, hide it, and take it far away from here, much as over a century earlier it had mentally influenced a young Verdish noblewoman to steal it out of the Inquisition vaults and bring it to Dalen.
“Make haste, you fool,” the same male voice spoke now. “The storm will cover your tracks, blind any pursuers. And then you must take me to Nimorra, who will well reward your part in reuniting us.”

Not knowing who that was, only that he needed to obey, Leo pulled the Mortith from Horo's pack and stuffed it up under his tunic. Then, glancing around to ensure he wasn't being observed, he left through the rear of the temple, and then without any concern for his wellbeing, trudged out into the windswept desert, oblivious to the lashing, cutting, choking grit that blew into his eyes and nose, threatening to suffocate him.

Outside the front of the old temple, three hearty men hunched in the shelter of the wagons, passing a half empty bottle of cheap vino around between them as they waited out the storm. Their faces were dirty with particles of dust carried on the air and their clothes were saturated and filthy with the ash grey sand.

“Anyone seen Leo?” Nate asked, glancing at Jack and Mathias. “He didn't get back yet?”

Mathias hawked and spat to clear his throat. “I didn't even notice Leo left,” he said, confused.

“He went on a solo patrol around the temple, but ought to have been back by now.”

“In this freak weather? Who sent him off to do that?”

“Himself. He was thinking some night skitters might have taken refuge from the storm inside the temple and was worried about the Soothsayer.” Nate chuckled, taking a swig from the bottle. “Ask me, Leo just wanted an excuse to go talk with her.”

Mathias grinned. “Madam Esmeralda is a good looking bird, but a little creepy,” he told Jack.

Nate nodded with a smile and added, “Can talk to dead spirits, and for a few coppers find out what the future holds for anyone.”

“Nate makes her sound like she’s doing something other than advertised, but don’t listen to him. She really can tell you the future.” Mathias said, “Though don’t fall in love.” he teased. “She already knows how it’ll play out.”
The two men laughed.

“Hey Jack.” Mathias said. “Why don’t you go get the idiot? Show us what you got.”

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