Traps. Poison. Spikes. The Skaven eyed the collection of loot with his head tilted slightly to the left. Behind the smoked glass of his goggles, eyes like twin shards of deepest night glittered.
The hut of the priest had many such items of interest within, and the strange sorceress had mentioned that Veskar's help would be appreciated. And so he was here.
The Skaven's whiskers twitched as he looked over the measures this dark priest had taken to protect his secrets. Whatever story this tower had to be told, it would be one of significance, there was no doubt.
Zafirah stood a more than comfortable distance from the Skaven. She was still astounded that such creatures were not myth, and actually managed to show some level of sentience. A brief thought about her writing an essay for the Royal Academy on these things would go a long way in the academic community!
She shook her head to get her thoughts back on track. Work now, education later. "Look... ahh... Veskar was it? This guy worships a God of Assassins, Allah only knows what sort of defenses he's set up for himself to keep his so-called friends from going through his things. You seem to know the most about this sort of thing, and if you find something you want, you get first pick out of this stuff, alright?"
The rat-man twitched his tail behind him slowly back and forth—a sign of irritation among his people, but one so far that none of the smooth-skins had yet deciphered.
"Know that Most honorable Patris-sama will decide equitable shares for all." Veskar replied, his clawed thumbs rubbing across the sensitive pads of his slender fingers. The sorceress was a dichotomy—obviously she knew much, but knew little at the same time.
Zafira blinked at the strange rat creature's response to her perfectly reasonable offer. "Yeah... sure... whatever. If I end up getting something I can't use or don't want, you can have it."
Throat. Sternum. Femoral artery and jugular vein. These were the most vulnerable points on the human body, and Veskar silently calculated them all... as he did every day.
He strove to center himself and pushed patience into the tones of his voice. "Most honorable Patris-sama led us here, he shall decide the rewards for each one's service." This would be the price for his help—the sorceress would either agree or deal with the poisons herself. Outside the hut, the Skaven could hear boots tromping, the scrape of metal on wood.
Zafirah rolled her eyes and sighed with irritation. "Look, Patris is going to do what he wants, and I have no doubt that he is going to be fair. All I am saying is that I am willing to make it worth your while for taking the time to do this. I'm not trying to buy your loyalty or anything, but this is a favor to me to make my job here a lot easier and I'd like to return the favor, alright?"
"Martin is outside getting water, perhaps. Know that it would be safer if you were not here while this unworthy one removes the threat of these poisons."
She looked over her shoulder towards the door where the others were working on moving things around. She rolled her eyes at seeing what exactly was going on. Fools, did they not realize that they had an Alchemic Thamaturge who could do that for them? She looked back towards Veskar and gave a slight nod. "Ok. I will let you get to doing... whatever it is that you do." She had taken the Skaven's words as a subtle hint that the best favor she could offer him right now would to simply not be present while he worked. She could accept that easily enough.
Zafirah turned away from Veskar and walked to the door. She stopped before exiting however and looked back towards the rat-man. She thought about saying something, but instead she shook her head and stepped from the hut to leave the Skaven to his work.
Once outside she would find Martin some of the others making preparations to depart. "Hey, where do you think you're going? I thought we were making camp here tonight."
Kneeling over a stack of water skins, Martin glanced up and pushed the brim of his sallet back. "We aren't going anywhere, Lady Zafirah, we are making camp." He pointed over to a fortress tower, "We've found horses and a mule, and they need to be brushed, fed, and watered before we bed down." He then picked up a nearly-empty skin, "As do we, so we're getting ready to go down to the river."
"Water? From the river? That will take forever! You don't need to do all that. I can create as much water as you need."
Dropping the skin, Martin stood, resting his hands on his swordbelt. "You can? How? Do you make it rain?" He glanced up at the sky as he spoke.
Zafirah rolled her eyes at the reaction. Typical barbarian. She took a deep breath and exhaled slowly, calming herself. "I am an Alchemic Thaumaturge by profession... " She paused and realized that the man most likely did not know what that was. "I use complex mathematical equations and Alchemy to wield magic. I can't make it rain... at least not as you know it, but it works on similar principals." Another pause and another sigh.
"I am a spellcaster, and where I come from, it is fairly rudimentary for any magic user to be able to create water because of its importance in the desert. In some places, water is more valuable than gold, so it was one of the first spells I learned in my studies at the Royal Academy and one of the staples of any Alchemic Thaumaturge worth his or her salt...or any magic user from Molnai for that matter."
There was a moment of silence while Martin regarded Zafirah. Then he stepped back from the pile of skins. "What will you have us do, then? Fetch buckets? Or will you summon the water inside the skins themselves?"
During that moment of silence, she was holding her breath and when Martin seemed to at least be willing entertain the idea, she released it with a barely noticeable hint of relief. "I can create it inside of the skins or in buckets or whatever vessel you want them in. I can start with buckets for the horses or cleaning up, or skins for our use or whatever you intend to use for cooking. Where do you need it most right now?"
She shrugged her shoulders slightly and pulled up her sleeves. "Alright. This could take awhile to get started, but you are welcome to watch if you want."
At that she withdrew a silver bar about six inches in length with that, she began to carefully carve an intricate circle into the dust. As the silver rod drifted through the dust, Martin could hear her muttering something under her breath that, although in Arabic, was not any form of chanting that would be associated with spellcasting.
Once the circle was complete, she placed the bucket in the center, being most meticulous about it's exact positioning. Once she was satisfied with the bucket's placement, she placed both hands at the edge of the circle in precisely the 5 and 7 o'clock points. She then uttered a word of power and the lines she had inscribed in the dust ignite with a brief flash of arcane energy that vanished almost as soon as it manifested. Then, above the bucket, the air itself seemed to warp, twist and contort upon itself for several seconds before rupturing into a miniature waterfall that fell from mid-air to fill the bucket.
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