There are fates worse than death…
Welcome to the serialisation of Accidental Immortal. Chapters will be published four times a week so the serialisation will be completed at (roughly) the same time as on Wattpad, if not a little sooner!
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Chapter 18 – The Dragon
“Why was Arkan here!” His gaze seared into the two brothers standing in front of him, their heads hung low, hiding their expressions within their hoods. They knew there was nothing they could say that would alleviate his wrath.
“Did he get in the Temple?” Again no response from the brothers. “Did anyone see him inside?” he tried again.
Baserius let out some deep breaths, if it was not for the girl, this would be dangerous news. The only reason Arkan would be sniffing around the temple would be if the King ordered him to. If they could manage to get more gold and jewels then these silly games the King was playing would be irrelevant, He would be crushed easily and a replacement put in his place. It had been done before and so it would be done again. Finding the pyramids was a distant dream a few days ago, now it was a distinct possibility. His voice grew milder.
“There would be no way to tell I suppose. Were the guards on the stairs at all times?” Their shoulders relaxing, the brothers nodded their response.
“They saw nothing.” The nearest replied.
“At least that is something.” He moved away to stand in front of his desk. He reached inside his draw, pushing away scrolls and parchment until he located a golden key. He pulled it out, trailing a golden chain attached to it. He placed it around his neck and beckoned the others to follow him.
“Come, it is time for the ceremony. I grow tired,” he said as they exited the room.
They followed him, along the corridor and down some stairs to the basement entrance. Two brothers guarded another stairway. The guards were in effect a decoy from the true entrance to their right. If any spy managed to get past the guards all they would find were the temples food and wine stores.
Baserius bypassed them, not sparing the guards a glance and moved on a few feet to a place only an ordained brother could go. Behind a tapestry, a plain wooden door barred their way. Baserius placed the key in the lock and twisted it easily. On the other side was a featureless corridor and another door at the other side.
He strode along the terracotta tiles, his boots clicking a regular rhythm. The brothers followed closely at his heels. He knocked three times sharply and a further three times slowly. The door opened and an old man stood in the doorway. He gave a nod to Baserius and looked behind him to the two brothers who pushed back their hoods so he could recognize them. He turned a lamp on a table beside him to its full capacity. His grizzled features twisted into recognition and he moved aside to let them pass.
From the doorway, all they could hear was the sound of scraping metal against stone as the ceremonial knife was sharpened to a slow tempo. As the men moved further into the chamber, they could hear the murmur of hundreds of voices.
All three held their noses for a moment in the gloom. Experience had taught them it would take a while for their noses to adjust to the stench of defecation and blood that permeated the basement. The doorman smiled grimly at their discomfort.
“Has he been quiet?”
“Why do you always ask, Baserius? He has been quiet for a century. He is resigned to his fate. He is only a dumb creature after all. All animals will lie quiet with the right training.” The voice came from a figure drawing close. The same blood-red cowl from the robes that everyone wore hid the figure’s face. The voice was higher than normal but with the unmistaken tone of confidence and power.
Baserius paused in response while he studied the animal. It was indeed quiet. He had never seen it exhibit any other behaviour. It lay on a bed of hay. Its head low on its arms. Its talons were twisted underneath it as was its wings. The chains criss-crossing the beast were tied to its arms, tail and wings. They were taught and strong. Even if the dragon had the desire to move, it wouldn’t be able to move more than a foot. A painted red circle surrounded the dragon indicating where it was safe to go near.
“I have some news.” He finally replied.
“The king is trying to overthrow you. I know. It happens every two generations. You will have to make an example of him. It happened to your predecessor, it will happen to you. Why bother me with these banalities?”
“No, this is something new. But our coffers are getting low, it will be difficult to make an example when we have no army to do so or money to bribe.”
Around them, brethren were chanting quietly, moving with deliberation across the room in preordained patterns. The light from scented candles wavered in their hands as they breathed.
“You will have to redouble your efforts to find those pyramids. If we could bring enough treasure to fund two centuries of this Temple from what we could carry in our pockets. Think what you could do with a cartload.”
“That is related to what I need to tell you about.”
The hooded figure stayed silent, waiting for his explanation.
“A woman arrived in Ghinari, a few weeks ago. She came here with a nomad girl.” He took a breath, then coughed regretting inhaling so deeply. “They left before I could question them but they left an elephant ornament which could only have come from the pyramids. No craftsman on this world has the skill to make such an object.”
The old man who had let them in, twisted to look at them from his post. His eyes brightened. “She has to have come from there.”
“That is not all that is strange.” Baserius ignored the man. “She is blond so she cannot be from this world and she heals instantly.” All three looked in the direction of the beast.
Chapter 1 - Duat Chapter 2 - London - Present Day Chapter 3 – Lynsey on Duat Chapter 4 - Nomads Chapter 5 - Scorpion Chapter 6 - The Dragon Temple Chapter 7 - Assassin Chapter 8 - The Luscious Luna Chapter 9 - Arkan Blade Chapter 10 - Kidnapped Chapter 11 - Rescue Chapter 12 - Modesty Chapter 13 - Banquet Chapter 14 - Arkan Chapter 15 - Dancing with the King Chapter 16 - Dragon Brotherhood Chapter 17 - Pico