The Jewel of Turmish

The Jewel of Turmish by Mel Odom

Book: The Jewel of Turmish by Mel Odom Read Free Book Online
Authors: Mel Odom
other crypts had a roof in such good repair.
    “Is that it?” Two-Fingers asked.
    “Yes,” Cerril said, unable to stay back any longer.
    The grip on his heart was too firm, too sure. He followed an overgrown path between rows of graves Uttered with
    rubble. No ornate markers or statuary occupied the graveyard’s rearmost section.
    The crypt was less than ten feet tall and was easily forty feet across. Though he couldn’t accurately judge how far back the crypt went, Cerril felt certain it had to have been as deep as it was wide, if not deeper. Cracks tracked several of the layers of stone used in the building’s construction. Weeds and saplings jutted from the cracks, seemingly growing from the building’s corpse. A short flight of steep steps led up to a wide entrance where splintered wooden doors sagged from broken hinges. The thin veneer of stain and lacquer had worn away in places.
    “Do you know what this building is?” Hekkel asked in a hushed voice.
    “What is it?” Two-Fingers asked.
    “See?” Hekkel pointed, just barely visible from the corner of Cerril’s eye. “If you look hard under those creepers and vines, you can see a symbol there.”
    “It looks like the head of a goose,” Two-Fingers said.
    “Not a goose,” Hekkel said. “That’s a picture of a stream or a river pouring down into a lake.”
    “You think this is a well house?” Two-Fingers asked. “Or a bathhouse where the dead are cleaned?”
    A couple of the boys cursed as they considered that possibility.
    Cerril knew he almost lost part of his group then, and he didn’t want to face alone whatever lurked inside. “It’s not a bathhouse for the dead. That sign belongs to Eldath.”
    “Who is Eldath?” one of the younger boys asked. His name was Aran, and he’d only arrived in Alaghôn a few months before, an immigrant from the Whamite Isles that had been nearly destroyed during the Serdsian War. Legend had it that the Taker, Iakhovas, had caused the destruction of the Whamite Isles. Now, according to reports, only the undead remnants of the island populations lived there.
    Steadily feeling the pull from inside the building, Cerril reached the top of the short flight of stairs and walked into
    the crypt. Shadows cloistered in all the corners and it was hard to keep from imagining them moving.
    “Eldath is a goddess,” Hekkel whispered as the group followed. “They call her the Quiet One. She’s a healer, and she serves Silvanus and helps the druids of the Emerald Enclave.”
    One of the boys cursed and spat. “My brother works as a logger. He hates the damned druids because they keep interfering with his work and making things hard for everybody.”
    “So this house belongs to Eldath?” Aran asked.
    “No,” Cerril answered. “It belongs to the Temple of the Trembling Flower. They represent Eldath in Alaghôn.”
    “I’ve never heard of it.”
    “The temple is small,” Two-Fingers answered, surprising Cerril by even knowing of it. “Not many people are interested in worshiping a goddess who preaches that peaceful intentions can overcome a sword blow.”
    “So why would a coin bearing Malar’s symbol call us here?” Aran asked.
    The question, Cerril knew, was a good one—one that Cerril had been entertaining since he’d recognized the structure for what it was.
    “Malar directs his believers to destroy the followers of Eldath as a show of faith to him.”
    “Bet that would make Eldath’s priests take up a mace or a cudgel,” Aran said.
    “No,” Cerril replied as he brushed away the cobwebs that blocked the entrance to the building, “it only makes for fewer worshipers for Eldath.”
    He peered inside the structure and saw cheaply made caskets crumbling on iron-studded shelves. Several of the caskets had broken and moldered away, revealing bits of skeletons wearing scraps of clothing.
    “Damn!” Hekkel swore. “Skeletons! Those Cyric-blasted things could be enchanted to come alive and attack anyone who

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