The Broken Sword part 3
Varin cleared his throat and looked at the gathered people over by the other end of the road.
"What happened?" he said without looking at the old merchant.
The old man looked down to the ground and sigh. He shook his head while his fingers jumped from one goods to another. "It was a massacre" the old merchant finally said. He gulped as he blink vigorously, looking up to the roof of his stall. He took a deep breath. "A week ago, someone broke into the Central Dome and killed all the imams inside including the Grand Cleric" said the old merchant. He gulped again and wiped his cheek with the sleeves of his robe. "Not only that, the man even killed the blacksmith and his apprentice".
Varin frowned. "Why the blacksmith and his apprentice but not the whole city?" he said turning back to the old merchant who was busy wiping his face.
"No one knew" said the old merchant.
"You said Imams before, what are these Imams?" said Varin.
The old merchant looked to Varin with a surprised face. "You have never heard of the Imams?"
Varin shook his head. "Do tell me"
The old merchant cleared his throat. His sobs half disappeared when he start talking about the Imams. "The Imams are the governors of the city, they are both our protector and our leader as they always been for the past two thousand years. " said the old merchant. "They are also the guardian of the Book and the holy words".
Varin nod, though he knew nothing about the Book or the holy words. "Do you know who did this?" he said.
The old merchant looked around him. His eyes shuddered, as if worried about something. He came closer to Varin and whispered. "I heard some said they saw a crippled man walked out of the rubble of the dome unscathed" said the old merchant.
Varin's eye widened. He snapped to the old merchant and slammed his hands on the table filled with goods. "A crippled man?!" he said. His face stopped right in front of the old merchant's.
The old merchant backed away, surprised by Varin's sudden change of attitude. He looked to his back, placing his hand on the barrel behind him preventing it from falling over. "Y, Yes, well, that's what the rumor said." said the old merchant.
"Do you know who saw the man?" Varin pressed on.
The old merchant glared to the his sides and shook his head. "You can try asking around the bar, maybe they could tell you more..." said the merchant.
Varin closed his eyes and backed his face away. He took a few deep breathes and finally reopened them to see the merchant replacing some of the goods on table back to its original places. "I'm sorry"
The old merchant waved his hand in front of his face. "It's okay, it's okay" he said with a smile.
Varin gave the old merchant a bow, thanking him before making his way back down the great stairs to the bar in the lower part of the city. The crippled man was here. He clenched his fists and jumped down the steps two at a time.
Haleema rose from her chair, last amongst the generals to leave the throne room. She gave the Queen a bow before making her way towards the door.
"Haleema, wait" said the Queen. Her voice glued Haleema's feet to the carpet, forcing her to make an abrupt stop. She climbed down the small steps and made her way towards her general as if she was floating in the air.
"Haleema" the Queen watch her general turned to face her and gave her a bow without saying a word.
"Raise your face, my old friend" said the Queen.
Haleema raised her face but evaded the Queen's sight.
"You have done well" said the Queen, smiling at Haleema, which flustered her. She placed her hand on Haleema's shoulder. "The second phase of our plan will soon begin and we will take back what was once ours. But before we could achieve that, there is something else I must ask you to do" said the Queen. She let go of Haleema's shoulder and turned to face her throne. Behind her stood her two most loyal guards, each with their mouth sewn to prevent them from saying a word.
The Queen let her sight paused at her throne before finally turning to face Haleema once again. "I must ask for you to bring the sword somewhere" said the Queen.
Haleema frowned, unable to comprehend what the Queen was telling her. "May I ask, my Queen, what city and why?" she said with apprehension.
The Queen stared at Haleema long. "It's not a city, but a hut."
Haleema's frown deepened. "A hut?"
"Yes, a hut, to a man named Dalos" said the Queen.
Though her heart yearned for more answer, Haleema said nothing. She gave the Queen a bow. "As you wish, your Majesty" she said and walked away.
The Queen watched her once best friend walked away with sadness in her eyes. "I'm sorry, Haleema. But this is for the good of the kingdom" she said and exit the throne room with her bodyguards through the door behind her throne.
Haleema walked down the stairs only to have her way stopped by the same girl she met earlier. She smiled at her and the girl smiled back. "Hi" said Haleema.