• Martin Parece

An excerpt from Blood Betrayal (The Cor Chronicles Vol. V)

Frustration mounted in Keth’s bearing as he began heading back the way he had come. He cursed himself a fool that he hadn’t made absolutely sure that Cor wasn’t haunting the Crescent somewhere while he had been searching in the wrong places. He could no longer keep himself to a walk, breaking into a quick jog as he passed back through the palace, its plaza and made his way to the Crescent.

He slowed himself to his walking pace, a speed that most people would find hard to match without simply running, once he pushed his way through a door, but he nearly ran up the first set of stairs he came to, taking them two or three at a time. Keth stormed through the halls to Cor’s private office and just barely stopped to knock rather impatiently before just charging into the room. After no more than a few seconds without an answer, he tried to enter but found the door locked.

“For the gods’ sakes,” Keth called to the ceiling.

It took him mere minutes to climb up steps to the next level and make his way to Cor’s suite, but again, a locked door foiled him. Thoroughly aware that he could not search the entire city without an inkling of where to look, Keth decided to simply lean against the wall outside of Cor’s rooms to wait.

It must have been at least an hour, maybe two, before he heard the groans and grunting of labor coming from the hallway that led to the stairs, because the shadows cast through the Crescent’s windows by the sun were at their shortest, as if the sun were directly overhead. Cor appeared at the top of the stairs, dressed in a black tunic, trousers and soft boots, having walked backwards up them while talking to someone further down.

“You’re almost there. Please be careful around this turn,” he said, but to whom Keth couldn’t tell.

“Lord Dahken!” Keth called, and he quickly crossed the fifty or so feet to the steps.

Cor glanced over his shoulder and held up one hand for calm, “Hold on, Keth.”

Reaching the top of the stairs to stand beside Cor, Keth saw three rather burly Westerners in the white tunics and brown pants common to dock workers laboring mightily to bring a divan up the steps. It looked quite large, easily eight or nine feet long and four wide, made of an apparently extraordinarily solid and heavy wood. Reliefs of pyramids and jungles and mountains and rivers were carved into the wood frame. A fourth man followed behind as he struggled with two giant cushions that seemed to be made of a shimmering black silk, reminding Keth of Thyss’ preferred clothing choice even after all of these years.

“Beautiful, isn’t it?” Cor breathed. “I can’t tell you how much it cost me. Made by a master craftsman in her homeland.”

“Lord Dahken, I must speak with you,” Keth urged, and his tone must have brought Cor to attention. “It is about your son.”

“What?” Cor asked, and he turned away, Thyss’ new and very expensive divan completely forgotten. “What about my son?”

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OPENING SCENE: Blackness fills the camera for a few seconds. It is pierced by a screech, a scraping of metal on metal as if something heavy is slid out of the way. As this happens, pale bluish light