The Cyneweard

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Part III - All That's Left is Blood :: 52

Roddy looked down at the strange cylinder that Parton’s secretary had handed him in the back room of a script store in the Sash district.

The meeting had been set up and executed entirely by the secretary. He had not spoken or seen Parton at all upon reporting a successful mission by steam cart.

“Chairman Parton thanks you for handling that matter. He states that he wished more of his workers were as diligent and thorough as you are.”

Fluffy words didn’t mean shit to him. The money mattered. But it had not come.

“Where’s the gold?” he asked her.

She had handed him the cylinder instead. It had a green glowing center and a screw top. It felt warm to the touch. He had never seen anything like it.

“Chairman Parton regrets to inform you that your mission is not yet through. You must now take care of another loose thread for him before he pays. He does assure me that your payment will be very, very large indeed.”

He frowned. She was the type who liked to confuse him with all that stupid fluffy wording. He didn’t need it. He just wanted gold.

“How much more?”

“Double, I believe. A hefty sum.”

He nodded. “Ok, double then. Shake on it?”

A look of pure disdain crossed her face but she extended her small hand. He took it and shook.

“That’s a deal,” he said. “Now what do I do?”

“It’s rather simple, really. You are to infiltrate the basement hold of the Chamatri temple in the Machine district, unscrew the top of this container, and leave it in the room. From there, you are to quickly make an exit, less severe injury befall you.”

“I’m going to plant this somewhere and let it do whatever it’s gonna do?”

She nodded.

“Shoulda just said so. Always so fancy,” he grumbled. “And this is somethin powerful, I take it?”

Again she nodded. “Unscrew the top,” she began.

“Let her rip,” he completed. “I think I can handle that.”

“Good. Please exit out of the back. I will go through the front.”

“Whatever tickles your fancy,” he said, stuffing the cylinder in his coat.

He hated working with her. Not down to earth at all.

Roddy knocked on the Temple’s large oak door. No answer came. Granted, it was the very middle of the night, but no less, he wanted to make sure. And if he had roused someone, they’d meet a quick end. He didn’t mind trouble, as long as he got paid. And double sounded pretty good to him.

The door was open, he found, and pushed it ajar just far enough for him to slip inside. Having never been in the place, he was disoriented at first. It was like most places of worship. Places to sit. Places to pray. Lots of writing on the wall. Lots of holy symbols.

He didn’t have much time for that sort of nonsense and lived his life day to day, moment to moment. Worry wasn’t his first instinct. He figured that was left to those in power. Those with things to lose. He had his job. That’s what he lived to do. The job.

And his job lead him to a small set of stairs that lead down. The door was locked. No bother, the jamb broke with a few shoulder hits. Old place.

The room below as long and short-ceilinged, torches flickering every few paces on either side of the long walls. As his eyes adjusted to the low light, he found it to be full of iron cots with cloth covered bodies, all in neat little rows. He shrugged and moved to the center of the room.

When he unscrewed the cap on the cylinder, a strong scent of sulfur filled the room. He set it down and bright green glowing gloop started to leak from the cap. They weren’t kidding. The air in the room started to grow fouler than it had been when he stepped into it. He backed away, watching as the floor started to smoke as the green goop spread. One of the posts of a bed got caught in it and slowly started to melt into the blob.

“Neat,” he said as he backed out of the room. The air in the temple was much cleaner, but he wondered if the nasty green stuff would spread up.

“Eh,” he mumbled and made his way out into the street. “One less Temple ain’t nothing to worry about.”

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