The Cyneweard

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Part III - All That's Left is Blood :: 62

“Get him out of my home.”

Union Leader Koph sighed and placed his hands on Lilly’s shaking shoulders. “I thought you agreed to him being a part of the plan.”

“I did, but I never agreed to hosting him,” she growled.

Cyrus watched the exchange from the nearby dining table, sipping from a large flagon of honeymeade. It was warm and sweet with a bitter hint in its aftertaste. The thirst had hit him as never before after he had been escorted through alleyways to the home of the owner of Lilly’s Leaping Leporine pub. Her song had rose within him, louder than it had ever been. The meade was keeping it at bay. Every stanza made him itch for Parton’s death that much harder. First, though, he had to think, and he couldn’t do that with her at the front of his mind.

“And you’re not worried he’s a threat to me, you, the plan, or the movement?”

Gareth shook his head. “He’s the only way we get all of what we want.”

“The complete removal of the Machinist group?” Lilly asked, crossing her arms and tapping her impressive feet.

The union leader nodded. “In a manner of speaking, yes.”

“What do you mean?” she asked, leaning towards the former Humboldt priest.

“He means I’ll be killing them,” Cyrus answered. He picked up the glass and took a heavy draw.

Lilly turned her large eyes onto his own. “You’re going to murder them?”

Cyrus nodded and continued to drink.

Gareth moved forward and tried to capture the pub owner’s attention. “It’s the only way. We have to pull the weed up from the root.”

She ignored him. “So you are an assassin? Who paid you to go after our leader?”

“No one,” Cyrus replied, smacking his lips. “I was here in the Chop on my own business.”

“So you deny trying to attack Koph?”

“Lilly, I told you,” began Gareth. “I’ve known him for a long time.”

“I don’t care. You said you haven’t seen him in years. Do you really know him?”

“I owe Gareth my life.”

“And a tract of land,” added the union leader. The two men shared a laugh.

She looked between both of them, her eyes narrowing. “Still, murder? Is that necessary?”

“You don’t think the board would come back to retake their possession? They have money. They have power. We have our voices and our fists. They’ve shown us that they will kill if provoked. I think it’s time we return that favor.”

Her eyes widened.

“Hard to imagine him as a priest, eh?” Cyrus said, standing.

She turned her gaze to the assassin. “What are you talking about?”

“It’s a long story,” Gareth said. “I think we need to hash this plan out more.”

“What’s to hash out? You give me a list. I take care of it.”

“It’s not that easy,” replied Gareth as Cyrus made his way to them.

“Why not?” asked Cyrus.

“Well, there’s five board members besides Parton, then Calor to consider.”

“Ok,” Cyrus shrugged. “You have a list, I take it.”

“We do,” replied Lilly, sighing. “You do realize that they’ll be protected, especially now with all of the violence between the factions.”

Cyrus nodded. “I am not too concerned with that.”

“And I can’t guarantee you’ll come out with a cleared name,” Gareth added.

Again, the former Cyneweard nodded. “I understand that. I am in this to get to Parton. I hope that you understand that if I get to Parton before clearing out the board, I am likely done.”

“I can accept that. The loss of Parton would be difficult for them to bounce back from. We could potentially take it from there. Still, we’d prefer those obstacles out of the way before the coup.”

“What about the Crone?” Lilly asked.

“What about her?” countered Gareth, his eyes on Cyrus.

“She offered you asylum when you were wanted. Perhaps she could do the same for him, should he end up helping us.”

Gareth sighed. “I wouldn’t know how to approach her with that.”

“Who?” asked Cyrus.

“Just be truthful. She can tell a lie a horizon away,” replied Lilly.

Gareth nodded.

“Who?” Cyrus repeated.

“The woman who helped me get back here,” Gareth responded. “She is...unique. And wise.”

“And impossible to find unless she wants you to find her,” added Lilly.

“But who is she?” asked Cyrus.

“Nevermind about that now,” said Gareth. “We have a coup to plan.”

Cyrus frowned and moved back to his seat behind the table.

“I need more meade,” he growled and drained the rest of the cup. His friend and the pub owner ignored him.

“Can you stay?” she asked Gareth.

“No,” he replied, shaking his head. “I have to work on some things tonight.”

“But it’s been almost two years.”

“And I told you not to wait.”

“But I did anyway.”

Cyrus raised a brow and leaned forward. Though their voices had shifted to a lower register, he still heard their words and, more importantly, the tender tone that began to permeate the conversation.

“I’m far too busy, Lilly.”

She sighed and put her hands on his chest. “I thought you said we could try again after you returned.”

“And perhaps we will,” replied Gareth, grasping her hands with her own. “Let’s take care of this business and revisit. No distractions.”

She looked up to him with a fierce but soft glare. “Promise me.”

Gareth leaned towards her face. “I promise.”

“I need more meade,” Cyrus interjected again, much louder this time. He banged the glass on the table for added effect.

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