All seemed to be going surprisingly well between Map and her former student (and victim), but matters are not what they seem in the final part of this Tale of Omphalos inspired by the prompts of P.T. Wyant at ptwyant.com…
“We’ll get a chance to get to know each other,” she added, swallowing another sigh. Now she was committed. She had to go out. She had to get to know the people of Omphalos.
At least this one.
Meggie reached out to pat her arm with a tentative shyness. “I, um, hope so. Maybe we can be an um, good influence on each other. After all, we’re all, um, Followers of Seraphix here.”
Map froze at her words. “What did you say?”
Meggie froze, too, for a moment. The next she pulled out a cord hiding under her blouse, a cord with a silver coin upon it. A strange symbol was etched upon it. Map couldn’t tell if it was a person or a strange rune.
“That’s, um, why we’re here. To bring Seraphix back as our, um, god.” Meggie glanced down at the coin. “We came, um, to build Omphalos so we could do that.”
“Your lord brought you here for that?” Map swallowed a throat which was very dry. “To somehow summon Seraphix?”
“Oh, no, um, not our lord.” Meggie blinked in surprise. “Ashleigh. Your wife. She was the one who brought us together. She was the one who urged us to come here.”
Map swallowed, closed her eyes, repressed an urge to put her fist through something. The cottages were too far away from the road. The only thing close enough was the woman in front of her.
No. Meggie had been through enough at her former master’s hands. She wasn’t about to take a swing at her. Especially when she wasn’t the one Map was angry with.
Behind her eyelids, she could visualize Ashleigh’s smiling face, pushing a lock of silvery-golden hair back behind an ear.
I know I haven’t been here for you or the boys, but I’m going to make it up to you. I’ll bring the world to you. A world we can all be part of.
“I, um, thought you knew.” A furrow of concern wrinkled Meggie’s brow. “Map, are you all right? I, um, get the impression you’re not. Not really. Not with, um, everything that’s happening. Omphalos being built and all.”
“Simple yet insightful.” Map rubbed her eyes. “It’s all something of a surprise to me.”
“I, um, can’t speak for everyone.” Meggie fidgeted a bit. “I’m, um, not trying to force anyone to be, um, part of something they, um, don’t want.”
“No.” Map lifted her head, offered her former student a weary smile. “That’s not you.”
“I’m, um, not sure what’s me.” Meggie raised her own chin, a glint of something resolute sparking in her sleepy eyes. “I, um, wouldn’t be alive if not for our lord. I owe him everything. For bringing me back. Returning me to my sister. Introducing me to, um, my husband.”
“Yes,” Map said with some bitterness. Meggie’s precious lord had done all of that while her former master had reduced her to nothing.
She couldn’t blame Meggie for following that creature. She couldn’t blame anyone for it.
Except Ashleigh. Ashleigh should have known better than to trust a shadow’s promises. Even if Dyvian had become more than a shadow.
“I, um, had better go.” Once more Meggie ducked her head. “It was nice meeting you.”
She hurried down the road before Map could say anything more.
“Nice,” her former master muttered under her breath, spinning on her heel to watch her go. “I suppose it was.”
Nice, yet terrifying. Terrifying to see what the creature who chosen to play the local lord could do.
I’ll bet you I can win the hearts of all three of your boys, bringing them into Seraphix’s embrace. Not just our lovely Leiwell, but doubting little Danyel and timid Tayel. They’ll accept a place at our side as shadow, hand, and eye in the Followers of Seraphix.
“How am I supposed to win this bet?” she muttered to herself. “Especially if you’ve got so many other people I love on your side? Including Ashleigh?”
The cobblestones didn’t answer.
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