22a (Argentum’s Song – PG)

Chapter Twenty Two

“So the creator, Ferus, has the power to block the weir infection …”

Martha was clearly trying her best to keep a fast pace behind Argent up the mountain but she kept getting thrown off balance and just plodded along so slowly.

“Yes but He only keeps people from turning if they make Him their Master by taking the oath to prove their worth by questing. Questing is either done in the Warren or by being the first to enter a Maelstrom that appears once every seventy years. That’s why the entrance Simon found to the Warren is so important. They’re kept secret and sacred because if the Beast finds one, he sets up a weir colony nearby or blocks it off to keep people from questing. That’s why Simon needs to hunt down the brute and I need to finish the runt. So that the Beast doesn’t find out about ours.”

“And anyone who enters the Warren becomes an immune Warrior?”

“Well not anyone. If someone tries to enter without taking the oath in their heart, not just their mouth, they get burned up.”

Argent liked feeling like the expert for a change and Martha was a willing student. She seemed very different from the stuck up beauty he had thought she was when he met her on the caravan. She was still a lot slower than Argent though. This side trip was taking longer than he had anticipated. He was starting to worry that the runt’s trail would be too cold by the time they got back to hunting it. However, he had given his word to Martha to help her so there was no going back now. Still, it was hard, especially when Martha would take breaks to just stand there and look at the ground like she was doing now. She looked up with intense emotion in her eyes.

“But … Argent I can’t even remember taking the oath with my mouth let alone my heart … what if I burn up?”

“Well, you remember being bit right?”

Martha nodded.

“Then you must have taken the oath … otherwise you would have turned and you’d be running around with the runt instead of questing to help me hunt it down.”

A look of consternation clouded Martha’s face. She seemed to be going into herself like she sometimes did and Argent knew what question was coming next.

“Could you play your flute for a bit again?”

Argent looked into her puppy dog eyes and scowled. At first he had welcomed the excuse for the breaks to be able to pull out his whistle and play, but they were going so slow. They had to pick up the pace or he would certainly fail Simon again and the runt would escape.

“No. At the rate you can travel we’re not going to get there tonight. If we keep stopping every five minutes we won’t even get there tomorrow and the runt will get away for sure.”

Martha looked down and started trying to follow up the mountain again.

“Does it hurt anything … to take the oath twice? You know … just in case.”

She was gasping between breaths and Argent felt bad for pushing her so hard but there really wasn’t a choice. He turned away and called back over his shoulder.

“I don’t see how it would. I know it’s permanent though. After you take the oath you are Ferus’ servant for the rest of your life.”

“What if I don’t want to be indentured for the rest of my life? To anyone.”


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