25a (Argentum’s Song – PG)

Chapter Twenty Five

Argent ceased playing and stood up from where he was stooped over Martha’s helpless form. Bildad stopped clapping.

“Bravo! Well done brave young Warrior. I have seen a number of weir tortures in my day and yours equals any of them. Mind you I don’t think any Warrior I’ve ever met would sacrifice some of his precious Argentum by scraping it off their gift and forcing a weir to breath it. Seriously, what were you thinking? Didn’t Simon teach you to value Argentum more than that? I don’t even give any of it to my rangers! I might someday consider inoculating a descendent with it, like Simon inoculated you. But anyone else? Forget it.”

Argent didn’t know what to say. He hadn’t thought through his decision, he had just done it. It had hurt to put the scratch in his flute that was needed to make the Argentum dust, but it had seemed like the right thing to do. He had been afraid it might throw off the tune but, when he was playing it just now, if anything it had sounded more beautiful than before. Bildad gestured to the flute.

“To top it off you’ve got a small enough amount to begin with! Simon used to make fun of my sword for being too small. What happened? Did you lose your weapon while questing and that was the only metal you had on you when you finished?”

“I don’t exactly remember how it happened.”

Bildad looked at Argent quizzically and took a few steps closer.

“Well are you at least finished with whatever you were up to here? If so let’s finish the weir off and get going.”

“I … I don’t think she’s a weir anymore.

“You’ve been taught better than that. Once a weir always a weir! Only townies are stupid enough to believe otherwise.”

Bildad’s voice softened somewhat.

“Now I can understand wanting to experiment and figure stuff out on your own. Especially with a weir running around out there who used to be your Ma. But this isn’t something you can play around with. You start playing around with witchcrafting and you loose the protection. It doesn’t matter how much Argentum you’ve sniffed. Believe me when I say there are times I’ve been tempted to witchcraft a bit myself. To get the upper hand for a good cause, but I’ve seen what it does first hand.

“Jabbed threw himself into vengeance on the weirs, using any weapon he could get his hands on, including witchcrafting. It corrupted him so much that when I returned from the desert I had to call a Warrior’s Assembly to discuss it. They ended up commissioning me and my rangers to end him. What we found once we tracked him down was not a pretty sight.

“ Finish the weir off yourself and this whole thing can stay between you and me. I think we both know that Simon would be somewhat less understanding.”

Argent was shocked. It had never occurred to him that he could have been witchcrafting. He knew nothing about it! If anything it had felt like he had been guided by Ferus himself. He stood, dagger in hand, looking Martha over in indecision. She sure didn’t seem to be a weir now. He had heard her say the oath, seen the change after she had breathed the Argentum and there was still the fact that he had promised to help her begin the quest.

“If you don’t do it soon, I’ll finish it off and tell your father the whole thing.”

“No please don’t. I’m not a weir anymore. I swear … it all burned away.”

Burned … of course.


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