25b (Argentum’s Song – PG)

“That’s it! Bildad that’s it. We just take her up to the Warren and send her in. If you’re right she’ll burn up and if not than Ferus can judge her himself. Regardless I’ll have fulfilled my oath to help her take the quest.”

“Look I like the idea of the light show put on by a burning weir as much as the next Warrior but we can’t do that for two reasons. One – she might be bait, there might be more weirs out there waiting for us to lead them to the Warren. Two, and most importantly, – I don’t have time for this stupid game. We can finish her now, easily or we drag her up to the Warren, toss her in, and watch her burn. She would burn. It’s not an if, it’s a fact. The end result would be the same, the only difference is that I would be delayed in finding the silver I’m looking for, and we may have risked the location of the Warren for nothing.”

Bildad unsheathed Crescent Flame, his Argentum Scimitar, and casually walked toward Martha.

“I ran into a mine owner after I left you and your father. He had been ambushed but got away on his horse. He was succumbing to infection fast, begging me to kill him before he turned. I did, but not before I learned he owned a silver mine up here and that his entire mine encampment was lost to weirs. This was a pity since one of my rangers was just infiltrating that camp so we could have inside information when bidding on his silver. However, it’s also an opportunity since now that Walter is dead there is no doubt a ton of silver ore just waiting to be claimed as treasure at his camp. With that silver I’ll be able to arm a dozen or more rangers, but it’s only a matter of time before other treasure seekers hear of his death and start their own expeditions. I can’t delay, I’m ending this now.”

“I know where the silver is. I have the key!”

Martha’s exclamation froze Bildad’s scimitar mid-swing.

“She’s telling the truth. I’ve seen the key.”

“Tell me where it is.”

The large man’s scimitar was at Martha’s throat. She looked confused. Argent felt confused himself. Weren’t True Warriors supposed to be protectors? How could Bildad be so sure he was doing the right thing? Martha stepped backward but Bildad moved the blade with her.

“I’ll take you there but you’ve got to take me to the Warren. Maybe I will burn up like you say, but I don’t think so. Besides it would be better than turning back into a weir anyhow.”

“Show me the key now!”

Martha slowly removed the hemp loop from her neck.

Bildad grabbed it with his left hand – the scimitar never wavering from her throat, it’s edge had already broken the skin and blood was starting to trickle down. Bildad held the key up to the light and examined it.

“How did you get your hands on this?”

“The silver belongs to me and my parents! I’m the last of the mining party and lay legal claim to it. Even if you kill me I will it to my parents to pay off their indenture. Argent you’re witness!”

Argent nodded more due to the intensity of her stare then because he understood what he was agreeing to. He didn’t know enough about towny law to fully understand what was going on, but Bildad’s eyes widened so there must have been something to her plan to cause him to think twice.

“Humph. Well, we’ll see about that. Doesn’t leave me much motivation for leaving you alive if you’re right though now does it?”


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