Gaz, part four

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They were fetched some time after that. How long after, Arthur didn't know. He'd been drifting in and out of sleep and he was no longer certain if days or hours had passed. Guards led them down the stairs they had climbed when they were brought here and then Arthur found himself in a hall that at first reminded him of an ancient cathedral. Columns of stone soared into the air supporting a roof impossibly high above them. The pillars should have been crushed under their own weight alone, but Arthur had seen impossibilities in Verd before. This was another place built with magic.

Magic, always magic instead of engineering. He wondered which was most efficient. Memories of roads and towns outside of Keen made him decide in favor of engineering. He didn't care if he was unfair. Hell, he wasn't bloody obliged to care. He was hungry and afraid, and being transported from place to place without a single word of explanation made him angry as well.

Arthur didn't even know why they were being held prisoners. Well, that wasn't really true, but they hadn't been told the real reason. Unless of course Gring wasn't some kind of traitor to the Khraga, but Arthur was more and more certain that the one named Kharg played a game of his own.

They were led across the grand hall, and as they walked it opened up even wider at the far end. Someone waited for them there, someone who looked human. They were still too far away for Arthur to see any distinct features. He grinned. Maybe now they would meet someone sensible. At least they'd get to know why they were here. Knowledge was one form of comfort, small as it may be, but Arthur desperately grasped for anything making their situation look a little brighter. He knew he was clinging to straws of hope, but he didn't care any longer.

The march over the floor lasted for an eternity, or so his tired legs tried to tell him as he sluggishly forced himself forward. He was so very tired, and now he slowly felt the last remains of dignity slipping away. Maybe that was what their captors had wanted all along. He was soon brought out of his indifference though. Struggling forward like an automaton he caught sight of the face watching them. Arthur stopped dead in shock. The man had yellow eyes like a cat, and there were lines in his face, silvery, like spider webbing, and strangely inhuman.

He bowed and spoke. "My name is Vailinin ad Rhigrat. I am a truth seer and a judge."

"I am Gring ghara Khat and I would know why we have been brought here." Gring took up position beside Arthur.

"You will, as will the one you follow and the other following him."

"He is Arthur Wallman, halfman taleweaver, and he's been treated dishonorably by Kharg dhara Braugdi, our captor."

Vailinin shot Kharg a quizzical look. "Is that so?"

"That's what she claims. I say the oath breaker is a mage and a trickster who's blinded her with his lies."

"You know that is not so. He Wove when you were present," Gring bristled, defiance radiating from her like an extra layer of donned armor.

"He played some pretty tricks, yes, but I don't know that he did indeed Weave," Kharg shot back.

"Have you no honor? You know that's not true."

"Interesting and disturbing. A lying Khraga. I didn't think that was possible," Vailinin interrupted.

Hell, does he never show an expression? He's not human, that's for certain.

"Kharg is the dishonorable one," Gring spat.

"That is beyond my knowledge. What I do know, however, is that you, Gring ghara Khat, is a renegade and a traitor," Vailinin responded.

Gring took a step forward as if to attack, but at the last moment she restrained herself. "I am not."

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