The light was dim in Peroth's office. A few candles were lit and stationed about the space, their tremulous tapers of light fighting valiantly against the perfidious dark. The Sin of Sloth knelt before me with his eyes fixed on my broken hand. His fingers silently worked the bandages, testing the tautness and integrity as he minded my wounds.
At the other end of the sofa, Amoroth sat in uncharacteristic silence. Peroth had tended to her injuries first and, finding nothing serious, had moved on to mine. The woman was staring into space, her eyes black with hunger and fatigue.
Half of the office was in ruin. The door and its wall had been obliterated and the floor was painted with whirling scorch marks. The fronts of Sloth's cabinets had shattered, leaving small piles of glass shards all over the place. Occasional passersby peeked through the hole ripped in the wall but took one glance at the wreckage and quickly moved on.
"This will hold until one of Mattie's daughters can take a look," Peroth said as he turned my hand within his own and his eyes followed the long strip of gauze. I winced at the unexpected pain shooting through my wrist. It was sprained along with several small bones in my hand being broken.
"Thank you," I responded as I tucked my hand into the other. I trembled from the cold pervading the manor, though neither of the Sins was visibly affected by it. Peroth watched me as he sat on the floor and leaned back upon his palms. Blood from Berour's open wounds stained his front, crimson streaks marring his chest and the sleeves of his ruined shirt.
I averted my gaze and instead looked to Amoroth. Unfortunately, she was also staring at me with strange, guarded eyes, so I was forced to direct my attention heavenward. The rafters overhead played host to a whole flock of black-feathered birds, all eerily peering below as if waiting for instruction.
"I don't understand what he wanted," I said, breaking the silence before it had a chance to mature. "Why try to scare me?"
"Not scare you, Sara," Peroth answered on an exhale. The manor seemed to breathe with him, a warm downdraft stirring the wayward strands of my hair. "Terrify you. He meant to terrify you utterly on Balthier's orders. I can guess his motives, but I'm not certain of his reasoning."
I grimaced. He'd tried to trick me into summoning Darius into danger, that much I was certain of, and the Sin of Envy had sent Berour to his doom with no assurance to his plan's success. He'd thrown Gluttony into Peroth's path like a pawn that had outlived its usefulness. Though I didn't question Peroth's right to kill the rampaging creature and was utterly grateful to him for saving my life, I despised Balthier all the more for twisting and manipulating both Berour and Peroth to his ends.
The monster didn't even have to get his own hands dirty when ruining lives. Why did that make me hate him more?
"What happens now?" I asked as I lowered my eyes from the ceiling to find Peroth still watching me. "Now that Berour's dead."
"At this precise moment, nothing at all happens. Berour is dead. The Seat of Gluttony is vacant—but like all vacated seats of power, it creates a vacuum that must be filled." He leaned back until he was looking at the ceiling as I had only moments before. "A soul from the void will be drawn to the Seat within the Realm. Given some time for maturation, the soul resonates with the vast emptiness of the Seat waiting to be filled and what part of the soul can be salvaged reforms into a Sin."
"Who will be the new Sin?"
Peroth shrugged, affecting a nonchalant attitude to try to hide how upset he was about what he had done. "Who knows? It could be anyone who's crossed paths with the Sin in the past ten years. Anyone who's dead, of course, and anyone who died with gluttonous aspirations in their heart."
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Bereft: Demise (Book 2, the Bereft Series)Fantasy
"All villains believe themselves the heroes of their tales. You are no different, Sara Gaspard." Sara and Pride escaped Verweald's dangerous streets, but their quest to kill the Sin of Envy has just begun. In search of a way to end the imm...