The Templars Falter
Julianna threads her way through the corridors until she stands in front of a large door. The sentries look at her a moment, then at one another and open the portal for her and once she is inside, they close it.
Lucas is kneeling near the centre of the cage, his hands and arms bound together, his body bare except for the cloth that covers his sex. I am sure he has hidden his clothes somewhere handy for future use, she thinks as she scans the room briefly before resting her gaze on him.
“Ser Foss”, he says coolly, but his eyes betray the lust he is trying to contain.
“Lucas”, she answers and squats down, pushing her scabbard out of the way.
They stare at each other a moment and then he stands, forcing her to stand once more.
“Are we playing a game, Lucas?”
“I know why you are here.”
“Yes, I believe I do. The High Templar is ill, and you want my help restoring your former lover to his old glory.”
She sighs, and rubs the heel of her hand against her forehead. “I don’t know what the future has in store for any of us, Lucas, but I know he has been afflicted by something horrible, and I believe he will die – and soon – if nothing is done.”
“I have no reason to help him.”
Julianna quickly erects a ward to ensure privacy. “Do you have any reason to help me?”
“To aid you in this defeats my purpose, my desires. You KNOW this, Julianna.” He looks at her hotly.
“Why are you still here? You could have left last night; I’m sure those clothes are secreted away somewhere.”
“My reasons for remaining are my own.”
“Lucas – I just want to know if my thinking is sound; is it so much to ask that you help me with that?”
“You know what you ask of me!”
“What do you want from me, Lucas? Do you think that allowing him to die will endear you to me? I defended you to the Prior and Calix; we all know Iris is behind this but lack proof. I can take care of her but I want to know what she used on Tristan and Tor; what can we do to unmake that sorcery?”
“I will extract payment from you for this. Is that understood?”
“Yes, Lucas.” She doesn’t hesitate, despite the ominous tone to his voice.
“There is only one thing that can cure their illness – a life.”
“What?” Julianna blanches.
“The magic is strong in their bodies – too potent for most people to combat; only perhaps a few might have a chance, myself included. The quickest and swiftest way to stop the illness from progressing is to end the life of the one who begat it; the sorcery is tied to her power and life force.”
“You do not realise what you will unleash once you kill her; it will pave the way for other… difficulties, other challenges. Her death will not go un-avenged; it may be – will be – a terrible price to pay.”
“If Tristan dies the Order will falter; there is no choice to be made. Whatever happens in the future we will deal with it then.”
“I take that responsibility.” As she says it, Lucas’ shoulders slump and Julianna feels as if something has passed in front of her.
“I will pray to the gods for you, for mercy. Go then, hatch your plan”, Lucas says and walks towards the bars of the cage. “As for you, love – I will see you again very, very soon.” He casts one more hungry look at her before turning and walking to the far side of his enclosure. Julianna stares at his muscular back for a moment, watches him breathe, and then removes the ward and stalks from the room.
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