In this episode of “Secrets in Sulsut”, an unexpected ally comes to Malric’s aid in his darkest hour.
Malric thrashed within the net like a fish pulled from the sea. He couldn’t believe he was going to die in the belly of a deity lost to his kind; alone, anonymously, his bones hidden in the darkness of a cavern beneath the sea.
Still, the calculating part of Malric’s mind, the part that had guided him safely through the countless pilferings and assassinations in Sulsut, insisted that there was a way out of this. Ledges jutted out of the sides of the cavern every few feet. Once free, it would be little work climbing back up into the chamber. But then what?
Suddenly a clamor rose from above. Malric craned his neck against the heavy rope and spied a shape flying over the edge of the cavern and down towards him. Knives and tridents clattered against the sides of the pit as they tried to bring down the creature.
Malric could not determine what it was, but it clutched something shiny in its talons.
Vibrations trembled down the rope that held Malric. He frantically searched the nearer side of the cavern. He noticed a ledge down and to the left. Bracing his boots against the wall, he shoved out and to the right. He swung outward, then over the ledge he was aiming for, and then back to his original position. He shoved off once again. The rope snapped on his return.
Malric impacted the ledge with his shoulder and cried out in pain. For an indescribable moment he teetered on the edge of the ledge. Sinuous arms broke the water’s surface to grasp him. Then he rolled back against the wall in a tangle of netting.
Hearing the fluttering of wings very close, Malric turned his head and spied Sol’s owl above him, holding Sliver in its talons and running its blade back and forth against the netting.
It is me, old friend, boomed the weary voice of Sol in his head, I guide the owl. Make haste; even as we speak my strength wavers. Malric noticed that the owl was struggling to stay airborne, and that blood flowed down one of its wings.
Soon Malric was free of the netting and felt the exhilaration of a lover’s reunion as he removed Sliver from the owl’s talons.
The water below was feverishly crashing against the sides of the cavern, a manifestation of the distress of the ancient god below.
To be continued…