Elymas drinks . . . and drinks
Tuelscroft had been built upon a plateau that rose above a ring of mountains. Hard to capture and easy to defend, for the valley about it formed a moat, not of water, but of harsh, rocky ground.
The air was thin, hurting his lungs, and lacked the smell of market, sewage, and sweat; in short, the humanness of Casoria. Yet for all its absence of poverty, the city was plain. The only buildings of significance were those dedicated to the Tuel. They were made of black granite and boasted tall spires, at startling variance to the pale blue sky.
The directions given by his cloaked and hooded source had been useless, and the city’s inhabitants had proven as closemouthed as the storefronts. Questions were not answered willingly and never without gold, and he’d arrived at the apothecary shop almost in spite of himself.
Nor was the meeting with the shop owner an experience he would like to repeat. In the confines of the small shop, made smaller by the enormous girth of a man named Suga, he had been instructed in the care and uses of the Lud Sellum plant: diffused light, plenty of water, and when pressed in the spring, the leaves would produce a poison with the ability to mask itself as comfort. The poison was deadly but no one would ever conclude the victim had died from it; the maladies it produced were too diverse. All the while he had spoken, Suga drilled him with his black button eyes as if daring him to miss a word.
Elymas had become so unnerved he’d forgotten his own questions and had simply handed over the payment, two large rubies and a mass of gold coins stuffed into a rulla pouch. He’d accidentally brushed Suga’s palm while paying and the unexpected contact had caused him to jump. The man laughed openly at his discomfort while his helper, a pretty, olive-skinned boy of perhaps thirteen, had sniggered as he cut mold from a rind of cheese.
His gaze had lingered too long on the boy for when he looked again into the black-eyed gaze of Suga, he realized he was one instant away from having his throat sliced. He backed toward the door, clutching the plant, all the while bobbing his head.
Yet for all the discomfort connected with the trip, the purchase had proven invaluable. Not the finest practitioners in Casoria nor even the Council of Skylls had succeeded in correctly diagnosing William.
Elymas had stood before them all at some point and handed the King his nightly draught of poison without the slightest qualm, reducing William to skin and bones.
The King had been sturdy enough, though, to produce a child.
But there were ways to take care of that, and the wife as well.
As he took another sip of Frennin White, Elymas knew he would enjoy torturing Laveth. The Peasant Queen was proud, a vice he abhorred in a woman.