You didn’t have to kill the priest.”
“He would have rung the alarm bell. Or killed you. Maybe both. I think they’re gaining on us.”
Arcus didn’t need to look back. He knew the warship following them was closing distance with every wave their small boat struggled over. They must have been on their way to the shrine already, bell or no bell. No way they could have tracked them this fast.
“It’ll be dark soon. Maybe we can lose them and go ashore.We’re past the great wall now, they won’t follow us on that land, especially not at night.”
The last statement was more hope than prediction. It wasn’t the first shrine they’d robbed. Holy towers lined the coast, and there was always gold to be had in them. The caretaker priests were usually asleep when they broke in. If they weren’t, a quick knock on the head was all it took to quiet their protestations. They weren’t soldiers. Thievery didn’t require them to kill anyone, and no one ever really came looking for them. Sure, there were wanted posters in the local taverns, but grizzled men with beards and piercings aren’t in short supply on the coast. The order had enough gold, they could spare it.
Now they had a ship following them. A ship full of holy warriors waiting to run them through with pikes. Something was wrong.
“Show me what you took again, Egril.” Arcus said to his companion without looking back.
Egril held it up: an ornate golden sun with curling flames jutting out from a glass center. Within the glass was an ancient looking small bone, black…like it had been charred.
“You’re sure that’s what he asked for?”
“Yes. It’s exactly as he described. We take the relic, meet him at the mountain pass, and we have enough gold to last us a lifetime. Was supposed to be easy.”
“But it wasn’t, was it?”
“I didn’t think he’d be armed. When have they ever been armed.”
Egril was right. Arcus had been just as surprised to see the pike in the caretaker’s hand as Egril was. The pike had extended right past his ear into the wall before Egril slid his dagger between the priest’s ribs. His comrade had saved his life, but he despised him. They should never have taken the job. They’d never have killed the priest. They wouldn’t be racing through the twilight towards cursed land.
Arcus considered for a moment throwing Egril overboard with the relic, but manning a two person vessel alone was a wager he was unwilling to take. Killing his stupid friend would have to wait.The light of the day was almost spent and they had to reach the shore. Their boat had no wards, and the daughters of the deep would soon be at play.