I make it to seven before a blow knocks me over. I fall on my side. There is a sword blade sticking out of my stomach. How did it get there?
My head clears a bit. Mrokitar just ran me through with a sword. I hadn’t seen her with a sword, but she’s a god, so I suppose she can produce a sword at a moment’s notice. I am bleeding to death. I guess I’ve failed. Funny, I don’t feel any pain.
Someone’s standing over me. Whoever it is reaches down, and I feel something in my guts. A hand comes down to press on my stomach. There’s another one on my back.
This time, my head really clears. I look up. It’s Katrina of Moss, dragon warrior. She cracks a joke. “Too much iron in your stomach is bad for you.” She takes her hands away, grasps the sword than ran me through, and stands up. I turn and see Mrokitar standing there, utterly bewildered. Katrina throws the sword down at Mrokitar’s feet. She says, “Killing people is Frawkza’s job, Mrokitar. She says to tell you you’ve displeased her. She says you’re not worthy to be a god.”
“Thessar agrees.” It’s another voice, stern in tone, coming from behind us. I turn and see Mother Alesca standing there in her robes, looking like the schoolteacher I knew when I made a stupid mistake. She goes on, “Tollon is right, Mrokitar. You let yourself be used.”
Mrokitar won’t accept this. She argues, “All I did was learn about these creatures. I’ve done it before. I don’t recall either of you objecting.”
Mother Alesca replies, “It is not for us to judge how you interfere in human affairs, Mrokitar. It is for the humans to judge you for that. We merely judge you by the standards of gods.” And she looks at me.
I can take the hint. “Among humans, there is good and evil as we understand it. Selfishness, if it leads to the harm of others, is evil. And that is Vorana.” And I see a way to drive home the point. “Would you expect Vorana to help you in maintaining order among the gods? Whereas you know from our past experience that I will do so.”
Mrokitar looks unhappy. She accuses me, “You’re the one who said I should keep learning what it means to be human.”
By now, I’m standing. Despite having lost quite a bit of blood, I’m feeling fine. Funny that. So I go for the truth. “I guess I was wrong. Or at least there are some people you shouldn’t deal with until you better understand the range of human nature.”
Mrokitar is on the verge of tears. She looks from me to Katrina and Mother Alesca. I can see now that both are possessed by the gods whom they serve. However gods communicate, they do.
And then Mrokitar is gone. Immediately, pain rips through my guts and I fall back on the floor. Fire blazes through my brain.
“Rest, Tollon.” It sounds like Mia’s voice. I guess I’m becoming delirious. I feel drunk, feverish, and sick. And everything just drops away.