Golden Scarab. Book 2 The Windflowers Trilogy.
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A year has passed since Kalli escaped from the Ferrasium, but the High Priest’s stranglehold is tightening, his tentacles extending to encompass all of Keymett. As Pharaoh’s royal barges sail toward Wasset, the High Priest is poised like an arachnid in his nest. Kalli must unlock the secrets of the Golden Scarab before all of Keymett falls under the High Priest’s dominion, but who can she trust? More
Betrayal …treachery … treason.
A year has passed since Kalli escaped from the Ferrasium, but the High Priest’s stranglehold is tightening and his tentacles are extending to encompass all of Keymett. As Pharaoh’s royal barges sail toward Wasset to celebrate the Jubilee Festival, the High Priest is poised like an arachnid in his nest, waiting to hatch his plans. Kalli must unlock the secrets of the Golden Scarab before all of Keymett falls under the High Priest’s dominion, but who can she trust?
Bells jangled above his head as Seraphis parted the beaded curtain at the shop’s entrance. Bottles, colors of every hue, lined the shelves from floor to ceiling of the small space. Dark shapes floated within some of the jars and Seraphis saw eyeballs, tails, and scales suspended within. Scents of aniseed, sulphur, and camphor mingled in his nostrils. He coughed.
The shopkeeper, a man of middle years, bowed and the tassel on top of his box hat swung in an arc. He swept his arm toward his wares. “Noble sir, how may I be of assistance?”
The High Priest kept his hood up, shrouding his features and flicked a gold coin at the shopkeeper. “I seek Moorak.”
The man snatched the coin from the air faster than a lizard’s tongue catching a drowsy fly. The coin disappeared inside his robes as if he was a magician. He pointed to a doorway almost hidden in the shadows at the rear of the shop. “The last door on the left. Knock seven times.”
The corridor was smothered in shadows and smelt of decay. A rat scurried away from his footsteps. The last door was solid and studded with iron spikes. He rapped exactly seven times, stood back and waited, drumming his fingers against his upper arm. Moments later, he heard a series of bolts being drawn and the door groaned open a crack.
Chains rattled and the door opened further. A hand crippled into a claw and tipped with yellow fingernails motioned him inside. Moorak secured the door behind Seraphis before shuffling to the work bench. A cauldron, blackened with soot, bubbled above the fire pit, belching green fumes. Seraphis’ eyes watered. He blinked rapidly and tried to mask his surprise. Moorak was a woman. She was fair of face, but mottled skin, pitted and burnt, sheathed both her forearms.
She must have become accustomed to her customers’ reactions to her ruined arms as she glanced down and shrugged. “My art demands some sacrifice.”
Moorak shooed a toad off a chair and offered the seat to her visitor. “What service do you require?”
Seraphis ignored the seat and paced, tugging his earlobe. “A slow-acting poison to stop the heart, but leaves no trace.”
Moorak nodded. “How do you want to administer it? By ingestion, a few drops trickled on food? Or slipped into a drink, or by touch?”
“I have recently acquired a rare but expensive ingredient that can be smeared upon items, but it takes one to two days to work. The reactions vary dependent on the dosage. With a high dose, the victim succumbs to a failed heart, while lighter doses produce flu-like symptoms and kills the sufferer by dissolving their internal organs. It leaves no residue and isn’t contagious, but heed my warning; there is no antidote. The slightest touch kills. ”
Seraphis smiled. “Perfect.”
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Contains adult themes.
An excerpt of Lodestone (Witch-Hunt) is included at the conclusion of Golden Scarab.
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