Raizel was in a plane of white in front of a black spectre, without fifty sed and nowhere near the train station.
If she got out of here, she was going to curse Trinner Traln and that idiot Esterzon Gorenz with every trick and hex and lie all of her grandparents and great-grandparents had taught her.
That was looking to be the problem.
The spectre opened its maw. You will kill the idol.
Why did everyone want her to kill and destroy and get rid of things? What was she, the trash-picker? Was this more of the ridiculous nonsense about the “mountain people?”
Raizel opened her mouth. Nothing came out. So she shrugged: which idol?
The many-hued idol. Its voice – its voice was also, she realized, not actually sound. It was as if it was writing the answers on her mind. There are things that will help you on your quest. Things that will help you continue. And I will tell you these things. I will tell you how to be out of this trap. But only when you kill the idol.
Why? Why did an idol need killing? Raizel shrugged at the thing again: What’s going on?
The idols of the Lady Huleran, the tomes of the Lady Huleran, all of the things in this chest are evil of one sort or another, save the coins and the tools. Money and tools are only as evil as the hand that wields them. These idols and these books, they are true evil.
Well, that was clear. All right, Raizel wanted out of here. She could destroy something – well, could she? She shrugged again: How?
The spectre seemed smarter than perhaps it ought to be. There is a hammer and chisel in the bottom of the chest. Take those and strike the many-hued idol at the neck and at the base of the tail. You are protected, you who the pixies have blessed. You will be safe from its evil. Others may be tainted. Once you have done that, I will give you the answer to three questions, which you may take at any time in the next year and a day.
That seemed like a decent deal, plus the thing had her trapped. Raizel nodded She would do the thing.
She felt the geasa lay on her and, if she could have grumbled, she would have. She’d said she’d do the thing! There was no point in slapping yet another geasa on her.
Then she was staring at her two newly-minted nemeses, feeling even more grumpy. “You could’ve said it was trapped,” she pointed out.
“And how would I know that, Ennizaba child? I have never touched it and could not reach it.”
“You, Trinner Traln,” Esterzon Gorenz complained, “are an idiot and a moron and a liar, and I will tell everyone I see that you cannot be trusted.”
Raizel had no more time for them. She pulled item from item from the chest, until she had three tomes and three stone falcons, a set of carving tools and ten silver trei. She looked at the falcons – one black, one white, and one iridescent – and picked up the hammer and chisel.
The men were still arguing. She set the chisel at the thing’s neck. “Step back,” she called.
They were still yelling at each other. “Step. Back.” She lifted her voice into almost a shout.
They were still fighting. “STEP BACK!” she hollered.
They looked at her. “You cannot!” Trinner Traln shouted. He started towards her.
She lifted the hammer. “Get him back, Esterzon Gorenz, get him back now. The multi-hued idol-” her voice shifted, although she did nothing to it. “The idol needs killing.”
“I paid you to get me the falcon!” Trinner Traln complained. Esterzon Gorenz, less of an idiot than Trinner, hauled the smaller man backwards by the back of his shirt.
“You paid me to get one falcon. Actually, you promised to pay me and Esterzon Gorenz is paying me. And I got lain with curse and geasa on the way. So, I do what the chest tells me to now.” They were well away from the chest. She drove the hammer down onto the chisel, breaking the neck of the idol. Another strike, quick and precise, and the whole thing exploded in black and blue light.