Poxig renounced his ties to the calumny that he had been linked to. He had been accused of disloyalty to the king and acquitted. Now, he had to regain the ORB that he had buried in the graveyard in order to show the king that he was indeed of the elect. But time and time again, he found himself doubting the king’s devotion to his own cause. He needed to find the cause of the earth’s rot, and this caused him some trepidation.
He had to go when no one was around towards the end of dusk. The horse he had taken neighed when he pulled the reins, and stopped at the gate to the graveyard. The church beside it was dark and the windows looked like dim irises of a ghostly figure. The trees were gnarled, bare, and shadowy in the gloom. Poxig had come alone, but he sensed something was wrong.
He approached the burial mound behind the sepulcher. As he began to uncovered the buried ORB, he noticed a figure in the background behind the weeds of a gravestone. A mountebank from the court had had Poxig followed! The king’s guardsmen came from behind the stone. He drew his halberd.
“Stop where you are! This is the king’s guard!”
“I should have known that I would be followed.”
“Well, this is the end of the line. Give us the ORB!”
“There’s no chance. It belongs to me!”
“You plarts stole it from his majesty! Don’t make us impale you like a beast.”
Poxig thought about his condition. He was by no means ready to molder in the king’s dungeon. He had spent months there. But if he surrendered the ORB, then he would have to get it back again. There was no chance of his being accepted by the Naughright guild if he relinquished the sphere.
Poxig threw the ORB over the gate and made a flying leap. If he could make a break for it, there could be a chance that he could retain the ORB.
“Stop thief!” exclaimed the halberdiers, hot in pursuit.
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