Welcome back! I hope you’re all ready for the next installment of “The Dagger of Tiamat.” You can read Part One here. Enjoy!
The Dagger of Tiamat, Part Two
The museum had closed for the day. Other than the skeleton crew of security guards who worked the night shift, only a handful of people from the administration and research departments were still in the building. Brendan and Gwen were alone in one of the offices in the archaeology department.
“What does this say?” Brendan asked, taking off his glasses and rubbing his eyes. He slid a stack of paper across the desk. “My eyes aren’t working anymore.”
Gwen glanced at the top page, a hi-res scan of a stone tablet covered in cuneiform. Brendan had circled several of the wedge-shaped impressions, translations scribbled next to them. A single grouping remained untranslated.
She leaned over the page, brushing unruly red curls out of her face. She squinted and scrunched her nose. It was her thinking face, and it always made Brendan smile.
“Finn, you numpty! It’s barley,” she said, throwing her pen at him. “What’s wrong with you?”
“We’ve been at this for ten hours,” he said, “I’m tired. We should wrap this up.”
“Skip the pint?” Gwen asked with a wink.
Brendan was going to say something clever when the lights went out. The emergency lights came on, casting everything in an eerie yellow light.
“What the bloody hell?” Gwen got up and moved towards the door to the hallway, stopping when the intercom beeped.
“Got me,” Brendan said in response to Gwen’s look. He reached for the phone, but punched the speakerphone button instead of lifting the receiver.
“–Malcolm? I thought you left early. Something about a family emergency.” The voice belonged to Andrew Milton, one of the full-time research assistants. He had been working in one of the labs beneath the museum.
“Hello, Milton. I’m sorry it had to be you. But I’ve come for my dagger.”
“The hell?” Brendan recognized the snide, dismissive tone of Malcolm Pierson’s voice. But something sounded off.
“I don’t know who you’ve called, Milton, but please disconnect that phone.”
Gwen was at his shoulder. “I don’t like the sound of Malcolm’s voice.”
“I’ve never liked the sound of his voice,” Brendan mumbled, “but I like it even less now.”
“I’m going down there.”
She was out the door and down the hall before Brendan could get out of his chair. “Gwen! Wait!”
He caught her at the elevator, angrily stabbing the call button with her finger. Her face was bright red, her eyes wide, and her jaw clenched. She was pissed. Full Scottish Mode.
She spun on him. “Wait for what, Brendan? The security guards? I love those guys, but they’re glorified doormen.”
The elevator arrived. “They’ll call the cops,” Brendan said as Gwen pulled him into the elevator with her.
“You heard what I heard, Finn. Whatever is going on down there, Milton is terrified. He called our office for a reason. He knew we were still here.”
The doors closed and the elevator began to descend.
“You know something you aren’t telling me.”
Gwen put her hands on his shoulders and looked him in the eyes. “Brendan Finn,” she sighed. “I know a lot of things I’m not telling you.” She put her hand over his heart, adding: “Including what you have inside of you.”
“We didn’t stop him he last time, Finn. We have a second chance.”
“And we are?”
Gwen leaned forward, resting her arms on the table. “You and me, Finn. Like it was back then.”
Brendan glanced over at Ferguson, who had returned to his book. “And what about you, Professor?”
“What?” Ferguson looked up, startled. “Oh. Yes. Me. I’m on research, lad.” He tapped the page he had been reading. “Research.”
“Yes, yes.” He closed the book and slid it aside. “The dagger, my boy. The dagger is key.”
“The Dagger of Tiamat.”
“I’m sorry, Gwen, but I left my twenty-sided dice at home.”
“My ties to the Otherworld are strong, stronger than most mortals,” Gwen said. “But if Pierson has the Dagger of Tiamat, he may be more than I can handle.”
She took Brendan’s hands in hers and looked him in the eyes. Like she did back then. “I can’t stop him without you, Finn. I need my Wulver.”
Brendan sighed, shaking his head. “I’m not gonna say no,” he said. “You know I’d never say no. Not to you.”
Gwen smiled weakly.
“But knock off that Wulver stuff.” His blue eyes turned yellow for a heartbeat before returning to their normal color. “The name’s Wolfen.”