Jarrod dug with the others, seeking the Destroyer of Ichadra. They had only the most vague of location descriptions, but they did seem to be in the correct area.
Jarrod had been a student of the Citadel for years before joining the Sector Guard. As Hidden, he was not on any public rosters, he went in undercover and got the job done.
A cry rang out from the far end of the site, and the diggers all moved to excavate the find. Jarrod kept his mind on his task and his hands busy until the silvery metal and onyx stone was exposed to all of them. The Seeker, running the dig, moved them all back as he tried to read the code to the lock.
Jarrod watched with the others as the Seeker entered code after code, moving his fingers over the glyphs around the opening.
Jarrod and the others sat around, watching as the Seeker worked into the night. For Jarrod, the means of entry was simple, and yet, he could not move. Not yet.
It was near dawn when the Seeker keeled over and had to be taken to his tent to rest. Only two men remained near the doorway, and they were both listing over with fatigue. It was time to see if he could take possession of the Destroyer before the Raiders captured one of the greatest weapons in history.
He hid himself and walked to the door in the ground, standing centrally. He knocked with his heel and the door disappeared beneath him.
Jarrod dropped fifteen feet before sliding to a halt. He looked up and the door solidified once again. If they could wake the Seeker, they would figure it out in a few moments, but with the drug he had slipped into the Seeker’s meal, he should have a few hours.
The halls didn’t light as he entered, so he flicked his secondary lids over his eyes to improve his night vision. The tiny bit of light from the end of the passageway was enough to lead him directly to his quarry.
He had no idea what he was seeking. The people of Ichadra were lost to history. No images of them remained. They had been a race who didn’t like strangers. Their Destroyer was designed to keep all invaders at bay. It had been so successful that once the Destroyer had been engaged, no one had seen an Ichadra for six centuries. That had been before the quarantine went up.
He rounded the corner and entered the lightly lit area. Tables and computers covered in thin plexi sheets sparsely occupied it. A taller structure stood against the wall, a sheet draped over it as well. Jarrod shook his head, as it seemed that the Destroyer was a creature of myth and legend, not fact.
He pulled the plexi sheets off one by one, removing the tall covering last.
To say he was shocked by the woman sleeping in full armour and a standing position was to minimize his feelings at the moment. He was stunned to the toes of his boots.
Dark hair was braided away from her face, fine tattoos in the palest gold across her cheeks and dark lining around her eyes that was more pigment than makeup. Her body was clothed in black armour etched with the same gold colouration as her face.
Jarrod reached out to touch her skin, and to his amazement, it was warm. There was a small bell near her head, and he took the hint. He lifted the small hammer and struck the bell.
Her eyes opened wide, and she looked at him in shock but then continued past him. “Who woke me?”
Jarrod reverted to being seen, and he bowed low. “My name is Jarrod, Destroyer. There are those above who wish to capture you to use for their own gain. I am here to tell you that working for the Raiders would cost countless lives.”
Her gold eyes blinked slowly. “You are not one of my people.”
He could literally feel power swirling in the room. “Your people have been dead for nine hundred and fifty-seven years. They were destroyed by a pestilence and none survived.”
She stepped from her platform and the power simmered but remained in the vicinity. All of the hair on Jarrod’s body stood on end.
“Why did you come for me?”
“Because I wanted you free and alert before they came for you. It should be your choice whether you are used or not. I merely came to wake you before they did and offer you a position in the Sector Guard if you want it.”
She took a few steps, the chainmail dags covering her abdomen swinging. “You have come to offer me employment?”
“I have. In the Guard, your free time is your own, and your only duty is to those who are desperate for your help. You will have companionship of others with similar powers, and you are free to come and go as you please.” He inclined his head.
The Destroyer tilted her head as if she heard something in the distance. “You are offering me freedom?”
“I am offering you nothing but the opportunity to choose. You served your people well, but they are gone. You can return to your sleep, but now that your tomb has been unearthed, others will come and try to take by force what you can offer freely.”
She turned and faced him. “They are coming. Are you honest in what you offer? I may have my freedom?”
Jarrod nodded and turned to face the doorway.
The Destroyer wrapped her arms around him from behind and whispered. “I really hope you are telling the truth. Death at my hands would not be pleasant.”