Chapter 38

Through this Door

“The library is through this door,” the priest said.

Looking past the others, Oliver could see a large metal door, the matte steel face of it scratched and dinged in places as if it had been struck by a heavy hammer at some time in the distant past. Riveted to the door was a large brass pull handle beneath a key hole nearly an inch high.

“Open it,” Jeanne said.

The priest grunted in pain and turned  to face Jeanne, ignoring the gun the Diana held on him. “You don’t know what you are doing. Killing my guards. Murdering the guardian of the sacred bones. Even killing me. These are nothing compared to the persecutions we have faced at the hands of those who refused to believe in the god of death, those who sought to put us down and wipe our faith from the earth.”

“Get to the point,” Oliver said. This wasn’t the first time he’d listened to an adherent of some ancient, cultish religion rant against the modern world, or the Catholic church, or any other convenient global power that the faithful perceived as a threat.

“If you take the diamond from us you strike at the very heart of who we are. We will hunt you mercilessly from that moment until you are dead.”

Jeanne raised the knife and pressed the tip of it against the wound in the priest’s shoulder. “Open the door.”

The priest groaned and sagged against the door. Jeanne removed the knife from the wound, loosing a fresh stream of blood to slide down the already saturated fabric of his robe.

Diana winced and turned away. Her eyes met Oliver’s and she flicked her gaze significantly towards Jeanne.

Oliver shrugged. He didn’t relish the pain of others, and had rarely employed pain as a lever for extracting information, but he could not blame Jeanne for pushing the priest.

Jeanne held up the knife and said, “There’s more where that came from, priest. Open the door now.”

The priest reached a quaking hand up to his neck and, with several fumbling slips, extracted a large brass key from the folds of his robe. He turned to the door, inserted the key, and turned it. The lock clanked loudly and the priest pushed the door in.