29 Beyond

Beyond

A shadow slipped through the pre-dawn darkness. Tod had opted to explore the cleft that opened inward from the sacred cave. It was almost completely umbral even to his vision but his other acute senses rapidly sussed out his surroundings. Bats, it smelt distantly of bat droppings and sounded of both dripping water and the susurration of leathery wings. The night-flutterers were returning from their evening feed, they flicked past him as they headed for the echoing space beyond this corridor. Continue reading

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28 Going Home

Going Home

The next night the waning moon rode high – to the dragar it was as bright as mid-day. It had not risen until late in the evening, presaging the sunrise by only a few hours. The air was clear with only spectral bits of ground mist drifting along the river gorge.

Thalia and Tod were feeling satisfied, relieved and mischievous after having erased the rogues. Time for a little amusement to wash away the deaths.

They’d hoped not to lose any of their own but it was inevitable that Nemeta would die. She was human, she had been incredibly old, yet she still had the strength to die a hero. Tonight they had buried her in a grave dedicated to those who served the Goddess. She would live in memory, his and Thalia’s too. Continue reading

27 Hospitium

My profound gratitude goes to penpractice, every single time she hauls me straight out of the muck and the mire and helps me produce something readable.

I realize these chapters have taken a long time to produce, but my readers deserve the very best and I spit and shine until it is up to my (and your) standards.

Hospitium

Bemusedly Thalia stared alternately into the flames and at the shadowed people moving in and out of the firelight. It had been long and long since she had been part of a group surrounding a hearth. Long and long and long lifetimes ago, it might even have been so far back that she was still human and taken refuge with the other rebels amongst the smoking mountains1 of her home. There had been yellow flowers blooming the last time she had stood in the sun. Continue reading

26 Whispers

Whispers

Once he had settled in his mind that the buck was best used as part of the Lughnasadh feast, Tod turned and sped west across the wooded plateau, towards where he knew his people were. The little bonds with the Aeturni kept him warm, no, not warm, warm in his body but warm in his mind. Or at least not alone. Like being in an inhabited house. Continue reading