I was helped roughly to my knees by a couple of Alec’s men. Sharp pains seared through my shoulder and it took almost everything I had to not cry out in pain. I wasn’t about to give Alec the satisfaction. His people surrounded me like hungry dogs ready to strike at their master’s command and I had allowed myself to become their prey. One of his people, a tall, lithe man took my dagger with a satisfied smirk as he tucked it into his belt. I shot him a murderous glare and his smirk fell immediately as he backed away warily.
Garron and I kept glancing at Tot over our tankards, trying to be as inconspicuous as we could be. We sat together at one of the smaller tables in a corner of the tavern, whereas …
With Alec distracted by the invading group, I took the opportunity to reach for the sword he had thrown at the ground. He was right about it being fake in the sense that it wasn’t …
It was not a good time to travel to Lion’s Arch. In the middle of the trip, a ferocious rain started to fall, making what he thought to be a peaceful trip a complete mess. …
I had a short eternity, it seemed, to consider how I had come to be here. Covered in the blood of friend and foe alike, I was now surrounded by pirates – living, …
I realised that for the second time in as many weeks I had almost been done in by an explosion. I also realised that this felt like the first time since I’d gotten to this accursed city that I’d had the opportunity to get knocked unconscious and avoided it.
Furthermore, from what I could tell I had escaped major injury – a few scratches, a few aches from the fall, but other than that I was in good shape.
Of course, none of this mattered in light of the fact that Tatianna was lying, face down, next to me in a bloody, motionless heap.
It was Syman who reached her first, wailing like a child as he knelt beside his captain. He was reaching out, gingerly, wanting to help but not knowing where to begin. His hands hovered over her mangled back, every time seeming like he was going to touch her and then thinking better of it and withdrawing.
“Someone help!” He shouted, pointlessly. “Someone… captain… oh, no… no, please…”
Hate beat a steady pulse in Caolinn’s head, a hammer blow against the inside of her skull blanking out all other thought. It wasn’t directed at the asura, nor even the Inquest, but was an amorphous, formless thing. Pain had been directed against her people here, in this dark place, and that was enough to swell an answering darkness in her flesh.
There was fear, too. When she’d plunged the dormitory into shadow and turned to run, nothing but instinct had guided her. Perhaps there was some fragile tendril of shared memory resurfacing in her mind, a remnant of the Dream – or perhaps it was nothing but the aura of that room, the darkness and old blood and death.
With the others gone, the cavern was near silent aside from the pounding above. I stood cradling my bleeding hand against my chest as I enjoyed what little peace I had. One thing I knew for certain, Alec wanted this last piece and he wouldn’t stop until he had it and any consequences were trivial to him. He would eventually find a way in and it didn’t matter how many people he killed along the way. Gods, once he got all the pieces, he’d kill us all anyway and who knows how many after.
I was still laughing when Ingesbror attacked.
He wasn’t slow. Large, and hulking, his mass naturally hampered his agility somewhat, but he wasn’t slow. But there was a weight to his speed, the heavy charge of a bull rather than a more lithe creature, and I leaned back to avoid the first swing without difficulty. The return stroke, designed to take my head off, similarly missed. No subtlety – plenty of power, but not an ounce of grace, just as I had expected. I admit I giggled, and was momentarily embarrassed at how childish the noise sounded as I ducked under another series of swipes that left Ingesbror overbalanced. I didn’t take advantage of the opening, however, but kept giggling. Growling in anger, he recovered quickly and came at me with a series of vicious swings. With this many eyes focused on the attack, however, I saw the attacks coming long before they reached me. It was almost pitiably easy to avoid them.