Jun 21

Chapter 7: Part 20 – Family

I woke to sunlight streaming in through an open window, casting lines of light across a ceiling I didn’t recognise. For several minutes, I simply lay there, watching the play of shadows, letting my mind turn over the fact that I couldn’t put a name to where I was. Some distant part of me knew I ought to be worried, but I couldn’t bring myself to care. I wanted to believe, in that moment, that all was right with the world, though I had a nagging feeling that wasn’t the case.

“Do I even want to know where I am?” I said aloud, not expecting an answer. To my surprise, I got one.

“You’re still in Rata Sum, and it’s an hour after noon,” came a voice.

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Jun 18

Chapter 12: Part 4 – All of the Secrets

“Why are you hiding it from me?” I tried to push the words on him gently.

He and I walked hand in hand, but the tension in our environment still kept us from looking at one another often. Tobih pushed a strand of hair behind his ear and continued to scour the area for threats. “I don’t know what you mean,” for a moment, as he spoke, his eyes found mine. When they did, he looked down and covered his face with his hand. “No, I can’t,’ Tobih muttered through his palm. “We can’t go back.”

This Tobih seemed different from the one I was used to. The internal conflict was contorting that comforting smile I had come to know from him. I could see his pain. “I want to rest,” was what he said but it sounded more like an admission of defeat. I couldn’t blame him either. The lack of sleep, the weight he was carrying, the sickness in his body, and not having even a moment to legitimately rest- it must have been torture.

I squeezed his hand tighter and looked at the golden-haired norn ahead of us. She was strong, but how far would it last? When would she find her breaking point? Angel couldn’t sleep because of her past but how long would, or could, she hold up without it?
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Jun 17

The Eternal Blade Saga Book 2, Chapter 8: Gathering the Pieces

Having been lost in thought, I didn’t hear Dee come into the main hall chamber where I had been waiting for her the next morning. I lit a match in the fire, and then held the small flame up to each of the new candles that now dotted the mantle. Their flames gently illuminated the relics left behind after their owners’ deaths, and after tossing the match into the fire, I stepped back to regard them all. Our friends’ deaths weighed heavily on my shoulders. Although I wanted to buckle under that heft, I forced myself to find the resolve hiding deep within to not just go on, but to make sure their deaths were not in vain. I had to destroy this blade so no more lives would be lost. I had to do whatever it took.

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Jun 13

Chapter Twenty Six: The Threads That Bind Us

Light shined over my eyes, my memories up until that moment were a blur. I wasn’t certain as to how long I had been in that wagon. It felt like a little more than a day, perhaps even longer than that. All I could remember was that I was kept tied up, they allowed me to leave the wagon to stretch my legs, but they didn’t remove the cloth over my eyes. During those moments I could feel dry heat, despite it being winter, the nights that came were freezing, yet my body barely shivered. I was aware of the sensations that struck me, but I felt so numb to it all. If I were to guess then I would say that I was taken to a desert.

“You see,” A familiar voice spoke to me. Salus. “I always knew that we’d speak face to face again.” My eyes eventually adjusted, I could see his face behind the intense rays of light in the dark room. At that point it was evident that I was going to be interrogated.  “I didn’t expect you to turn yourself in, however.”

“You were killing my friends,” said Anavari.

“Intelligence says they’re no longer your friends, though,” countered Salus. “Some even tried to turn you in themselves.” Memories of fighting Argus returned to me, I thought of how many others wanted me gone, dead even. It wasn’t a secret, and it made something inside me seethe with anger. It was a quiet part of me, but one that was quickly growing in power.

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Jun 12

Hide Your Fires VII

Ciani breathed out, released the arrow, and sent it whistling through the early morning mist. It buried itself right beside her first, shaking yet another clump of snow from the wooden dummy she’d borrowed from Elsif. There was an odd, alien elegance to her as she drew another arrow from her quiver, lay it against her bowstring, raised the bow, and drew. I saw her breath rise into the air, curling in front of her dark face like as she released.

The days had turned to weeks since The Mourn Knights had arrived, though they’d frequently come and gone on their forays to track the Svanir group. Thanks to Elsif’s assistance they had now discerned the pack must be hiding in the nearby caves, but there was a veritable labyrinth of ancient caverns beneath the snow-covered peaks to search.

Ciani was patient, however, and I’d not spotted a hint of frustration in her. Every morning she was up before dawn, exercised, then spent time practicing with her bow before one of her men brought her breakfast. Together with Elsif, the lieutenants, and the night time scouts they’d then study maps of the area, dividing up search quadrants with an organised efficiency that reminded me of my mentor’s easily forgotten military background.

The Mourn Knights – with the exception of the now sleeping scouts – would be gone for the day then, hunting, searching, while Elsif and I resumed our training in private. I was becoming stronger every day, honing skills I hadn’t even realised weren’t perfected yet, and I didn’t want Ciani and her ilk slowing down progress, regardless of how fascinated with them I had to admit I was.

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