Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Wednesday Snippets - the wolves were at the gate

Happy Wednesday, folks! Hope you're all well and keeping warm (if needed). I'm seeing tons of snowpocalypse pictures from my friends all over the UK and USA right now, and it's still defiantly freezing here in Cambridge, so I'm just assuming Ragnarok has started.

I'm under the weather, appropriately enough, I guess, and battling a nasty cold. So there hasn't been as much writing this week as I'd like, but I think I'm on the mend now, so fingers crossed! Here's a little look at something I did manage to squeeze out. Enjoy!

Once Gulnara had firm possession of everything, Lola picked up the ledger, balancing it on one palm and searching for the cost. “So that’s a month’s supply of each, which comes to…” She hesitated. Demon currency was still alien to her. She was about to just point to the amount and say that much, when a sound fell into the silence.

It was a sound she knew too well. One she’d hoped never to hear again, and one, she realised now, she’d been waiting to hear all along.

The vicious screams of the Shrouded Guards’ horses.

The ledger fell from her limp fingers, her blood turning to ice. Rags launched himself into the air, shrieking loud enough to drown out the horses. Gulnara whipped her head round with a frown as Tristesse shot past them both to the chapel door.

No!” Lola started, thinking for one insane breath that she was going to open the door.

Instead, Tristesse slammed the bolts home and threw her back to the wood as if she could hold it fast all by herself. She locked her wild gaze with Lola. “This won’t keep them out if they decide they want in.”

I know. Rags, please!” Lola wanted to hurl something at him. His cries would surely give them away.

What do we do?” Tristesse asked, her voice strained with fear.

I don’t know! Rags! Shut –“ Lola lost her self-control and grabbed the nearest object on Thorn’s desk. She threw the skull at the vulture, fear making her arm shaky and her aim wild. The skull crashed into a bookshelf, sending a cascade of loosely-stacked books tumbling to the floor with thick, leathery thuds. Rags simply shrieked louder.

Lola moaned, trying to think. But Tristesse’s fear was poisonous, killing Lola’s common sense. Her own dread was a thick, choking mass in her throat, and she could think of nothing, nothing that would help when the Shrouded Guard battered down the door. And they would. Already the horses’ cries were closer. She pressed her hands to her ears, trying to control the black surge of hopelessness rising in her.

Why do they hunt you?” Gulnara asked. If she was afraid, she showed no sign. Her slight frown would probably be there come the end of the world, Lola thought.

She didn’t answer the priestess. Mad thoughts careened around her brain, ramming into each other in a panicky mess, all of them useless. The chapel was not defensible. They had no idea how many Guards were out there, and whilst the creatures could be hurt, Lola knew from up-close experience how hard that was. Escape was the best option.

The thought landed heavily, accompanied by a greedy whisper.

And you know how to escape, don’t you?

She swallowed, her scars throbbing at the mere suggestion of chaos magic. Something inside her burned, scorching her airways as her patrons threw the power her way, already anticipating her agreement, because what other option was there? The wolves were at the gate. And more importantly, Tristesse was at the door, and if the Guards came crashing through, it was Tristesse who would be crushed by those monstrous horses.

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