Emry gripped the knife in her hand. Unable to trust her vision in the darkness, she searched with her hearing. Listening for the sound of footsteps or voices intermingled with the cacophony of trumpet blasts and shouting in the distance. Wherever the guards were, they were not searching in the right place.
All around their bodies scattered pools of collecting water, the edges of the hole in the wall still frozen. In the center of the carnage stood a woman. Her skin was tan, her hair draped behind her, nearly touching the top of her thighs. Her body was covered with splattered blood and her eyes…
The value of a truly memorable engagement ring is not embedded in the amount of gold it is worth, or the cut of the gem. It is rather in the manner by which it was chosen. The exchange of coins for a gold band means little when the jewelry received is not chosen with care.
“They deserved it.” She muttered, pushing herself to her feet as she looked past the dead guards and into the Camps where she saw Haim’s body, limp and stained with blood. Cradled in the arms of his mother.
“My baby boy…” She whimpered, and Sekhenna turned away.
“What do your people do?” The Warden flicked ash onto his exposed arm. The sting faded quickly to a tickle as a nearby draft carried the charred Greenleaf into the room.
“My father is a tailor.”
Lohks raised an eyebrow. “Tailor, you say? With what company does he hem jackets?”
“In the morning when another stumbled from his dreams, he awoke and saw a marvelous and frightening thing. Upon the wall in the crowded corner of the cave stood a cut upon the stone, which would fit him perfectly today. So he released his swollen coat and strode across the floor until he found himself inside the door. Or perhaps it was a tunnel, made especially for him to go, but one thing he held for certain, the purpose of the hole was something he must know.”
Despite everything, this all began with Mayeli Kane, and she still hadn’t been found. Over the last few days, she’d forgotten that Olem had been searching for over a month for any trace of the girl, the bags under his bloodshot eyes told her more than enough times that he’d been without sleep for who knows how lon
“Today marks the beginning.” It croaked, like it hadn’t spoken in centuries and still shook the dust from its lungs. “We are the rightful owners of this land, and the Pact of the Firstborn returns. Reinvigorated by the blood of our kin, our centuries waiting brings us this, the culmination of our efforts.”
“You were getting this for free, Beggar. You should have thanked us.”
She struggled to free herself as the pike wielding guard fixed his grip and shoved the pointed end at her.
It plunged into her side and her blood poured out of the wound.
The words were surreal coming from her lips. Years as a Lamplighter had prepared her for the possibility that awful things could happen, in fact, it was a certainty. It was the nature of her job. As if she were an artist fighting starvation, she was driven by the knowledge that eventually, despair would be the only reason left for her to fight.
She had never imagined it on such a massive scale.