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.
Law of Atla
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…
“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?”
“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.
“I should have both of you taken to whips for what you’ve done.” He let out a long sigh and waited for either of them to speak up.
“…Withdrawing her hand, she glanced at the place she’d just touched and saw through the thin sliver of light a handful of tiny pins, wedged into the floor with mortar. The glinting of their metal barbs reflected the length of the room as far as the light touched them.”
Dhama fought a grin, but couldn’t help it. They both broke out into a short fit of laughter before Dhama was able to collect herself.
“Your allure aside, what I said last night still holds true. I am worried for you, Khenna. We need you, and we don’t want to lose you. I am here to offer an alternative.”
“It has come to my attention that there was not only one dragon attack in my absence, but two with a potential for a third. As such, those of you who will not be returning to Godspine with me will begin packing your things. I am reassigning you to a new post. There will be, in a number of days, a team who will arrive to replace you here. This new platoon is more experienced and will be able to survive a true dragon attack.”
Kerrick caught the way Vandruss said “true”, as if the prior evening hadn’t destroyed the lives of his friends and their families. As if Ginu hadn’t carted a pile of bodies back from the forest and left them in the marksman range to freeze.
“Witch, have you gathered sufficiently?”
She nodded, and handed the sack over to him as the knife blade brushed her skin a second time.
He opened the sack and before he could investigate the single item she’d collected, a young man’s voice burst forth from a cell in the center of the block.
“You won’t have me!” He screamed, his vocal cords fraying as he did so, and followed by his exclamation came a sick slurp