Side Story Three
Two Years Ago
The Trap Six
From the rooftop, they had a spectacular view of the city. Smoke was rising from several places and part of the outer wall had been reduced to a pile of rubble where the outlanders had burst through.
Jason, however, seemed to have his attention riveted on something nearby. He pointed mutely at where a wild-eyed oread was kneeling by a fallen Haltia boy. Her grey features were spattered with blood and she was close enough for them to see that her crystal teeth had been sharpened to points. As they watched, she lunged at her victim and sank her teeth into the soft flesh of his stomach.
Karen gagged as the boy screamed – she hadn’t realised that he was still conscious. There was a twang from behind her and a glowing arrow flew past her and transfixed the nymph through the throat as she raised her head from her bloody meal. Karen glanced around at Alban. He was pale and his knuckled were white as her clenched his bow.
“You and Zilah get down there, Kaz,” he said. “See if you can do anything for the child. I’ll give you covering fire.”
“And Caolainn and I will come with you and watch your back.” Jason glanced at Hannah. “See if you and Ema can fix the hole in the wall.”
“Sure,” she said.
“I’ll come with you,” Sean said. “You’ll need someone to watch your back, too. Something is off about this attack and I want to see if I can work out what.”
“Darya and I will come with you as well.” Kyle said. “If we can stem the tide at the breech, we can mop up the ones inside pretty quickly.”
“Let Hannah handle the walls. Put your talents to better use, Kyle.” Jason pointed to where one of the plumes of smoke had grown much larger and flames were becoming visible.
The haltia boy was still alive when Karen reached him, though thankfully he had lost consciousness. Even without the fact that his blood was freezing around him, it was obvious from his bluish-white skin and hair that he was one of the winter haltia. Karen choked back a sob when she saw how badly the crazed oread had mauled him. His stomach had been torn open and a loop of intestine had been pulled out. From the puncture wounds the oread had used her teeth to do it.
Karen swallowed bile and tried not to heave.
“Pull yourself together, Karen.” Zilah’s horn touched her shoulder and within seconds the nausea passed. “It’s going to take both of us to stabilise the boy until a healer can get here.”
“Thanks.” Karen knelt down by the boy and began to sooth his injuries as best she could. Zilah touched her horn to the boy’s stomach and joined in. Slowly the bleeding stopped, his pulse under her hand evened out and the smaller injuries faded away. But she knew the moment she and Zilah stopped sustaining him, his condition would worsen again. So she knelt there, holding his wrist and hoping one of Elapyron’s healers would get to them before they both ran out of energy.