Lord of the Wolves Chapter Twenty-One

February 3rd, 2018  |  Published in Haventon Chronicles  |  1 Comment

Start | LoTW Chapter Twenty | Index | LoTW Chapter Twenty Two

 

“Is it lighter than it should be out there?” David asked.

Kate nodded. “She’s summoned sunlight to her sword, as is her right as summer warrior. It puts most of us at a disadvantage so I severely doubt Liam well let that stand for very long.” Even as she spoke David felt something scratch across his skin followed by a loud crack. Everything was engulfed in a stygian darkness that pressed against his eyeballs. A moment later a slight glow appeared in the room and when he looked at it her realised that both the circlet on Kate’s head and the gun in her hand were glowing softly. “Good grief! Bloody overkill, Liam,” she said. “We need to be able to see.” She gave a wry smile. “He always forgets that most mistwalkers can’t see in the dark.”

“I could see fine,” Laurel said. “But I suppose that’s because I’m a vampire?”

“Yes,” she said. “And David will be able to see through summoned darkness if he puts his mind to it. It’s a natural ability for mistwalkers with the sight.”

“I couldn’t,” Anna said. “But I could smell where everything was, Everything – even things that shouldn’t have a scent. It was weird.” She closed her eyes. “Odder yet, I still can.”

“And that’s a werewolf thing,” Kate said. “Now on the upside Gwen won’t expect you to be able to see past her glamours, and I don’t think she knows enough about werewolves to understand you can navigate by scent either, so she’ll likely discount you at first. Take advantage of that for as long as it lasts.”

“I just wish we’d had more time to learn to fight,” Anna said. “I thought I was pretty good until I met Keran.”

Kate laughed. “Yeah, Keran has that effect on people. I already had a lot of combat experience when I met him and he still made me feel like that.” She glanced out of the window again. “For what it’s worth he was very impressed with the two of you. The Order trained you well – in fighting anyway.”

“What’s happening out there?” David asked.

“So far it’s all ranged fighting,” she said. “Sabren’s wards appear to be holding and none of Gwen’s troops have managed to bypass them yet. I don’t think that will be the case for much longer.”

“Why not?” David asked.

“Because Gwen is using the summer blade against them now, and that will slice through them eventually. That they’ve held this long is testament to Sabren’s strength…” she hesitated and frowned. “And Sabren has just let someone past. Who…” Her frown deepened and her eyes widened. “My goodness! I wasn’t expecting that.”

“What is it?” David asked.

“Morna’s brought her honour guard and some others to our assistance. She’s supposed to be neutral.” She shook her head. “Then again she was very unhappy to find out that Gwen has been lying for centuries.”

“That helps, right?” David asked.

“It surely does,” Kate said. “Morna is powerful and her guard are no weaklings either. But more importantly this gives us options. Many more options than before. Now we don’t have to hope we can drive the Court of Seasons off.” She paused as they heard footsteps thumping up the stairs and turned as Philip rushed in.

“Downstairs!” he said. “Morna has burst an escape route through to us so we’re retreating.”

“So you don’t think we could hold the farm?” Kate asked as she ushered them out of the room.

“We could possibly hold it, this time at least… but she’d be able to retreat, leaving enough people to pin us down and return with reinforcements. Plus she’s bound to pass the wards and I’d rather not lose people to drive her off. Morna’s bar is highly defensible and even with her breaking neutrality Gwen will hesitate before trying the curse. Mona has promised to protect Laurel as well…”

“From Maelin?” David asked.

“Yes, which is important since apparently he was the one who told her we needed help. I have no idea what game he’s playing but I trust her.”

Morna was waiting in the dining room, unlike the last time David had seen her she was wearing shining crystal armor and carrying a slender blade.

“Here you are!” she said. “Good! We don’t have much of a window.” She paused at the sound of a loud crack from outside. “And it just got smaller. Come on!” She ushered them towards the front door. “We came in a couple of vehicles which should fit everyone at a squeeze.”

“They’re past the wards?” David asked.

Morna nodded tersely. “And she must be really determined to kill you. She’s brought a lot of troops but is taking the front herself.”

“Somehow I’m not surprised,” Kate said. “She’s obsessed–” She broke off as the front door shattered and a tall, cold looking woman carrying a huge glowing sword burst through remains. Her eyes fixed on David and she lunged at him with the blade – which looked like it should have been impossible to lift but she was wielding it one handed and as if it was a light rapier. Somehow he managed not to flinch at the sight of the sword aiming for his heart as he scrambled to get out of the way of the blow.

Gwen whirled to follow him then staggered backwards as Kate unloaded her gun into her chest. From her shriek it must have hurt but it didn’t slow her down and she regained her balance and lunged at David again while Kate ducked back into the lounge and began reloading her gun.

As he ducked again he saw Morna leap at Gwen and attempt to impale her. Gwen flicked her blade casually parrying her blow before slashing at Morna’s arm. Morna was also too fast and dived out of the way just as Liam charged through the hole where the door had been and fired a crossbow bolt into Gwen’s back. Once again the summer warrior seemed to shrug off what should have been a crippling attack, This was not looking good.

David shifted his grip on the rowan wood stake and watched Gwen carefully. He need to be ready to duck and try and stick the stake into her innards the next time she attacked. That much was obvious though he doubted it would do much good. They had warned him she powerful but this went beyond that into the region of unstoppable.

What happened next was nearly too fast for him to register. As she lunged at him, he did manage to duck but her skin turned his stake with no trouble and he found himself stuck between her and the wall with no way to get away as she raised her sword again.

It never hit because Laurel leapt across the room onto Gwen’s back and stabbed her own stake through the summer warrior’s shoulder. Gwen screamed and threw her off, spinning around to face her in a way that made clear that Laurel’s attack had, for some reason, hurt her in a way the others hadn’t. She snarled and started towards the vampire girl before freezing and then looking from her to David uncertainly. She’d been set on his death only moments earlier but now her priorities seemed shaken. Why would Laurel’s appearance seem to affect her so?

It lasted only a moment before she slammed Laurel into a wall then whirled and lunged at David again. Once more it didn’t connect and he heard Gwen snarl with rage, He looked up to see that Abigail had leapt between him and the sword and was clinging to the blade impaling her even as Gwen tried to kick her off it. Laurel in the meantime had found her feet and grabbed another stake. She took advantage of Gwen’s distraction to drive it into her hand forcing her to let go of the blade.

Gwen cursed again and tried to grab the hilt again but found herself under attack from the combined forces of Liam, Tyler, Kate, Sabren and Morna. She took a step back and clearly realised that she was out gunned. She glared at David balefully.

“I’ll deal with you later, boy,” she snarled. She tried to grab her sword once more but Sabren blocked her. Before anyone could react she slammed Kate out of the way, grabbed Laurel and leapt back through the shattered door before leaping astride her horse. She gave Sabren one last nasty smirk. “You’re going to regret not letting your brother kill her,” she said. Then they vanished in a swirl of sunlight and flower petals,

There was a moment of stunned silence which was broken when Abigail groaned and sank to her knees. She was still holding on to the blade and had begun trying to pull it out. Daniel hurried to her side.

“Don’t!” he said. “Even your enhanced healing won’t stop you bleeding to death before we can heal you if you do.” He looked around. “We need to stabilise it before we move her.”

Kate in the meantime had run to the door and yelled for Stephen. The huntsman was there in a moment. “You want me to go after her?”

“Yes,” she said. “We’re retreating to Morna’s bar.”

“I’ll see you there,” Stephen said. “Hopefully with the girl.”

“Will she live?” Philip knelt down opposite Daniel who was taping heavy dressings around the sword in an attempt to stop it moving.

“I don’t know,” Daniel said tersely. “It nicked her lung and I can’t heal it with the sword in place. It’s all I can do to stop her drowning in own blood right now. I bet mother could.”

“And you can’t remove the sword safely,” Philip sighed. “Then much as I hate to say it we have to hope Lucy is with Maelin,” Philip said. “And that he’ll agree to let her heal Abigail.” He laid a hand on her head. “Thank you, you saved my nephew’s life.”

Abigail didn’t respond. She probably couldn’t, David realised, but her eyes did flick to him and she gave a weak smile in spite of the pain she must be in.

“This is as stable as I can get it,” Daniel said. “We need to be careful moving her. We mustn’t jostle it at all.”

David nodded and helped Daniel carry her to the minibus. Meredith climbed into the driving seat and waited until everyone was aboard.

“I’ll have to drive slowly to avoid aggravating her injury,” she said as they set out. “Does this mean she isn’t a spy?”

“Not necessarily,” Philip said. “Since Maelin wants David alive. But it does mean we owe her a big debt.” He looked at Sabren. “And it seems Maelin was right about the Summer Warrior having an interest in Laurel.”

“Yes, and he had better explain why if we’re going to save her,” she said. “But this young lady has done us a great favour. Without her sword my stepmother’s power will be significantly weakened. She may have bought us a chance.” He face tightened. “He’d better not let her die.”

 

Start | LoTW Chapter Twenty | Index | LoTW Chapter Twenty Two

One Response to “Lord of the Wolves Chapter Twenty-One”

  1. torvawk says:

    Becka,

    Why do you do this to me? You always mix up your action with plot revelations!!! Gah. I can walk away from an action scene and come back to it later but, when the plot is turning, I need to finish following the plot! But you leave me hanging.

    Actually, this is not as bad as some of the other cliffhangers you left me with. I am almost sure you have already covered why Gwen wants Laurel. Now according to some of your other posts, they just have a few days to save her.

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