Winter – Chapter 23 – 03

            “You’re awful morbid today,” I said as we walked toward the walls.
            Kellin lofted a brow in my direction.  “You’re the one that brought it up in the first place.  I’m just stating a fact.  We usually figure out what needs to happen in the eleventh hour.  It’s just our luck.”  Her nose wrinkled.  “We’re still too new at this, maybe.  Maybe we don’t know enough, but I’m not sure how we’re supposed to learn outside of life and death situations.  Seems like Phelan can only talk so much about the hard lessons.  They don’t have much impact without the situation that goes along with it, I guess.  Either that or we just rely too much on hoping something won’t happen.”
            “That’s only worked once or twice,” I said.
            “Once or twice out of how many instances, though?”  Kellin shook her head as we came up to the wall.  “But you’re right.  Hoping it won’t happen isn’t going to be a long-term solution.”
            “Preparedness will be, though,” I said quietly, resting one bare hand against the wall.  They’d done a good job of placing the blocks and chunks of concrete, brick, and other debris so that it was mostly smooth, even if it was cobbled together out of the pieces of a half dozen buildings.
            Kellin smiled briefly.  “One way or another.”  She dug her chalk out of the baggie she’d stuffed into her pocket and began to sketch marks on the wall.  I took half a step back, watching her draw them, my arms crossed even as the hair on my arms and the back of my neck began to stand up, crackling with the energy that she was already gathering.
            I closed my eyes and took a few deep breaths, starting to try to find my center and drawing energy of my own to pour into the ward when the moment was right.
            “We should’ve had Jay and Rory and some of the others to help,” Kellin muttered.
            I shook my head, opening my eyes.  “We can always get their help to strengthen them later.”
            “Yeah,” Kellin murmured.  “I guess you’re right.  I’ve just got this feeling.”
            “There’s not anyone here that’s going to try to take those apart this time, Kel.  Besides, it’s going to be damned hard to do since we’ve got wardings incorporated into the walls themselves with that copper ring we’ve got buried around this whole damn place.”  I reached out and squeezed her shoulder.
            She grunted, nodding as she finished the last rune with a few swipes of the chalk in her hand.  “Dump now.”
            I pressed my hand against the markings and closed my eyes.  The stone and brick warmed under my palm as I willed power into the wardings.  A shiver shot through me as the marks hungrily devoured what I offered them.
            “Gods and monsters, Kel,” I gasped when I pulled away.  “What kind of runes are those?”
            “Phelan showed me,” she said quietly, almost distantly, her own hand still pressed against the wall.  “They’re the ones they used to use in the days of old.  He said they might make for stronger wardings than what we had before.”
            I shuddered.  “Damn.”
            She managed a laugh as she stepped back, swaying slightly.  “Yeah, well.  Hopefully they’ll last longer, too.”
            Hopefully.  I stared at the marks.  They seemed to almost pulse blue somewhere deep inside the walls, beneath the white chalk marks Kellin had made.  “You can almost see the power, even without nothing running into it.”
            “You can feel it, too,” J.T. said from behind us, lips thin.  “Rory practically fell off the roof back by the sheds when you two started dumping energy into those.  Said it felt like you’d rung some kind of bell.”
            I smiled grimly.  “A good bell, or a bad bell?”
            “Don’t know,” J.T. said, eyeing the first ward.  “But I’m damned worried we’re going to find out.  You two need some help?”
            Kellin and I exchanged a look.  She nodded.
            “We could probably use some, yeah.  Otherwise we’ll make it through about three wardings before we both just drop.”
            “Good to know that took as much out of you as it did me,” I said to her with a faint, rueful smile.
            The corner of her mouth twitched upward.  “Well, I wasn’t going to say anything.”
            J.T. just stared at the two of us and shook his head.  “I’ll be back with Rory.  Don’t do anything until I get back.”
            I flashed him a thumbs up and leaned against the wall to wait.  Kellin looked at me sidelong.
            “The fact that they all believe is going to make them stronger,” she said.
            “Most of them, anyway.”  I tilted my head back and stared at the sky.  “Most of them.”

Liked it? Take a second to support Erin on Patreon!
This entry was posted in Book 2 and 3, Chapter 23, Story, Winter, Year One. Bookmark the permalink.

Got thoughts?