Winter – Chapter 27 – 04

            “We’ll need the guns,” Marin said.
            “Won’t do the trick,” Cameron said, shaking his head grimly.  “I tried that once.  It didn’t end very well for me and I’ve got the scar to prove it.”  Caliburn rasped out of its scabbard and he weighed it in his hand, as if it was feather-light and unbelievably heavy all at once.  “Hand to hand seemed to do the trick.  So did Neve’s arrows.”
            “Anything with a decent iron content will do the trick,” Phelan said.  “But we all need to steer clear of those claws.”
            “So the shot that we’ve used on the camazotzi might work?”  Greg asked as he began to distribute the weapons he’d brought.  He’d arrived unobtrusively a few minutes before and gotten an earful of what they were dealing with.
            Phelan grimaced.  “Maybe.”
            “Iron broadheads are better,” Thordin said, still peering out into the darkness.  There were at least a dozen pairs of eyes out there.  Christus,” he swore under his breath, making Phelan startle next to him at his choice of words, “What did you do to piss these things off, Cameron?”
            “I’ve got no idea,” Cameron said with a grimace.  “Neve and I initially thought they were after her.”
            “If they’d been after her, you’re not the only one they’d have hurt,” Thordin said.
            “Time out,” Thom said, then pointed to the glowing eyes.  “Are they going to be able to punch through the wards?”
            “If they haven’t yet, they can’t do it,” Phelan said.  “Those wards are probably the only thing keeping them at this distance.”
            “So they’re not hanging out there and waiting for reinforcements?”
            Phelan shook his head.  “No.  Probably not.”
            Thom’s blade rasped softly as he drew it from its scabbard.  “Fan-fucking-tastic.  Let’s go.”
            Marin grasped his wrist.  “Are you sure that’s a good idea?”
            “Don’t have a choice,” he said, then leaned in to steal a kiss for luck.  She held him fast for a brief moment before she released him.
            “I’ll get a couple of the hunting bows and a box of shot.  Paul can snipe and I’ll see what kind of damage I can do.”
            “Don’t hit anyone,” Phelan warned her as he drew his borrowed sword.  Marin gave him a withering look in the darkness.
            “Because I want to shoot one of you.  Get out there and be careful.”  She turned and jogged off, ponytail bouncing.
            “I don’t like this,” J.T. rumbled.
            “There’s nothing about it to like,” Thom said.  “Just something to fight.  If we don’t win, then we’ll have even bigger problems.”
            “Spoken like a true warrior,” Thordin said with a wry grin as he notched another arrow.  “Charge them.  I’ll cover until your lady comes back to take over.”
            “Hopefully, we won’t need her,” Thom said, his voice low.  He lifted his blade and charged out into the darkness.
            Phelan cursed softly.  “Damned impetuous—”
            “Reminds me of someone else I know,” Thordin said, tone far more cheerful than it had any right to be given the situation.  “Get out there before the spawn of your spawn gets himself ripped to shreds.”
            Phelan cursed again and dashed after Thom.  J.T. took off on his heels, Rory plunging after him, flames dancing blue at his fingertips.
            “Good luck,” Thordin muttered under his breath as he let another arrow fly.
            Out in the darkness, another Dirae screamed as the arrow slammed home.  That scream was joined by more as a four-man army ripped into a dozen of the dangerous monsters in the darkness.  Eerie blue flames spread by Rory illuminated the field, giving it an eldritch glow—and made the hag-like furies seem even more horrifying than they actually were.
            The sight of them had always been enough to turn a stomach, but somehow, in that light, they seemed worse.
            And worse yet, they were angry and suddenly had more than one target of opportunity.
            The largest pointed to Thom, Phelan, and Cameron before screeching a battle-cry and launching herself at the Wanderer’s throat.

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