Eighteen – 01

[This post is from Thom’s point of view.]

“They’re inside!”

Thom swore at Paul’s shout, the words punctuated by the sound of a shotgun blast aimed down into the courtyard beneath the wall and the watchtower. He tore his gaze from the camazotzi swarming the field, twisting to look inside the walls, inside the wards. Above them, lightning sheeted down along the curve of the wardings, casting a strobing blue-white light over the combatants.

He counted five before Marin’s hand closed on his sleeve.

“Deal with in there,” she said. “Seamus and I have the other side handled. Watch our backs.”

“Hold the line,” he said.

“We always do.” She squeezed his arm again before she let go, notching another arrow. Thom turned and dropped off the wall, jaw tight and expression grim.

“Rory!” he shouted as he drew his blade. “On me. We’ve got a mess to deal with in here.”

The words had barely left his lips when one of them landed on him and bore him to the ground. All of the air was knocked from his lungs as he hit the ground, barely managing to maintain his grip on his weapon. He gasped in a breath as the camazotzi smiled down at him, a predator looking at its prey.

It reared back, grasping his shirt by the collar. Muscles bunched and wings unfurled. Thom flailed as it hauled him up off the ground, carrying him with it into the sky.

Oh shit. His stomach lurched as it shot upward, then banked, swinging toward the watchtower. More lightning sheeted down the sides of the wards, crackling.

He saw the bolt a split second before it lanced downward toward the camazotzi. He felt a shock and found himself tumbling through the air, flying sideways rather than straight down—and free of any tether.

The watchtower’s rail splintered as he slammed into it sideways, shoulder first.

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