Forty-one – 05

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

Breath burned in her chest and throat as she flung herself through the rain toward the wall, casting glances up toward the sky, tracking what she’d seen.  Bile slicked the back of her throat and her tongue, stomach roiling.

They were supposed to be gone when it all came apart centuries ago, even before I managed to flee.  How are they here now?  And who are they answering to?

They had been her maids, once, a thousand thousand yesterdays ago in another place, another time.  They had been her heralds and her companions—the shadowed, nameless nymphs of realms beyond and below where she’d dwelt for long centuries under the thumb of her Olympium masters.  Now someone else held their tethers and it frightened her.

What’s their plan?

Her breath hitched.  Would the wards hold?

I can’t know one way or another.  Even Marin wouldn’t have known, she was certain of it.

The rain was frigid and she could barely feel her fingers as she dashed past the watchtower where Paul perched, rifle trained beyond the wall.  She could hear the screams of dying dirae and more now, could hear the echo of drums and the sound of Marin’s voice guiding the archers on the wall.

Steady.  Her gaze swept the rampart, landing on Matt as he stiffened and twisted.  Blood drained from his face even as she scrambled up to join him, the still-healing wound in her side itching and burning at the same time.

“I thought I—”

“Thom saw something,” she blurted, breathless and gasping as Matt and Phelan pulled her up to the top, the latter sliding a little further down the rampart to make space for her next to Matt.  “Said you would need me and he’s right.  They have the lampades, Matt.  The dark nymphs are here.”

“What?”  He blinked rapidly.  She could see the traces of magic in his eyes, swirling and twisting in his irises.  His power was still up and he didn’t even know it.  “Where?  How?”

“Look up,” she whispered, fingers tangling in his sleeve, nails digging into the flesh of his arm through the fabric.  “I don’t know how they’re here, but look up.”

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