The Eight had scoffed at humanity, scoffed at mortals. And, despite the one exception -Eironn-an- they prospered in wealth throughout the ages. They had claimed to cast off the shackles of mortality, and as such mortals were insects beneath their feet. They learned to respect those insects, eventually. It was to happen at some point.
Of course, they were not expecting to learn that respect by being stabbed in the gut by those puny little insects.
Maioran might have been having a nice dream. He didn't really remember, seeing as he woke up to a scream.
Immediately, he checked the dim room, lit only by a shaft of moonlight let in by the window. Tieo sat up, eyes wide, before his hands reached the waterskin next to him, and he drew out the water in an arc, leaping from the bed. Callan jumped up, a blade sprouting from his hand, the leaf quivering. Maioran grabbed his sword.
For a moment, there was silence, before that scream let out again. This time, when he could slow down to hear it, Maioran recognized it as female. Someone was in the women's inn room!
The three of them rushed out the door, ready to attack, before Maioran slammed his shoulder into the ladies' door, sword brandished, ready to dispatch whatever adversary had broken in to threaten Aoife and Invidia.
Instead, they saw something truly horrifying.
Invidia had shoved one of the pillows over her head, so her face was sandwiched between the pillow and the bed. Her glowing hair spilled out from between them, and her eyes were narrowed in anger.
Aoife stood upright before a window, moonlight framing her body, making her white nightdress seem almost luminous. She seemed for a moment, transfixed, as if the moonlight had bespelled her and held her in a trance. And then, she started to move.
Her arms shot over her head, contorting and bending and extending. Her hips distorted and shifted, constantly moving as her feet pounded the floor, constantly stepping as she swayed this way and that, her hair whipping one way and then the next. She let out another cry, which was more like a war whoop, before continuing to shake and shudder like a woman possessed.
It took a moment for Maioran to recognize what she was doing. She was dancing. It was an abomination, a truly terrifying thing to behold, but it was what confronted him. Her jerky, erratic movements seemed more like some sort of unclean spirit twisting her limbs into unnatural shapes, but Maioran somehow recognized the dancing.
She whirled, turned around, and gave a short shriek of shock, her eyes. Quickly, Aoife made a gesture with her hands, and then, in the blink of an eye, she was gone. "Oh... oh dear," her disembodied voice said. "You caught me at an inopportune time."
"What did I just see?" Tieoran asked quietly.
"I think you saw her try to dance," Maioran said under his breath.
"That was dancing?" Tieo asked.
"Emphasis on 'try to dance.'" Maioran sheathed his sword. "What was that all about?"
Aoife reappeared on her bed. "Well, some good news came in."
"You got a letter at this time at night?" Maioran asked.
"No. The methods for which I gathered information were a bit more... mystical."
"She was using magic," Tieoran whispered.
"I know," Maioran hissed.
"Please, sit down, it will be a bit of a long chat," Aoife said.
Maioran stepped into the room and sat on the floor. Tieo sat right next to him, but Callan stood, a bit away. "So, what did your messenger tell you?"
YOU ARE READING
When Laidu, a half-human, half-dragon Ranger, rescues a mysterious girl from slavers, he doesn't know it but he's in for a world of trouble. Teaming up with an insane scholar, a chatty assassin, and two mercenaries, they go to take the girl -Kyra- h...