No, your eyes don’t deceive you. I skipped Day Twenty. I spent the day working on newsletter graphics (which I’m SUPER happy about), and by the time I got out of work I didn’t have it in me to work on this novel.
That’s okay, though. Breaks are important. That’s why I try and do 400 words more a day than necessary so I can take these breaks if necessary. Now I’m back and ready for some faerie-fighting action. >:)
Through the trees, the crescent moon’s sliver of light illuminates a marshy inland lake. A few crickets still chirp, heedless of the cold, and a few frogs still croak their claim to the night against the coming frost and snow.
Oliver and I take shelter behind nearby birch trees and watch as Miguel and the others form a semicircle near the water. They’re waiting for something. I can tell, but I don’t know what it is. The heavy pressure in the air makes me think it’s something other than Lyra. Something bigger and darker.
There’s a skitter beside me and I nearly jump out of my skin, but it proves to just be Kole and Kellen. Neither of them seem too amused by the fact that they scared me. They’re too focused on the group of teenagers before us. Several more emerge from other paths, several I don’t recognize. How wide of a net did Lyra cast exactly?
“Her Majesty her self is on her way with the knights,” Kole murmurer. “She wants to make an example of Lyra in case anyone else gets any ideas about swearing allegiance to foreign powers within her lands.”
“You really think that’s what happened?” Oliver whispers back.
Splashing water draws our attention back out to the lake. Straining to look passed all the kids we see Lyra emerge from the lake, dry in mere seconds, and holding a round polished stone in her hand big enough to fit neatly in both her hands. Black runes shimmer on its surface, but I can’t see them clear enough to even guess at what language they’re in, or if they’re in a human language at all.
She studies the face of each teenager with a maliciously joyful smile on her face. She then looks looks out at the surrounded lake and forest. The crickets and frogs go silent. It feels like I’m breathing too loud, risking giving us away in the eerie silence.
“The coast is clear,” she calls to some unseen audience. “You can come out. I need you too if this is going to work.”
The water behind her bubbles as two massive bodies emerge, towering over the tiny leanan shee and the teenagers. As if there height wasn’t enough, their bodies are nothing but muscle beneath crude vests and pants made of animal skins. One holds a giant spear with a glistening obsidian tip and the other holds a sword made of what looks like bronze. When I pull my gaze from their weapons and their height to see their faces, I instantly regret it.
The one on Lyra’s left only has one eye in the center of his heavily wrinkled face, shadowed by a deep hairy brow and snaggled teeth jutting out from his thin cracked lips. One her right stands one with the head of a goat. It’s dark slit eyes burrow into Lyra’s back, and then at the children. The sharp horns atop his head look just as dangerous as the sword in his hand and his brown fur probably hasn’t been tended to in days, if not longer, judging by the way it mats.
“This is not nearly enough, leanan shee,” snarls the goat man. “You promised us more than this.”
“I know what I promised, but a few complications have forced me to hurry the process. You don’t want the queens to know you’re here yet, do you?”
The cyclops juts his spear at Miguel. “You’ve helped yourself to some of them too. Do you think you can just pawn your sloppy seconds off on us?”
“It takes magic to preform magic,” Lyra gripes. “And you great louts aren’t exactly my type. Do you want what I’ve brought you or not?”
Both giants growl down at Lyra, but do nothing to punish her for her apparent trespasses. I guess they really do need her.
Kole grabs me while Kellen grabs Oliver. His hand trembles on my arm. “We need to go. Now.”
“What about Miguel?” I demand, pulling away. “And aren’t isn’t the queen going to be here in a minute?”
“That’s exactly why we need to go,” Kellen adds. His face has paled to pure white tinged with terror. “She’s not prepared for this.”
“And what is this exactly?” Oliver demands.
“Fomorians, boy,” Kellen hisses, shaking Oliver by the shoulders. “The fair folk’s greatest enemy, dead these last several thousand years.” He looks back out at the giants. “At least, they were supposed to be.”