Author: Lacie Carmody PM
When the western province has been struck by an unseasonable cold the king orders all witches and sorceresses to death. But darker forces may be to blame. Now it will take a nameless sorceress and a knight to summon a goddess before the lands destructionRated: Fiction T - English - Fantasy/Adventure - Chapters: 6 - Words: 16,511 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 04-15-12 - Published: 12-22-11 - id: 2981792
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The cover of darkness began to wane as they reached the border of the capital city. It had been far more difficult to escape than Frost had imagined it was going to be, but Lyosha had informed her that since her feat in the street outside the inn the night before, the king had put all his soldiers on high alert and double watch. When Frost had inquired what it was he meant when he said her feat, he snarled but didn't answer. She decided to drop the subject deciding that focusing on the task at hand was more important. Particularly because, she was unsure how long she would be able to remember exactly what it was she had set out to do, or how long she would remember the name of the knight at her side.
It had happened before, or at least she thought it had. Faces and names, once second nature becoming foreign and unfamiliar hours, weeks or on rare occasions sometimes months after she learned them. She hadn't told Anya her fears, hadn't told her that halfway to Feriana's land she was likely to forget exactly what it was that was driving her to the bosom of the mother goddess. No, she hadn't wanted to frighten the queen, hadn't wanted to risk her only chance for escape from slipping through her fingers. She folded her arm across her chest and prayed silently to whatever god that was listening that this time would be different, that she would reach her goal and still know exactly what it was she was looking for.
The snow fall had picked up outside the city. Large snowflakes descended upon the two travelers, Frost pulled the hood of her new cloak over her head and tucked her gloved hands deep into the pockets. She was grateful for the gifts and pondered if the fur was enchanted by how much warmth seemed to radiate from it. She turned her attention to her side but fount that Lyosha was no longer there. She stopped in her tracks and turned back finding the knight a few yards away, trudging forward grumbling with every step. She fought the desire to smile or taunt him, half certain that either action would have him trying to strangle the life out of her form. As she watched him slowly gain on her an odd sense of unease washed over her.
"We need to move faster," she yelled.
Lyosha snarled, "We need supplies. We need horses."
Frost rolled her eyes and turned, continuing forward, the knights protests drowned out by the heavy snowfall. He was half right; they'd need supplies especially since Frost feared that darkness would fall before they saw any sign of another village. Something else worried her however, something that made her watch each step she took. Something wasn't right; something made the hairs upon the back of her neck stand at attention. She stopped and ducked behind a snow bank waiting. Her heart thrashed about. Lyosha approached her from behind. He folded his hands across his chest and shook his head, "What are you doing?"
Frost turned slowly, reluctant to turn her gaze towards the knight, "Something's not right, I fear we're being watched."
Lyosha huffed and shook his head, "We're twenty yards from the border, there's nothing out here except a stone wall and a rickety gate."
Frost didn't move, "No, no we're being watched I know it." And whatever it was that was watching them was not only predatory but magical as well. She tried to focus her gaze but the snow was heavy, and the sparse foliage was thrashing in the woods. Frost tried to call upon memories she knew were no longer there, tried to remember where she had sensed this magic before, and why its familiarity stopped her in her tracks. She wanted to snarl at the knight to tell him how stupid he was for going blindly forward but she knew it would be a wasted effort. Mortal man was a proud creature, or so they said, only now did she realize exactly how proud he was.
"Tell me knight, how many times have you or your crossed this border and felt unease? I know you must think me mad but I assure you I can sense something amiss. There is a creature out there who is hungry for blood, and I can tell you with full assurance if we step into its territory it will waist no time undoing us."
Lyosha growled but relented and crouched down next to Frost careful not to touch her. Frost ignored him until he was next to her, "The air reeks of blood, but it's not fresh, something that's been spilled a while ago, maybe centuries I don't know."
"And you can smell it?"
Frost swallowed and nodded, "Only faintly but yes." She studied the faint outline of the stone walls in the distance, "We'd be better off going over those, if we don't then we step right into whatever trap is waiting for us."
"And how can you be so certain the trap is waiting for us?"
Frost didn't want to shrug didn't want to tell him she just knew and that he should trust her because she knew he wouldn't buy it. But there was nothing else to say, the trap was meant to snare them, just like how every other trap they would encounter on this journey was going to be meant for them. She licked her lips and felt the sting of the wind over them. There was the option of offering Lyosha to whatever it was that was waiting, her journey would be easier for certain but he was the key to unlocking the chain still binding her magic and she would be defenseless until he did. She furrowed her brows and half pondered how she had sensed the creature since her magic was bound but decided that it didn't matter in that moment.
"All traps will be waiting for us from now on," she murmured, moving out from behind the snow bank. "They'll know we're trying to reach the mother goddess."
Lyosha scoffed, "Why would anyone want to kill us? No one even knows we're out here. And if they did they'd know we're walking and the likeliness of us surviving the elements is quite slim. I wouldn't waist my man power on two people like us."
Frost wanted to slap him but shot him a dirty look instead. He was right again, the snow would be a far worse enemy than anything the Virtuoso could conjure up, but her instincts screamed at how stupid he was being. Mortal man would have no interest in them, but it wasn't going to be mortal man who was going to be hunting them, no it was going to be the beings that still walked in the western province and remained loyal to Laros who would want them dead. Frost moved cautiously forward, afraid that even the slightest misstep would bring forth a force that would undo them quickly. Lyosha on the other hand, was careless, taking large steps, snapping twigs that had been carried by the wind into their path. Frost half considered killing him herself if they made it passed whatever it was that was waiting for them.
Lyosha stopped and shook his head at the sorcerer once more, "Come along witch, even if something is waiting for us, standing here idly isn't going to help and I'd rather die with a sword in my hand then by freezing."
Frost nodded reluctantly and they carried on. The snowfall was blinding and blizzard like. Frost held onto her hood and pondered how twenty yards in snow felt like a lifetime but the wall was becoming clearer and they would reach the edge of the land in no time. The feeling of dread didn't subside however, but she endured. Frost reached out and touched the stone wall after what felt like hours later and the snowfall began to subside. The ground here was just as white as it had been in the city but where that snow as tramped down by the daily traffic, it was light here, and both she and Lyosha found themselves struggling to move forward, sinking it seemed every second step. Scaling the wall would be possible and Frost was going to go for it.
She dug her way up and he shouted at her. "What in the world do you think you're doing witch?"
She panted sitting atop the wall. "Trusting my instincts Knight."
Lyosha ignored her and fought his way through the snow and passed the gate that separated Monteforden from its neighboring country Alluria. The snow was lighter on that side of the wall, and Lyosha took a moment to dust of his leather trousers and cloak before turning his attention to where Frost sat. He never heard the sound of the bow string being drawn back, and so, Frost was amazed when he was able to dodge out of the way just in time to miss the arrow aimed for his heart.
Frost felt her breath catch in her throat as a dozen more arrows were sent in the knight's direction. He moved quickly, but was not quick enough to side step the one that pierced his right arm or the one that passed through his throat. Frost's eyes went wide as the realization that with his death any chance of her ever regaining the full strength of her magic went with it. She dropped from the top of the stone wall and scrambled to his side. Blood was flowing freely from the wound in his throat. He was dying quickly.
Frost cursed her ever failing luck and snarled at Lyosha, "Damnit man, why didn't you listen?"
He gurgled and gasped. Frost called upon the few healing spells she knew but froze when the cool metal of another arrowhead brushed her cheek. She turned and met the gaze of another woman and the color drained from her face.