The Girl was afraid.
She was angry.
Despite her Father's hand holding hers, she felt those things. But neither of those was what she felt the most. She didn't understand the word - she'd known it once. What was the word for what she was? It had been so long that she was down here. So long and she was so tired. Leaning against the cold stone The Girl looked around at the place which had been her prison for ...... how long had it been? She counted it in generations. So close. She was so close. It had been a long slow game she had played and now, the time was nearly here.
The Girl could hear the sound of the turtle. It was looking for her, but it couldn't find her. The final seal still held her. There was nothing that it could do to find her, yet it needed to be here. Saoire, the Immortal, had sent it and so it was of the Divine. That was what she needed - or ... it was part
of what she needed. Alongside blood touched by the Divine, she needed to spill Blood of Nature. She knew this.
And that was on it's way.
As she waited. She remembered. It had been a plan arcs in the making and now, finally, she would be free.
Although it had begun hundreds of arcs ago, of course, in many ways it began with a death
. The death of a young man - a hero. Murdered by another. In an Inn. As the cold outside had bitten at their weak and foolish bodies, the one-handed boy had saved a baby and he had burned. She had felt it, and tasted it and he had been delicious
. A part of The Girl had been able to seep through, then. The Inn had burned but had been still standing
when first a boy by the name of Danny, and then a woman had stepped in there. Both of them had been tainted by her. But the woman? She had fought back and she had become death-forged
. In freeing the Heart of Scalvoris, that woman had broken one of the Seals holding The Girl in place. And so, the next Arc had been busy.
Ymiden 718 had been important. For four reasons. In three places.
First Immortal's Tongue had been cut off. Fugazi had died, his blood and the blood of his thralls seeping in to the earth. There, where the archaeological ruins
were on Immortal's Tongue. Fugazi and his thralls had died, and there their blood had seeped into the earth. That had started a chain reaction which had led to the release of something born of the Mistress of Pestilence. It had taken time because, while one group had stopped her in those ruins - the other one
That had allowed the Immortal to gain a hold, which grew stronger. Slowly, rot and decay had taken hold, seeping under the island, being passed from person to person and place to place. It had led to a number of things - including Harvardr being without its leader at this most crucial moment. Harvardr was ready. That was the first reason.
The second attack on that trial in 718 had been on Ishallr
. There, Raven had failed and so, things had not gone how she wanted. Half the job there had been done at the death of Jackson Eclipse
. However, the man Zach ~ the one who had been the second death needed, the one who was also connected to those Portals ~ now that he too had died
. So now, even though Raven had failed, Ishallr was ready. Even the fools at the University knew it
. Ishallr was ready. That was the second reason.
The third attack that trial in 718 had been the focal one, of course. The one on Faldrass
. The aim there had been to kill Enri's descendent, to destroy the man, and the place he guarded. They'd been successful and got to the Manor. But, thanks to the trickery of a man believed dead, The Beast
had fallen. That had been the third reason - the main
reason that Ymiden 718 had been important. Because when the Man fell, they would destroy the Mansion and that would break a Seal. But, although it was important, it had not happened. She had been worried, then. Worried that these do-gooders would follow this up, that they would find her, but they never had There are follow up plots given in the reviews, none were taken up.
. Despite how obviously organised her minions were, the people of Scalvoris had never investigated further.
And that, that
would be their doom.
They'd been too busy, of course. Too busy with their own troubles. The very same people who had sailed to Scalvoris on dark-sailed ships had arranged for other ships to arrive. The vessel, The Mauve Maiden
, named after her, had arrived prior to the attacks
. They should have known, but they did not - even when they knew the captain was a Naerrik
that it was not what it seemed. Yet they'd been pulled in by appearances and then, the Docks had been destroyed
. While the attacks had been ongoing, the people of Scalvoris had been too busy licking their wounds and burying their dead. The death of those women in the docks - and all others after - had turned the people against the Elements. Had made them quick to assume that there was corruption. It had turned them on themselves. They'd attacked the Elements
and so maybe that was why they hadn't investigated the attacks in Ymiden. Maybe they were too busy.
And then, in a move of almost phenomenal amusement to her, they'd put the traitors here
. Still. Ymiden 718 had been important for four reasons, she remembered. The fourth reason had been because of Watch. They'd killed the man who was there that trial and now another man wore his skin. And so, Watch was ready.
But still. Still
, though three of the four things she'd needed them to do had been done, The Girl had needed Faldrass more than any other. And so, on that fateful night in Ashan, 720
, they had finally freed the Induk, Faldrass. But it had come at such cost. Delays at the beginning of their journey
and a deadly combat
had combined to do two things. It meant that they didn't truly understand what they were doing and the release of Faldrass was difficult ~ in his thrashing, that broke another Seal. It also meant that the Mansion was destroyed - and thus, the Seventh Seal was broken. But the Sixth still remained. It was the only one, now. It meant that flashed of things, aspects of her began to seep out. Her influence began to grow. Portals flickered. Sleep was disturbed. Meditations saw visions....
The Girl had felt it, had smiled in delight. Her Father, of course, had machinated it. He had freed
the woman who had caused the landslide and made sure she knew
how much she owed him. Of couse, he had also made connections,
and garnered promises. And then? Then they had declared war
And so, The Girl and her Father had started to pull together their army. They had many of them down here with them, of course. The most dangerous. The most psychotic. The most powerful. The most loyal
, for who is not loyal to Her? But Father was clever, so much more clever than any mortal, and he had contacts all around. In a twisted respect for the feathered beast who had killed the one-handed boy, Father had dubbed himself the Sparrow. He had been building his bases above ground, too.
In Almund. In Egilrun. In Scalvoris Town. In Darbyton and in the Mountains. The faithful flocked to him. Little birds to the Sparrow. But then. Then, things had come to a head
and if they knew anything, The Girl and her Father, they knew when it was time to stop planning. Stop amassing. Start slaughtering. And that time was now.
She felt it again, that gnawing sensation. The turtle moved, sniffing, sensing, but the final seal stood strong. Leaning once more against the stone, she remembered.
Looking at her Father, for he was here with her, The Girl ignored the fear. It was only fear of the unknown, after all. He looked down at her and smiled and she nodded.
Release the prisoner, Father,"
she said. He nodded, kissed the top of her head fondly and stood. Then, ignoring the minion of the Immortal of Gifts - which seemed unable to see him - he walked to the prison cell.
A simple, small, single room. It had one inhabitant.
Oh yes, she thought. That was the word. The word for what she was.
She'd been it since she'd been trapped down here. Since Enri had told the stories which trapped her.
As her Father released the Diri of Destruction which they had trapped waiting for this moment, The Girl understood what she was. She was hungry
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