The smoke burned Danal’s lungs. The snow stung his eyes. “Another lesson?” he asked. His wheezing lessened the threatening affect he wanted.
“Yeah. I took that little heattramp. Taught her a lesson a few weeks ago. Why? That bother you?” The goon stepped forward, glaring down at the hunter.
Danal threw the first punch. He aimed toward the face, toward the nose. He wouldn’t have enough strength to cause any damage through the layers of coats he was wearing, but if he could knock him out quickly, there might be some chance to win this thing.
The goon swatted the fist away before it made contact. He kicked Danal’s feet out from under him. He fell to the scaffoldwalk with a grunt, what little air was in his lungs whooshing out of him. The boards groaned under the impact of his weight. The goon kicked him in the chest. Even through the layers of coats, Danal felt something give in his chest. Pain.
No. He had felt the claws of a bear. He had survived in the wild. No smokebreather was going to take him down.
Stars danced in his vision as he struggled to stand.
The boot took him in the chest again. The same spot screamed. His vision flashed black as he collapsed again.
Djellian rushed from his wife’s side. He tackled the goon and the two fell to the scaffoldwalk in a tangle.
Aaron pushed forward to join the melee. Sareh and Mavin held him back.
Mavin pushed forward. Aaron and Sareh held her back
Sareh merely trembled.
The two other goons stepped forward and separated Djellian from his target. They lifted Djellian to his feet and held him out, leaning over the edge of the scaffoldwalk and facing down into the pit.
Djellian froze. His arms shook.
The head goon got up and dusted himself off. He took the time to brush the snow from his coat. He looked down at Danal and back at Djellian. “Well, your brave knights failed. Now, still the wind, are these the visitors? My boss would probably pay good money if we returned them to him.”
Ffenyi, behind Sareh, stood her ground. “We are going home.”
“Right.” The goon stepped forward.
Sareh placed herself between them. “You’re not interested in them.”
The goon regarded her.
“You only want what you can’t have. That’s why you wanted me for so long.” She would not let her voice shake.
“Yeah, well, you were always too holy to care about me.”
Sareh swallowed. “Let them go, Pallas. Let them go. Please.”
Pallas looked down into Sareh’s face. His expression remained neutral. “Will you let me have you? No fighting, if I let them go?”
The wind blew. The snow pelted them. The smoke in the air was not what caused tears to run down Sareh’s face. “Yes.”
Pallas’s mouth slid into a grin. And then a smile. His yellow teeth seemed too large for his face. His eyes slid down Sareh’s form. “Last time I didn’t get to enjoy you too much. And now you’ll just offer yourself up? For some visitors?” He licked his lips.
Sareh closed her eyes. “Yes.”
He chuckled. “Nah. I think I’ll just take you any way I want, and keep the visitors. Ain’t no one here going to stop me.”
Read more of the world of Snow and Smoke here.
Read the previous entry, Our Refuge and Strength, here.
Read the next entry, Though the Earth Give Way, here.