(Originally from October 2007)
This is a study in free flow writing. It may not make sense when it’s finished. Oh well.
**Mature content warning**
Querin murmured to himself as he examined the remnants of the previous night’s ritual,. He shook his head as he knelt over the charred remains of the child in the midst of the circle. With one finger he prodded the ashes, and then stood, his expression veiled.
“It is an uncommon spell,” he said, breaking the strange silence. “But a strong one. See here,” He pointed to one of the designs on the floor. “This line, it is used to take strength from another, from the sacrificial victim.” He glanced at her and then back to the markings. “The babe was naught more than a minor offering. You were the true sacrifice.” He motioned to another line. “This one, it connects to the victim. No doubt you stood in this area here?” He indicated the spot she’d been only last night.
She nodded, not trusting herself to speak. She wasn’t sure how to react to the knowledge that her aunt had planned to use her, though the question entered her mind: How long had she planned this ? Had it been on her mind the moment she’d stumbled out of the woods and sealed herself up in her house? Had she always meant it to end this way?
The thoughts made her shiver, but she left them unspoken and soon she and Querin were once again beneath the moon’s soft light, only this time their destination was the darkened woods. Keena hesitated for only a moment before plunging into the thick blackness of the trees, following in Querin’s wake.
The branches of trees seemed to claw at them as they wound through the forest. The brambles caught at their clothes as if trying to stop them. An unwholesome feeling permeated the closely seated trees and underbrush that gave them both goose bumps, though neither spoke of it.
A wolf howled in the distance and Querin drew to a stop. He caught her with an arm and motioned her to silence. He nodded towards the sound of the wolf and then moved towards it, though slower and quieter this time. As they drew nearer, the howling grew louder and louder. It was with great trepidation that Keena continued o follow Querin’s lead. Silently, she questioned his motives and the truthfulness of his account of himself. Perhaps he was allied with Eseldra and was leading her into the woods so that her aunt could finish what she had begun..
Her musings came to an abrupt halt, as did they, when a clearing came into view. In the center of it stood Eseldra, her long red hair flowing around her naked shoulders, her bare arms raised to the heavens as she chanted in that strange, harsh language she’d used in her last ritual. At her feet were gathered a pack of wolves, milling around one another, jostling for a position close to her. At her side sat a large, dark wolf who eyed the others with what amounted to disdain, his fur bristling.
“It is as I thought,” Querin whispered, reaching inside his cloak and removing something. “This will not be easy.”
To be continued…..
(He’s right! This thing is not easy to end! Yergh!)