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Thursday, 27 December 2012

Ravens snippet

Anyone up for another snippet of the next Crescent book?

The usual warnings apply - this is still going through editing/final re-writes, so the scene below may or may not change. At this point in time I rather like it, so odds are it's going to make the final cut.

To set the scene - Vianna and Neill are undercover investigating a very disturbing case - and things are about to go pear-shaped.

Strong language warning applies.

                              *****************************************

‘Vianna, where are you?’
Lady Vera covered up her stumble with an airy remark about provincial cobblestones, and snarled back down the mind-link at Tarmien.
‘I’m about to have tea with one of the creepiest bastards I've ever met in my life. Why?’

The creepy bastard offered his arm to ensure against further stumbles. With a well-concealed sigh, she fluttered her eyelashes at him and accepted.
‘Where is Neill?’
‘Stalking next to me looking majestic. Why?’
The wolf rolled a beady eye at her and let his tongue loll out in a toothy grin. Vianna shot him a brief mental vision of a good fur coat.
‘Don’t let any of them touch him.’
‘I’ve already warned him off. I told him he bites strangers.’
‘Not good enough. Can you get out of there?’
‘Not without causing a fuss.’
Her escort had steered her into a small tea-room, enjoying the bowing and scraping his entrance caused.
‘Then cause one.’

The creature escorting her – she refused to think of it as a man – held a chair out for her to seat herself, then reached down and patted Neill on the head while she was distracted by her skirts.

The mind-link ripped apart.

Vianna was thrown backwards, the dainty little chair beneath her splintering into so much kindling. Her nose and ears were streaming blood.

Neill was screaming, still in wolf-form. The councillor that had stroked his fur was on his knees beside him, screaming as well. The wolf had torn his hand off at the wrist, but what dribbled out was thick, stinking black bile instead of  blood.

The other patrons in the shop cowered at their tables, unsure of what was going on.

The wolf screamed, and screamed, and screamed.

Vianna tried to move and realised her skirts were tangled and twined around her legs. She ripped the hated mass of silk away from her legs and kicked them free, then crawled over the splintered mess that had been her chair to reach Neill.
She felt wood and nails claw into her flesh and ignored it. The only thing that mattered was her heart, screaming on the other side of the table.
She crawled into a pair of legs and start to push around them, frantic.
*No.*
She snarled at the alien voice in her head – that wasn’t a mind-link, she had no idea what that was – and she didn’t care.
*If you touch him he will die.*
*Get out of my way!*
*He will die, hawk. You will both die. Hear me, damn you.*
*I’m a healer. Now get the fuck out of my way.*
*You cannot heal this.*
*Fuck. Off.*
The legs stayed where they were, immobile, enfolded in soft cloth. A cloak, Vianna realised. Whoever or whatever this was had on a cloak. It was spattered crimson from where she had run into it.
The voice sighed into her mind. *This is pointless.*
And Vianna realised that there was a blade, rising so swiftly she couldn’t track it.

“NO!”

The blade fell.

The silence in the room choked her, followed her down the spiral into unconsciousness.