Although Spratt was remiss to admit such a thing, he was prone to extreme claustrophobia.
Five Weeks Earlier…
Late Night Scare
The wind rattled the windows something terrible, filling the house with a chattering chorus. Anne held the candle out before her as if it were an impenetrable shield. The professor often chastised her overly cautious nature, but she had heard stories. Her mother always said ‘there is truth even in the wildest of tales’. She liked to think her mother was telling a truth as well, even if it was a small one.
I landed squarely on my feet before throwing a few darts at the creature, only for them to bounce off like pebbles. Disappointed, I tossed a few smoke bombs his way while I reached for my swords. Nothing too remarkable about them, really. A standard issued gladius in my right and a spatha in my left. A little unbalanced, I know, but for some reason, it always seemed to work for me. This odd quirk of mine would earn me the distinction of being called ‘Tristan the Hefty Lefty.’
Dim gas-light cast an un-natural glow upon the dark, cobbled streets, diffused by the thin fog that had settled down for the evening; a veil that refused to be parted. With a dedicated pace Godfrey Wolesley made his way down the street, his coat pulled close around him. Normally, nights like this were perfect for conducting business, but tonight he preferred a practice of a different kind. The clic-clak-clic-clak of his heels echoing on the cobbles carried into the air. To someone else, he must seem a specter, a distant presence ever moving but always there, just around the corner. The mere thought brought a thin, cruel smile to his lips.
When Spratt came to there was no telling how long he’d been unconscious. Terror overcame him for a moment upon the realization he was wrapped tightly in Nedra’s cloak and being carried like a sack of potatoes. Spratt couldn’t be certain, but the feeling of weightlessness led him to believe Nedra had made her way to the rooftops of Garvin, where she was leaping from one building to the next.
No matter; the shadows have a habit of coming out at night, and my training has always taught me that the shadows are to be embraced, not feared. But there were ‘good’ shadows and ‘bad’ shadows, and given my newly acquainted company, I was not entirely sure which one was which.
Over the next few hours, Winter felt like a cop tracking a suspect with old-fashioned legwork. She usually didn’t like to delegate authority but was relieved to rely on Kafira to lead the way. Her leadership since arriving in Taru wasn’t exactly the stuff of legends like the Charge of the Light Brigade. It was more like the reality of that charge—a dismal failure.