by thefourpartland

As before, this is an excerpt from my NaNoWriMo novel, so there are some spoilers lurking.

They arrived at the edge of the docks to find them strangely empty, although there was one small boat beginning to row out into the harbour, and it was stuffed full of Áðexe.

Tarranau muttered, and made a slapping motion against the water, the others watching as a wave suddenly appeared out of nowhere and flipped the boat, dumping all the Áðexe over the side. Being excellent swimmers, once they had got their bearings they ignored the boat and continued towards the vessels in the harbour.

The watermage cursed. “Well, that was a bloody stupid thing to do, wasn’t it?”

“You had better fix it before Á?ðan finds out. He’s going to be very unhappy if we lose some of the boats.”

“No, he’ll just say something about life being interesting, then hiss a lot.”

“Well, there is that too.”

Tarranau waved them to silence, and then began skipping razored discs of ice across the water, slicing them in at head height. One after another, crimson stains began to bloom in the water, and with it the increasingly frantic motions of the sailors trying to reach their craft. But none ever did, although the last had been within touching distance of the bow line before Tarranau had been able to slay the creature.

As he turned his back on the sea, he could hear the fish biting and chewing at the corpses as they floated. Life, at its end.

“Sawwaed, what’s your nose smelling?” Bwyell had his helmet off and was sniffing the air.

“Blood, death, broken things. The usual after battle…” He paused. “And smoke. There’s smoke somewhere.”

Atyniadol looked at them both. “We’re in a town, why would the smell of cook fires be that strange in the morning?”

“I don’t think it’s a cooking fire.” Bwyell glanced up and down the docks, then began trotting off to his right.

The others followed, somewhat bemused by his antics. He was certainly convinced, wherever he was going.

After a few minutes of searching, Tarranau waved at Bwyell. “Are you sure there’s anything?”

“I know I smelt wood smoke back there, wood smoke with the tinge of varnish and the like. Not the kind you’d toss on a fire.”

“Well, there’s doesn’t seem to be any.”

Ceinder pointed to the farthest end of the docks, which they could now see. “Tarranau, Bwyell was right.”

Flames leapt from one of the seashore warehouses, and were quickly moving to engulf one of the others next along. Áðexe ran from the flames, but some of those running carried burning brands.

“Some bright officer is burning down the harbour before we can use it. Atyniadol, Sawwaed, can you stop them? Bwyell too. Ceinder and I will deal with the fires.”

Sawwaed nodded, and set off in a jangle of armour, the others close behind.

As the mages ran, Ceinder glanced over at her husband. “How are we going to put out a fire that’s already that big?”

“A lot of water and a lot of dust and earth. Unless you have a better idea.”

“I was hoping you did. Your intellect isn’t impressing me right now.”

“Well, it’s a little stressed out.”

“Why? It’s only a battle.”


  1. MLGammella on 11.08.2012

    How interesting – I’m already picturing this world. Thank you for this snippet.

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