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~ Previous Chapter ~
The last word.
AFTER RACING UP to the top of the tower to see if his erstwhile prisoners had left anything incriminating behind, Yullik reached the tunnels a moment too late. An unknown Rider already lay in a pool of blood, eyes dull with death. Behind him stood the Dean of Aquila, bloodied, battered but still defiant. The sword in his hand was black with gore, the skin of both arms and his face blistered.
Seeing Yullik approach, a golden glow in the darkness, Marshall smiled grimly with the knowledge of how things would always be between them. “I would rather die free, than live in captivity,” he whispered, and struck before Yullik realised what he was about.
“No!” he roared, flinging his hands apart and forcing his kaz-naghkt aside in a burst of furious power. They cowered and screeched as he leapt past them to seize the dean.
Too late. The sword Marshall had pushed up beneath his own ribcage protruded from his back, the blade now glistening red.
Dean Marshall shuddered as he toppled into Yullik’s arms, the poisonous gore on the sword as potent as the blade itself. Blood bubbled on his lips as he gave a breathless laugh. “No surrender,” he whispered, and was gone from the world.
Torn between frustration, rage and envy, Yullik closed Marshall’s eyes and lowered him gently to the ground. “So you die as you lived,” he murmured. “A stupid noble bloody fool.”
“At least he’ll finally be of use.” Willym arrived, a little breathless, eyes alight at the death of his former superior – and one he’d tried and failed to kill before. “Your kaz-naghkt will feed well tonight.”
Snarling, Yullik indulged his temper with a lashing blow across the idiot’s face, the gold of his power sinking deep under Willym’s skin. “You know nothing of use. Be silent.”
Clutching his jaw, Willym panted against the pain and spat out a tooth. The gash on his cheek would mar his beauty forever. Yet when he looked up, his eyes shone with a feral light. “You will regret that.”
Yullik turned his back on the worthless pup, releasing a surge of light into the dean, slowly clenching his fists as he burnt the body to ash. “In a life as long as mine I have gathered many regrets,” he said softly. “You will never be among them.” His task complete, he turned and let Willym see the full measure of his contempt. “I do not waste my regrets on mewling weaklings. Go weep to your little pirate friends, false child, for I am done with you.”
And he left Willym bleeding in the dark, with a pile of ash and a cooling body, surrounded by a host of hungry kaz-naghkt.
The mountain shuddered as he stepped back inside the citadel, feeling the threat stirring in the dark. He sucked his power back beneath his skin and headed for his tower, already planning the defences he would need.
“Aquila is mine.”
For now anyway….
In the meantime – THANK YOU for reading! And sticking with it all the way to the end.
Usually I’d be back in a month, raring to begin the next book, but it’s NaNoWriMo next month and I’d really like to save all my energy for writing Wingborn book 5.
So, instead, I’ll be leaving this up for an extra month to let people read it before the ebook version comes out and this one vanishes. This will happen on the same day that Book 4, STORM WINGS, will begin: Friday 1st December.
I hope to see you then!