Chapter 18 - Calm Before the Storm

- Lytha: Hurry Up and Wait - Day 10: 8:00pm

I sat on the wall of the Temple of the Inquisitor. I did not remember how I had reached this place, because the voices had suddenly appeared again as I left Koyne's shop. The grotesque voices of my sister had told me that I had never done anything good, and that they hated me, more than everything in the world. I was not able to achieve silence in my head until I had reached the northern wall of the Temple. Somehow, my memory and my instincts had led me the right way, while I listened to the voices.

And now I was on the wall, huddled in a small shadow between the legs of a large statue. My aching legs told me that I had been here for quite a while. It was an almost perfect place: I could observe almost the entire Temple from here. The only negative point of the place was that it was very uncomfortable, small, and cold. And I was probably more than 2 hours here. It was late evening, but the multitude of lanterns kept the area very well lit.

A while ago, a high ranking priest of the Hammerites had entered the living quarters. He was young, and dressed in an expensive way. The Hammerites had seemed to be very impressed with him as he entered the area. They had stared motionless for a few seconds at him, and had been devout and submissive towards him, as they were towards higher officers. I ignored his arrival, because he was not the Inquisitor.

My legs had fallen asleep, so I moved a little and tried to relax my aching arms at the same time. My legs hurt as the blood circulated back in the veins.

Why was there silence again in my head? The different voices had shut up. They seemed to back away from something stronger than they were. Suddenly, I heard Thalia's normal voice - or was it mine...

"You are sure that you want to go in there? No, wait. I can see that you want to do this. And I see that you want to do this, beside other reasons, to prevent others from being harmed. You think you have failed. Well. Okay. And I see also that there's no way to keep you from doing this." Sigh. "Okay. Now, let me try to help you. Before you stumble in there blindly, remember. Remember. You have already seen a map of this place. A while ago, but you've seen it. Remember. Find the Inquisitor. Find the high Priest. Kill them both and I shall be avenged." The voice faded.

Yes. I had seen a map of this place, but I had thought that I had forgotten how it looked. Now, I saw it clearly in front of my eyes.

Down there, the Hammerites were still walking around, busy as usual.

- Nightfall: Ambush - Day 10: 8:00pm

I had hoped that having eyes in the back of my head would pay off in a big way, and they most certainly did. I had a group of shadows. There were five of them, three bug-beasts, one black and two of the usual green variety, and two rat-apes. They had this funny idea that they'd sneak behind me, and at some unknown time dispatch me. I found it amusing, actually. But it was also most inconvenient for me. I would have to dispatch them.

I found a nice deep shadow across the corridor, where a torch had gone out. I stood in it, and waited. The group of hunters approached, being as quiet that they could be, which basically meant thud, thud, thud, thud, thud.

They passed over the shadow in which I hid, right past me. I knew that the rat-apes could probably smell me, and I was half counting on it. Sure enough, one of them paused, and began to sniff at the air madly.

"Smells something I does! Sniff, sniff, sniff. Be it manflesh I thinks!"

The other one began to sniff as well. "Smells it I do as well, brother-kin. Sees it not I though. That manfool which we follows, out of sight he now is."

The bug-beasts paused, and looked at the rat-apes. One of the green ones vocalized its incomprehensible whine-like language.

"Shush, greensie-kin, so that wes may hear the manfool. Slipped behind us he did. Manfool making a fool of the beasties he thinks. Find him we shall. Eats him we shall!"

I was trying not to laugh at this. I was also wondering how I should go about it. I could engage the rat-apes in melee with no problems, but those bug-beasts had a magical ranged attack, hurling insects from sacks on their throats, which hurt quite a bit, and was even deadly. I could only imagine what their more advanced black cousin could do.

I, on the other hand, was fast; very fast.

While some would be tempted to make a grandiose entrance, with some witty comment, and an insult to my beastie pursuers, I simply dashed from the shadows, and decapitated the two rat-apes. Their rock heads dropped to the ground with a crack, frozen in the act of sniffing. That was the end of them, and it had been all too easy. Those chimps were really over-rated. The three bug-beasts were frozen with shock and horror.

The black one was first to regain its senses. It inhaled deeply, and the sacks on its neck flailed menacingly. Its body tensed up, and it leaned back, ready to spew forth something truly nasty at me. Not wanting to be host to a cloud of insects, I raised my arm out in front of me, and let him have a taste of my type of projectile. I unleashed one of my favorite, and most powerful, Drudic missile attacks, launching a long shaft of super-hot stone from my palm. It was a variant of the magic missile spell, which I also enjoyed. The shaft plunged into the things chest, ripping it asunder, strewing bug-beast chunks and a great deal of green goo all around.

Wait a minute - magic shafts of rock flying from my palms? What in blazes was this? I gave up magic when I came to this realm and lost contact with my source of power!

The two green bug-beasts began to flee. Since I seemed to have the tool at my disposal, and I really couldn't let the beasties get away, I dispatched them in a similar fashion, with my magic.

It was just like before, back home: my real home where I was born and grew up. I voiced no incantations, used no reagents, had no spell book, no runes, performed no ritual, nothing, and yet fire flew from my fingertips at my will. Magic in this land was rather weak, and required serious meditation, and advanced incantations to even attempt, and even then is only possible with a strong allegiance to a deity or elemental force. What I did, should have been impossible.

There was something about this place - something that caused my mana to return. My night-vision, upon which I had pondered previously, was almost definitely related to this as well. I remembered something. In places deep below the earth, magic could be done to weaken the barriers between realms. Portals could then be opened between them, and their energies could leak into each other. Could the Faery Queen's portal be letting mana from the realm of my birth seep into this one? The results were undeniable.

This was a little too convenient.

- Jyre: A Maze - Day 10: 8:00pm

The tunnel was perfectly circular without anything you could easily identify as a floor or ceiling. I didn't like it and would have avoided going in if it had been at all possible. But the map had shown no other routes that would take us directly to the temple and Daneel was out there, alone. I bit back my anxiety and forced myself to continue.

The rock on which we walked was a rusty brown in color and contained all the highlights that could be found on an old piece of iron left out in the rain too long. For a second I even entertained the idea that the tunnel was made up of just that. But when I ran my hand over the rough surface I found that, underneath a thin layer of crumbling powder, it was in fact solid rock. My fingers brushed over one of the ridges that must have been created by the creature that had burrowed through here and I shuddered. The thing must have been huge!

I felt the ground beneath my feet tilt slightly and came to a halt, glancing back to make sure James was still with me. He was. And he was bent over to keep his head from hitting the top of the tunnel. I swallowed hard, suddenly realizing how cramped the tunnel was. "Are you sure this is the right way?"

He nodded for me to go on but just as I turned away he stooped down to pick something up off the floor. I moved closer for a better look and he held the scrap of paper in the light so I could read it.

"Can't seem to get anywhere. This place is a maze of twisty passages, all alike, and this damn dwarf keeps trying to kill me."
A shiver ran down my spine. I glanced over James's shoulder only to find that the entrance to the tunnel was out of sight. I read the words on the scrap again and sighed. "Do you think..."

"Pardon?" James said.

I dropped the topic, slipped the note into my pocket, and continued.

I'm not sure how long we walked for. So far beneath the earth in such a dead place time no longer seemed to matter. I doubt we were in that tunnel for more than hour, though, or I think I would have felt the strain on my legs. The tunnel, as far as I could tell, ran perfectly straight, without once splitting or being joined by another. It leveled out near the end, growing slightly wider. Without the light James now carried we would have been nearly blind as we stepped out into a large, oval, cavern.

My dagger was in my hand before my mind registered what my eyes had seen. There was a huge mass lying in the center of the cavern. I held my hand up for James to stop and, after watching the motionless hulk for a few minutes, slowly edged towards it. As I drew closer I could make out the thing's dark gray skin, shimmering slightly under the blue light. I flexed my fingers, flipping the dagger over in my hand to stop my muscles from freezing up, as I drew up at the thing's side. It never moved once. "Jyre..." James said, but I paid him no mind.

I hesitated for a second, noting the thin horizontal folds that creased its skin. Then I plunged the dagger downwards, driving it in as deep as I could. I almost fell to my knees when the skin parted like a fine sheet. The dagger sank into rotting flesh, my hand going with it. I heard something sizzle then the flesh of my hand was burning. I snatched it away and cradled it under my other arm, dropping the dagger to the floor. The stench that rose from the corpse made me retch. I stared at my dagger or what was left of it, anyway. The entire blade was gone!

James quickly ran over, yellow vial in hand. He poured some of the liquid over my hand, numbing it, and gave the rest to me to drink. Healing potions taste horrible, but it was better then the pain. "Why on earth did you do that?" he said, his voice filled with concern.

I muttered a "thank you" and blinked back tears. "I... I... I don't know..."

"Seemed like a good idea at the time, eh?" he said with a comforting smile on his face. "That thing is an estulmia, a giant acidic slug. It's still alive and well in today's world, though usually not seen by men. You're lucky it was dead, or you'd be gone now."

All I could do was force a smile in return.

As James searched through the debris in the cavern I just stood still, staring. Eight passages. Four on my left, four more to the right, all black pits. Was it too much to ask for one of them to lead back up?

A twinge of pain ran through my hand as I lifted it to scratch my face. I stared at the burns in disbelief. Caused by the thing's blood, James had said. I don't think I would like to come across one of those things when it was alive. Nor the thing that had killed it for that matter! Of course, it might just have starved. I kept that thought in my head as I continued my surveillance of the cavern, refusing to accept that something worse might exist out there. That something might be attacking Daneel even as I stood there.

I forced the idea from my head and instead studied the walls of the immense cavern. As I did so an image slowly formed in my head. "Spider," I mumbled. James paused in his search and looked up at me. "It looks like the inside of a spider," I explained.

- Nightfall: Base of the Abyss - Day 10: 9:00pm

I was now in a narrow unlit stairwell. I could see perfectly, as my innate night-vision was now in full effect. I reached the bottom of the stairs and found myself at a T-intersection, with passages left and right, trailing off as far as my eyes could see, which was pretty far. The ground here was now a solid black form, with a sort of a ripple effect too it. It was cooled lava. I was unsure if the lava had invaded the constructed corridor, or the corridor was the inside of a natural lava tube. Since the corridor seemed to weave slightly back and forth as it went, I surmised that the latter was true. But no matter, I decided left, and left I went.

I had not gone far when I came to another T-intersection, but this time I had the option to continue or turn. I chose to go down the new path. This new path began to ramp downwards, slightly at first, and then steeply. The ceiling above stayed at the same level, so soon it was quite high above me. I saw something up ahead which made me freeze.

Arrowheads, about ten of them, slightly visible between cracks in the walls. The solid dried lava beneath my feet did not seem so solid up ahead, as I could make out the faint outline of a pressure plate, right in front of each arrowhead. Someone expected unwelcome guests to come this way. Though this trap would have been deadly to the unaware, to the aware it was trivial to evade. I simply avoided the plates.

The passage continued as before, and I got the distinct feeling that I was getting very close. I could no longer see the ceiling above me, and the heat was increasing. I was relying totally on my night-vision, for there were no torches here set by the Faery Queen's men. Up ahead I saw a dim red glow, a glow of lava. I doubled my speed, reaching a jog, and readied myself for anything. The end of the hall grew nearer. It opened up into a very large chamber, the ceiling of which I still could not see at all. I was almost here. Finally, I was but half a foot from the opening. I did not step out. There was a building in front of me. It was the temple I had seen before, from inside the volcano shaft. I had made it. Finally, after a full day of travel underground, I had made it.

- James: A Looking Glass - Day 10: 9:10pm

I noted something that pleased me to no end. The walls finally matched those described by my spy. We were finally in the complex where our destination was located, and closing on it fast. My sense of accomplishment was cut short by a question from Jyre.

"So, which way do we go?"

I raised my hand to her, a signal to pause for a moment, and to watch me. Slowly, I closed the shutters of the lantern. We should have been in total darkness, but we were not. I could see, faintly, that one of the passages yielded a dim red glow, which would have been invisible before because of the light coming from our lamp. I could hear by Jyre's slight gasp that she saw it too. I opened the shutters.

"That way," I said, pointing down the corridor with the red glow. "To the volcano's core."

"The..." she didn't finish her sentence. I could tell by her tone that she was not too thrilled by the idea.

"Yes, that is the way we must go. It's where Master Nightfall would have gone."

So we set forth down my chosen path. Whenever we came to an intersection, I repeated the process, choosing the path with the greatest red glow. Though far from fool proof, the method was the best one at hand. There was only one anomaly, and it was a serious anomaly. At one of the intersections, one of the tunnels seemed to glow not red, but white. Following it cautiously, we found ourselves at a small door that lead into a strange, high-vaulted room, with a seven-pointed star incised into the smoothly polished floor. In the center of the star was a pedestal, and on the pedestal something was covered by a cloth ornately embroidered in a strangely familiar geometric design. I tried, but could not manage to place the source.

Lifting the cloth, we found ourselves staring into a mirror; a looking glass. Then the mirror shimmered, and suddenly showed not our faces, but a scene. Looking closely, we recognized ourselves, running down an electric gray path of color suspended in inky blackness. Bizarre creatures floated in the blackness but seemed to pay us no heed as we rushed, perhaps fleeing some unknown terror. Soon we came to the end of the path, where it went through an arcane gate.

We both felt certain that, somehow, we had been given a warning - and a set of directions. The importance of that gray path we would only learn later.

- Jyre: The End Draws Near - Day 10: 9:20pm

I was several paces in front now, walking on the very edge of the sphere of light the masked lantern provided. I could still make out what lay ahead of me, lit as it was by a distant red glow, the origin of which I couldn't even guess at. We were no longer in the tunnel that the slug had made through the stone but rather in something that I would label as an underground street. The ground on which we walked was perfectly smooth, although it still held a downward slope. Two thin channels had been carved into the stone on either side of the path. They reminded me of the sewage gutters that lined the streets of the slums, only they were empty and dry. The sides of the tunnels were straight and sheer. Occasionally as I moved forward I noticed dark, shadow filled openings which could easily have been doors and windows. But there was something about this place that kept me away. A sense that it was waiting for its occupants to return, that I was an intruder and should leave as quickly as I could.

Several times the road we followed was crossed by other, smaller tunnels, each one as carefully carved from the stone as the one on which we walked. I paused at each one, listening for signs of life. Hearing nothing, I moved on, keeping our path as straight as the crisscrossing passageways allowed. I glanced over my shoulder occasionally to make sure James was still there. He would nod each time he saw me but neither of us spoke. There was no desire in either of us to break the age-old silence.

At length the street came to an end and we were forced to backtrack to one of the narrower passages. We hadn't gone more than a few steps when it took its first sharp turn. I hesitated, turning to James for reassurance. He gave a slight nod and we moved on. The tunnel continued to twist and turn and was joined by several side passages. I chose to stay with the main path. If James had any objections he never voiced them.

Death. That is what I thought of as I listened to the echoes of our footfalls bouncing ahead of us. They sounded dead. The air, thick and stuffy as it was, felt the same. I swallowed back the lump in my throat and tried not to think of the slug that lay rotting in the cavern above our heads. Or Els, his body returning to the soil from which it had come. And Daneel....

I stopped to take a small sip from the water bottle that hung on my belt and forced my mind away from such morbid thoughts. Daneel was alive. Nothing we had come across suggested otherwise. Why such a thought would even enter my mind...

I felt James' hand on my shoulder and forced myself to move on. It was only as I drew clear of the lantern light once more that I noticed we were no longer in the strange underground street in which we had started. This was an underground streambed, eked out of the rock by thousands of gallons of water. How I had failed to notice the tiny trickle that now ran across the silty ground I don't know. The tiny grains of sand and pebbles barely made a sound as my bare feet passed over them but I could hear James moving behind me, every tiny crunch sounding like a drum beat in my ears. Even so, I doubt he was making half as much noise as I was. It was just my mind's way of letting me know I wasn't alone.

As I came to the next bend I picked up the tinniest of noises, nothing more than a gust of air passing through a small gap, yet it brought me to a halt. I signaled for James to put down the lantern, thus shutting off its light, and carefully made my way around the bend. My ears were straining to catch any noise as I slid my way around the sharp turn. My blood pounded in expectation. I reached for my dagger, only to remember it was no longer there. And then I heard it again, the tinniest of whispers. There was something ahead of us in the tunnel and it was alive.

- Nightfall: The Temple Gate - Day 10: 9:20pm

An enemy is at its most dangerous when it is nearest defeat. That little quote ran through my mind as I realized that I was now standing at the Queen's back door. I had defeated the labyrinth, and stood ready to enter her fortress. Reflecting on that quiet fact for a moment or two, I slowly made my way down the marble bridge, over lava and brimstone, to the platform where the temple stood.

The temple was carved from black and gray stone; lava rock. All across the surface was a vague pattern of wavy lines, possibly representing vines, or steam. The base was square in shape, and the walls tapered off as they went up, making the roof about half the size of the base. The entire structure stood on a rock platform, a good hundred feet above the churning lava below, and arguably several thousand feet below the mouth of the volcano, which could no longer be seen up above. Night had fallen. The temple bore no marking, other than the vines. There were no emblems, no glyphs, no structural features, just a simple shape best described as the bottom half of a pyramid, covered in vines. But perhaps it was too soon to judge, for I had not yet seen the far side.

The walk over the bridge to the platform was a short one, but my slow pace as I observed made it seem long. This was the only bridge to the platform. Only one way in and one way out, it seemed. I eventually reached the temple, and found nothing about it which I could not see from the bridge. There was no way in from this side. I chose to go left, and walked the sort distance to the corner, which I peeked around slowly.

From what I could see, I surmised that this was indeed the side of the temple with the entrance. I could not see it, but I did see a pair of stone beasts flanking the massive alcove where the door had to be. Seeing and hearing no activity, I rounded the corner, and walked to the center of the wall, in front of the door. The door was massive, at least fifty feet across, and a good thirty feet tall. It was a double door, with an obvious seam down the center. Right in the middle of the seam was a massive lock, which looked to be some type of dead-bolt, operable by a key.

To be thorough, I walked around the temple once, to make sure I was not missing anything. I found the other three sides to be the same as the first one. The temple, like this platform, had only one way in and out. Unfortunately, I had no idea how I was going to get in. I walked back to the door to get a better look at that lock. As I made my way to it, I took a closer look at the two stone guardians. They were quite large, quadruped, with wings, a tail, and a mouth with many sharp teeth. I was glad that there were no such creatures in the Queen's army. Well, I hoped there were none, at any rate. I walked up to the lock mechanism, and gave it a close look. It was well above my eye level, so I really couldn't get that close. It seemed to have a three pronged key-hole in it: three round indentations, with a deeper hole in the center. It looked like a clover with very skinny leaves. I wondered if my medallion was the key, but I ruled that out soon enough, for even though it may fit nicely in one of the three slots, I only had one medallion, and there were three slots.

I hummed to myself in contemplation as I looked around the area for an answer. There was nothing on the platform other than the temple and the statues, and nothing off the platform other than a vast complex of lava caverns, stretching off into the dim red darkness. I was sadly stuck one again. I thought about the beings in the gray robes, and how nice it would be if they suddenly showed up and gave me a nice, big, important looking key. Ah, but that would be too easy.

Then something caught my eye. The statues wore medallions! They were stone, not gold, and the chain of the medallion was very much a part of the beast's stone neck, but the medallion itself seemed removable. It made sense that one could use his or her medallion along with the two the beasts wore to insert into the three slots. Without a second thought, I wrapped my fingers around it, and gave a good tug.

The medallion turned to gold. I froze, half in astonishment, half in terror. The statue began to breathe.

- Jyre: A Regrettable Encounter - Day 10: 9:30pm

I dropped into a crouch and slowly crept forward, trying to keep to the darker side of the tunnel where my dark clothes would hide me better. Rounding the bend I found the tunnel stretched quite far in front of me, still on a downwards course. The red glow strengthened up ahead, making it difficult to see. I could just make out two dark figures against the redness. I risked moving closer, curious as to who it was. I came to a stop as soon as I could make out their words.

"Why does she insist we wait here, anyhoo?"

I let out a sigh of relief when I realized the voice was human. I hadn't noticed just how tense I had become until I felt my body relax.

"Again wiff thiss ssubject, manfool!" I shuddered. That was definitely not a human voice! Hearing that one speak set my skin to crawling.

"Naebody's gonna come doon 'ere. This is just plain dumb. I mean, whai's gonna go snoopin' aroond some auld empty tunnels fer fun? And there's gotta be huner'ds o' thay things in that rock. Whit are the chances o' anyun finding this yun? Why cannny we dae sommit useful instead of standin' oot here like a couple o' ejits?"

I edged closer, hoping their voices would cover any noise I made. If they were guarding something, it probably meant it would be useful. I had to get passed.

"Doesst thy moaning never ccceasssse?"

I almost fled when I heard the female's voice again. It was unnatural!

"The estulmia'll take care o' anyone whai's stupid enough tai even try comin' that way anyhoo!"

My foot caught a stone and sent it spinning across the path. Both guards fell silent and turned to look into the tunnel, alerted by the sound. I cursed myself as I waited for them to return to their chatter. It was the man who spoke first.

"How long -"

"Sssilence! Attend to your dutiesss!"

That was the last thing I needed. Someone who actually knew how to do their job! There was no way I would be able to cross the rest of the tunnel with them watching it as they were. Going back seemed just as risky. I could have shot them, I suppose. I would've managed to take one of them out without them knowing I was there, led the second on a little chase until an opportunity to do something presented itself. It was a fleeting thought. Murder wasn't something I could do and that's what it would have been. I shifted my feet and stared up at the ceiling as I thought. There had to be some way...

I smiled as I realized what it was I was staring at and I slowly followed its length with my eyes. Keeping low, I edged over to the opposite wall, moving as slowly as I could so as not to cause too much of a shift in the shadows. Once there I stood, keeping my back pressed against the rock wall then slowly turned until my face was pressed up against stone. Reaching up, I found the rock's edge and gently pulled myself up. Here the ledge was wide enough for me to stand on comfortably, but as it got closer to the guards it became narrower. If I was careful, however, I would be able to get passed them.

I put my back and heels to the wall and shuffled my way sideways, taking extra care not to send more stones into the tunnel. I paused once, as I drew level with the guards, waiting to see if they had noticed me. Neither of them moved. I forced myself to take a deep breath, adjusted my footing and moved on.

The rock beneath my leading foot crumbled and shot out into the tunnel. A split second later I was following. I didn't even have time to register that I was falling before both my feet shot out from under me and I went sliding down the side of the tunnel, vaulted forward and smashed into one of the guards. We both went down, the guard landing first and me thumping heavily on his chest. Judging by his blank staring eyes and the blood pooling around his head he was, thankfully, oblivious to my presence.

I gave my head a quick shake to clear it then hastily scrambled clear. My foot caught on part of his uniform, pain shot through my ankle as it twisted beneath me and I landed on my knees with a solid thump. I blinked back tears of pain and looked up to find myself staring at the very sharp point of a sword.

- James: Returning a Favor - Day 10: 9:30pm

Jyre seemed to hear something, and I had no intention of dismissing it. Her ears were younger and keener than mine, so I took heed of her signal, and shut the lantern, giving her all the darkness she needed. She crept forward, utterly silently, and I did the same, following her, utterly silently. Soon, I saw the source of her auditory warning. There was a guard post up ahead. I must admit, it was a breath of fresh air. Not the contact with sentient life, but the reassurance that we had gone the right way all along, and were getting close to our destination.

I peered closely at the guard post. It was a standard checkpoint configuration. There was a wall built across the cave opening, with a gate in the center. Two guards, one was human, and the other savilarine, a human reptile hybrid, occasionally referred to as a Hiss, or the more colloquial Hissie. There would be two more guards behind the gate. I must admit that I had never gotten to examine a live savilarine specimen before, so my curiosity to observe was tremendous. I crept ever closer, to gain a better look.

The savilarine was very human in form, female. Coming from the perspective that she was once a human, the things to note as new about her would be the ridges of skin along the sides of her neck, which stood out forming a cobra-like hood. There was very little human left in her face, as it looked almost exactly like the face of a snake or lizard. She was covered with scales, a dark armor-like surface which covered her body, with the exception of her chest, abdomen, groin, and the insides of her legs and arms, which bore a lighter, softer shingle-like scale pattern. She had breasts, though they were no more than useless relics of her previous humanity, much like her skinny limp tail was a worthless relic of her serpentine half. She wore no clothing other than bracers and boots, for she really needed none with those armor-like scales. I actually found a lot to admire about the beast, especially this one.

You should always try to have a plan - simply as a mutually agreed-upon basis for changing the plan! So I was a bit surprised when Jyre began her move to attack the guards. How best to support her? Reviewing the options, I decided that the best thing I could do was stand-by to provide support with arrows in the event her plan did not work as intended. With some effort, I worked my way up to a dark crevice from which I could survey the scene, and readied my bow.

The next thing I knew, Jyre had somehow gotten herself into far more trouble than I had expected. She had managed to climb up onto some railing, and then drop down on the human guard! He was now quite dead, impaled by his own sword, and Jyre would be as well if I did not do something quickly. The savilarine was already drawing back her sword to finish Jyre off! I put arrow to bowstring as quickly as I could, aimed for the creature's neck, and shot.

- Chapter 17 - Land of the Ancients / Chapter 19 - Donning Our True Skins

Correspondence of Thieves copyright, 2000, Steve Tremblay, Lytha, James Sterrett, Alexandria Thomson, and Daniel Todd.