Today is part four in my series of previews of Scars of the Sundering, book one: Malediction. As with the other previews, this scene follows immediately after the previous scenes posted.
As Kale listened to the minotaur’s chanting, he wished his sister could be with them. Deli would burninate anything that attacked us right now! He flipped one of his daggers in the air, catching it by the handle.
Edric gripped the hilt of his sword with nervous energy. The dwarf muttered to himself. “Should’ve stayed at the pub. Never deal with this stuff at the bottom of a bottle. Warm beds, happy whores, maybe get a job, pay off my debts, but not this. Never this.”
The air crackled with energy. Kale looked around the room. The walls seemed to undulate and pulse, but he wasn’t sure if that was an effect of the energy in the air or if the walls actually moved. What little he understood about raw chaos made him wish Pancras would hurry.
Something squished between his toes. Kale looked down to see the floor oozing up around his feet. Yelping, he danced around, shaking the goo off them. One of the walls erupted in a shower of blood and ichor, swirling toward the rift like a tornado.
“You have to stop him, Kale.”
Kale stopped and gasped when he saw who spoke. It was his twin sister, Delilah. Her crimson and ebony scales glinted in the sickly light of the rift. She leaned on her skull-topped staff and flashed her eyes at him, smiling.
“Come, Kale,” Delilah held her arm out for him. “Let’s leave this nasty place. Come away with me.”
Kale looked back at Pancras. The necromancer gave no indication he saw or heard her. It sounds like Deli… but it doesn’t. He walked toward her. She put her arm around him and hugged him close, her muzzle tickling his ear.
“It ain’t real!”
Deli jerked back as Edric pulled on her arm, hacking at it with his sword. She squealed as the dwarf sliced through skin and bone, black ichor spewing from the ragged stump.
“Deli!” Kale lunged toward Edric.
The dwarf caught Kale’s arm just as the drak stabbed at him with a dagger. “I told you, it ain’t real. Look!”
Kale’s attention wavered just enough for him to see Delilah dissolve into a tentacle that retracted into the wall. He shuddered and pushed Edric away. Two more tentacles shot out of the wall headed for Pancras. With a shout, Kale leapt toward them, slashing with his daggers.
Tentacles from the ceiling snagged Edric. The dwarf cursed and slashed at them with his sword. Each slash met with a splash of ichor, like grease bursting from plump sausages. One of the tentacles wrapped around Kale’s ankle, dragging him into the air.
Slashing at the tentacle which held him, Kale felt his dagger draw a line of burning fire across his leg. He cursed at his clumsiness and then screamed when the tentacle flicked him like a bit of mud on a shoe. He sailed through the air into the rift.
Kale’s world burst into flashes of green, yellow, and silver. He spun, wheeling through eternity in a realm where up and down were the same as left and right. He could see the flavor of ripe apples and roasted meat. Opening his mouth to cry out, Kale found he could only smell the sound of Pancras’s chanting.
Through to the other side of the rift he sailed, and as he crashed into a metallic wall, Kale’s world went dark.