A Snippet

From a work in progress:


Kaila clung to the ladder just below the lip of the parapet.  She listened, straining to hear any sign that anyone or any thing waited on the wall above.  Silence.

Slowly, Kaila climbed one more rung.  She eased her head up, letting her eyes clear the edge.  Nothing. The wall was empty as far as she could see in the moonlight.

Haste replacing silence, Kaila scambered the remaining height of the ladder to drop onto the wall walk.  Moments later, Isemet joined her. Others followed, each swarming up the ladder in turn.

Working according to the plan, Isemet and one of the others crouched in the shadows, facing away from the gate house.  If any kinmar approached from that direction they would at least have warning.

Motioning for the others to follow her, Kaila trotted toward the gatehouse.  They moved silently, so many ghosts on the walkway. Kaila stopped at the steps leading to the upper level of the gatehouse.  A scuffing sound, barely at the edge of hearing, came from above.

Kaila lifted her sword to a high guard then sprang up the steps.

At the top Kaila saw two kinmar.  The first was standing at the parapet, looking out into the desert.  Kaila’s sword lashed out, catching the kinmar at the top of the neck, just below the jawline.  She turned, drawing the sword through the kinmar’s neck as she faced the other kinmar. This one was squatting near the inner lip of the gatehouse, gnawing on a bone.

The head of the first kinmar toppled from its neck as Kaila’s sword completed its slice.  Kaila spun the sword over and around, a near invisible blur. The first kinmar’s body started to collapse, blood spraying in a shower from the stump of its neck.

Kaila’s sword struck the second kinmar at the angle between neck and shoulder.  The sword cut deep. It passed half through the kinmar’s torso before, with a twisting jerk, Kaila pulled it free.  More blood fountained.

Kaila spat at the coppery taste of blood in her mouth.  She waved the others of her detail to join her on the gatehouse roof.

As the nomads of Kaila’s small band climbed the stairs, Kail looked out over the desert.  She saw no sign of movement. She glanced up. The greater moon was almost at zenith. Soon.

She had made little noise.  She had struck before either of the kinmar on the top of the gatehouse could raise an alarm.  With luck, no one would spot them before Bassum led his men to draw out the ready guard in the gatehouse.  With luck, they would be able to fall upon whoever remained within and prevent the closing of the gate. With luck.

Without luck, if Bassum did not arrive before they were discovered, if the kinmar within chose not to pursue the bait as they had before, then to Kaila’s group fell a harder task.  Then, they must fall upon the forces within, forces not depleted by chasing Bassum’s lure, and open the gates themselves, not just open them, but defend them against whatever other forces might come from the city.

Kaila glanced up again, measuring the height of the greater moon with her eyes.

Soon.

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