Greetings. Sorry for not keeping up to date. I’ll try to be more diligent in the future (you can help by sending me Dr Pepper). Following is a rough draft excerpt from Constable of Aqualline:
|I'm not crazy, my eyes just tell me things!|
“It can’t be stopped. It will kill. It will rend. It will devour all. We have sinned and are cursed. Cursed. Cursed!”
This close, the man looked haggard. His eyes were rimmed with dark, as if he hadn’t slept in days, and his face had a sunken look under the growth of his beard. He was wearing only one shoe, his other foot bare and dirty, leaving small smudge marks on the rotunda’s floor as he moved around.
“Malusilva comes,” the old man said. “It comes and it will destroy all. It will root up and tear down. It will consume with teeth and with fire. It will . . .”
Aubrey reached over to the apprentice, Leonie and grabbed his sleeve.
“That’s your druwis?” she asked the young man.
“Yes . . .” he hesitated, as if seeing Aubrey for the first time. “Constable,” he finished. “Please help. Please.” His face was pale and covered in a sheen of sweat and dirt. His gaze darted from Aubrey to Sterben and back again.
|Tiger's blood, anyone?|
“How long has he been like this?” she asked.
Leonie looked to where Aubrey held his sleeve and then back up to her eyes. He swallowed hard.
“I don’t . . . I’m not certain,” the apprentice said. “He was . . . we were all . . . shaken by . . . when Moritz was killed. Lorenz was very close to Moritz.” His voice pitched higher with every word. Seeing his master in this state, and having to answer a constable’s stern questions was enough to shake anyone, especially if they were young and hadn’t seen much of the world. Aubrey let go of the young man’s sleeve, and gave his arm a reassuring pat.
“We’ll take care of him,” she said with more confidence than she felt.
“—death! Blood! Death! Blood! Death!—” Lorenz screamed over and over as he pointed to each member of the crowd.
The druwis turned to Aubrey next in the crowd and his eyes locked onto hers. His mouth opened, but no sound came out. His face went red and contorted with anger and rage. Aubrey had never felt such obvious hatred from someone’s gaze before, not even as she charged against enemy lines in an effort to kill or be killed.
|Say what again.|
“You!” he screamed, and spit flew from his mouth. “You!” he repeated.
His face contorted with rage and violence. He closed his mouth but left his teeth barred and started toward her, his arm raised, finger pointed straight at her.
“You!” he said again, as he moved down the steps of the rotunda in her direction.
Aubrey could feel the crowd’s eyes turn on her, and take her in fully for the first time. She took a firm grip on her cane, but not to draw the blade free. Sterben glanced at her, but she didn’t take her eyes off the druwis.
“You! You believe nothing,” the man raved at her. “Nothing, do you hear me? Believe nothing!”
Aubrey’s heart hammered in her chest, and she felt her palms go damp. She hadn’t been this nervous since the charge up Bourgogne Hill. The druwis stormed down the rotunda’s steps and came right at her, his finger held forward like a bayonet ready to drive into her chest.
“You believe nothing,” he screamed. “Nothing!”