The First Sdhlain: Sdhlai 2
Panting, she scrambled back
onto the rock. Her foot throbbed as blood started to run through it
again. It hurt like hell, but that was typical. Her arm, however,
broadcast spikes of pain with every step. Shit. Must have pulled
Still, she felt good. Taking out a Guard without needing an entire
kha for backup was nearly unheard of. They were intelligent,
vacant stares and sluggish pace notwithstanding. Having half a
kilok of muscle didn't hurt their cause either.
Panting, she stamped around the rock, trying to regain full use of
her foot without jarring her arm too much. The landscape no longer
Just one? Something's definitely amiss.
She sniffed the air, but only the dissipating scent of the one she
threw over the Cliff remained. She had been too busy before to
properly judge the size of the pursuing force, but no other
hunt-smells permeated the air.
She smiled. This is one to tell the little ones when I grow
A terrifying bellow rent the air. The rock trembled, and
Walks-in-Shadow dropped to the ground, nerves jangling. Her arm hit
at an awkward angle, and she yelped in pain.
The Guard was dying, and it wasn't happy about it.
"YOU BITCH! MY BROTHERS WILL AVENGE MY DEATH. THEY WILL NOT REST
UNTIL YOUR BONES ARE BEING USED TO PICK THEIR TEETH." He bellowed
again, but his energy was flagging. "AND WHEN THEY FIND OUT YOU
DESECRATED THE VALLEY, EVEN YOUR OWN PEOPLE WILL CAST YOU OUT LIKE
THE CANCER YOU ARE."
How the hell can he be talking? How the hell can I hear
him? The Valley's at least a klic deep at this point.
Slowly, carefully, she returned to the edge of the Cliff and looked
A huge fist slammed down into the rock next to her. The bovine face
of the Guard was contorted into an emotion somewhere between rage
and pain. He smelled nothing of death, and everything of raw
"AH. THERE YOU ARE. I WAS WORRIED THAT YOU HAD RUN OFF. NOW BE A
GOOD BITCH AND HELP ME UP SO THAT I CAN FINISH YOU OFF
Even as she leapt backwards she knew
it was too late. no . . . nO . . . NO The fist that curled
around her ankle was like hot rock. Walks-in-Shadow hit the ground
like a sack of meal. She must have passed out for a second because
when she came to she was dangling from the guard's fist by one leg
and everything hurt . . .
Upside down, her hands brushing limply through the tall grass,
Walks-in-Shadow discovered a view of the world she had never seen,
and would never want to see again. She wanted to snap and bite but
she barely had enough strength to force her lungs to move in and
out. Time lost all meaning. The only reality was swinging from side
to side, head exploding with each jarring step, right arm on fire,
ankle a hot ball of pain, blood in her mouth. If she was aware of
the Guard's laboured breath and dragging gait it wasn't at a
conscious level or she would have drawn some comfort from it. When
she was finally dumped unceremoniously on the ground she neither
knew nor cared.
"What happened? Is it still alive?"
"I'm still alive, no thanks to you. What the fuck were you
"Took a dump. How was I supposed to know you couldn't handle one
"Shut the . . ."
"Ah, I see you managed to capture it . . . more or less
Lost in a world of pain, Walks-in-Shadow was only dimly aware of
hard fingers probing the bloody, matted lump on the back of her
head, the concave indentation where a rib had been.
"Cracked skull, one, possibly two broken ribs, punctured lung. The
Master won't be pleased that you tap-danced on his specimen,
When the fingers returned there was something different about them.
No longer hard and intrusive, they seemed to hover over her skin,
connected and yet not quite touching. And they were warm. Where
they passed the pain eased. When they reached her skull the sick
throbbing gradually faded and Walks-in-Shadow sank gratefully into
Return to The First Sdhlain
Last Updated: 2002.10.05.1124