The Hills are Shadows 6.09 – Erik

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‘Tis the business of fools to wilt beneath failure, but the wise recognize it as the source of their strength.   

—  VILHELM ITO, TO ERIK

Erik awoke confused, gasping, struggling to separate the real from the imagined. His head rang, thick with torment pitched screams of the Dark One and the enchanted notes of a plucked instrument. He blinked watery eyes and caught sight of Hanna. She sat etched in the light of golden coals, a gilded zither draped across her lap, a haunting vision of feminine divinity. Her hands faltered, and notes turned sharp and piercing. Continue reading “The Hills are Shadows 6.09 – Erik”

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The Hills are Shadows 6.08 – Hanna

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Those who move to the unseen music have always been thought to be insane.   

— ANCIENT PROVERB

Fighting back a yawn, Hanna watched Viscount Baldur from her high-backed chair, her hands folded on her lap and blonde hair spilling down her back. It was quite ridiculous that she had been commanded to appear here at such an hour, and it mattered not that the Viscount’s wives, Lexi and Jenny, hovered just behind their husband’s chair. It was unseemly, not to mention she was not his to direct. As long as Erik still breathed. . . . You have to wake up, Erik. You have to. Continue reading “The Hills are Shadows 6.08 – Hanna”

The Hills are Shadows 6.07 – Hanna

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Don’t cry because you’re dying, smile because you lived.   

— MATANGI, TO LEON

Ascending the mountain trail, Hanna used one hand to steady Erik and the other to grip her shortsword as she peered back at the furious Nætstalkers creeping behind them. The hilt felt like a piece of ice in her hand, and the breeze that whipped her gore-stained dress was cold enough to make her teeth chatter. Mounds of gray-skinned corpses littered the slope, pregnant with the rank odor of decomposing flesh; the darkness obscured her vision somewhat and made her doubly conscious of the danger. Yet the hint of brightness in the sky promised the approach of dawn. It had been dusk when her ordeal began, hours earlier, and it only seemed right it should finish as the sun once again rose to bless the earth. Continue reading “The Hills are Shadows 6.07 – Hanna”