Tuesday, September 20, 2011

559 - The River was Tinted Pink

Hi guys!  I have an enormous presentation this evening, that I have to leave for in about ten minutes.  I will be posting late, after midnight.  My apologies.

I know, I know, it's a cliff hanger...  I can't say I'm sorry. 
Here we are.  Better late than never.

Perhaps because it was Joras, perhaps because I had finally trained sufficiently, perhaps I was just being an obedient second-thresholder… I don’t know. I obeyed with no hesitation, diving forward, skidding on my stomach, something ‘thwipped’ by over my head, flapping, then dragged over my sliding body… sliding in wet – someone, many screaming, a solas crying his rejin’s charge, then another, sudden shrilling of Sereniteer whistles… blood I was sliding through blood.  I spun as I slid down the bridge road, saw a net of all things spread behind me, held only on one end, Joras… bleeding… it was his blood spattered this far… his and Ilarnas’s… 

I could hear darts clattering all around me, one tinged off a chain button on my chest, thwippt past my ear.

I needed to get out of sight, I was the target, I was the one my guards were going down to protect.

As I scrambled up onto clogged wheels, stamped to clear them and jumped to set part of one of the Lions at my back… I was between a massive haunch and fore-paw.  I was unarmed, it was my duty to get out of the way.

And this was happening in front of Arko.  What would this do?  I made myself small as I could.  I couldn’t out-skate a spavined puppy with my skates fouled like that… I saw the last man visible, with a dart tube, fall, Joras’s darts sticking out of him, a solas man in city clothes with his own sword out and bloody, what looked to be his family behind him, the little boy and the little girl, both younger than Ili being held back, barely by their mother.

Joras, sitting in the middle of the bridge, holding the stump of one of his hands to try and stop it bleeding him out, said hoarsely “Stay there… we don’t know if there are more.” To me.   Then he lay down, sideways, as the Sereniteers, four of them, came whistling in.  He was bleeding out faster now, his own clenched hand wasn't enough... was that his only injury?  Did they dart him?

One began the pattern of whistle blasts for medical assistance urgent. I wanted to run out to help Joras, to see… Ilarnas… he was almost beheaded, he’d not been moving quite so fast as Ruboras had.  I stayed where I was as more of the Serene ones came either wheeling up or running.  If I looked under the Lion’s belly I was certain I’d see them running out of the office as if someone had kicked the cliff.  There was no sign of any of my other four guards.

“Who were they?  Why a forsaking NET?!”  I found myself yelling that at the officer of the Sereniteers, without coming out of my fortified spot.

“Stay where you are Spark, Mirmin, Ijiras, Ru… you guard him.  Make sure he’s safe.  Here come the Palace guards.”  The three Sereniteers moved in close to me, blocking most of my view. I couldn’t see Joras as the Sereniteer medic worked on him.  Blood was spattered all over the bridge dripping and clotting all along the edges.  The river was tinted pink, flowing away down to the lake.  Oh, Arko, these people tried to steal your vote away.

My stomach heaved but I clenched my teeth and held on.  Who would be so bold as to try and kill or… as evidenced by the net -- kidnap me in the middle of the city?  How on earth did they think they were going to get away with it?

It stank like a dungeon on the Lion’s Bridge, as the little solas girl broke away from her mother, picked up a stone from an ornamental planter and hurled it at the prone attacker, somehow missing the Sereniteers checking him for life, poison teeth, other things.  The pebble bounced off his leg without him stirring.  There were a half-ten of solas in the road, some with family, some not.  All unarmoured, swords out; apparently their evening had been interrupted.

Thank you, solas.  Thank you Aras for their valour.

Joras wasn’t stirring as they got him onto a litter and ran him across Presentation Square to meet the healers now coming.  Bells.  I could hear alarm bells as Kallijas’s guard came out to get me.  He's bled so much.  His hand is lying, still gloved, in the middle of the bridge.

I panted as if I’d run, or fought.  I’d done neither.  I was covered in blood, even across my face and in my hair.  “Who in the name of the Ten Gods would do this?”


  1. Waaaugh nooo! Not Joras! Not the glassworker and artist losing a hand...
    I lose my internet and can't read for just a little bit and it all goes crazy... T_T