This week’s work-in-progress is from Pathway of the Moon. It’s almost finished with just four chapters to go, and I’m beginning the setup for the sequel. This piece is part of my most recent chapter.
He caught a rustle of movement in the bushes, and a small, furry creature hopped out of the bushes. It stared at him with bright red eyes before scampering back under cover. He stared after it. Nothing back home had fur that white. He dropped to a knee and peered under the bushes. Whatever it had been it was gone. He pressed a palm into the feathery grass beneath him and paused. How was it this green? How was any of this so vibrant?
Something tickled inside his head. He frowned. How could the inside of his head tickle? The fluttering sensation danced on the fringes of his consciousness, and he shook his head, trying to clear it. Still, it didn’t dissipate. He glanced around him. Was some magic at work here? There. Some faint whisper of sound echoed on the fringes of his awareness, and it sounded like words. He strained to hear whatever was in the background. Was someone else here watching him? His head ached and pulsed, and then the whisper clarified to a normal tone. People were talking, and they sounded close. How could that be? And how was it they spoke his dialect of Wyrdhan? He sprang to his feet and slipped into the brush and woodland to wait behind a tree for them to come out from their hiding place. Whoever was here, they didn’t seem interested in coming out with him around. He fixed his attention on the clearing and listened.
The Path opened, a female voice chimed past the general buzz assailing him.
I know. I felt him. This time, a man answered. He opened it.
The female hummed in response. Yes. The Cursed will be happy, I’m sure.
They already sent an emissary through when the Path first opened.
Has it made contact?
Not with him. The man huffed. But with those who will bring him, yes.
That’s a good thing, Laur. Why does it bother you?
So, the man was Laur. But why were they talking about him, and how did they know who he was? Perhaps they just thought he was someone he wasn’t. That had to be it.
You know why, Nim. Don’t pretend you can’t see it.
I see feelings and intent, Laur. Not private thoughts. The woman, Nim, sounded annoyed now.
Leo crossed his arms and tipped his head back against the tree trunk. Why hadn’t they shown up yet? Unless… Unless he wasn’t truly hearing them. He’d heard of people who could hear thoughts. But that made no sense. These two were holding a conversation, so he wasn’t hearing thoughts. It just wasn’t possible. But how could he be hearing them if they weren’t here? He frowned and edged out of the woods, calling on his shadows. More voices joined the chatter, but none of them spoke to Nim or Laur. He ran a hand through his hair. This world clearly had more going on than they’d thought, and it seemed like his was connected somehow. Maybe?
He listened for Nim or Laur. For a minute, he couldn’t find them. Then their voices returned, louder this time. Did that mean they were closer now? He waited for any noise to indicate someone’s approach. Nothing. So, he waited and listened.
We should check the portal. Nim this time with her melodic voice.
You think he’s still around? Let me guess, you want a glimpse of the fabled Son of Shadows. Is that it, Nim?
Leo swallowed hard. They were talking about him. How? How could they know who he was and what he was? It shouldn’t be possible.
Don’t mock me, Laur. You know how long we’ve waited. Just because you’re not happy doesn’t mean I can’t be.
Yes, yes, I know. We’ve waited ever since she brought the First to us. But it was never our vendetta. We shouldn’t have to fight. His presence will stir up the Cursed and get us all killed. If we leave it be, the Cursed–“
Will eventually tear us apart, Nim interrupted. We need him. He’s the only way, and the Aura wants him here.
A branch crackled.
Leo melted into the woods and shadows.
Two people emerged from the opposite side of the clearing. One was clearly female. Nim, perhaps? Eyes almost too large for her face perched above a pert nose. Those eyes turned on him and changed from yellow to a brilliant emerald hue of green. Her silver hair swayed as she stepped closer, and Leo stared. Despite a releatively human appearance, she had something distinctly inhuman about her. Maybe in the way she moved?
He is still here.
He stiffened. Where had the voice come from? The woman’s lips hadn’t moved at all. With bated breath, he waited. Until they left, he couldn’t go home, and he didn’t want to be found either. Then, he would have to fight. He certainly wouldn’t let them take him away from this place. Not when it was his only way home.
Laur peered in the direction Nim was starting, his eyes an electric blue that pierced into Leo. I don’t see him. And I don’t feel him anymore.
He is here, Nim insisted. But he will fight if we engage him.
Just let him be, Nim. Maybe he won’t return.
He will. He reeks of curiosity. And when he does, I will greet him with the hospitality he deserves. She turned away and walked past Laur, brushing shoulders with him. You will too, so you’d better start practicing.
Laur’s nose wrinkled, and his eyes flashed a flat gray before returning to blue. Nothing more came from him, and Leo watched until the alien turned and walked away. Then he slumped to the ground beside his tree. What had that been?
That’s it for this week! What are you guys working on or reading these days? Feel free to share in the comments!