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Hunter's Moon

Chapter Two: Sinking into Darkness

It was already growing dark and the air frigid when two horses galloped into a small village. The villagers watched the pair dismount outside the inn cautiously. Yana looked round at the people who had stopped to stare at them. Cor shook his great head showing his anxiety. Yana patted his muzzle and moved closer to Vlad.

“Stay alert, we are not welcome,” she said under her breath. Vlad fingered the hilt of the sword hanging from his belt as they took their horses into the stables.

Yana swept into the inn ignoring the frowns from the local people. The innkeeper immediately jumped from his seat and rushed over bowing low.

“My Lady!” he simpered smoothing back his greasy black hair. Yana cast her eyes distastefully around the common room. Vlad strolled in after her and the innkeepers smile faltered as he spotted the sword he carried.

“Two rooms,” Yana ordered bringing his attention back to her.

“Yes my lady, of course.”

The keeper led them up the rickety stairs jabbering away that they did not get many visitors. Neither of the pair noticed a woman rise from where she had been sitting and hurry from the inn.

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Yana shifted restlessly in her poor excuse for a bed.

“Best room in the house my foot,” she muttered.

The inn was silent, the locals long gone home after a rip-roaring booze up that Yana had been most unfortunate to witness as she ate what was meant to be a dinner. The sight of sweaty, grown falling about and shouting obscene things had put her in doubt of her appetite and this feeling was finished off when she caught side of the ‘food’ itself.

Now nothing could be heard. In fact it was a little too quiet. A board creaked outside her door. Immediately Yana sprang from her bed, fully clothed because of the cold and seized her cloak just as the door burst. Yana wasted no time. She instantly sensed two sources of power, wilders, like herself. That information came so casually that she almost didn’t notice it. Putting that aside she wove two shields and placed them easily on her targets who were surprised to find her awake. At the same time she snatched up her bags.

The two women though powerless tried to block her exit. To save time Yana smashed her fist into the first’s, a petite blonde, face and slammed into the second sending her clattering down the stairs. Yana sprinted to the next room where Vlad was desperately trying to fight off three large men. Weaves of Air sent the men into the wall, knocking them unconscious. Without a word Vlad seized his sword and followed his liege lady. Outside three more men were waiting by a cart.

“Get the horses,” Yana ordered as she strode out to meet them. Vlad hesitated a second, weighing up the men but after seeing what had happened upstairs he did as he was told.

The men ran at her but were flung back by an unseen force. Yana marched to the nearest one, a young man barely old enough to shave. Silently she cut off his air supply.

“Who sent you?” she hissed. The man withered on the floor, desperately trying to breath.

“Please,” he wheezed. “I don’t know.”

Yana felt herself grow angry and the pressure on the young man increased. His face began to turn red as he clutched at his throat and still Yana continued. His eyes began to droop and his struggles began to lessen.

“My Lady,” came a shout and the spell was broken. Yana released the boy and he lay in the snow gulping in the air. Yana stared down at him wide eyed finally realising what she was doing. And she had been enjoying it.

Hurriedly she turned and mounted gracefully into Cor’s waiting saddle. She let out an unsteady breath, the mist swirling round her as Vlad scrambled up. Finally Yana found her voice.

“Hurry there will be more,” and with one last glance at the boy she turned into the snowstorm raging around her.

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