The latest from my online epic, Lore of the Underlings.
Chapter 1 continues:
Jixy halted, feet before them, as the black cloaks rose to tower above her. They rose from the ground, afloat on the air.
She looked down. “Are you hungry, Daddy? You’ve been gone so long. See what I have?” She turned her eyes to the boven sack and smiled to herself. “It’s food, Daddy. I brought you food. Food to eat.”
They drifted nearer.
She held the sack up high and slashed it open with the jagged claw of the talon blade. The contents spilled out on the ground — two loaves of crusted siege bread, a fist of pungent boven cheese, strips of leathered blood snake, and a whole smoked billit.
Suddenly, two of the visitors swooped down, knocking Jixy off her feet. She fell backward into a tuft of tall sweetgrass. When they ascended again, the meats were gone and a horrible high squeal stabbed at the ears of the gawking folk.
The third had not stirred at first, hovering apart and watching. But then it descended upon the defenseless girl to the tune of a mournful groan. It swept her up in the dark folds of its shroud and raised her from the bed of blades where she had fallen.
Jixy’s eyes were wide, but her voice calm. “I knew it was you, Daddy. I knew you’d save me. Don’t let go. Hold me forever.”
But from their dimming distance, the folk saw only horror.
“She hangs in mid-air by the grip of that ghost!”
“It wraps her in its death robe.”
“Wasn’t this a prophecy? Does anyone remember?”
“My wife has fainted! Water! Please!”
A young man and woman, both handsome and tall, stepped forward from the ranks of onlookers. Without a word or glance, they set out toward the strange spectacle, walking with purpose yet at a measured pace. Soon they were followed by another man, an older, rounder one, who hurried after them. Each carried a long torch of spun oil.
The woman raised her torch aloft, high above her head. She turned it level against the vanishing horizon and held it there in a fist clenched firm. The warm flame shone against the cascade of golden hair that fell about her shoulders and far down her back.
“Ogdog!” she called out, “Ogdog!” Her voice was clear and strong.
She spoke to the one with the girl, the demon that possessed Jixy. She and the men were nearly upon it now.
“It is done.”
The devil seemed under her spell and bowed to the woman at once, deep and low, as a servant bows before his mistress. Then it obeyed her command without pause. In a swirl of wind and dizzying spin, it cast off the cloak of darkness it wore and cast out the child from its tangled embrace.
The black wrappings drifted away on a waft from the west. But the rapt girl dropped like a rock, down and down, until she landed on the strong right arm of the young man. He had reached her just in time, still holding the glowing torch at his left. The long herder’s hat he wore now tipped back, revealing sky blue eyes set in features of chiseled truthstone.
More to come. To read this chapter from the start, click here.