Nightblood

In a world of eternal darkness, the light is slowly seeping in. It’s up to one particular winged warrior to save the Night.

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10. Chapter 10

Chapter 10 

 

I stride through the forest, Dais and Carson behind me and Ryan by my side. 

I glance in Ryan's direction. He had used kohl to draw on designs under his eyes, lightning bolts spreading out from a thick lining of black. He had also used a red powder that he had applied under it, giving the impersonation of electricity shrinking through blood. 

Dais had also applied warpaint, symbols scattered across her face, each one meaning something. I recognize some of them, a spiral with a line sticking up from the top, signifying strength, a leaf sprouting from a curvy line, showing rebirth, and a scare to announce victory. 

I had splattered my face with silver and black paints, so that they dripped down and gave the appearance of blood drips. Kohl lines my eyes, done more artfully and less smudgy than Ryan's. 

I wear armour, but only barely. Black metal cuffs my wrists, and on one side I wear bracelet-shields, almond shaped metal plates mounted on my wrist and upper arm, on one side, painted black and emblazoned with the moon sign, one full moon followed by a crescent moon. Metal also plates my chest, also emblazoned with the moon sign. The rest of me is cloaked in black fabric. 

Carson wears no war paint or armour, merely cotton cleats with leather reinforcing weak points, such as his chest, neck, and the place where his upper arm meets his lower arm and also the elbows. 

My magic is ready. It sings in my veins, more powerful than ever. I would need it to fight, and to throw back the light that had advanced. 

I shiver. It is not cold, but when I think of Battle a tremble passes through me. 

I wasn't scared, at least not for my own life. I feared for Carson, and Ryan, but Carson had the dagger I had charmed and Ryan had his skill and the potions we had prepared. We all carried a couple potions, a healing mixture for ourselves and a toxic brew for our enemies. 

I keep telling myself all will be alright, but something inside me tells me it won't be. 

➿➿➿

Carson aches for home. He would have to fight the people he had once cheered for, and he couldn't bring himself to do that. But he also couldn't turn on the Night-siders, they were the only family he had left. 

His heart is heavy in his chest, but he knows he needs to decide where his loyalties lie. With his home, or with the people who gave him a new home? 

With the people he loved, or the girl he loves? The decision is impossible. He cannot choose, so he chooses not to fight. To hide in the sidelines like the coward he is, let the ones who truly know where their hearts belong do the fighting for him. 

But could he leave Estrie to fight alone? She has the Nightbloods, but will that be enough? With burning certainty, he knows that it has to be, that there's nothing left for him here.

➿➿➿

The Nightbloods fly towards the border, winging swiftly through the dark sky. They are like a cold, dark wind. Noiselessly flapping, caring for nothing more than the battle that awaits them.

The leaders fly with them, but will most likely not be fighting. They are cowardly, hiding behind the others. The do not fight, merely hide. They shelter behind their living shields.

But the Nightbloods revere them, and the Daybloods fear them. Why? 

Most of the Nightbloods are armed. Carrying weapons ranging from spears to swords to bow and arrows. 

Some are bare of weapons, and are instead laden with deadly potions. Bloodmagic, used to create toxic concoctions. Some kill on contact. Some give boosts of strength to the drinker. Some temporarily incapacitate an attacker. 

Things aren't looking bright for the Nightbloods. Only just over a hundred soldiers go to fight, the rest too old or too young or physically disabled and incapable of going to battle. 

The Daybloods will attack in thousands. An army unlike any other. Protected from the Night by the power of Moonstones. But the Nightbloods have something up their sleeve. They are protected by their own charm, and it's irreversible. A charm on the Nightbloods themselves, allowing them to switch sides as much as they like. 

It's going to end in blood. 

➿➿➿

We stop for rest halfway through the journey, in a small glade. The trees are silver birches and covered with creeping ivory. The ground is soft and spongy, covered with sweet scented silvermoss. 

A tree stump lies at the edge of the clearing, strangely out of place as the bark is crinkly and dark brown, most likely a pine tree, while the rest of the trees encircling the clearing are pale white silver birches. 

The aches in my bones echo through my skull, forming a headache. 

I hobble over to the stump, before plopping down on the surprisingly smooth surface. 

"Ay! Watch where you be sittin'" a voice shouts, speaking with a slight accent. 

"Excuse me?" I ask, a blush creeping up my cheeks. Carson and Ryan look thoroughly confused. I assume it's some territorial loner who's trying to drive us off. Dais chuckles, slightly amused. 

"Your stinkin' butt is on my head!" The voice exclaims. I look down at the stump, before, horrified, I leap up. 

The bark wrinkles and shapes itself into a frowning face. Eyes appear, opening to reveal brilliant blue, framed against the dark brown of the bark. 

"Um... who are you?" I ask. 

"The name is Trick. My soul was bound to this tree centuries ago, but the tree was cut down, and now I'm bound to this stump," the stump, Trick, explains. 

"Oh," I respond, unsure of how to answer that. 

"Well, you're welcome to sit anywhere in the glade... just bless refrain from usin' me head as a chair." 

I nod, and Carson chuckles furiously. Ryan smiles slightly. Carson begins to just lose it, bursting into full out guffaws. Ryan roles his eyes at him, elbowing him in the side. Dais stays stoic, her early humour dissipating like mist under the onslaught of a summers breeze. 

"Hey!" Carson squeals in protest, voice shrill. 

Ryan grins, before elbowing him again. 

"Boys! Tone it down!" I fire, drawing out harsh groans from both of them. 

"That's right! Tell 'em girl!" Trick exclaims, and I laugh. 

We descend into silence, and I flop down on the cushy silvermoss with the guys and Dais. 

We all sit in silence, no one daring to speak, our ragged breaths the only sound puncturing the thick silence.

Out of blue, Ryan begins to convulse, spasms wracking his slender form, causing his limbs to twitch and kick. 

"What's going on!?" I exclaim, fear shooting through me. 

"It's nothing," Trick assures. 

"How can it be nothing? People don't just spontaneously spasm like that!" I shout. 

"You mean you didn't know?" Trick asks, and I shake my head. "He is infected by a Creature. Most likely wolf-aspect," Trick continues in a cool, scientific voice. 

"You mean Creatures can transmit whatever it is that makes them, you know, Creature?" Carson pipes up, surprisingly calm. 

"Well of course!" Trick answers. 

All of a sudden, just as quickly as the spasms came, they stop. 

"You okay?" I ask Ryan quietly. He nods, and flashes me a forced smile. I pretend not to notice the elongated canines. 

I offer him a healing potion, and he gulps it down.  

We sit in silence for a few minutes, before resuming our journey. We trek through the trees, trying not to expend to much energy. 

We have a battle to fight. 

And I plan to fight it until my very last breath.

 
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