And now for Part 3!
Dreadful Tales: A Matter of Discretion Part 3
With blinding speed, she caught the monster’s arm before its claws could touch her. “Unhand me, you brute,” she cried, twisting the wyght’s wrist. Bones popped like kindling and the creature let out a howl of pain as it dropped its prey. She was up from her crouch before it could turn away and grabbed it on both sides of its face. With its unbroken hand, it tried to pry loose her steely grip, but even its unnatural strength was no match for hers. The creature’s eyes were white with fear as she pulled it close.
“That was very rude. I love that parasol. I’ll probably never get it clean.”
The thing whimpered as it stared into her predatory eyes.
She twisted her hands, hard and sudden. The crack of the creature’s neck was like thunder.
As the wyght fell to the ground, she turned to Mr. Silver. He was pressed up against the wall, swinging his cane to and fro, trying to hold several of the creatures at bay.
“A little help, my lady!” he called out.
She grabbed two of the creatures by the remains of their clothes and pulled them back. One tried to slice her with a claw. She pivoted back, bending only at her waist, letting the claw pass overhead. Springing up, she caught the wyght on its overextended shoulder and, using its momentum, spun it all the way around into the wall. Bones cracked with the impact. As its knees gave out, she snapped a kick into the face of the other wyght as it lunged for her back.
Her heel plunged into its face, piercing the skull in the center of its forehead.
Turning back to the first, Lady Brae snapped its neck with a vicious twist. Then, with a snarl, she slammed her foot down on the neck of the one she’d kicked. It writhed on the ground, holding its bloodied face and trying to wriggle away. There was an audible crack as its neck broke, but she continued to grind down with her boot, smiling, as she felt the jagged bones moving underfoot.
“A little more help please,” Mr. Silver cried out behind her.
She tore herself away from her plaything and moved to the last wyght with a snarl. Mr. Silver was holding it back with his cane as it snapped and snarled for his neck. She wrenched it away from the desperate warlock.
“About time,” he muttered as he swung the heavy metal handle of his cane into the howling mouth of the wyght. Bone and teeth shattered beneath the blow. Lady Brae held the wyght while Mr. Silver began to smash it again and again, till she let go and allowed it to collapse on the ground.
Mr. Silver, perhaps overtaken by the situation, continued thrashing the unmoving wyght that lay at his feet. After a moment he stopped to look up. The head of his cane was covered in gore. The creature was not dead, that took fire, sunlight, or a severed neck to accomplish, but it would not rise anytime soon.
“Are you quite all right?” he asked Lady Brae, unable to look away from her face, and her iris’ that were larger and ringed with yellow. Lady Brae watched him in a cold, calculating way he had not seen her use before. He could see her hunger peeking out.
Then, as though by some great act of will, she came back to herself. Blinking, she turned her gaze away from him and sagged against the nearby wall.
“I’m just so…tired,” she said.
Looking at the wyghts that had died by her hand, Mr. Silver said, “I was aware that False Bloods were strong, but I must admit I’m impressed by your thoroughness.”
“I may breathe, and eat, and live, but I was born with the Queen’s blood in my veins. We do not need the Honor of True Blood to best such wretches as these,” she said, crossing her arms and standing straight.
Gazing at the wyght she’d stamped to death, he said, “Quite.” Turning back to her, he asked, “Why did you not begin with such gusto? I would be considerably less…ruffled if you had.” He began brushing his jacket off.
“I should not have fought it like that. It was improper of me,” she said, frowning.
“Ah yes, the renowned control of the Bloods. How could I forget?”
Narrowing her eyes, she said, “I’d appreciate it if you would change your tone. Our control is what separates us from beasts and monsters. To lose control is unconscionable. Fighting in the manner that I did is dangerous. It taxes our will and makes control much more difficult.”
“It got the job done, my Lady, and considering the alternatives, I’m glad that you erred on the side of misbehaving.” Marcus crouched over the remaining wyght. Juggling the oculatron and his cane with one hand, he pulled a medallion from beneath his shirt. “Speaking of misbehaving, don’t tell anyone,” he said, grinning up at her before dropping the medallion in the wyght’s ruined mouth.
Lady Brae arched a brow but quickly stepped away from the wyght as it spasmed and mewed on the ground. White fire poured from its mouth and torn cheeks. The creature tried to rise, tried to escape the pain, but Marcus held it down with one booted foot. “Not so strong now, are you?” he asked it as its burned from within.
Covering her gasp, Lady Brae asked, “What did you do?”
“Blessed silver. It’s a bit more messy than a severed spine, I’ll admit, but it does get the job done.”
The fire consumed the creature’s flesh while an oily smoke rolled off its body. When nothing but bones remained, he reached into the ash around the creature’s skull with his cane and pulled the medallion out by its metal chain.
“How is it that you have any silver at all? I thought all that remained was in the hands of the True Bloods?”
He smiled and dropped the medallion into his outstretched hand. Lady Brae hissed, but he held the piece of metal with no sign of discomfort. As he put it back around his neck, he said, “I do business with a wide variety of clients, Lady Brae. Some pay me in artifacts rather than coin. It is an equitable arrangement, and you would be amazed at the trinkets I’ve acquired that way.”
“I’ve never actually seen any silver before, not up close. How does it not burn you?” she asked, sparing a glance at the smoldering corpse.
“It’s not the metal that burns, but rather the corruption inside them,” he said indicating the burnt body. Holding the medallion up off his chest, he offered it to her. “Would you like to hold it?”
Lady Brae reached for the medallion but then hesitated. “I’d best not touch it.” Looking away, she muttered, “Just in case.”