Good Deed for the Day

This is an excerpt from my NaNo. It’s not so much inspired by the phrase prompt (Let a good man do good deeds.), but I felt it fit well with the prompt.

**

Eoin had to wonder how many of the shadows the apparition was able to summon at one time. It seemed that there was no end to them. No sooner had he taken care of one, when there was another to take its place. Worse, they were preventing him from actually reaching the apparition that was the focus of his attack.

Growling, Eoin leapt upward to land on a tree branch. He paused there for a moment, looking for an opening of some sort. When he spotted it, he leapt again. This time, he landed just feet away from the apparition that had summoned the shadows.

“The battle isn’t going well, little captain,” the man said, his tone teasing. “What will you do now?”

A low growl escaped from Eoin and, without really meaning to, he had lunged forward to catch the man’s arm in his mouth. The apparition let out a howl of pain and rage. He began trying to shake Eoin free, but Eoin held on with both arms and his teeth. He tasting blood and growled again.

Behind him, he could hear the battle turning. Somehow, against the odds, the insane ploy was working. The apparition was too distracted by the attack to keep up his own assault. Then, Eoin heard a cheer and the apparition growled in frustration.

He charged the nearest thing: the gates of the fourth division. Eoin cried out as he was slammed against the hard wooden surface. He crumpled to the ground and the apparition vanished before the defenders could reach him. For a moment, Eoin said on the ground, stunned. Then the gate beside him opened and he looked up to find Captain Desmond frowning at him.

“Captain Finnegan,” he said, his tone one of frustration. “What are we going to do with you?”

Eoin gave a weak laugh. “Tend me I hope,” he said, reaching up to rub at a knot that was forming on his head. “That hurt!” He managed a glare when his words were met with laughter.

Man is born to live

For some reason, this quote (a phrase prompt from the WriYe DreamWidth) reminded me of a scene from my current NaNo, so… here it is.

**

“From here, we’ll break into teams,” Clancy said. He glanced at the groups. “Ilsa, Johannes and Dermot are one group. Hannah, Friedrich and Konrad can come with me.”

As they nodded, Konrad shoved Dermot over to Johannes. “Make sure the little foxy stays close, won’t you, Johannes?” he said, smirking.

Hartmann favored him with a glare. Then, they were moving away from the others, with Ilsa by their sides. In a soft voice, Hartmann said, “We’re to go to the second division’s headquarters.”

Dermot bit his lip. “How…” he trailed off before he could ask exactly how they were going to visit the curse on everyone there when neither of them could use such magic and Dermot wasn’t familiar with the spell.

“Ilsa,” Hartmann said, his voice faint. It was clear that he’d both guessed the question that Dermot had nearly asked and that he didn’t want the woman to know he’d said anything.

At the same time, Dermot’s mind was whirling. He glanced over at the woman. She was an apparition, no doubt about it. How was it possible for her to use the same magic as the Fomorians did? Was it possible that they weren’t so different from each other after all? He glanced up at Hartmann. “What do I do?” he breathed.

“Focus on the task at hand,” Hartmann said, his voice soft. “You are here to make us invisible to their sight. Focus yourself on that and do what you can.”

Dermot swallowed thickly and squeezed his eyes closed. He struggled for a moment to read between the lines of what Hartmann had said. Surely, if the man was to be trusted, then he didn’t truly want Dermot to succeed in the task. What did he intend, however?

What if, instead of making them unseeable to the Hunters, he made Ilsa more visible to their eyes? He took a shuddering breath and then glanced at her through narrowed lids. He focused his entire attention the woman. Everything else seemed to fade into the background. She was all Dermot could see, all he could hear. Ilsa Heinrich was his entire world.

The effect was immediate. Dermot blinked in surprise as people began pointing out the woman. Ilsa whirled on Dermot with a growl. “What did you do?” she shrieked, as members of the second division converged on them. She thrust out one hand and Dermot felt pain erupt in his abdomen. As he crumpled to the ground, the Hunters reached them. Caitlyn’s staff flashed out and caught Ilsa under the chin. Her head snapped back and she dropped to the ground.

As Hartmann eased Dermot to the ground, he was rewarded the view of Ilsa Heinrich lying dangerously still beside him.

“Do no’ pull tha’ out,” a firm voice said. The accent was far thicker than normal. Then Ronan was leaning over Dermot, clutching his cheeks. “Help’s on the way, Derry. Just stay with me.”

Dermot released a shuddering breath and looked down at his body. Immediately, he could see the source of the pain. He blinked away tears that filled his eyes. “We don’t have time for this,” he said, his voice strained. “Clancy… the others.”

“I’ll take care of them, little one,” Hartmann said, as he eased Dermot flat onto his back. He turned to Ronan and nodded. “Stay with him.”

Waking Up

This is a scene from my current NaNo.  Dermot has just been captured by my antagonists.  It was partially inspired by a phrase prompt from the WriYe DreamWidth (Sorrow was like the wind).

**

Dermot moaned softly as he came back to himself.  He was aware of many things in rapid succession.  He was wearing clothing that was not his own.  He was stretched out on a bed in a room that was both darker and smaller than his own bedroom.  He was completely alone.  His head ached and he had a horrible taste in his mouth.

Swallowing thickly, he pushed himself upright and surveyed his surroundings.  The room was windowless, with only the cot on which he’d been sleeping inside it.  He frowned at the soft cotton tunic and trousers he wore.  They were plain and serviceable, but he’d never seen them before.  Someone had changed him into the clothing.  Who?  Where was his clothing?  Where was he?

He gasped as he remembered the rush to beat Reardon to the office.  He’d meant to warn Lieutenant Clancy.  Was his superior all right?  He swallowed again and slipped off the bed, only to sit back down heavily when the door of his cell opened.

“Finley,” Reardon said, his voice low.  “I see you are awake.  Are you prepared to work?”

“Work?” Dermot repeated.  He shook his head and then shrank back as Reardon strode towards him with purposeful steps.  “I’m sorry,” he breathed, as the man raised a hand as if to strike him.  He squeaked when Reardon caught his wrist and pulled him to his feet.  “I just… what work?  What do you want of me?”

Drawing him towards the doorway, Reardon said, “You are here for one purpose, Finley: to serve me however I determine you should.  You will cook and clean and do whatever else I determine that I need you to do.  Is that clear?”

“Aye, sir,” Dermot said.  He released a shuddering breath as Reardon dragged him through a maze of corridors and down three flights of stairs.  Finally, they were at the entrance to a large room that could only be a kitchen.  Reardon shoved him through the opening.

As Dermot stumbled into the room, he heard Reardon say, “Put him to work, Hannah.”

A shudder swept through Dermot and he glanced around.  A petite woman peered around the edge of a counter and smirked at him.  “It’s about time they got me some decent help,” she snapped.  “Ordering me about like a servant… honestly, I tell you.”  She broke off and then stepped completely into view.

Dermot blinked at her, taking in the vibrant red hair and pointed ears tipped with black.  She had four fox tails swishing behind the fabric of her skirts.  Ducking his head, Dermot said, “G-good day, ma’am.”

“I’m Hannah Kriemhild,” she said, her ears flicking.  “We’re supposed to make this place livable, assuming you’re at all skilled that shouldn’t be a problem.  Find some water and you can get to work washing the breakfast dishes.”

“Aye, ma’am,” Dermot said, blinking.  It didn’t take a genius to realize what she’d meant when she’d told him to find water.  He was meant to craft it by illusion.  His ears pinned as he began to scan the room.  Where was the most likely place to find water?

“Try not to fret too much, Derry,” Hannah said, her tone suddenly gentle.  “Around here… sorrow is like the wind.  It’s constant and something you live with, but it’s seldom overwhelming.”

Dermot gave her a wry smile.  “Thanks for that,” he said, nodding.  He strode over to a cupboard and smirked.  “What an odd place to hide the water pump,” he said.

“An odd place indeed, little one,” Hannah said, rolling her eyes.  Both of them knew better than to question Dermot’s find.

Finding What Was Lost

A little scene from my NaNo inspired by an image that I found on the WriYe DreamWidth.

**

It wasn’t very often that Dermot was sent out on a patrol.  As a member of the third division, his focus was on central security.  That meant that he spent most of his time within the towns that surrounded the Palace of Love and the complex of buildings out of which the hunters lived and worked.

However, he was also well aware that the attacks in the outer districts had put everyone on edge.  One division simply wasn’t enough to keep the area secure under such a threat.  So, his squad was sent out to patrol an area that normally would have fallen to a squad within the second division.

54-b51afcfd5dHe was just glad that everything was quiet.  He didn’t fancy encounter any strange apparitions or unexpected trouble.  Actually, it was quite beautiful.  They could see the sun starting to brighten the sky.  The ocean lay off towards the horizon.  Between them and the sea there was a field of beautiful flowers.  He cast a glance at his partner and frowned.  Robert’s brows were drawn down low over his eyes and he was staring at something ahead of them.  “What is it?” he asked, turning to follow Robert’s gaze.

“I don’t know,” Robert said.  He looked up at one of the lovebirds in the trees above them.  “Declan,” he called.  “There’s something out here.  Finley and I are going to check it out.”

“Keep me apprised,” the squad leader replied.

Dermot bit his lip and took a few steps forward.  Then, he spotted the same thing that Robert had seen.  It was a pale flesh-toned form laid out in the brush.  “Sweet Fates,” he breathed, quickening his pace.  He dropped to his knees as soon as he reached the too-still form.  He knew immediately that it was a fox: golden hair and three tails.  “Ronan,” he said, turning the older man over.

Ronan moaned softly and then coughed.  His cheeks were flushed with fever.  It was clear that he was having an attack of his illness.  Dermot didn’t bother questioning how he might have come to be nude and in the middle of the forest.  He was, for the moment, alive and in need of help.

“Fates preserve,” Robert gasped.  He looked up at the lovebird again.  “Declan, it’s Ronan Kennedy and he’s in a bad way.  We need Brady out here right away!”

“On my way,” Sorley snapped, managing to sound irate instead of worried.

Of Secrets

The prompt for this little excerpt was “all the world’s a stage” (Originally from Shakespeare, but I got it from the WriYe DreamWidth).

**

Dermot chewed at his lip as he made his way through the forest as quietly as possible.  He hated what was happening.  Now that he knew who they were dealing with, the idea of being of any help to the man made him want to scream with rage.  At the same time, he needed to see this through to the end.  It was as if he was an actor in a play.  This was the role he was cast in and he couldn’t argue with the director.  The stakes were higher – much higher.  Still, he would play the role to the best of his ability, at least until something better came along.

So, he was supposed to find out how Eoin and the others were holding up – how they were managing not to go mad with bloodlust.  Well, he knew how Eoin was managing.  What did that leave with Captain Grady and his lieutenant?  How was he meant to explain any of it?  Then, there was the situation with Captain Christy.  How was he to know when she would leave her barracks?

All at once, Dermot was stumbling into a clearing.  Eoin was sitting on a large stone at the center, looking like someone that had just tumbled out of a fairy tale.  His long, blond hair tumbled over his shoulders and down his back to spill over the snowy white cloak he wore.  He was breathtaking in his beauty.  He turned to glance at Dermot and Dermot froze, his heart pounding in his chest.

“Dermot,” Eoin said, his tone thoughtful.  After a moment, his expression changed.  His eyes narrowed and he tilted his head quizzically.  “What’s happened, Derry?”

There was a moment – no longer than the space between one heartbeat and the next – when Dermot considered running.  However, before he could act the choice was taken from him.  Someone caught him around the waist and a hand caught his wrist, preventing him from drawing his sword.  “Lemme go,” Dermot said, squirming helplessly.

“Easy,” Eoin said, moving smoothly to his feet.  He stepped over to Dermot and frowned.  He looked into Dermot’s eyes, setting a hand on his cheek when Dermot fell still.  “Tell me what’s happened.  Let me help.”

Just like that, Dermot was given a new role to play.  He released a shuddering breath and nodded.  This was a role he preferred to that of traitor.

Really?

Another excerpt from my NaNo, this one inspired by a picture prompt from the WriYe DreamWidth.  I can hardly wait until this scene actually comes into the story.

**

55-5b8661dc87Ronan couldn’t help but feel a little anxious as he made his way across the commissary to where the rest of his squad was seated, along with Brendan, Sorcha and Dermot.

He stopped, blinking when he saw the plate that was set in front of Brendan.  “A bit hungry, are we?” he asked, looking at the other.  He bit off a laugh and sat down.  “Are you really planning to eat all of that, then, or were you intending to share that stack with the table?”

“Look you,” Brendan hissed, snatching up his fork.  “All this sneaking about and spying on my captain… it’s hungry work.”

“You’ve got at least a score of pancakes there, Bren,” Caitlyn said, shaking her head.  “How are you even planning to eat them without the pile toppling over?”

Brendan straightened and looked down at the pile.  The top of it, with the whipped cream and strawberries, was nearly at level with his eyes.  “Carefully,” he said, shrugging.  “I’ll start at the top and work my way down.”

Dermot stifled a laugh and shook his head.  Then, he looked at the others.  “I suppose I should just begin with what Captain Finnegan’s been doing.  Yeah?”

As tempting as it was to watch in silent wonder as Brendan worked his way through the giant stack of pancakes, Ronan had to admit that it would be better to get down to the business at hand.  After all, they didn’t have a lot of time before they all had to get to doing their work for the day.  He nodded and then sat back to eat his fruit salad, while he did his best to pay attention to Dermot’s report and ignore Brendan’s over-consumption of pancakes.

The End…

This was actually the beginning of my NaNo for this year and I wrote it well before I saw the phrase prompt from the WriYe DreamWidth.  However, it seems to me that it fits rather well, so I’ll use it for this.

**

Aisling frowned slightly as she heard a dog barking somewhere in the distance.  “Lassie?” she called, glancing over at the sheep.  Sure enough, the dog was not minding the sheep as she should be doing.  “What’s she got treed now?” Aisling grumbled.  She lifted her skirts and ran towards the sound of her dog’s now-frantic barking.

She froze when the barking suddenly cut off.  “Lassie,” she said, fear gripping her for the first time.  She remembered now that her papa had warned her that there had been disappearances of late.  People said there were dark things afoot.  No one could say if it was the work of fae or something far more sinister, but he’d told her to keep close to the house.

Shivering, Aisling glanced back the way she’d come and then towards where she’d last heard her family dog.  Should she turn back or see what had become of Lassie?  Aisling chewed her lip and then spun on her heel.  She could come out searching for the dog with her father, but she couldn’t work up the courage to go out alone.  Not now that she’d remembered her father’s warning.  Certainly not with the ommonous silence that had descended.

She nearly screamed when a large shadow fell on the path in front of her.  Then, she saw the uniform that the stranger wore and a surge of relief swept through her.  “You’re one of Lord Aren’s Hunters,” she said, her eyes widening.  She shook her head.  “My dog’s gone missing.  Could you help me look for her?”

“I’m afraid not,” the Hunter said, frowning.  He smiled faintly and took a step closer to her.  “A young girl like you… didn’t your father warn you how dangerous it was to be out on the moors alone?”

“He did,” Aisling murmured, frowning.  The Hunter was acting rather strange.  It was beginning to frighten her.  “I just now remembered it and I was heading back to the house to fetch him, so we could go and look for Lassie.”

“You won’t be finding Lassie, I fear,” the Hunter said.  “Neither will your father be finding you, I fear.”  He smiled, then, and Aisling’s eyes widened briefly.  Then, her scream of terror echoed across the moor before, like Lassie’s barking, it abruptly and completely cut off.

A Little Friend

This little scene was inspired by a few things… a picture prompt on the WriYe DreamWidth started it off, but I also know that chickadees actually will come pretty close if you imitate their whistle back at them.  The characters are two that will feature in my NaNo next month.

**

63-b1deb983b0Eoin heard a familiar whistle from a nearby tree and looked up, a smile already forming on his lips.  “Hello, little friend,” he said, his voice soft.

The little bird whistled again.  Chuckling softly, Eoin imitated the whistle.  He wasn’t at all surprised when the little bird flew to a closer branch.  He continued whistling back and forth with the little bird, each time drawing it just a bit closer.

It was nearly close enough that he could have reached out and touched it when it suddenly spooked and flew away.  Frowning, he glanced over one shoulder.  He wasn’t very surprised to see his lieutenant standing behind him.

“If you’re quite done, Captain,” Clancy said, giving him a sunny smile, “there’s some paperwork that requires your attention.”

“Of course,” Eoin said, his tone honey-sweet.  He spun on his heel and swept back into the building where he worked.  Even the birds knew that Clancy wasn’t as good as he appeared.  Why was it that he had everyone else in Lord Aren’s service fooled?