With the release of Heart of the Raven looming, it’s time to meet the characters! But why just read a stale bio, when you can have a flash-fiction introduction? These take place the day before Heart of the Raven begins. Think of them as mini prologues. They will not appear in the book and this is the only place you can read them. Enjoy!
(Scharfrichter/Scharfrichterin = Executioners)
Sadihra signed the papers with a flourish and handed the clipboard over. The guard snapped a quick salute. “Thank you, Scharfrichterin. I will see that the prisoners are assigned cells.”
She returned the salute. “Good. Will there be anything else?”
She nodded. “In that case see to your duties.”
He snapped a final salute, which she again returned, and then she strode from the guards’ room and through a series of chambers to a broad marble corridor. She needed to file her report, not that it would take long. It was another assignment that should have been given to someone with less seniority.
She passed the gated doorway that led down to the Kugsankal and tried to ignore the little tremor that ran through her. She could feel the power of the ancients throbbing like a heartbeat, and the hair on the back of her neck stood up. Though she’d never gone through the door, or down the corridors that led to their chambers, she imagined that the sensation only got heavier and more unbearable the closer one got to them.
She slipped into the nearest elevator and quickly pressed the button. As it rose the sensation lessened, though it didn’t disappear. It never disappeared. The will of the ancient council permeated every stone of the stronghold and filtered into every mind.
She looked forward to getting out of there for a while.
The doors swished open and she strode with a purpose to the Scharfrichter office. The deep emerald carpet and upholstered chairs gave the room a heavy, old fashioned look, like some kind of library. They’d discussed redecorating more than once, but it never came to anything. It would be such a shame to change the “tradition”, or so everyone said.
Hethin leaned against a carved desk and read over a folded piece of paper. The long white hair that fell around his shoulders spoke of an age his face didn’t reflect. His skin was almost as pale, and his eyes were like the icy ponds at Christmas time.
He glanced up at her. “You’re back.”
“Yes, sir.” She saluted the second in command. “I apprehended two, who have been given cells. They’re both quite young.”
“Then it was an easy assignment,” Hethin’s smile looked fake. “The Americans will be arriving in a few days. You were assigned to escort them and then accompany them back to the United States?”
Suspicion blossomed in her eyes. “Yes.”
“There’s been a change of assignment.” Hethin tossed the paper to Sadihra. “You’re to remain here.”
She skimmed the hand written contents, signed by the High Council. Bitter words rose to her tongue, but she held them back. It would do no good to argue. “Thank you, sir.”
The look he gave her was half amusement and half pity. “You’re not missing much. Of course you can still accompany the Americans once they’re here if you wish. We haven’t received confirmation on their identities, except for The Hand of Death.” She didn’t even flinch and he rubbed his chin. “Perhaps he was before your time, yes?”
“I believe so, sir.”
“Then you certainly won’t miss anything.” He made a dismissive gesture. “That’s all. You may go.”
“Thank you, sir.” She gave a quick, half bow and then strode from the office, the note clutched in her fist. She knew why the orders had been changed, and she was going to make sure the one responsible was sorry for it!
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