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   Chapter 32 No.32

The Book of Deacon By Joseph R. Lallo Characters: 5376

Updated: 2018-01-19 12:03

Myranda scanned the horizon. Rolling white fields turned quickly to rocky, impassible mountains in the east, the Rachis Mountains. Crossing them would be difficult. They formed a chain that traced a crooked line across the Northern Alliance, beginning at the hilly plains just beyond the capital in the far north, and running nearly to the Tresson border. Crossings were scattered and tended to be well regulated. Best to avoid them.

South was where her pursuers had been led and north was the way she'd come. Neither was a viable route of escape. Westward was a snowy field that sloped smoothly downward, likely ending in a stream or river. Streams meant bridges--which, in turn, meant roads. There would be plenty of fresh water and means to find a road when the time came. Her pack had food enough for a few days, and by that time, there was hope that the tale would have been twisted enough as it was passed from ear to ear that she could escape immediate suspicion.

At the very least, the time would dull their memory enough to offer a chance of escaping recognition.

It was as good an idea as any. At least it meant walking downhill. She set off to the west as the cloud-shrouded sky reddened with the coming evening. To say her progress was slow would be a monumental understatement. By the time the last few rays of sun were fading, the light they cast was enough to reveal angry villagers streaming back to the town. Myranda was still near enough to see them, which meant that they were near enough to see her.

She kept low, confident that she would not be spotted, though fearful that her tr

randished the knife as her uncle had taught her. As a member of one of the more successful military families, she was no stranger to the use of a knife, but she loathed to do so.

She struggled to her feet, thoughts swirling in her head. Where did they come from? How had they come upon her unseen and unheard? She tried to keep her distance, but the snow gripped her feet while her pursuers seemed unaffected. One of them circled in behind her. She reeled around and caught it with the tip of the blade.

The razor-sharp knife sliced easily though the fabric. Though she could not feel the blade meet flesh, her attack prompted a shrill and ear-piercing shriek that was far too spine-tingling to have been made by a creature of nature. Startled by the horrid cry, she released the knife. It disappeared through the slice and fell to the ground. The wounded attacker pulled away violently, briefly allowing the cloak to open. The few rays of cloud weakened moonlight must have been playing tricks, for what they illuminated could not be. Nothing. The cloak was empty.

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