Happy Friday, Aledans! Wait…how did it become Friday already? I completely missed Science Tuesday and Update Thursday. When I realized that I knew I couldn’t miss FEF – this is the climax of the story! Next Friday will be the final installment, and then it’s time for the brand new Faye and Tarrin! It’s so new I haven’t even finished writing it yet…
You can catch up on the story here.
“Run, Momma, run!”
Aleda’s blood chilled at the fear in Alaric’s voice. She couldn’t see what was happening, but she’d heard the man yell. Faye flew into the trees, the bundle in her arms wailing as she dodged limbs and flew out of sight. There was a crash, and Aleda ducked behind the brush as Coyle ran past.
Faye stole Coyle’s child? This wouldn’t end well. Faye could outrun him easily, but if Coyle knew they were close he wouldn’t rest until he found and killed all the Children of Mountain. It was only a matter of time.
She ran after him, feet stepping quietly through the brush. They had all learned to walk silently through the woods in the past several summers, and Coyle was determined to catch Faye. He didn’t look behind.
“Come back here you little monster!” He ran blindly towards the mountains. Aleda had to do something. If only Carrick were here she was sure he could stop Coyle.
Instead, Mountain rumbled low and long, shaking the earth so they both fell. She was nimble, up and on her feet first, but she should have stayed low. He caught sight of her as she ran along the bank of the river.
“Stop!” He yelled. “Give me back my child, witch!” He was running after her now, and he was faster. She was too far away to be heard but she screamed anyways.
Coyle caught her and they tumbled into the mud. He pinned her hands behind her back and smiled. “If it isn’t Mountain’s little concubine.” His eyes screamed murder as Mountain shook the earth beneath them. “Give me the children and I’ll silence Mountain forever.”
“He won’t let you kill them,” she said, and his hand burned across her face.
“Leave her alone!” Alaric’s little voice broke between them, followed by a branch that cracked over Coyle’s head. It stunned him enough that Aleda was able to scramble away. She grabbed her son as Alaric lifted the branch again.
“Get your father. Quickly.”
Alaric looked at her in surprise.
“Now!” Aleda pushed him toward the cave as Coyle groaned and began to push himself up. As Alaric flew back home Aleda followed on foot. She had to get a head start—Coyle would be on her again in no time.
The mountains loomed slowly as she ran—much too slowly. Coyle, unsteady as he was, gained on her and she was still too far from home. With every step Mountain grew more angry—ash spilled into the air, hiding the sun, making it hard to see and harder to run. She felt like she was trying to run in a boat at sea, but it was slowing Coyle down too.
She broke into an area clear of trees and there was Faye, her back turned away and calling into the woods. “Over here!”
Aleda looked behind her as Coyle turned toward the little kidnapper. “Faye, move!” she screamed, but Faye was too slow. The girl jumped into the air and Coyle caught her by the ankle. He pulled her down so hard he knocked her senseless and she went limp on the ground.
Aleda froze. She was scared of Mountain, of Coyle, of how quickly the situation had veered out of control. Coyle’s hand shook as he picked Faye up and held a knife to her limp throat. Aleda was desperate.
“Give her to me, Coyle. You don’t want to anger Mountain. Give the girl to me and I’ll tell Him to stop.”
Carrick and Lisel arrived. She screamed wordlessly at Coyle as Carrick held her back. Coyle ignored her, focusing on Aleda.
“I lost two wives to these monsters. It’s time they were destroyed.”
Mountain bellowed and the ground shook beneath them. Coyle’s eyes were wide with fear. Aleda saw her chance to scare him into submission and stood straighter, lifted her chin, and spoke in her best mother-voice.
“You will leave this place, Coyle.” She took a step forward as the ground trembled. “You will leave this place and never return. I am the Mother of Mountain’s Children and he will bring down a fiery rain upon you if you harm that girl.”
He looked around wildly. The sky was dark and angry and Mountain’s rumblings had turned into a constant complaint. “Tell him to stop. Tell him to stop or I’ll kill her!”
Aleda walked forward, confident in Coyle’s fear. “You will not kill her. Give her to me and I’ll make Mountain stop.”
He looked around, uncertain, but when a violent tremor shook the ground he made a terrified noise and held Faye out. Aleda grabbed her and turned away as Lisel ran over for her child. Aleda looked at Carrick and finally let her fear show.
“Get the children out of the cave before it collapses!”
“You lied!” Coyle yelled and lunged.
“Lea!” Carrick screamed, but it was too late. Coyle’s knife plunged into her back and Mountain exploded. The children screamed in the distance and a loud crack rang out before the cave collapsed in on itself.
The last thing Aleda saw before Carrick threw her down and covered her from the falling rock was a piece of Mountain smashing into the back of Coyle’s head.
There are only three days left to enter #PonyFest13 for a chance to win a custom pony based on YOUR novel! You have until the end of the night Sunday, September 29th, to get your entries in! (Actually you have until whenever I get online Monday morning, but that’s cutting it a little close, don’t you think?)