Tayah’s anger devolved into something primitive. Something hot and blinding. She dove downwards. She only had to reach Bagor, but Ria, for that hawk could only be her sister, was faster and twisted to block her path, spreading her wings wide. Tayah tried to pull up and turn, but in her struggle she could feel her hold on the shift slipping. If she fell from such a height then she would be no threat to anybody, let alone Bagor. She flapped desperately against the smoke stained sky as Ria beat her backwards.Somehow, she pulled herself higher, but Ria did not relent. Her strong wings buffeted Tayah back, not towards the ground nor towards Emire. Instead, Tayah was pushed towards the rundown cottage that she and her friends had sheltered in only days before.
Her strength wasted, Tayah dropped and then, when she was close enough, she all but fell from the sky. She landed terribly, bouncing through the sea of flowers, shifting back as she went. She hardly noticed the pain. Adrenaline pounded a course within her, shoving away all thoughts, even those of Bagor. Her hatred of her sister razed everything else. She itched to inflict pain of her own. She dove into the darkness of the cottage, crouched beside the door and waited.
Ria’s boots touched the threshold and Tayah exploded upwards.
A right hook caught Ria beneath her chin and her head snapped back. Tayah’s left fist drove into her stomach and the breath exploded out of her. Tayah spun a kick with all her strength, but Ria caught her ankle.
Their amber eyes locked.
‘I knew it was you,’ Ria rasped, ‘I could tell by the way you flew.’
Tayah screamed and wrenched free. She barrelled forwards, driving her shoulder into Ria’s hip and slamming her back against the wall. None of Tayah’s shifts were much suited to fighting, so Tayah trained hard to make up for it, but Ria was stronger. She always had been.
Ria grabbed her shoulders and pushed, sending Tayah sprawling. She crashed into the table and a sharp pain in her back made her grunt. But even as she fell, she was struggling back to her feet.
Ria held up her hands. ‘Stop.’
Tayah could not. She charged again, swinging fist after fist, kicking, biting. Ria blocked, blocked, blocked and Tayah’s swings soon became limp and useless things.
Ria caught both her fists and held them tight. Tayah struggled, but she had nothing left. Ria stared at her little sister with wide eyes, gasping for breath.
Tayah snarled, ‘I’m going to kill him.’
Ria stiffened. She shoved Tayah away, more gently this time, and shook her head. ‘You’re lucky it was me that challenged you. Anybody else would drag you before him and you’d be dead.’
Tayah closed her eyes. Fii was dead. ‘What do you care?’
‘Of course I care.’
Tayah laughed and turned away, adrenaline slowly dwindling. ‘So you expect me to be grateful for your mercy?’
‘It’s over, Tay. It does not matter which side you are on, Bagor has won. Stop fighting.’
‘And let him massacre the humans? Let him sacrifice the Semei in a war he cannot win?’
‘It can be won. And what do you care if humans are massacred? Don’t tell me that Kammy and the boy have got to you?’
‘They’re good people.’
Ria’s lip curled viciously, ‘They’re monsters.’
Tayah’s shoulders sagged. Talking to Ria felt like losing her all over again, every time. She could not bear it, not today. ‘Bagor is the monster. How can you not see that? How can you justify what he has done to Emire?’
Ria’s nostrils flared. ‘A show of strength was necessary.’
Tayah looked upon the sister she had so admired as a child, the sister she had dreamed of impressing, the sister that looked so much like their mother. She looked upon her and she felt empty.
‘Fii is dead. One of those arrows killed her. Do you think that was necessary?’
Ria’s face drained of colour. Her mouth opened, but she did not speak.
‘I won’t stop fighting, Fii wouldn’t want me too. You can tell him that. You can watch as he hounds us, kills us, and we won’t ever stop fighting him. But don’t you dare, don’t you dare, let him hurt Boo.’
Ria still did not speak. She stepped back, sagging against the wall and she nodded.
Tayah walked out of the cottage and glanced towards Bagor’s army and the numerous tents that he could be within, but she looked quickly away. The blind fury had abandoned her, leaving her cold. That was all. Cold.
With a heavy heart, she started a lopsided flight back towards Emire.
About the Author:
I grew up in a village called Swilland, in the countryside of Suffolk, England. There wasn’t much around, other than farms and fields, but for the most part I loved it, and I still do. I’m a passionate person by nature. I don’t just LIKE things, I LOVE things. Whether it’s a book, a film, or a sports team. Once I decide to enjoy something, I enjoy it to the MAX.I’m a terrible cook. I prioritise essential social media work over keeping my flat tidy, because I know best.
Onto my love of reading and, consequently, writing – it was my dad that played a big role in encouraging me to read. He didn’t push me towards books necessarily; he simply read a lot himself. Then I would pick up his books and read them after him. I was reading high and epic fantasy from a very young age. I guess that might explain why I have always loved adventure stories with magic and intrigue and princes and princesses in.
I was aware that I wanted to ‘be a writer’ from a very young age. I was convinced I would be the first best seller that hadn’t reached double figures in age yet! I wrote about the Danshees, furry creatures that lived through a mirror. I wrote about a Sand Bottle that transported a boy into a world of magic. I wrote about a sick girl finding a music boy that healed her, but transported her back in time. (Wow, I always have loved alternate universes…)
When I was eight I wrote my first novel called The Land of No Return. Despite the title, I am determined to return to it one day. I feel like I owe it to my past self. So, as you can see, I have always been writing. There have been times when I have gone weeks without scratching down a word. Then there are days where I churn out multiple chapters and only my body’s silly desire for sleep and/or food can stop me.
I write because I enjoy it. I write fantasy because I enjoy it. I try my hardest to put something of myself into my writing. I like to think my characters have depth, I like to think that my fantasy worlds reflect upon the real world in some way. You guys will be the judge of that but even if you don’t agree I know that I at least try and I can do no more than that.
These days I live in North London and I love it. I work full time and London is a hectic city. Juggling work, writing and a social life is tough but nobody is forcing me to do it so I can’t complain. The dream is that writing will be my career one day but it doesn’t matter if I never quite make it. I love writing too much to ever pack it in.
I am desperate to get a dog. My mum suspects I miss my cats at home more than I miss her. I am a devout Arsenal/Ferrari/Rafael Nadal fan. I get all mad when confronted with a case of social injustice and then I get all mad when people take the fight for social justice too far. I mostly keep those thoughts to myself and simmer with rage. I watch good TV and bad TV, because I can. What I can’t do is enjoy bad books (subjective opinion of course). I just can’t.
$25 Amazon gift card & copy of The Wolf’s Cry or The Lion’s Pride in paperback (INT), two (2) additional winners will receive a copy of The Wolf’s Cry or The Lion’s Pride in paperback (INT)
Ends Aug. 18th
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