I swear, Donald Maass will be the death of me. Seriously. Now I am always on the lookout for ways to up the tension.
In this scene, Thalmar (Saerowyn’s son and the head of the arcane academies) and Maeglen, a spirit walker have entered the spirit realm to try and solve the mystery of Aegis’ death and to find clues to the missing king. They have just finished “watching” Aegis’ last day.”
The original ending had them leaving the scene and returning home. It’s a lot more tense here, I hope, because Maeglen is trapped and I already set up a dangerous situation for her in the spirit realm in addition to this spirit who appeared.
I’ve already set up the way she can escape, but it’s going to require…more words. I wonder if anyone one would really notice if I don’t rescue her.
Ending of chapter fifteen.
Caidry laughed and ran his hand ran over the black stubble of beard, smearing blood across his face. The slash across his forehead gushed red. His left eye shone brighter under the blood veil. He seemed to be taunting Aegis. He wiped the blood out of his eye and his tongue flicked out to lick it from his lips. His mouth curled back in a cruel smile, revealing even white teeth tinged pink in the crevices.
Aegis dropped to his knees. Another spasm of coughing racked his body as he choked on the blood filling his lungs. Blossoms from the twig he wedged in his helmet earlier now floated in a pool of red before him. He stared at the pale petals adrift in his blood.
“He’s speaking a binding spell to this place,” Maeglen said. “I can hear the words in my mind. That’s why we couldn’t call his spirit back to his body. I knew he was there, but we couldn’t hold him.”
She looked away when Caidry jerked Aegis’ head back to expose his throat.
When it was done, Maeglen knelt beside the body. She reached out to touch the knight’s blood blossom. “Caidry killed him before he could finish the spell. He’s caught between two worlds.”
Thalmar stood beside her, still holding her bound hand. A spirit began to take form in front of them. It was pale and weak, but she recognized Aegis. He tried to speak, his eyes wide and frantic.
She turned to see another spirit forming behind her. He was surrounded by a deep red aura, his face contorted with hatred.
“Pay the price, wizard! Let your woman walk the spirit world as mine does.” He knocked Thalmar backwards. The cord bit into her wrist and then snapped.
Thalmar was back in the present, but she was trapped.