The beast did not move. It stared at him with unblinking white eyes.Seton took a step forward, and sent more blue flame running along the sword.The beast raised its head and
. The closest sound to it that Seton had heardwas a wolf pack on a winter’s night.An answering howl came from higher up the hill, harsher and more guttural.
She has a mate.
Sensing the need to make this encounter a quick one, Seton moved forward withthe sword raised.The fog chose that moment to swirl and close in around him. In less than twoheartbeats he could see no more than a yard beyond the end of his sword.*He backed away, making sure he stayed on the tight path. The scree slope wassomewhere far below him, but he knew he had come more or less straight up the hill.
Surely I can find my way down?
He had barely started walking when he was stopped by a noise, a raspingcoughing sound from straight in front of him. It immediately reminded him of a seal’s barking call.As he stopped and stood still, the grass ahead of him rustled with the sound of something heavy moving around.He swung the sword up, pointing it towards the noise. He could see nothing buttufts of grass, swaying lightly in the wind.Two distinct, simultaneous coughs barked out, one from his left and one from hisright. A darker patch of grayness began to take shape in the fog, a large lumbering thing.It circled him, just outside the range of his sword. Once again terror gripped him, down tohis very bones, and even taking a tighter hold on the sword did little to dispel a sense of cold
The fear blew away any thought of valor.He turned and ran, bounding down the hill like a deer running from dogs.He found the scree slope faster than he had anticipated. He stumbled at his secondstep on the treacherous surface, tripped and slid on his rear for long seconds beforecoming to a halt in a rattle of stones.Everything fell quiet.He pushed himself to his feet, dislodging more stones, sending then sliding awaydown the slope. The sword
along its length, a bright orange full of heat. As if inanswer something
from high above, soon to be joined by a second voice.A small avalanche of stones came down the slope.
They are coming after me.
Once more Seton turned and fled. He hit the bottom of the scree at a run and keptgoing across the moor, trusting to luck that he was heading in the right direction in thefog. He stumbled across the soggy ground, splashing through mud that sucked at his boots and threatened to bring him to a halt. The thought of being caught, stuck, while agray
loomed over him gave him all the impetus he needed to push on.The
rose again behind him and his bowels loosened. A squirt of piss lentsome extra but unwanted warmth in his breeks. He gripped the sword so tight that hisknuckles showed white, but it had no comfort to give him, here on this blasted heath.The moor seemed to go on forever, and he was starting to worry that he hadmissed his path completely when, like a cover being lifted from a bed, the fog dispersedand watery sunlight showed him the forest in which the castle sat. It was no more than aquarter of a mile away.