Roots and Wings: An Unwelcome Visitor

From Roots and Wings, book two of the Not the Same River series.

A vaewolf turns up at the priory. Stupid vaewolf.

***

“Don’t look,” said Seth, because Archer was already turning around. “Just pretend we’re still talking.”

Archer made a good effort, but Amethyst looked kind of constipated.

“How many?” Daniel whispered.

“One, I think,” I said.

Then Seth was running, and somewhere in the woods, someone else was running away.

“Stay here,” he yelled over his shoulder.

I pointed in a vaguely north-west direction and turned to Daniel. “Go and head him off then.”

When Daniel teleported away, I ran after Seth.

“Violet,” Amethyst called. “He said to stay here.”

“Yeah,” I hollered over my shoulder. “And you heard what Eden said. Reins and tornadoes.”

I expected to hear Archer lumbering after me, but he stayed behind with Amethyst. Nobody could catch me anyway. I was faster than the wind. But not faster than Daniel.

“Who are you?” he growled.

A sick, crack sounded in the twitching woods. A man howled. The silver light of the full-mooned sky above shimmered through the dark canopy. The forest floor looked radioactive. Daniel looked deranged.

“Who sent you?” He punched the man’s bloody face, but where his nose had been, there was now a snout. Daniel was not letting the fact that this man had turned into a vaewolf beneath him deter his fists.

The vaewolf growled, twisting its body. Finally, it vaulted to its feet and lurched at Daniel, who clenched his hands together and swung them up to hit the beast in the nose. He caught its jaw instead, and the vaewolf lunged at him again. This time, Daniel teleported out of its way, and it flew nose-first into a tree. I just stood there watching while Daniel and Seth sat on it, immobilising its sharp claws and holding its groggy face still. Then Amethyst was there. I hadn’t even heard her and Archer coming, what with all the growling and howling.

She squatted in front of it, one of her silver knives inches from its eyes. “You best be able to turn back, because you have to the count of five before this knife … this silver knife … turns your pretty fur into my new coat.”

Archer gave me a wide-eyed look, and I tried not to laugh. Trust Amethyst to go all Soprano. She began to count. The vaewolf cracked and groaned from the inside out. When she got to four, the vaewolf was a man.

“You better tell us everything you know, wolf, or you’ll be going for a little swim in the Thames. Understood?” said Daniel.

The man already looked like he’d been for a swim, with his chattering teeth and scraggly drowned-rat hair. He looked anaemic and pulpy. I stayed back. The chances were high that this guy was related to those who’d shown up when we were camping, and I didn’t want them knowing Amethyst and I were separate people.

He wasn’t wearing a robe, but that didn’t mean anything. The only thing his clothes told me was that he couldn’t dress himself, and that he hadn’t anticipated turning into a wolf despite the full moon. That was a curious thought all on its own.

The man turned his head to the side, and spat a wad of blood at the ground. His pale eyes were bloodshot and wary. “Yes,” he said.

“Who are you?”

“Cain Metzger.”

“Who sent you?”

“The General … Asgaut Scarth.”

unwelcome visitor

 

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