Going To That Fucking Place:
Fighting the Telling Man and Dragging Etrax’s Brothers Out By Their Ears
Something something cursed city. It wasn’t their first, and it probably wouldn’t be their last, either. They were just retrieving Etraxx’s errant brothers before they got in over their heads fetching a cursed sword. They had faced terrible things before, and triumphed.
…and then they talked to the stranger at the inn, and fought this Telling Man, and he’d struck Etraxx so viciously he’d gone down. And if it wasn’t for Sylri, again…
Umiri’s thoughts raced. They were back inside the magical protections now, and Etraxx was sitting in front of her. She tried to look casual, standing behind him with her hand on his shoulder–but anyone who knew her, knew that Umiri didn’t touch people casually.
This was…it had been so close. She’d almost lost him, again, and it had panicked her, again.
And they might still all die, really. They had to confront this Telling Man again in order to escape the city, and if Etraxx had gone down that hard there was little hope for the rest of them. Even her, tough as she thought she was. Sylri could only pull off so many miracles in a day, after all.
How had Umiri managed to forget how brutally short her life was liable to be? Here she was, dawdling, afraid, and taking her sweet ass time. As if she had time.
It was very clear she did not.
Frowning, Umiri resolved to stop dragging her heels. If she was to have only a short time with Etraxx, there had better be more to it than conversation and card games.
It was scary.
But the alternative was worse.
There was a fresh wolf hide in her backpack and that was wrong.
Snapper. She regretted the name at the moment–oh it had seemed funny at the time, and apt. But now that he was dead, it felt…
She was ashamed of it, that’s what. He’d died bravely facing a deadly foe, and he’d had blood on his teeth.
And it was one thing if one of the rest of them died. They all chose to be there, one way or another. But he’d followed her, attacked at her request, and now…
…she shouldn’t have. She shouldn’t have sent him in, not after Etraxx had gone down at the Telling Man’s hands.
But she hadn’t been thinking, had she? Or well, she had been, but it was all about preserving her hide first and Etraxx’s second.
Umiri felt tense and cold and nauseous. She didn’t like it much.
She’d probably feel guilty for threatening to throw Anda when she’d just been trying to help, but well. Being hurt was being vulnerable, and there was still only one of them allowed close when her defenses were down.
It wasn’t fair. She shouldn’t be assaulted by so many feelings at the same time.
The back of her neck itched, too. Her instincts still screamed that she’d shown herself to be weak and one of them was going to stab her in the back for it.
Her plan had been simple: if she got to the Idiot Brother first, before Etraxx did, then she was more likely to be injured than him.
It did in fact work that way, which was unfortunate because that really hurt. Like, wow. That was the benefit of big ol’ weapons, wasn’t it?
Umiri had quietly vowed to learn to hit harder with the weapons she had.
She had breathed a sigh of deep relief when they’d finally brought the Idiot Brother down (not even permanently). No one else had been dead, or even almost dead.
And then she’d gone ahead and thrown that idiot brother over her shoulder just out of spite. And to prove a point.
She may be having feelings. She may have vulnerabilities. But she could still throw a full grown man over her damned shoulder if needed.
Somewhere in the back of her mind still echoed an early lesson from her mother, who had loved her despite everything: leaning on someone else could be a source of strength.