Surprise! I’m back from my unannounced two-week hiatus! Well, it was less of a hiatus and more a matter of me being frustratingly busy with my professional and personal life (something I don’t see abating anytime soon, unfortunately.) The situation hasn’t really changed, but I’m annoyed with myself for not posting. And so, here I am! Expect to see posts on Mondays and Friday for the foreseeable future.
The novices were silent. Doubtless their minds were racing with images of Maria and Pol descending upon their wards, hacking them to pieces. The arterial spray of blood bright with life ebbing away, the venous gush, the stink of spilled bowels. Every novice imagined what it would be like to battle a beast and lose, Iohan knew. He certainly had. It was an ending that was easy to imagine, simple to understand. But it was a betrayal of everything the boys had been taught to think that they might meet their demise on the sword of one of their brothers, one of their sisters.
“Return to the city. Facing beasts is one thing, but you don’t stand a chance against a cazador hunting you down, let alone two.”
“I’m not afraid!”
“You can’t send us back alone! What if they’re still out there?”
“Iohan, you don’t know what happened here. You can’t face an unknown enemy without backup. It’s dangerous.”
The boys shouted over each other, each convinced that what they had to say was the most important. Iohan only paid Jimeno’s words any mind. “I know. But I am trained and you three are novices. You will only get yourselves killed if you come face to face with Maria or Pol.”
“And if you come face to face with both of them at once?”
Iohan was silent. The twist of his lips, the frustration he felt at knowing the boy had a point, said more than his words ever could.
Iohan turned his back to the boys and walked deeper into the woods, gesturing with his hand for him to follow. “I suppose you are right. With four of us, someone ought to get in a killing blow before Maria and Pol can kill us all.”