‘None may pass here.’ The priestess folded her arms and blocked their way, though she was slight enough Lyram could have lifted her out of the way if necessary.
The silence stretched. Darkness concealed the features of the priestess inside her raised hood, but her gaze held a weight that made it clear she studied each of them in turn. Finally, she grudgingly reached for the door.
‘Do you hear something?’ He spoke without forethought, in response to something on the edge of hearing so subtle he couldn’t even place it.
Both women turned to regard him.
‘Like what?’ Ellaeva quirked an eyebrow.
‘I don’t quite know. It was so faint I couldn’t place it – a scratching, or a shuffling maybe? Perhaps I imagined it. I can’t hear it now.’
She held his gaze a moment, and then, shrugging, addressed the priestess. ‘Unlock the door.’
The priestess released the bolts, and Lyram seized the handles and hauled. The heavy door swung open, stiff hinges protesting the movement with a long drawn out groan that echoed off the stone walls and through the clinging darkness.
Ellaeva nodded her thanks to the doorkeeper. As the door yawned open, she stepped forward.
A skeletal hand, flesh hanging from the bones, grabbed her wrist and yanked her staggering into the darkness.
Thanks for dropping by! Don’t forget, this is a first draft, and as such won’t be perfect. If you like what you read, and are so inclined, show your support by leaving a comment. I am currently 65% of the way through the first draft of In the Company of the Dead. If you’d like to sample more of my writing, check out my novella Confronting the Demon, or any of my free short stories.
If this is your first visit to Monday Morsels, find others in the series by clicking on the ‘Monday morsel’ tag, or go to the first installment.
More about In the Company of the Dead:
Lyram already crossed a prince, and now he finds himself on the brink of crossing a god.
Son of a duke and second in line for the throne, Lyram is exiled to a lonely castle after assaulting the crown prince. When a hostile army arrives to besiege the castle, he believes the prince wants him removed – permanently.
As though answering their prayers, Ellaeva, the Battle Priestess of the death goddess, arrives unexpectedly. But she has not come to break the siege. Instead, she is in pursuit of a necromancer of the evil god of decay. When misfortune after misfortune befalls the beleaguered defenders, Lyram realises the necromancer is hidden within the walls, sabotaging the very defence.
Against the backdrop of clashing gods, Lyram must fight to save himself from the political machinations of his prince, and the dread plans of a necromancer. But as the siege lengthens, he realises the greatest threat may come from another quarter — a woman sworn body and soul to a god tempts him to pay a terrible price.
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