Blood's Nexus Excerpt

     Taylor tossed and turned. The soft bedding might as well have been needles, with her mind refusing to shut off.

     Each scenario played out repeatedly in her head, and each time she would think of something else she should have said or done another way.

     Resigned to a sleepless night, she sat up.

     Blankets were a tangled mess around her body, and she couldn’t be bothered to straighten them, so she left it in a massive pile on the bed once freed.

     The stone floor was cold to the touch, and a cool breeze was coming through the barred window. Taylor hugged her arms around her chest and rubbed feeling back into her extremities.

     At some point the fire had gone out, but, from what she could see, there was red embers tucked near the bottom of the ash. Crouching down, she stirred what remained with the cast iron poker before tossing a couple small logs onto it.

     Outside the bedroom door that led to Taylor’s chambers stood a beastly male Sabre with beady brown eyes, and long yellowed teeth.

     He snorted and then gave a big yawn. He didn’t know why he had to stay here night after night; the door was locked, and the human wasn’t strong enough to break out. In fact, he doubted the human would even try. She had been there for several days, and he hadn’t seen her do anything he would consider defiant.

     It was late, and no one was around. He glanced down the corridors and double checked the door. It wouldn’t hurt anything if he closed his eyes for a moment. He needed sleep too. He leaned back on the wall and gave a throaty growl as he relaxed.

     A few moments slipped by, his head bobbed once as he started to doze, then twice. It didn’t bob a third time. A stone dagger drove up through his throat into his skull, killing him in an instant.

     The dark form at the end of the blade gave it an extra twist before easing the twitching body down onto the floor. A quick pat down revealed the copper key for the door hidden in a belt pouch.

     With a satisfied grin, the key was inserted in the lock.

The teen heard the lock, and knew anyone coming into her room this late at night did not have good intentions.

     She stayed still, crouched by the fireplace and waited.

     A lithe figure slipped into the room. Its head and shoulders were covered in a tattered looking black cowl with flashes of leather clothing underneath. In its left hand, a dull grey blade stood poised for quick use by its ear.

     It moved to the bedside swiftly, barely moving the fabric of its own apparel.

     Taylor couldn’t hold back a small gasp as she watched the blade tear through the blankets several times in the matter of a couple seconds. Someone wanted her dead.

     The hooded face turned her direction, and the teen was sure she heard a hiss, close to that of a house cat.

     “It would have been better had you been asleep,” the high pitched yet male voice said.

     “W-why? Who are you?” Taylor demanded, as she stood up still clutching the fire rod in her right hand.

     The figure came closer and she could make out the pointed features of a Weasel. He flashed her a grin filled with sharp teeth.

     “The rebellion can’t have you stay in Ransidius’ hands.” he laughed as if it were obvious, “And it’s not like we could sneak you out past all the Sabres’; You’d just give us away.”

     Taylor scoffed a little despite the fear. She was getting real sick of being underestimated.

     The Weasel glided even closer, the dagger still poised.

     “Just close your eyes, and I promise this will be quick.”

     There was a moment Taylor hesitated, a moment the thought of a quick end was tempting. Then the Assassin moved, and it was gone.

     She sidestepped his attack. However, as she threw herself to the right, the blade still sliced clean through shirt and flesh. She barely had time to register the pain before the assassin was on her again.

     As he lunged forward with the dagger, she swung the cast iron rod, deflecting it away. The stone scraped across the poker sending a spray of embers, still clinging to it from the fire, into the Weasels face.

     He squeaked in pain, but still pushed forward desperate to finish the job before he was found by the Cats.

     A blind thrust put both off balance. Taylor lost her grip on the poker and, instead of trying to recover, it she grabbed the dagger with both hands. The two fell back and hit the store floor with a resounding crash from the iron rod.

     It was loud, and the cool-headed Weasel all of a sudden looked hassled. His time was up, and he had to finish the job quickly. With only a few options, he went with overpowering her. He put his weight behind the dagger and forced it down towards her chest.

     “Just die.” he sneered pushing down.

     Had he been a Sabre his body mass would have been enough to end it. As it was, the Weasel couldn’t have weighed much more than her. She wasn’t the fragile thing they all seemed to think she was; her Rugby career was a testament to that.

      Her arms quivered as she kept the knife suspended between them. With a loud growl that would have done any animal proud, she planted her foot on his hip and kicked him away.

     He recovered and attacked again, but just as he made his approach an ear-splitting roar filled the halls. He faltered and missed a beat with his step. The fire rod rolled his ankle, and he fell forward.

Taylor grunted as he landed on her hard.

     There were several moments of confusion before Taylor pulled herself away. She pressed her back against the wall and waited. Another moment passed; there were footsteps running down the hall.

     A wet cough and wheeze came from the prone form at her feet. With a stuttered breath of her own she reached down and rolled the Weasel onto his back.

     Embedded in his chest was the stone blade. He coughed again and, to her horror, blood bubbled out of this mouth.

     Just then, a trio of Sabres burst through the door. The Lioness leading them stopped short and surveyed the scene. There was a Weasel on the floor with a blade protruding from his chest, and the human was kneeling over him.

     Confused, but unfazed, she started yelling out orders.

     “You check to make sure that thing is dead. You, go get Ransidius; he’ll want to know they penetrated our defenses.”

     She turned to Taylor.

     “Are you injured?”

     Taylor shook her head before she even registered the question. She scooted herself along the wall, so she was well away from the scene.

     “He is still alive,” the male Sabre sneered, “want me to finish it?”

     “No. Leave him for Ransidius.”

     Taylor felt a pang of empathy for the Weasel. He had only been doing what he thought was right for the people of this land. Still, her life was hers; she wasn’t going let anyone take it without a fight.

     The room felt very crowded when Ransidius entered

     “What happened?” he demanded.

     Taylor was listening from her spot on the floor when she all of a sudden felt very weak. Her side was on fire.

     “Found Crux dead in the hall, saw the door open. We ran in here and found the Weasel like that with the girl over him,” explained the Lioness.

      Taylor clutched her side and felt a warmth spread through her fingers.

     Ransidius walked over to the Weasel and with minimal effort picked him up with one arm. He was nothing but a gruesome rag-doll in the Sabre’s hand.

     “Rebellion scum,” Ransidius declared, not needing any confirmation.

     With whatever breath and strength he had left, the Weasel spit in Ransidius’ face. The Sabre Lord wiped it away with the back of his hand, then reached out and snapped the Assassins neck before passing him off.

     “Hang it on the gate for all to see,” said Ransidius. He turned and looked at Taylor, whatever he would have say was lost when he saw her pale face and her hands gripping her side.

     She flinched as he squatted in front of her. With a gentle touch, he moved her hands.

     Blood seeped steadily out of the large gash, soaking through her shirt and the top of her pants.