I am doing a happy dance today for a number of reasons. The two biggest of which are: I feel great! The spasms that have plagued me since October are gone. That’s not to say all the pain is gone but the crippling spasms – the ones that have knocked me down, robbed me of my ability to walk with any assurance I’d make it to my goal, pinched nerves and impeded my sleep – are GONE! They’re just …gone. I started noticing it cautiously on Wednesday when my daughter and I walked uptown to the grocery store. I made it there and back without incident and the after effects were arthritis related, not spasm! Yesterday, I did all our errands with my cane and not my walker, except when we went into the mall and I worried that I had over done it already. And this morning… nada. House is clean and I’m tired and sore but still no spasms.
The house cleaning was done over the space of a few hours, with many breaks, but it’s still done.
The other reason is twofold: I get to watch Boykid play hockey this weekend AND he’s coming for dinner to celebrate is (19th!) birthday.
That means lots of loud music, which means
annoying the neighbours lots of work getting done.
In my last blog, I talked about the battle Anna has with the Chimaera and how irritating it was. I decided it is essential to the story so I did a heavy edit. A lot got taken out, a lot got rewritten and some things were added in. I hope it is much improved. It is this week’s contribution to Fiction Friday (yes, even though it was posted earlier this week).
Do let me know what you think. If you are having trouble commenting, you can reach me on my Facebook page. The Boyfriend says he has issues and neither of us can figure out why.
Off to roll cookie dough into what I hope will be deliciously cinnamony cookies.
Rafe’s exclamation was a soft whoosh of breath but it galvanized Anna. She took a step towards it and found one arm clenched in Liam’s large hand and her other in Caspian’s smaller but no less powerful one. “Let me go,” she said. “This is something only I can do.”
The thing laughed, showing large sharp teeth. The shaggy, slick black fur quivered as it shook with its own amusement. “Yes, let the Seed of Cain go.” It moved before her, several yards away, on four large paws, pacing back and forth, long slim tail flicking at the ends. It looked like an ungroomed jaguar. Its eyes were drawn to Rafe as he gasped at the mention of Cain. “What is it, Vampire? Did you not know?”
“No, I did not.” Rafe turned to Anna. “You are the Princess Sadira?”
Anna ignored the question and stared at the black cat. “What is a Balam doing here in Scotland?”
“Why I’m here to eat you, of course.” It growled the words out just before it launched itself at her.
Anna threw up a shield and automatically began pulling from those around her and the water as she wracked her brain for the one who could help. She used another large push of energy to push the others back, away from the battle that was heading towards her. The jaguar bounced off the shield and as it tried to shake off the impact, she threw a large fire ball at it. She darted to one side, racing down the beach to the water’s edge.
It laughed as it gave chase. “Fire? This is the stuff I am made of!”
“Well then, try this!” With a wave of her hand she swept her palm over the water then up towards the cat. A hundred gallons lifted from its resting place and drowned the cat. Anna looked relieved when it lay dead on the rock beside the nearby pier. The relief lasted only a minute before she frowned. “That was too easy,” she muttered to herself as the others came running towards her.
The beast stirred and Anna pulled a sword from the other Realms, shocking Rafe with her show of power as she reached into nothing and came back out with an obviously Elven silver blade. She ran forward, feet barely touching the slick rocks and drove the blade into its heart while she screamed, “Itzamna! Creator of all, I call you! God of fire, I call you! Take your beast back to whence it came! Return this creature to its proper time and seal it there! Itzamna! Take this cat, this demon, and send him back to his time in hell!”
She lifted the sword and severed the head as a male, dressed as a Mayan king, appeared. He nodded to Anna and she bowed back as he lifted the cat into his arms. Anna watched, puzzled, as only the spirit was taken, but not the body. “Itzamna?”
“I take only that which is mine.” His words rumbled across her skin and he vanished.
Stunned, Anna stared at the headless beast as it began to change colour. The front legs thickened and the black fur bled away as tawny fur rolled in from the top down. Three heads sprang from its neck as Anna watched. The shock of seeing lion, goat and dragon heads appear sent her stumbling backwards; she slipped from the rock and disappeared into the ocean.
“Anna!” Liam’s panicked shout was echoed seconds later by Marcus and Chelle. They all ran forward and Caspian yelled a warning about the undertow.
The beast finished its transformation in a moment later; large leathery wings sprouted from its sides, the tail grew, thickened and became a snake that hissed at Liam as he tried to slip past it to get Anna out of the water. It swept its wings down and lifted into the air. The dragon spit fire at the small, now terrified group and the lion’s roar almost drowned out Rafe’s exclamation of awe. “A Chimaera,” he breathed softly.
Marcus looked at the American sharply as Liam and Caspian tried again to get past it. They were thwarted at every attempt and Liam was getting frantic. “A what?”
“A Chimaera. It’s a mythological beast; I don’t believe anyone has ever seen one.” Rafe was still staring at it in awe. “It’s magnificent.”
“I don’t give a rat’s ass how pretty it is! How do we kill it?”
Rafe shrugged and moved Astrid behind him. “I don’t know. There was something about a lead tipped lance and suffocation in the mythos but I have no idea if that would actually work.”
Liam growled as his hands changed, the fingers thickening as fur sprouted. His nails lengthened until they were claws. The rest of Liam wasn’t far behind in the shift to half-Wolf. “Let’s try some claws, then.” He leapt at the beast with no regard for his own safety. He thought Anna dead and wanted to join her. He ignored Marcus and Chelle’s shouts.
The snake smacked Liam out of the air and Liam caught himself by snagging the beast by sinking the claws of one his hands into one of the Chimaera’s front paws, a large lion foot. The goat hind legs kicked at Liam’s body as the other front paw swiped for his face. Liam swung his body out of the way and sank the claws of his other hand into the Chimaera’s ribs. The Chimaera howled in pain.
Just then the water exploded upwards and Anna reappeared. She hovered there as the water crashed back into the ocean beneath her. Her hair floated around her head like living flames and she was dressed from head to toe in a worn, well used set of leather armour. She had gauntlets on her arms; the sword in one hand and a shield strapped to her other arm. Both gleamed in the faint light. Her eyes were black and glittering with fire. She roared, “Come to me, beast!”
The Chimaera abandoned toying with Liam, shook the Wolf-beast off and dashed for Anna even as the dragon head spit fire at Marcus and Chelle as they raced to get a dazed, shocked Liam away from the battle. Anna spared them no more than a glance as she screamed heavenward. “Zeus, Ares! Lend me your strength! Artemis lend me your aim! Hades, prepare to receive your creature!” She threw her sword at the heart of the Chimaera like it was a javelin. It had no sooner left her hand then she was moving to the left and pulling a bow off her back. The shield clattered to the rocks below as she reached for an arrow.
The Chimaera caught the sword and flung it at Chelle, laughing. “You cannot kill me with so puny a weapon!”
“No,” Anna spoke calmly as she pulled on the bow string and shot the arrow at the goat’s head. The beast roared as the arrow sunk deep into the skull. “But these arrows were created in the forge of Hephaestus himself.” She had a second arrow launched and in the snake’s head before her sentence was over. “They have iron heads and have been designed especially for you.”
The lion’s head roared again as the snake died. The dragon opened its mouth and bellowed fire at Anna. She dodged again as she knocked another arrow; the flight was draining a lot of power from her and she was in a hurry to finish the Chimaera. Anna loosed the bow again. The arrow flew true, hitting the lion in the throat. It gurgled and fought to get the arrow out. The dragon opened his mouth to spit fire at her again and Anna funneled the water beneath her to hit the dragon’s fire dead on.
Fire versus water. The two pushed and shoved in a chilling kind of tug-of-war. Anna braced against the wind and slowly pushed the fire back. Soon the dragon was drowning, its fire put out. Anna swooped down to land as the Chimaera sank to the rocks, trailing three dead heads and bleeding profusely from the neck of the fourth. Liam raced for it and grabbed it by the mane, twisting the head until it tore off, his fury and fear lending him the strength.
Five harpies, blacker than a moonless night sky, appeared and picked the corpse up. They spoke as one, though it was the voice of Hades that boomed out. “Thank you for returning my beast to me, little one. Rest well this night and the next for the Fates tell me another trial is coming your way on the third night.”
The pack gathered around her as Anna nodded. “I thank you for your aid.” She stood strong and tall until the harpies vanished with their burden then she passed out, crumpling on the rocks. The Wolves who had gathered along the cliff wall and on the stairs gasped in fear.
Marcus scooped her up as Liam shifted back to human form. Liam went to take his Mate but Marcus shook his head, knowing Liam would be feeling the strain of his last actions as soon as the adrenaline wore off. “She is no burden to me, Alpha, I assure you. Please allow me to carry the one who fought so hard to save us.”
Liam nodded, and merely walked by her head, stroking her hair and staring at the colour change. “Her hair is black.”