Patina – Chapter 83

Sadja slumped down the tree. Her forces ebbed from her scraped body, slipping down her arms and legs like so many drops of her argent blood. The only thing that mattered in this whole conundrum in the way. She was so tired. Sounds of screams and explosions reached her, which only made her ears twitch. Why couldn’t she go back into that pod she was taken out of so many years before? She would fall asleep and dream forever amidst the stars, especially as, as the Hunter said, she used to fly in the sky among them.

More noise echoed through her bones, making her teeth rattle. The branches lost their purchase on her and she fell a couple centimeters, scraping her back. She let out a pained yowl, which made her open her eyes at last. 

The day was a white and as cold as before. The only thing that had changed, besides the still-smoking fragments of the glider, was the lonely figure standing against Verna, glowing with crimson runes of boiling blood. 


Was this some sort of hallucination? Was she playing with her brain again? But the dull pressure that signaled Verna’s presence in her mind was gone, had popped like a bubble when she had refused her for the last time and attempted to bite at her neck. 

It’s true…

He was standing there. Battered, bruised, and beaten. But he had come back. 

Come back for her? To fulfill his promise? 

But then that meant…

Her mind raced quicker than the fast stars streaking the night sky. The Hunter was back. And he was fighting Verna, glowing the same way he used to do when he fought that huge monster… Lenora? When he fought the mutated corpse of his wife.
Unlike then, he was losing. Badly. 

But he was there. And Verna, while toying with him, didn’t seem at all pleased about the situation.

She told her he had died. She had seen him die. 


The lynchpin holding the entire castle in Sadja’s mind began to crack. 

She got that wrong!

And if she did get it wrong with one thing, that meant she might get it wrong with any other! 

I don’t want… I don’t want to…

Sadja gritted her teeth and called onto whatever remaining strength she possessed. She scraped her arms as she pulled them against the bent branched keeping her in. 

I don’t want! I don’t want to…

“I don’t want to disappear!” She shouted, though it came out more like a groan.

But it was enough. 

Something was coming up from beneath her. She looked down and met with a pair of huge, golden eyes set in a dark face covered with the finest of dark hair. 

She blinked. 

Spirits, what was happening?

“It’s you!” She welcomed her friend with a big smile.

“Ffffoundling fffhound,” mused another voice coming nearby: the brother, climbing up on the tree, helped by his four arms. 

“What happened to you? Are you alright? How did you come here?”

“How about we keep the answers for later?” Another female voiced said from below. Sadja strained her neck and for the first time she did not really like what she saw. It was Cloria, the Venatrix who had shot him and kidnapped her once again. But at least this time it seemed she was working with them. “Can you do this quick? I feel like the Hunter does not have much time left in him.”

The two moth-people climbed to Sadja’s level and began to push against the branches to free her, as she helped them as well. But no matter the effort, they could only groan and puff, the wood too thick for them to completely free her. 

Come on, she pleaded. For the Hunter! For freedom! For canned food!

“Sssshcrape,” the brother said, starting to claw and bite at it, but even like that, they were taking too much time. There was a flash of red and blue light, and then Sadja saw the Hunter getting lifted in the air by Verna as she mocked him. That sent her heart into panic. She had to get out of here. She renewed her efforts, pushing against this stupid tree. She hated trees. If she survived this, she did not want to see a tree anymore in her whole life!

“Come on now, is that not a little too harsh?” Whispered an amused voice of woman into her ear. 

She turned only to see scraped back there. It was the same voice of her dream. She was sure. 

And then the tree snapped apart. 

One moment Sadja was ten meters up and then she was falling amidst pulverized fragments of wood, drops of sap and needles. Cloria looked up and opened her arms. She fell onto the Venatrix and they both dropped knee-deep into the snow. 

The daughter and brother sled down the tree in one fluid motion, falling on all four… well… six, looking none worse for wear. 

“You smell of wet dog,” Cloria said standing up and pushing her aside. She set her clothes straight. “Good work there with the tree but maybe next don’t have it drop on the person standing guard!”

“It wasn’t us,” Sadja whispered. One moment the tree completely refused to bulge… well, except for when it had allowed her to look at the Hunter… and then it fell apart in one second. 


But this was not the time to think about that. 

For as she lifted her eyes to look for the Hunter, she saw him fly through the air against another tree. And spiked branch avidly drank at his blood as Verna impaled him against it.

Sadja let out a whimper, then a growl, and then, her ears and tail stood up straight, she charged past any doubt, or hope, or fear straight at the High Seer. 


It was a tiny thing, really.


As Valeriana, Augur of Dorsoduro, the most prestigious Seat of the floating city that feared no Fae nor Winter, came to, she felt quite stupid.

At first.

Behind her mask, she blinked, coming back into focus. Her meditation interrupted, she stood up in the scalding pool, water rippling down her naked, dark body. 


She had been worried for the past few days. There had been something weird going with Verna as of late. She couldn’t put her finger on it, but it was as if some sort of transparent film had been thrown over the High Seer. At first she believed she’d been, well, seeing things, in the manner Erepeople used to talk about the fledgling Vestals of the pre-War time. Not a good sign. She might have to balance her diet, or meditate more. 

It was impossible for the High Seer to be in any kind of danger. Mastra Verna had shown time and time again she was beyond the powers of any member of the Inner Council, maybe even all of them taken together. It was one of the reasons why she had asked her for help.

Help which she, astoundingly, did not provide.

And that tiny ripple she had felt.

It did come from the High Seer herself.
Close by. 

Valeriana licked her lips. From their shared memory, Vestals had learned to pick up on certain signals. Warning signs the Forest, and the being that slumbered at its core, was tossing and turning. A pulse. 

She sniffed the air.

She only smelled vapor, salt and incense. A hint of wax, and the salt from the Bittersea. 

But she had felt it, didn’t she? A hint of too-sweat peaches. 

And that pulse.

A heartbeat. 

She fell back onto the pool, covering her body up to the shoulders.

“Please be safe,” she murmured to the Spirits.
Admitted it might even do anything, at this point.

Pic by -Berz-

Author’s Notes: I’m marginally happier with this chapter than the previous one. It’s always nice to show Sadja. I hope you’ll enjoy the rest of the tale. And as always thanks for reading.


Inserisci i tuoi dati qui sotto o clicca su un’icona per effettuare l’accesso:

Logo di

Stai commentando usando il tuo account Chiudi sessione /  Modifica )

Foto di Facebook

Stai commentando usando il tuo account Facebook. Chiudi sessione /  Modifica )

Connessione a %s…

%d blogger hanno fatto clic su Mi Piace per questo: