Pain. Over and over again.


The bright, sharp agony of a blade entering her body, stabbing, cutting, slashing; her chest, her arms and, finally, her throat. The tang of copper on her tongue and smell of blood in her nostrils. It’s everywhere and she feels her life draining away with it until there is nothing. Then, calm for a brief beat until it begins again.


Rage. So intense it’s almost black. The need to maim and kill, tear and rend, to make the world suffer the way she does. She wants to scream and wrap her hands around any neck she can find, squeezing until there is nothing but mangled flesh.


She is running, free, driven with purpose. Suddenly she stumbles as a searing line is drawn across her abdomen. Her guts, slimy and stinking, spill out across the ground; blood and viscera mingling with dirt. She tries to gather them back in, but it’s too late and she falls.


Lara jerks awake, heart racing and the feel of slippery entrails still on her hands. Her own or her horse’s? It’s so mixed up at this point that it doesn’t really matter, she was there and it happened to them both.  All of it happened to her, and not.

Glancing at her clock, 3 hours sleep, she sits up and rests her head on her knees, concentrating on her breathing, until the worst of the shaking stops.

She swings her legs over the side of the bed and gets up, walking to the mirror. Her head pounds and she makes a note to drink more water. She looks at her reflection intently but can see no sign of any of the injuries her mind was insisting she had. The wounds are never visible, no matter how often or how hard she looks.

The horrors are coming nightly now, with the three hours sleep she managed tonight the best she’s had for a while.

There will be no more sleep this evening, indeed sleep has become something that happens only as a last resort. She knows she could use Greyswandir and avoid sleep potentially indefinitely, but there’s sure to be consequences tied up in using that kind of power in ways its not meant to be.

Finding Oberon, freeing Sean, that has to be her focus and priority. One of the many priorities of the role of the Sheriff. Talion is working on finding Bleys, Emil is distracted with the new red head girl, Sioned is fighting her own demons and Hagen has a new granddaughter and Bleys also taking up his time. Edan is unable to assist and there’s no one else to ask.

Trump is not to be trusted any longer, so Lara packs for a long walk through Shadow, preparing to find that which undoubtedly does not wish to be found and who is stronger than her by far.

She scribbles a note and leaves it for her maid to deliver to Edan in the morning.

Concentrating on Sean as she last saw him, she squares her shoulders and makes for the stable.