Under New Sky by Danielle Monsch (Chapter 1)

Posted March 31, 2020 by Lucy D in Extras, Fantasy/High Fantasy, Spotlight, Urban Fantasy / 2 Comments

Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy

We are thrilled to be able to share with you an origin story for everyone’s favorite kickass heroine, Fallon from the Entwined Realms series.

Check back each week for further chapters.

You haven’t met this fabulous cast of characters yet? Come back on Friday for this week’s Friday Giveaway for a chance to win a Kindle copy of Book 1, The Stone Guardian.

Under New Sky
A story of the Entwined Realms
by Danielle Monsch
copyright 2020 Danielle Monsch.
All rights reserved
Chapter One

 

Feral. Not that different from any other pack of boys, to be sure. Snarling, skulking, dirty and dingy, malice and pride prominent in every movement, every swirl and stretch of their bodies as they circled their prey.

It wasn’t even worth sighing over the sight, as common as it was on her travels. Fallon hunkered down a little more, peering from her hidden spot behind a rusted-out car on the street, the deepening shadows of dusk and the boys absolute inattention to anything but their circle keeping her presence unknown

This town was like so many others, the ones on the outskirts of the lands, where even before the disaster there had been no resources, no reasons to care for it. Left to its own before and after. There were always those who promised, promised, promised… but all those pretty promises floating on the wind, words of caring, somehow never translated to buildings being repaired, people being cared for. They were all left on their own, to figure out themselves, survival or death. Death by Orcs, death by Necromancers, death by neglect.

It was a small town, dusty and too hot, ransackled buildings in the middle of it where people still lived, then here on the edges, yet more dilapidated, where the gangs hung out. Gangs of boys who didn’t believe anything would change, and the more dangerous gangs of men who knew things didn’t. This area was given wholly over to gangs, the people who resided hearing nothing and seeing only what existed in front of them. Five years since the Great Collision, and places like this were proof that gods and magic and ethereal beings were not omnipotent, not all powerful. That, or they felt decay and death were not but the course, and humans would do as they will. Not a comforting thought, but she’d never expected comfort.

To the east, several miles outside of the town, a luxurious compound, so unexpected and so misplaced it should not have existed, should have been nothing more than a mirage placed to tease and torment with what would never be. That she had given wide berth, the power emanating from it unmistakable. Those who lived there, they didn’t need to be in her business, asking questions. The only times she hurried were going past places like that.

On a usual day groups like this one – too numerous to count, too many of them to trouble herself with – the boys would turn on one another, a king of the hill game with consequences too harsh for what should have been child’s play… had been, once upon a time. A time before the Great Collision.

On usual days Fallon would go about her day. There were too many gangs, and she had too far to go. It was their business, and if their way of survival contained blood and pain, well, it wasn’t like hers didn’t. Only the end goals differed. Methods, though, methods were certainly duplicated.

Today was not a usual day. Today in the middle of the boys – the mix of them with skin of varying hues, faces wild and lips twisted, teeth bared – was a little girl. Not dirty, not dingy, skin so pale and clean it should only have existed in pictures, and not even then, even pictures here had dirt and stains. Nothing was clean here, save this little girl. Her body and face were at odds – her body so tiny it was barely more than a toddler’s while her face perhaps suggested a little more age, but even then, she’d be no more than eight or nine.

Silk. Everything about her was silk, from the waist length fall of dark straight hair to the material of the dress which enveloped her. About her was a sheen that told of plenty. Of food always in her belly and clothes always enough to cover that tiny frame. If a single word was to be used to describe her, the only one worthy was stunning.

Fallon had never used that word, not anything in the Realm she’d ever seen in her travels deserved it, but this girl was stunning. Her features were a perfect blend of two worlds, creating a whole that was pure and perfect and small and stunning.

And these boys sought to ruin it. The girl was turned inwards in fear, small and squinched as the boys circled. They hadn’t touched her yet, but it was coming – soon, if the raise in volume and the more aggressive movements foretold anything.

How the girl came to be there didn’t matter. That was a question for after. The now was she was where nothing that untouched should ever be, and like the four hells there would be any turning away today.

The sword at her back was nothing more than a sharp stick with a metal appearance, designed more to look intimidating than to be useful in a fight. It wasn’t even sharpened, the blade too dull to cut through anything. It would do, though, against these ones. The movements they displayed were wild, vicious, but they lacked precision or training or true strength. These boys lashed out without thought or purpose, to hurt and to intimidate, but they had nothing beyond that.

 

“And you will help her? They are many, and multitudes dealing in brutality have been known to overcome skill.”
The group wasn’t looking out for any type of attack upon them. They were out in plain view amongst the rubble of the crumbling outskirts. Plenty of places for her to surprise, low walls to couch behind, wrecked cars that were from before magic and only ran on gasoline, a commodity which no longer existed in this world, making their rusted carcasses worthless. The problem was there were thirteen to her one, and a little girl who would be in danger every moment the fight went on.

There was no good way to do this, not with the girl in the middle. Fallon’s focus would be divided, always a dangerous prospect in battle, no matter the caliber of enemy. Still, good as place to practice that skill as any. “I’m not going to let her become a prize for them to sink teeth into.”

“You have let others fare alone before.”

“And I will again in the future. What’s your point of annoying me while I’m trying to figure this out?” Close to the boys was a wall of cars piled on top of each other, as flimsy and unsteady as a child’s wobbly tower of blocks. Climb up, take some out at the beginning with a few of those good sized rocks laying around, don’t fall and get crushed to death… easy.

“Why help her?”

The instinctive desire to push away and ignore the intrusive question was only entertained a moment before being dismissed. He wouldn’t let it go, and she didn’t need the distraction. “She’s small.”

Confusion, not hers, circled her brain, but what good would it be to try to put out more words than that? The little girl was such a small thing, and fair wasn’t a word that belonged here, in this land and in this time, but this little girl shouldn’t be amongst those boys. She shouldn’t be left alone, scared, knowing only in the most instinctive way that she was about to be harmed, only able to cry to the adults who had deserted her, that desertion premeditated or not. She didn’t deserve that, not even here, five years after the Great Collision, where everywhere everything was still so uncertain and so painful.

The move forward was as silent as any Blackguard member could perform, the boys not noticing, not pausing in their own theatre around the child, and reaching the side of the cars Fallon paused, letting the ground settle under her before she began her climb up the rusted metal scrapheap, the ever-growing cacophony happening beyond the cover of her iron wall. “Besides, not like I have anything better to do.”

“Only finding Tenro.”

If the expectation was that little sentence would stop her, there was obviously little understanding of her character involved. Finding spots that weren’t sharp or rusted took some perusal, but enough safe areas existed to get to the top, and her dirty jeans and oversized shirt protected her against the few areas where there were no other options. Balancing her weight on her high ground, Fallon glanced at the angry mob below.

The girl was huddled into herself. The leader, the biggest, the one who had the least excuse of all these worthless pieces of shit, struck her against the side of her head, knocking her to the side, her cries somehow quieting with the introduction of pain, her energy drawing inward, trying to escape her reality.

No time to formulate any more of a plan, now had to be action. Grabbing the rocks stored to use as projectiles, three of the boys dropped to the ground before the rest thought to look up and see what was felling their companions.

Roars of rage bellowed from the boys left standing, the group of them rushing against the metal framework, the blow unbalancing the metal structure enough to force a leap, the landing jarring enough to have her take a moment to grab breath, a moment long enough for the boys to have navigated past the now downed crush of cars to circle her as they once circled the girl. In one motion Fallon was grabbing the sword from her back even as her body was righting itself

Bodies collided as the ones in front halted, eyeing the sword in her hand. The faces that took her measure were all from that in-between stage between child and adult, older than age of twelve by a few years, though her height was the same as any of theirs, the sharpness of their eyes silencing any notion of any of them still being children in any way.

“So, fellas,” and here she twirled the sword, a fluid movement which kept their eyes more focused on the shiny metal instead of her face. And then she charged.

Once within five feet, she dropped and skidded the last distance, taking out of knees of the two in front, jumping up as they fell and unbalanced the few behind them, giving her time to land more strikes to the upper bodies on those she could reach, resulting in three more of them with broken collarbones and ribs.

Fallon barreled through the group, letting the hurt boys screams and flailing delay their comrades who were behind her, giving her a few precious moments without anyone following. The huddled little girl came into view, as did the movements of the ones she had taken out, already beginning to rise from their prone positions. Fallon pushed faster, reaching down and grabbing the girl’s hand as she moved past, urging her to run, taking them to the next area.

The girl was too tiny and too young to run fast, but there was enough time for them to reach where they needed to make their stand, a maze of crumbling buildings, long pathways and small spaces, structures that wouldn’t allow for the boys to swarm, instead forcing them to break up and attack separately.

Separately, they didn’t stand a chance.

There, in a darkened corner built into the street, a metal door which would have once led to an underground storage area. Not large enough to gain attention, especially when the boys were still behind her, screaming their rage and plans of vengeance. There would do.

Fallon lifted the door, rusted, stuck, but she pulled it free with one hand while still holding onto the girl with the other, muscles straining in her lanky frame, door not allowed to clang against the pavement, all the while the little girl’s almond hued eyes locked onto her, wide, frightened still, but not of her. For her, the girl’s fingers tightened on her hand, not wanting to let go. “You gotta get in there. You gotta be quiet. I’ll get rid of them.”

“What will you do to them?” The girl’s voice was as tiny as she was, but it was clear, cultured, and beautifully light. Her face was already swelling from the blow, the red mark obscene on the otherwise unmarred surface.

Fallon ushered the girl into the crawl space, and as the door closed overhead, as the light dimmed in the small area, as a sheltering darkness fell, Fallon’s voice carried through. “When they hurt a girl who can’t fight back, they deserve whatever they get.”

 

Posted with permission from the author.

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