“Put that down.”
I paused in my tracks, hand still wrapped around the gilded base of the cup and back turned to the speaker. The temple was supposed to be deserted. Guards beyond the walls, the women inside taking part in another ritual chant or whatever it was they did in these walls. I’d never been able to see when I was one of the Ascendants.
“I said, put it down.”
The voice came back and this time I felt the point of a sword against my neck. She was quiet. Silent. Not even I could cross a chamber that quietly.
“I was just looking.”
As she opened her mouth to retort, I struck.
“Where are we going?” Tatiana asked.
We’d left the train before we hit downtown. Night was falling on the city, which meant the Ascendant Ones would be retreating to their flames. The dark scared everyone. I shivered and realised that included even the Touched. There were worse things out here than just me.
The girl stopped, pulling her hand from my arm.
“I want to know where we’re going.”
“A few moments ago you didn’t care.”
She scrunched up her face. Her mother had done the same thing, only further proving she was her mother’s daughter.
“We’re going to a friends house,” I finally said when she refused to move. “Your uncles.”
“I have an uncle?”
“More of a second-cousin once removed.”
“Is he like you?” Tatiana asked, hurrying up to grab my arm once more. We moved through the emptying streets, but that didn’t mean we were alone.
“No. Ched was… is what he is. Don’t annoy him girl, or he’ll skin you and feed your flesh to the hounds.”
If the threat was meant to scare her she merely humphed in response. I wanted to hit her, make her see the danger she was in. Whether she knew it or not, she was in harms way now. Her step father would throw thunder down from the heavens to wipe her from the mortal realm. She threatened his lineage, and that alone was justification.
Ched lived in a dilapidated tenement building, with only feral cats for company and drug addicts for neighbours. A grotesque hung over a knocker on the door and I let out a small laugh at its resemblance. Tatiana looked at me quizzically, but I shook my head and tickled the gargoyle’s chin.
It sprang to life, tiny mouth biting down with tiny teeth into my finger. Tatiana screamed in surprise, but I stood still, letting the blood pool in its mouth until it let me go. The gargoyle swilled the blood around in it’s bronze mouth before smiling, satisfied that I was worthy of entrance.
I pushed Tatiana through the door before entering myself. What was in there would be a lot less dangerous than whatever had been following us for the last few blocks.
Prompt originally posted by darkfenrir15 on reddit and received 3 upvotes.