The Wolf Princess: Chapter 40

Updated: 15 hours ago

It was not difficult to Captain Duff that Atal had taken her with the intention of cutting her limb from limb and strewing her body parts along the shore, as a symbol of what would happen to the next warrior who tried to act the part of “hero”. But when she provided her evidence against Carrigan’s part, Duff barely reacted to her accusation. The entire town was in shock from the loss of so many men and a worn-down defeated mien had overtaken Duff’s craggy features. Only once in the next week did she see Carrigan in person. He came into the stables before dawn, saw her, went white as the moon, turned, and rushed away. She dropped the brush and left Flegel pawing indignantly at the ground. She chased after Carrigan and caught him halfway across the yard. A few soldiers were awake, most on duty along the parapet. Caoinlin’s voice was low, not because she didn’t want to be overheard, but because she was growling. “What do you want?” Carrigan said, haughty. In the misty, pink-hued light, she could only make out the lines of his face, the draw of his lips, the flashes of his eyes. “I want to see you bleeding and screaming,” she said. “I want to hear you beg for your life. Not that you deserve it. Moppel and Alleen didn’t get the chance, but I want to hear you do it just the same.” “You were there,” Carrigan said. “Why didn’t you stop them, great Mhasc Caoin?” “Stop whom? The countrymen I swore I would not raise weapon against? Or the Ulic that were only in custody thanks to me in the first place?” “Yesterday’s heroism is weak currency here, Masc Caoin,” Carrigan said. “Were you half the man your burgeoning myth would have you be, then five Ulic should not have presented any difficulty. Instead, you return here alive while every other man is dead. How was that?” “Every man was killed because you failed,” she hissed. “You failed to remember that you’re not one of them. You’re a soldier. It’s your responsibility to protect these people, not put them in danger.” “And who are you one of?” he snarled. “Why do you hide behind that mask? It seems to me that you could be as dark as any Ulic and that you escaped with a very convenient wound.” Caoinlin stepped in and pushed her face at his. He flinched back. “I’m not killing you,” she growled. “That should tell you enough of what I am and where I come from. What is behind this mask is everything that should be shrouded, everything that is dead about who am I, so that I can be what this country to needs. Everything that cowers from responsibility, everything this too full of pride to act selflessly, everything that wants to slice you open and pour your entrails into the river for your reckless stupidity.” She stepped back. Carrigan wavered as if he might strike out at her or run. “If I am alive, conveniently or not, then it’s because there’s still Ulic blood waiting to be split,” she snapped. “Why are you alive?”