Selah knew that she was too old for this. Hell, not even ten years ago she would have been out among the soldiers, cutlasses brandished and a war cry on her lips. But that was not her any more. Her joints creaked when she walked, her legs ached in the mornings and once defined muscles found themselves in a state of disuse. Her fighting days were over. Or at least on any other day they would be.
Today was not like any other day.
And so the middle-aged fizzy found herself fleeing the castle with the four youngest royals, sneaking through the shadows, hoping, praying that there was a way out. Selah had known war in her youth, she'd known the blood and the battles, the bile and the bone. War came to other places. Never to Bath's shores…and yet, now here the waters had opened and Selah now found herself in a war zone.
She had been babysitting the royal children when the attack had started, helping them prepare their birthday gifts for their witch of a grandmother. And then at the sound of the earth splitting she'd ushered the children into the hidden halls, thinking that it was merely an earthquake and nothing more. When she and the children entered Fitz's old room they'd been locked in, and that was the moment she knew that something was wrong.
An hour later found them outside, sneaking through the rubble. Selah knew about the boats. She knew about the hidden places, the escape plans, heck she even planned most of them. She only needed to get them as far as the entry shore line and they'd be safe. But life had other plans.
She heard the hiss of it first. A low dark hum that seemed to reach her bones. It was old, an ancient thing the likes of which she'd never seen. Then was the smell, petrichor with an acidic tang. It pulled bile into her throat and caused her to usher the children farther ahead, tucking the infants against her chest a little closer, pulling the protective fabric over them.
And then came the laughter. Deep, belly laughter that held anger and pain. It was the laughter of revenge, of hatred. With a soft sound Selah told Hazel to run, offering the little girl a gentle shove, prompting her to speed along the path, her small brother in her arms.
Selah turned her head to see what was pursuing them, and the all at once her world was light and pain. Acid burned at her flesh, prompting the fizzy to inhale in agony, her legs powering away from the source of the pain, a blind panic as she ran. The babies. She couldn't let it get to them. Curses fluttered from her lips, the melting world in front of her blurred like an oil painting, her skin coated in liquid fire.
Through the painful haze she saw it, the bridge that held one of the hidden boats, safety for the children. She knew it had a drop of about three feet. Three feet and they'd be safe. Three feet. If not for the water. She saw a flash of Hazel's hair. The child had made it to safety, she could catch them. But someone would have to lead them always. Someone big and obvious.
Her sight faded, sheer determination pushing her forward. The mist and undoubtedly, her pursuers trailing just enough for her to lower the children. It was an instant. Her last vision was Hazel cradling her siblings. And then, as the painful milky haze overtook her, she ran, screaming at the top of her lungs.
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