Crown of Steel (Chaos Awakens)

Crown of Steel (Chaos Awakens) by Heath Pfaff

Book: Crown of Steel (Chaos Awakens) by Heath Pfaff Read Free Book Online
Authors: Heath Pfaff
“Kassa!?” She called for the older woman, looking for help. There was no reply but for the wind and a cacophony of other sounds she couldn't identify. “Kassa!” She called again, her voice weaker. It was difficult to get up the energy to call out again. Her heart felt like it was beating far too fast in her chest. Darkness thickened around her. “Xan, I don't want to die.” She gasped into the cold air. Black nothingness devoured her whole.
     

 
     
    Chapter 4
    Footprints
    As the world swam slowly back into focus Haley sprang to her feet and drew her dagger before she was even halfway upright. Something touched her shoulder and she struck out at it instantly, the knife diving forward like a snake striking to deliver its venom. Her strike was knocked off center and turned to the side and then a familiar face was at her side. It was Kassa.
    "Whoa, relax. You're alright Haley.” Kassa said, waiting for the light of recognition to fully flicker in the girl’s eyes before releasing her wrist and the knife.
    "Where are we? The werewolves?” Haley asked, trying to fit together the last of her memories and her current situation.
    "The werewolves are dead. You killed one, and I dispatched the other two. You were badly injured in the fight. I had to carry you to the nearest town. Luckily they had an Order of Mages healer, and she has repaired most of the damage to your body. It took a few days for you to come out of the sleep though. How are you feeling?” Kassa spoke slowly and calmly.
    Days? Haley thought with frustration. I've already lost days on Xan's trail. She forced herself to take a deep breath and stretch her limbs. She felt almost like normal, but her right shoulder had a strange kink in it that seemed to offer a little bit of an ache when she rolled the cuff. It wasn't bad and it wouldn't interfere with her movement, but it was noticeable. Her old burns tugged and pulled as she stretched, but she’d become accustomed that discomfort.  "I'm alright.” She answered Kassa, though in truth she actually felt terrible and not from the physical injuries either. She was ashamed to have been carried into town, and she was angry to have slowed down their progress.
    "Good. We should be moving on then. I've already got a lead on where we should go next.” Kassa said. The older woman wore a guarded expression on her face. There was something she wasn't saying, and whatever it was it was clear that it was behind her desire for haste. Haley wasn't certain whether she should ask about it or not. Was it any of her business? Did it have something to do with Xandrith? If it was about their friend then Haley decided it was her business.
    "Is something wrong?” Haley finally asked.
    "It's nothing.” Kassa replied too quickly, not meeting Haley's eyes. “I just don't want to be here any longer than we have to be. I'm eager to be back on the road.”
    Haley frowned, certain that something was being omitted, but what was she going to say? She didn't even have a clue what could be bothering the older woman. “Alright. Let's get going then. Is there ... do we have any bills to settle before leave?” Haley asked, only too aware that they had no money and nothing of any value other than the masks they'd been given by Johndin, and there was no way they would part with those.
    Kassa's lips tightened for a moment and she shook her head tersely before replying. “I've already paid.” With those three words she turned on her heals and grabbed a couple of packs and some new, winter weighted cloaks that were on the ground by the door to the room. She tossed one of the packs and one of the cloaks to Haley, and quickly fitted the others to herself.
    "Get dressed and come on. We need to move. Your mask is in your pack. Put it on before you leave the room. I've seen a lot of people wearing plague protection, and we're not taking any chances.” Kassa ordered coldly as she slid her own mask over her face as if to hide her features behind

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