23a (Argentum’s Song – PG)

Chapter Twenty Three

Martha was in more agony than she had ever experienced before. The battle for her body was more painful than the knife wound, more painful than the throbbing of the phantom limb.

“Just retreat! Stop fighting! Give us a fighting chance against this warrior.”

Her own vocal chords growled at her in a language she had never learned but somehow understood.

“It won’t matter anyway, you’re just delaying the inevitable. Give up control and maybe we won’t only survive but we’ll be able to protect your silver and keep that shiny flute!”

The flute! Martha wanted it more than she had ever wanted anything before, but Argent was being so selfish. He didn’t deserve the flute and he certainly didn’t deserve to have Martha protecting him, maybe she should just let the weir out to finish him off. Besides it was only a matter of time. Earl had said no one who had ever been bit remained unturned for long.

Argent was bit.

Martha didn’t know how it was happening, but in a way similar to how she could understand the meaning of the growls coming out of her mouth, she could understand the meaning coming from the Argentum flute’s melody.

I’ve protected him. I can protect you too if you let me.

Martha mustered up the last remnants of her will for another attempt against the weir within her. She knew she couldn’t last long on her own, but maybe, just maybe …

The growls and yelps hadn’t stopped coming out of her mouth but Martha focused every last bit of willpower she had to regain control of her vocal chords for one last cry for help.

“Lord Ferus … urp …”

The weir’s paw immediately grabbed at her throat. She felt her phantom arm reaching for it too and, for the first time, was glad it had been removed. One paw choking at her neck she might be able to push the words through, two paws would have been impossible.

“… may thargentum posited ere …”

Martha felt herself going dizzy. Her foreleg and paw were losing strength but she imagined it still had more than enough to continue grasping until long after she was dead from lack of breath. She had none left to get out the next line. She wasn’t going to make it. Ferus have mercy!

The music stopped and she knew the she would never get another chance. She was heading back to the darkness and she wasn’t going to be coming back. A sharp pain in her left hip jarred her back to some of her senses. Her eyes were blinded by tears but she heard the sound of metal scraping metal and then felt more pain as the paw’s fingers were being pried off of her throat.

Her lungs gasped for air as soon as the passage way cracked open and in rushed the air with a welcome filling sensation .. and a burning? There was something in the air besides the air and it was killing her. It was burning her from the inside out. The new pain was greater than the suffocation! Martha expelled the culprit breath from her lungs in an ear splitting scream but the pain didn’t stop. It was spreading, a similar sensation to turning but more powerful. When she turned it was like the evil grew from a spot within herself. This force was coming into her and transforming everything it spread to into a completely different essence!

“Finish it.”

Argent’s voice intruded in her ear.

“Finish the vow.”

Martha remembered and breathed in again forcing her lungs open to receive the needed breath to be able to whisper.

“… reach it’s full potential for your glory. To do my part I pledge to you.”

Argent had started playing again as soon as Martha started whispering and the melody surrounded and comforted her. The burning had spread out even to the tips of the fingers of her phantom arm, but she was starting to get used to it. It felt purifying, good almost. She noticed that her convulsions had stopped and she just lay there enjoying the music, the burning, and the absence of the weir.

However, the music was soon interrupted by a slow sarcastic applause. Martha opened her eyes to see a huge man with an equally huge scimitar hanging from his belt.

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