A most excellent day of revision. Dark & Early this morning, and then quite a bit tonight, despite parent-teacher conferences for Princess Monster. She also conned me into reading a book she checked out from the school library that had me bawling like a baby. Wenny Has Wings by Janet Lee Carey. I don’t know how any parent could read that book and not cry.
4,382 in revision. I told you it would be bam, bam, bam action from here on out, which means a lot of these sections should fly. I do have a few research holes to plug as I go, especially once we get to Iximche. Luckily there’s not a lot known about that ruin, so I can make up a lot.
No work on 7Crows today. That deadline is looking pretty impossible.
A demon howled, a cry of derision or glee that skittered down [Ruin’s] spine. His sense of time told him it should be high noon, but no sunlight reached the waters. Clouds roiled in the small circle of sky, darkening the sun. If he failed, if he allowed a demon to reclaim the White Dagger for the might of Xibalba, the sun might never shine again.
Yet dread at what he needed to do twisted his gut. What he needed from her now might be the final thing that drove her to turn her face and heart from him forever.
Terrified but calm, she smiled with relief as soon as he joined her. “Where are we going?”
Solemnly, he traced the curve of her cheek with his thumb. “Do you trust me?”
She stared at him, her chin trembling slightly.
“Priest!” The demon screamed above. “Surrender the White Dagger, or I’ll slice the woman’s skin from her body in thin strips and feast on her flesh!”
She paled and her pulse thumped in her neck. Staring at him, she weighed his many sins against the night they’d spent together.
Carefully, he kept his mind closed and his face shut down. He would not accidentally use the mental connection he’d forged through healing to sway her. Steeling himself, he prepared to make the most difficult sacrifice of his life. His heart rebelled. A knife cracked open his chest and exposed his frantically pounding heart.
How could he leave her to a fate worse than death? Did he dare force her? His mind and heart raged at one another in the everlasting battle he could never seem to escape. This was his true curse, this desire to throw all caution away for his heart.
For his love.
“I would die to save you,” he whispered raggedly. “I love you.”
She trembled. “You barely know me.”
“I know your heart. I touched your soul when I healed you. I love you like no one else could. I cannot harm you, Jaid. Trust me. Let me save us. I’ll pay the cost myself.”
A splash told him the demon had jumped into the cenote, willing to risk that he’d send it back to Xibalba in order to gain the greatest prize of all.
Ruin clenched his hands into fists. Choose, choose, he screamed silently. Don’t make me force this choice upon you.