Because I can’t not share this…. (NaNo 2016)

Site’s been quiet lately, but that’s because between school and work and writing and a few other things, there’s just not much time.  I’ll try to change that, but we’ll see what happens.

However…I can’t not share this.  I’m working on another one of the UNSETIC Files for NaNoWriMo and I’m just compelled to share this because…well, because I can.

Fiction below the break.

“Tyrias was quite happy to get you off his hands.  Still fomenting rebellion in the slave ranks and spreading the lie that the Cabal is dying?”

Mat stared Erakiah straight in the eyes.  “You and I both know the truth, Erakiah, don’t play games.  The Cabal is dying.  Every day you lose worlds.  Every day your grip slips a little bit more.  You may be on the top of their pile right now and you may hold the most worlds, the most slaves, and the most power, but none of what you hold now—you or any of the rest of them—is anything compared to the way it used to be.”

Erakiah twitched, one hand starting to come free of where he’d clasped it behind his back, but he recovered quickly, tucking the hand back into place and staring at Mat, his smile fading into an impassive expression.  “Even the dying can be brought back from the brink,” he said softly, his gaze boring into Mat’s.  The chilly darkness in them made bile rise in Mat’s throat and flipped his stomach upside down.

Somewhere along the line, Erakiah had started to make the transition from dangerous man to a calculating monster.

“Am I to assume that I’m part of your plan to bring it back?”  Mat asked.  He hated the fact that his voice wasn’t firm, that he sounded strangled.  This wasn’t how he’d wanted to present himself to Erakiah, even though the Cabal master had the upper hand.  He’d wanted to be a portrait of strength and defiance, a nut that no one had been able to crack—someone that no one would break.

But there had been something in Erakiah’s voice, in the fact that he’d been able to restrain himself from delivering the backhanded blow that Mat had expected when he’d seen the other man twitch, the fact that his tone had stayed even and cold in the face of Mat’s clear challenge.

Erakiah’s matter-of-fact acceptance of and response to Mat’s words hadn’t helped, either.

Erakiah smiled at him.  There was no warmth to it; it was the smile of a predator staring down a challenger—not prey, but an alpha staring down another member of its pack.  “Oh, without a doubt, Robin.  You stand as a cornerstone to my plans.  Tyrias thinks I’m insane.  Soon he’ll realize his folly in letting you out of his grasp.”

Mat swallowed bile, hands curling into fists against his knees.  “Is this the part where you tell me what role I’m going to play in your plots?  You know, for maximum psychological trauma when I finally splinter beneath whatever pressure you’re going to bring to bear on me?  To make it easier for yourself to break me and piece me back together again?”

“Well, that seemed to work with Merlin.”

“Until he escaped.”

There was another twitch, though this one was covered by a wide smile.  “I can still feel him, you know, even if I can’t reach him when he comes across.  He can’t stay away and he won’t stay out of my grip forever.  Do you know what I’ve been doing these past five years since he snapped his tether?  I’ve been laying crumbs and setting lures.  I’ve been leaking information about your whereabouts.  If there is one thing I learned about your brother, Robin, it is that Merlin is nothing if not loyal to the people he loves.

“Everything is going according to plan.”

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