Her mind snuffed out, and Sano Felt the wail of a soul left howling into emptiness. Felt Mindspeech rip and shred itself, trying to touch what was no longer there. :No!: He thrashed against the net. :Don’t do that! Look over here! Damn it, you young fool – look over here-:
:He can’t hear you,: the spider-creature sing-songed. :I won’t let him.:
:Bastard!: Sano bared his teeth, biting at silk somehow strong as steel.
:Bastard? I think not. I am chuugumo. Your little assassin, now – he’s the only bastard here.: The spider snickered. :I could hunt down the little half-breed. He’d be such an easy kill. But I’d have to let you go to do that, wouldn’t I, spirit-made-flesh?: A long tongue licked at Sano’s leg. :And you taste like so much more fun….:
The world twisted into nightmare, and he knew nothing more.
:The MindHealers blocked out a lot of the rest of it,: Sanosuke finished. :That – creature – fed on despair. And I could give it a lot, because I lost him….: Kerowyn felt the Companion shudder. :But after several months, it got careless. I broke out while it was sleeping, lurched my way back to the blank spot and Jumped. I don’t think I even cared if I made it back alive. Almost didn’t. Wandered around in the Pelagirs a while, finally got my head together enough to stumble back toward Valdemar, and – that’s it.:
“What in the hells was that thing?” Eldan demanded.
:Probably some kind of Change-spider, according to Megumi,: Sayvel filled in. :They’re at least as common in Yamato as firebirds are here. Think wyrsa-nasty. Then think bigger and more intelligent. Sano’s damn lucky to be alive.:
Kero whistled. “And them without mages. No wonder those poor bastards came up with hitokiri.” She looked at her hands – hands that had so often held a bloody blade. If I were going to kill a man anyway, and I knew things like that were out there, and there was nothing but me to stand between them and my people….