Where was I? Oh, yeah – tormenting poor Danny going down the stairs.
OK – Danny heads down the hall to the common room where some people are still passed out. He turns the corner, intent on trying to get into someone’s head, and comes upon a pack of wraiths sniffing around the unconscious. Danny ducks back behind a corner and watches what happens. Some of the people who are still conscious don’t pay attention to what’s happening (remember, they can’t see the wraiths) and some of the people who are unconscious are getting shoved out of their bodies by some of the less feral wraiths, while the more feral ones fall upon the separated spirits. Danny turns to run back to Ronda’s room, but he hears growling close to him. He tries to back through the wall to hide – unfortunately, the wall is too thin and he backs right into the common room, where the wraiths have gathered. He turns around to have one wraith land on him and snapping at his neck. Danny fights back, trying to wrestle himself away from the wraith and get to Ronda. He kicks it away and staggers to his feet. Danny rushes to one unconscious man and draws his knife – realizing that the knife is going to be next to useless…then he tries something out of desperation. He grips the knife and tries to mentally touch it, like he’s trying to put himself into it. The knife gets a small glimmer along the edge. The wraith jumps at Danny. Danny throws his arm out and stabs at the wraith half-heartedly. The knife sinks into the wraith – who is just as shocked at Danny and staggers away clutching his stomach. The other wraiths jump on the wounded one, tearing into him and temporarily ignoring Danny. Danny takes this opportunity to run for the room.
Running through the door, Danny reaches out and tries to shake Ronda awake. As he reaches out to touch Ronda, something shocks him. Danny feels pain (a biting) and remembers that Ronda is warded while she is asleep. He looks to the door, hearing the wraiths prowling around right outside. He touches the bed, hoping to get pulled back in like before. This time, he’s still in the room. He hears a scratching and a sniffing at the door. Danny tries to sink into the chair, but the knife stops him from doing so completely. He slides the knife under the bed and gets into the chair as the doorknob turns. While he’s in the chair, he gets limited information – mostly impressions and sounds. One wraith comes close to the chair, sniffing and growling. Danny hears them getting close to Ronda. He wants to yell out some sort of warning, but he’s worried that he would give away his location. He decides that he can get away from them and hide in another horse. He gets ready to hop up and run, but a squeal of pain serves as a reminder that Ronda his been doing this for a while and she can take care of herself. The wraiths sniff around a little bit longer, finally coming to the conclusion that there is nothing there for them to chew on. Danny stays in the chair for a few minutes until the coast is clear. Getting out, he gets the knife from under the bed and walks out into the common room. The room has some spirit remains – which makes Danny a little queasy because one of spirits seems to be conscious and ripped to shreds. Danny goes back to Ronda’s room, closing the door and locking it and bracing the chair against the door. He sits down next to the bed with the knife tightly gripped in his hands. The morning is long in coming for Danny.
Ronda (should we have a perspective change? Should we have a new POV?) finally stirs and looks down at Danny, who is still shivering from fright and still very wired from what happened. She asks what happened overnight. Danny spills everything – the attack, the knife and the attempt to get back into Ronda’s mind. Ronda congratulates him on surviving and figuring out how to make the knife able to wound spirits. She recommends that he should hang onto the knife for the time being. Danny asks about the spirit in the common room that’s been torn up and still conscious. Ronda follows Danny to the common room. She gets some ale and from behind the mug she says there’s nothing that they can really do to heal him. Her best bet is for Danny to try to take that spirit into himself, with that he can gain a little more power. Danny balks (and understandably) at the idea – that’s a man, not a hunk of meat to be cooked and eaten. She tells him that that’s the only way to end his suffering. She’d do it, but it would look odd for her to kneel down and talk while making scooping motions…besides, he needs more power than she does. Danny approaches the spirit and asks how he is going to do that. Ronda holds up her mug and while giving Danny a hard look ‘just pour it in me’. Danny sighs and kneels down before the spirit. The spirit – a teamster – holds up his hand for help. Danny takes it and apologizes. He brings up a memory of his mother pouring him some lemonade. The teamster cries out, begs for release and struggles. Danny holds on to the teamster’s hand, frowning and trying to hold on to the memory – now the teamster’s memories start to intrude…lemonade becomes whiskey and the mother morphs into a serving girl. He fights through both the intrusion of the new memories and his increasing guilt. The cries taper off and become silent. Danny is shaking again. He looks up at Ronda and says that he never wants to do this. Ronda finishes her drink and says that she needs to get going. Danny misunderstands this as that she doesn’t care and flips out. She pays for the drink and leaves, telling the publican that she’s got a long ride ahead of her. Danny continues along, following her to the stables. Ronda looks behind her and finally tells Danny directly that he needs to grow a pair. It is a hard life and if he wants to get back to his own body, he’s going to need to do hard things. What would have been crueler would to leave that spirit laying on the floor until the stars fall out of the sky and not doing anything. She gets on the horse and says either he can come along and do what he’s gotta do to get his body back, or he can stay there and suffer. She doesn’t have time to hold his hand. Danny looks at the travelhouse. She starts to ride out and Danny follows, saying that once he gets his body back, she’s free to do whatever she wants, including leaving. Ronda looked over her shoulder and says that he didn’t need his permission. They continue on, heading for where they think the body is.
OK – this is the end of this chapter. The act is going to continue on for another couple of chapters. Any critiques? Feel free to comment. Thanks for reading.