Continued from the first page...
Did [Anaiiya] truly think anything could threaten such creatures?
She’d seen the bodies paraded through the streets by those fanatics. Seen the ornaments carved from gargoyle horns and bolts of leather made from their wings. After weeks of watching anti-gargoyle sentiment spread through the city unchecked, Anaiiya knew if she didn’t warn the gargoyles, no one would.
She didn’t understand why other humans disdained the creatures so. The gargoyles looked monstrous, but they rarely stirred from their Tower unless something threatened them or the city of Amarantia. Perhaps it was the way the gargoyles threw themselves into battle, tearing bandits into pieces or cutting down horses with their razor-sharp wingtips. Or the way they seemed to rejoice in spilling blood, even if it was just from the cattle or wild game they hunted outside the city walls.
Anaiiya swallowed the sudden lump of dread in her throat and stepped back from the door. These idiotic do-gooder compulsions would get her killed someday. Her hands shook, blood pounding in her ears as she fiddled with the sacks of food. She glanced up at the door every few seconds and grunted in frustration as time ticked by with no sign that the gargoyles had noticed her.
This was taking far too long. Were the gargoyles so secure in their hallowed Tower that they didn’t bother to post a guard anymore? Would she have to bang on the door like some lunatic? That hadn’t worked the first time she’d done it, but she wasn’t above trying it again.
A tiny thump, like the sound of a wooden bar carefully lifted, was her only warning. She threw herself back a bare instant before the door screamed open and crashed into the wall, sending chips of stone flying in all directions and making the door wobble in its frame. Anaiiya sucked in a breath as a powerful foot armed with six gleaming talons crunched down into the gravel courtyard.
The gargoyle stepped into the moonlight. It was so…big. The monster stood almost seven feet tall, not counting the leathery wings that towered another two feet above its head. Each of its twelve wingfingers ended in a wicked-looking talon, the lowest dangling less than a handspan from the ground. Her eyes widened. The gargoyles didn’t look nearly so large when they flew overhead.