Fox-form, Tyrel crouched under a flowering bush, all senses alert.
The scents of honey and fruit syrup and a sort of bread made from germinated grains, which Dayo had assured them would be sweet even without the dried fruit in it, were so strong to him as to be faintly nauseating. Dayo had raided the order’s food stores without compunction, loading his new partners down.
The trickster had, more than once, displayed behaviour that suggested to Tyrel that it needed or at least craved sweet foods. Given Dayo’s description of it as acting like a poorly-disciplined child given entirely too much candy, not something Tyrel had much direct experience with but could imagine easily enough, that made a certain amount of sense.
Would it notice the bounty laid out in the partly-walled pavilion at the centre of the wildflower garden? Would it come after it before morning? Would it walk into the trap, or would it question the presence of the bait? How smart was it, really? The information available pointed towards a mischievous cunning, but none indicated that it was genuinely intelligent. That information was, however, extremely limited.
What if I’m wrong? What if this fails?
Then it fails. And we either give up and leave them to it, or we try something else. Just like any other plan. Stop thinking and just keep watch.
They didn’t have all that much longer before the moons began to set, which would force them to abandon the trap for the moment. Tyrel and Kaveri could both spend another day and night without sleep, but he was sure fatigue and hunger were already creeping up on Madoc; while he knew his brother would ignore it and stay at his side, he had no intention of pushing him into this kind of hunt while edging up on Sanur’s dark. By the time Sanur was bright enough for comfort again, rapidly-cycling Talir would be very near dark, though Lirit with her long cycle would be only halfway there.
Was that motion? No, just a bat. Besides, the trickster got around using those insanely long leaps, so they probably wouldn’t see it coming.
The moonlight flickered, shadowed for no more than the blink of an eye, and the trickster landed in a crouch in the clear area in front of the pavilion. It sniffed at the air, head thrown back, and took a lurching step towards it, then another. Tyrel saw it lick its lips.
In the shadows, but clearly visible to his eyes by the faint auras of greengold and violet against the background pale yellow that was his world by moonlight, Madoc and Kaveri waited as well. They only needed the creature to step through the single open side and into the interior… Continue reading