In the tumult of battle, none of the rescuing gargoyles, including Ita-Mudak, remembered they’d brought Anja. Right away, she spotted the Hudsons, whom she thought of with great fondness. Twisting out from under the gargoyles surrounding her, she immediately bounded into the darkness behind the marble column. Knowing she’d be hard to see and completely unexpected by their foes, she sprinted along the edge of the throne room and past the left edge of the dais, until she was hidden in the gloom behind the throne. Spires of stone, some carved into grotesque shapes and others made of natural stalagmites, cast frenzied shadows from erupting fireballs. Here, she slowed and moved with stealth, keeping her head low to the ground, slipping quickly from shadow into shadow, growing ever closer to where the Hudsons were kneeled on the harsh surface of the dais.
Anja’s ears perked up at the cry of the big gargoyle friend of her mistress. She peered over the edge of the dais and saw Conomorg under attack from the slate gargoyles hidden as part of the throne room’s floor.
Her head tipped to one side as she noted the furtive glances he kept making in her direction. She followed his gaze and—No!
Anja saw the glittering talons hovering above the Hudsons’ heads. She was less than seven meters from them, and she knew there was no creature in this chamber as fast as she was in a dead sprint. With a massive thrust of her powerful thighs, Anja launched onto the dais, covering a third of the distance. Then she ran full out directly at the hulking gargoyle threatening her mistress’s friends. Even in the din of battle with skirmishes throughout the great hall, Anja’s claws were audible, clicking upon the dais.
Just as the gargoyle’s fist swung down at the Hudsons, Anja sprang at his arm, snarling.
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