Falthejn dashed out of the alley, and in the space of a few moments, he and the others crouched in the shadow of the wall. Flattening himself against it, Falthejn watched the gate. He could see an ontling, facing away. He held his breath. If his divinations had been wrong—the ontling roared something in the foul language of its kind, then stepped forward and out of view.
The moment it did, Falthejn moved again. He slid in behind a mound of masonry, remnants of the gatehouse leaning against the wall. The evening breeze through the half-open gate carried a vile stench of gutters and sewers. In his bundle against his mother’s chest, Jakob stirred, but made no sound. Well that he was quiet, Falthejn thought. If he wasn’t—well, Falthejn wanted no part in any outcome in that direction.
The diviner motioned to the others, then pointed toward the ground. Stay here. Of the three of them, only Alfhilde nodded. Falthejn looked Sif and Hrothgar straight on and repeated the gesture. Reasonably assured by their expressions that they understood, he crept as far around the rubble as he could without being seen. The next few seconds filled his mind, as far as his focus could take him while his eyes were open. Nearly every potential path saw him spotted before—
He found his opening, the ontlig guards’ attention turned away for the tiniest of moments. He felt the familiar thrill as ontlig eyes turned back toward him, doomed to miss him entirely. A thunderclap from outside the wall echoed off the ruined city as he ducked behind a few hefty blocks standing by themselves in the middle of the plaza. A tingling in his teeth accompanied the sound. A magiker, then, and one pushing the weave to the edge of its strength.
No time to worry about it just yet. His fingers closed around a fist-size chunk of debris. He saw the future laid out before him, felt how his arm had to move, and let fly. The ontr spotted him as soon as he did, raised their axes, and charged. The rock hit high on the ruined gatehouse, and as it tumbled back down, more and more of the ruined stonework joined it.
“Run!” he shouted.