Petals of the Rose
The Alley Revisited
Stopping to catch their breath, the motley is preparing to pick Maggie up and carry her back, when a voice calls from the fire escape above. “What the hell are you doing here, again?” Eats-the-Moon jumps off the fire escape and lands easily. He looks at the woman on the ground. “I knew there was something off about you guys. Why don’t you just leave the woman alone and get out of here.”
Waconda recovers from the surprise of the werewolf’s mistaken impression of the situation first, and says, “You’ve got it all wrong, man. She’s the dangerous one. She’s a murderer.”
“Sure she is. One poor unconscious woman is a match for the four of you. Beat it and I won’t have to hurt you.” He reaches into his long jacket and pulls out a glittering weapon something like a shortsword. He holds it in front of himself with poise.
“I’m telling you, this isn’t your business. Let it go.”
“I can’t do that.” The werewolf suddenly stabs forward, driving the weapon into Waconda’s side. While Jacob and Waconda square off against the werewolf for a moment, Dim hurries to the fire escape and grabs a rung of the ladder. He tugs on the Wyrd a bit, and a section of the ladder breaks off in a semblance of a heavy mace that is good enough for his purposes.
Shika grabs the unconscious Maggie and tries to drag her back over to the now closed Hedge gate. She’s not strong, and the going is slow.
Returning to the fight, Dim lays into Moon with a vengeance, striking him two or three times before he can respond. But the werewolf seems to have never-ending stamina, and he responds with a thrust that puts a large hold through Dim’s shoulder under his collarbone. Jacob shouts for them to stop fighting, and is given a hard kick to the chest that sends him backwards out of the fight.
Dim baits the werewolf with a few feints. He can feel the waves of rage rolling off the beast, and he wants a taste. He provokes him some more and is able to suck up a big hit of Glamour, which he needed desperately.
Waconda pulls the ceramic flask out of his jacket and dashes it on the ground, then drops his lighter into the pool of liquid. At the same time, Dim parries an overhead strike from Moon’s lethal weapon and is instead kneed in the gut. As Jacob recovers, he gets up and helps Shika, and the two are able to much more quickly pull Maggie to the portal and open it up with a touch of Glamour.
Waconda shies away from the fireball that erupts as his lighter hits the pool of white gas he was keeping in that flask, but he also calls upon his communion with the element to firm the fireball into a creature willing to serve him instead of burning itself out. Dim hangs on, fighting the werewolf defensively to buy time.
The living fireball responds to Waconda’s command of “Get him!” by hopping over to the werewolf like a giddy child and throwing itself around him. Howling, Moon drops to the ground and rolls around. But these flames aren’t going out. Waconda scoops up his lighter and goes to the gate with the others.
Dim, however, can’t resist a few more cheap shots with the ladder rung before he throws it away into the alley and finally joins the others. They pull the door closed and watch the light around the edges fade into the darkness of the Hedge around the doorframe propped between two trees. They’ve escaped.