From the Author
Quinn held onwith all of his strength as the beast dragged him over stone and rubble. Hekicked his legs. Dirt and blood flew into his face and through his hair. The orbweaver crashed through a half wall and stone exploded. Quinn closed his eyesand tucked his head before the two of them tumbled into a hole.
They plummetedthrough massive webs and hit the floor of the dungeon. Quinn's armor clatteredover the stone as he rolled to a stop. His sword slid against him and he foundthe weaver had dislodged itself.
Shafts of lightilluminated the subterranean rooms of the dungeons. Shadows danced in thecorners and slithered across the floor. Chains clinked in the dark and ratssqueaked and skittered by Quinn's hands and feet. He grabbed his sword andpulled himself up.
His gaze sweptthe chamber, seeing nothing. Clicking caught his attention and he looked up.The skins of the dead hung in the nest of webs that covered the ceiling and itsrafters. Quinn's mouth hung agape. They were hunters and fishermen of Vanosia,peasants of Medfyre, and farmers--hapless victims of the weavers. The scratchingof many feet whispered in Quinn's ear.
He kept his gazelocked on the ceiling and raised his sword. He slipped backward, watchingcarefully, and followed the sound. Blood glistened on the wall to his right andhe followed its trail--up, up and left, then backward and across again. Quinnturned and crept into the adjoining chamber.
More websinfested the room like layers of tapestry. Dust and ash covered the floor.Quinn crushed a bone underfoot. Scratch, scratch--across the ceiling again.Quinn fixed his eyes. He studied. He followed. He swallowed air and halted hisbreathing. His heart pounded in his ears; the sound of it was deafening.
He stopped hisadvance and looked up. A shadow dropped and Quinn spun around. The weaver clungto the wall behind him. It snapped with its mandibles and Quinn leaped out ofthe way, grabbing one of the chains on the wall. He snapped the chain andpulled himself up into the air, using both feet to kick the creature.
It barreled tothe floor and Quinn dropped, a cloud of dust filling the air. He lunged blindlywith sword in hand, cutting through the dust and connecting with the beast. Theblade deflected off the thing's hide as bristly legs swept Quinn off of hisfeet. His sword slipped from his grip.