The garrote was made of fine silk laced with steel wire, designed to choke bloodlessly. Its ends were looped to small grips of cherry wood. Otranto had crafted it himself over a period of three weeks, designing for speed and efficacy. Still, the target was thrashing hard enough that the smooth handles were biting his palms. He drew harder.
We pass the last of those who have preceded us, those who crossed into the warped, rippling landscape without the benefit of protective magic. Father stops to examine a grotesquely deformed skeleton. The bleached bones are twisted and swollen; the skull cave-like. Of necessity, I halt too, but I already know this poor warped cadaver is neither Mother nor my sister.
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