GENRE: YA Fantasy
Getting past the Protector was mostly a matter of timing. The time of day, first of all. Dusk. After most of the sunlight was gone but before the torches were lit. Then the trick was to slip by at the exact moment when someone else was passing through the gate, while the Protector was occupied with drawing blood from the next one in line.
The form Issa chose was also crucial. She had gotten through a few times in the guise of a very small child, so far below eye-level that the Protector never saw her as she toddled in the wake of someone’s billowing cloak. The stubby legs, though, made it harder to move quick and smooth. She couldn’t afford to stumble and be caught. Last time it had been too close.
The other likely choice was taking on a fleet-footed limber form, a body that could scale the wall in the space of a single breath. Issa hadn’t dared that before. She’d practiced leaping the lower walls at the outer edges of the Den for the past month, and Yeril swore her swift movement was hardly visible if he wasn’t watching closely. “No more than a flit in the corner of my eye,” he told Issa with an arthritic wink. She almost believed him.
She’d already wondered and worried too long, resolving every evening that this would be the night, only to lose her nerve and slink back from the wall.