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.Melegaunt lit a signal beacon he had prepared for the occasion, then he went to the front of the work site to inspect the situation.A cloud of white forms was descending from the peaks of the dragonmen, their wings flashing silver in the moonlight as they spiraled down toward the bog's edge.Their spellcasters were already hurling magic bolts and balls of golden flame at the Moor Eagles, but the rest of the warriors were taking care to forestall counterattacks by keeping their magic-users well screened from Melegaunt’s island.A sporadic stream of arrows began to rise from Bodvar's camp and arc into the night, falling pitifully short of their targets.Melegaunt spread his arms and cast a shadow fog over the camp, more to prevent the Moor Eagles from wasting their time and arrows than to delay the dragonmen.Still, they had not forgotten the sticky rain he had called down on them in the bottomless bog-half their number had sunk beneath the peat and drowned-so they gave the dark cloud wide berth, angling away to land in the foothills on the far side of camp.Leaving the Moor Eagles to fend for themselves, Melegaunt turned his attention to what he was sure would be the second part of the dragonmen's plan and found a company of bog people slithering up to block his boulder walk.The clan women were gamely rushing forward to meet them, Idona and a few of the others wielding iron swords or wood axes, but most armed with nothing more deadly than fire-hardened spears and cudgels so light Melegaunt could have snapped them over his knee."Hold!"Melegaunt's Vaasan had grown passable enough over the last few months that Idona recognized the command for what it was and called her sisters to a stop.He pointed at a hole in the exact center of the shadow-walk and spoke a single word of magic.A whirling pinwheel of black tentacles erupted from the hole and slashed the bog people into so many chunks of slimy flesh, then withdrew back into the hole."Now you can come," Melegaunt called, using his magic to project his voice."And bring those foolish husbands of yours, or the only Higharvestide feast will be that of the dragonmen."Idona raised her sword in acknowledgement and sent the other women forward with the children, then rushed back into the shadow swaddled camp.Melegaunt waited impatiently for her return.It seemed to take her forever, and he feared the surviving bog people would regain their courage before she could convince her husband to retreat to the safety of the island.Finally, warriors began to stagger onto the boulder walk in twos and threes, often supporting and sometimes carrying each other.Melegaunt thought for a moment that the evening's festivities had simply been proceeding faster than he expected, but then he noticed that one of the men was missing an arm and another had something dangling on his cheek that might have been an eye.Bodvar came last with Idona at his side, holding an armful of quivers over one arm and a shield over the other, alternately feeding arrows to her husband and stepping forward to intercept the wicked barbs flying their way from somewhere deeper in the camp.Melegaunt allowed them to retreat to the first sharp bend in that fashion, then speaking a magic command word, he pointed at a crooked crevice bisecting the boulder closest to shore.A wall of faintly writhing shadows shot up from the fissure, sealing the boulder walk off from the Vaasans' camp.Bodvar and Idona turned and raced for the island, moving so fast that they nearly overran the next turn.Only Idona's quick feet-and quicker hands-kept Bodvar from going over the edge and plunging into the cold bog.They took the next corner more cautiously then reached the island and started up the trail behind the others.By then, the first wave of dragonmen were flying over and around the shadow wall at the other end of the boulder walk, staying low and close to avoid making themselves targets.It was a bad mistake.As they passed by, the writhing shadows struck out like snakes, entwining anything else they could reach [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]