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.Even my growling stomach didn’t deter me from my mission.I did find a barrel and move it close to the window just under the sill.It was a perfect solution for my sore legs.It seemed the clan couldn’t reach a decision over whose side to fight with if it came to war.The families that were housing the Denai had been won over and voted to pledge allegiance to Calandry along with quite a few others.But there were still a good portion that refused to side with Queen Lilyana, while others wanted to remain neutral.Twice more, I heard mention of the convoy King Tieren continued sending to Valdyrstal.I had never seen anyone ever come into our lands, so there had to be a meeting place in the mountains.I remembered months ago when my father had watched the pass, and he rode into the mountains with Odin and Fenri.They’d refused to let me follow.Had it been for some sort of private meeting? Had my father been secretly meeting with messengers from Sinnendor?Lying in bed, I stared at the large beam that crossed my ceiling and I placed my hand over my heart.As I felt its strong beat, I thought of Kael.Please, stay strong Kael.I’m coming for you.I promise.Somehow, I’ll find you.I’d become grateful for our bond.Because no matter what the Septori did to him, he would survive as long as I did.Slow tears fell upon my pillow as they had every night since I lost him.I knew that the same tears of guilt and worry would fall every night until I found him.More questions without answers swirled through my head, and I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed.I hoped sleep would bring me answers.Because if I didn’t hear from Kael by tomorrow, I was determined to go to find Kael myself.Chapter 19The trail was a small one, hidden along a cliff and barely discernible.During the winter months it would be completely blocked by snow.Even now, snow started to fall gently, covering the pines and leaving a white blanket across the higher peaks.It wasn’t cold enough to stick, but in another few months it would be impassable.My breath left a white trail in the air as Faraway and I continued up a cliff opposite of Sumner Pass.Gotte said they had been watching this pass, and I wanted to confirm with my own eyes who was coming and going.This wasn’t a stealth operation.I knew that Gotte or one of his men would have seen me already riding up on my horse.Faraway’s white coat was a beacon in the valley.Still, now that we were heading north, he had a better chance of blending in among the light flurries and gray rocks.Once we found a comfortable perch on a ledge to wait and watch, I donned a thick wool cloak and sat.The chances were slim of catching anyone using the pass.I imagined I could sit here for weeks and not see a hint of life.Well, that wasn’t true.I’d already seen movement on the other side of the pass.I’d recognized the stance and red fox fur wrap of Fenri, before he moved and hid behind a tree, taking up watch across the pass from me.But he was trying to be seen.He had noticed me across the way and had waved his arms and gestured angrily toward the village.I pretended I never saw him.A few hours later, after I had accidentally eaten most of my day’s rations out of boredom, things changed.I heard something before I saw anything—the echo of horse hooves on rock.Instantly alert, I crouched low and watched with anticipation.Six horses with riders walked single file down the pass below, still a great distance off.Five of them were dressed in metal armor ready for battle.The man in front, the one with a trimmed mustache, wore a brown wool cloak and leather gloves.Very official looking.Movement across the way distracted me as Fenri raced from his position and down the mountain.He pointed up at me angrily and mouthed the words, Stay there! With his hands, he pointed to me and signaled me to stay put.He slid down a path to his horse tethered at the bottom of the mountain and raced off toward the village.I watched in interest as the riders passed beneath me.The finely dressed noble rode ahead of the others, while the fighters scanned both sides of the pass.I ducked behind a large rock and waited until I couldn’t hear the sound of their horses’ hooves clapping against the rocky path.“Hoowah,” someone called just enough to echo across the pass.I peeked over the top of my boulder and saw Gotte standing there.He looked grim and had a bow and arrow nocked, ready to release.I ducked back down as he shot the arrow into the tree closest to my hiding place.It only took a moment to spot the arrow and see the slim parchment tied to the shaft.I pulled it down and opened up the message.King Tieren’s men.Stay hidden.Of course I couldn’t obey.If someone got hurt, they might need me.I could see Gotte mutter something when he saw me run for Faraway.Like the arrow that had flown toward me, we made it quickly to our destination.At the bottom of the mountain, Faraway took off, sprinting across the field.We were still miles from the village, but I could see that the convoy of Tieren’s men would never make it that far.My father, Odin, and Fenri were locked in battle with the five armored soldiers.Tieren’s messenger already lay dead on the ground, an arrow through his heart, his quiver of arrows scattered on the ground.The bow just missed being trampled under the horses’ feet.Odin screamed a war cry, ducking under a sword.He used his axe to swing into his opponent’s back and knock him to the ground.Bearen was dueling with the largest of the men, but the man’s armor protected him from side blows and deflected the smaller swings.My father wasn’t as lucky—his leathers offered little protection.He was faster than the armored knight, but he was also older.Odin was the first to go down, a sword in his stomach.Fenri let Odin’s cries of pain distract him, and he missed a parry, slipping on the wet grass.Bearen roared as he continued battling two of the men.Not again! I refused to lose any more to battle if I could prevent it.I darted in for the bow and picked up a few scattered arrows.I aimed to pick off each of the warriors in succession, one after another.I knew my gifting would very well lead me to lose control, but in that moment, all I cared about was saving those so important to me.I screamed in pain and frustration as I channeled that destructive power into the arrow and aimed for one man’s beating heart.Faster than I have ever done it before, I released the arrow.Like a snuffed candle, he was gone.Each arrow exploded with my rage upon contact.I worked my way out, focusing on those closest to me.The one who had his sword raised to stab Odin again was blasted backward as my next arrow exploded into his chest.I curled my fingers and turned to Bearen’s attackers.One danced an intricate dance of parries and thrusts, leading my father around to expose his unprotected back to his companion.The other man saw his opening and ran forward to thrust his sword into Bearen.With an enormous magical push, I shoved my father out of the way.Unable to stop his momentum, the enemy stabbed his own comrade.Bearen used the opening to kill the other man while he was distracted.He slid his knife into the soldier’s back and held him until he fell forward to the ground dead.Fenri had regained his footing and run over to Bearen.Only one man remained.glancing around, he ran for his horse to make a hasty escape.I should have been exhausted, falling over faint with the use of expended energy [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]