Elder by Raine Thomas Read Free Book Online

Book: Elder by Raine Thomas Read Free Book Online
Authors: Raine Thomas
Tags: Fiction / Fantasy / Paranormal
those who followed him, the only Mercesti he had seen interact with Tate since he met her was the former Gloresti second commander. Zachariah had saved her life when Eirik tried to kill her after acquiring the first scroll piece. At the time, Eirik deduced that the rescue effort was an attempt by Zachariah to preserve the Kynzesti’s life because he was also searching for the Elder Scroll, and he knew the female was needed to shatter the illusions surrounding it. He had been wrong.
    He didn’t know how it was possible that the pair had avowed at all, never mind through some kind of remote connection. The amount of love and commitment required to create an avowed pairing was beyond the ability of most Estilorians, especially Mercesti. Prone to emotions they might be, but not the ones most beings considered positive.
    It was a puzzle, but one Eirik didn’t care to solve. Somehow, Tate had avowed with Zachariah across a distance. All that signified to Eirik was that Zachariah was now an enemy.
    Their unusual connection meant there was a possibility Tate could accomplish other things beyond the typical. It was a good decision to have Metis with her and Ariana while he searched for his followers, he decided. He just hoped she managed to contain her urges.
    Rounding a bend in the trail quite a distance from the meadow, he spotted evidence of a campsite. Because it was tucked in among a tight cluster of trees rather than a clearing and there was evidence of a recent kill a short distance away, he reasoned that it was a Mercesti campsite. Non-Mercesti could connect with a paired Lekwuesti for food.
    Holding a hand over the campfire’s ashes, he felt heat touch his skin. That meant the others were near.
    He studied the ground, then set off in the direction of the freshest boot prints. It took him little time at all to find the group he sought. They had stopped to evaluate some tracks, posting lookouts at several points in the nearby trees. A wise decision, Eirik mused, and was pleased to come across some of his more competent followers.
    Emerging from the trees, he caught the eye of the Mercesti who raised a bow and aimed an arrow at his heart. Not saying a word, he continued walking toward the alcove as though daring him to shoot the weapon.
    The moment he recognized Eirik, however, the archer lowered his arms and turned to speak to someone behind him. A second later, a large, bald male pushed aside two others and stepped forward.
    “Friedrich,” Eirik said as he stopped.
    Bowing, Friedrich replied, “We are pleased to see you, my lord.” When he again stood tall, he added, “I trust you will indulge me by answering a question to verify your identity. In light of the abilities of some of the companions you keep, I feel it best to be cautious.”
    Yes, Friedrich would do quite well on this next mission, Eirik decided. He might even make a good commander once Eirik assumed the power of an elder.
    “You may ask and I will answer.”
    “Thank you.” Friedrich paused for a moment, then asked, “What was the name of the Scultresti female whose cottage we raided last year?”
    “How should I know? We never bother asking names.”
    Nodding, Friedrich said, “Excellent. And what was the most valuable item we took from her?”
    “Some might say her life,” Eirik replied, “but I particularly enjoyed the peach cobbler she had just sat down to eat.”
    “That was exceptional cobbler.”
    “Now that we have established my identity, we must get down to business.” Eirik moved closer to the alcove and conducted a brief scan of the males standing there. He counted eighteen of them. “I require the aid of you and five of your best soldiers. We must make our way to the east, where we will be transported to another part of the plane.”
    “And when we get there, my lord?” Friedrich asked.
    Frowning because he wasn’t receiving blind obedience, Eirik clenched his hands and answered, “We will continue the pursuit of the last

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