Hunted (Book 3)

Hunted (Book 3) by Brian Fuller Read Free Book Online

Book: Hunted (Book 3) by Brian Fuller Read Free Book Online
Authors: Brian Fuller
and face slick with sweat. Gerand shook his head and buckled Aldradan’s sword about his own waist.
    Volney approached with the horse. “I think we should just tie the sword to the horse and . . . Hey! Unbuckle that sword from your hip! You can’t use that! You’re insulting my entire nation!”
    Gerand rolled his eyes. “Volney, there is propriety and then there is survival. Like my father told me, ‘When the enemy is at the gates, don’t put cushions in the catapults.’”
    “What is that supposed to mean?
    “Simply that you use your resources to their best advantage when there is danger about. This sword is the best weapon we have. To not use it under these circumstances would be folly.”
    “All right,” Volney said. “But I’m the Rhugothian, so it would be more appropriate if I carried it, I think.”
    Gerand shook his head. Volney just didn’t get it. “But the sword was given to Gen—who is my countryman—so it is only fitting that I carry it for him—until he is able to take it up again, of course. Besides—and no offense—I am the better swordsman.”
    “Says who?”
    During the ensuing argument, Gerand and Volney hoisted Gen over the horse and Gerand kept the sword. They left the deserted city, Gen draped awkwardly over the horse. Gerand was glad to be underway, thankful for a spark of hope after a morning of despair. The sun finally broke through the clouds as they crossed the bridge over Mora Lake.
    “Eldaloth favors us today,” Gerand said, thankful for the light.
    Volney nodded in agreement. “I think we’d better make a litter for Gen. He doesn’t appear too comfortable. You should try the sword on some branches, Gerand. They say it could cut through armor like . . . er . . . one of several comparisons not springing to mind.”
    “Use this sword to chop at a tree? Talk about dishonoring Aldradan and your nation, Volney! Here we have the blade that cut down Goras the Dire, hewed two hundred Uyumaak necks at Aumat, and felled Kudat the giant. Aldradan lifted it high to gather his armies, with it tapped the shoulders of aspiring knights to elevate them to service, and set it upon his knees while dispensing King’s justice to rogues and fiends. Now you’d have me attack a pine tree with it? I can’t believe you would even suggest such a thing!”

    The Chalaine rode, thoughts inward, as the forested terrain around her slid by. The sun had emerged the day after she broke her wrist, and while at first the sunshine inspired a general cheer, Maewen smothered the good feeling before it could fester into anything hopeful.
    “They soak the ground the day before,” she said, “and now they let the sun shine so we will be more visible as we travel.”
    As a consequence, the half-elf led them off the road and into the wild earlier than she had intended. While she did not know where the protection of Elde Luri Mora faded, she wanted to make the point of their departure from the road as unpredictable as possible. It was now midday the day after they turned off the road. The woods provided ample cover for them and any enemies that wanted to spy on them. No one talked save under the direst need.
    The Chalaine thought of Gen constantly. Dason always flickered in and out of her peripheral vision now, and as good a man as he was, she needed Gen’s company. She missed his wisdom, his devotion, and his strength, but most of all she found herself longing for his irreverent sense of humor. His carefree smiles and conversation in the canyon had cast all her worries into objects of ridicule that she could manage or dismiss. With him gone, the shadows of her fears stretched long and wide across her heart.
    And the biggest of those shadows is cast by Chertanne, she thought, smiling wanly at the joke she knew Gen would make of such a statement.
    Chertanne spent his time near Padra Athan, the two frequently leaning close, heads together in some private counsel. From time to time her husband would look over

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