Sacrifice (Book 4)

Sacrifice (Book 4) by Brian Fuller Read Free Book Online

Book: Sacrifice (Book 4) by Brian Fuller Read Free Book Online
Authors: Brian Fuller
Just one touch is all I need.
    She turned to Falael. “I need to get down there as quickly as possible.” But Falael’s eyes remained riveted on the battlefield. The Chalaine turned back, hand coming to her mouth. One of the retreating warriors detoured away from the main body and walked toward Gen, who had managed only a scant few feet in his progress toward the trail. Gen’s back was turned, but he heard the creature approach and tried to turn to meet it, falling to his knees.
    It took but a moment. The Uyumaak raised its heavy crossbow and fired it into Gen’s chest at a range of ten paces. The bolt punctured his breastplate and threw Gen backward to the ground with stunning force. The Chalaine flinched and stumbled as if the bolt had struck her instead, landing hard on her litter.
    The animon in her pocket shattered.
    For the young Queen, time stopped flowing. All thought halted. All emotion evaporated. Her breath pulled back into her chest and died. She existed, stunned and frozen, in the moment just before the Uyumaak loosed the fatal bolt, unwilling to step forward into an unfathomable reality. In this space the Chalaine hovered for many moments, but grief could not be denied, clutching its victim’s hand and dragging her forward into an unwanted life. She lay still, for how long she cared not.
    “What is your will, Lady?” Falael asked, face concerned.
    “Go down.”
    “No!” Dason countered. “We wait until we are sure of the outcome. Should Lord Kildan fail. . .”
    The Chalaine pulled herself from the litter in frustration. Weak and tired she stumbled down the path, Falael and Dason pleading with her to stop and lay back on the litter. She ignored them, tired of resistance. She wanted nothing to do with anything or anyone. She tripped and fell so many times her knees bled. Dason tried to help her, but she shoved him away.
    Dimly she heard Falael comment that the horses of Mirelle’s army had emerged onto the plain, but the Chalaine barely registered anything around her. She existed alone in a barren country of anguish until she reached the bottom and picked her way across the field to where Mirelle sat amid the wrack cradling Gen’s body in her arms, weeping in unchecked agony. Cadaen crouched beside her, pained. Only when the Chalaine joined her mother on the ground could she admit the presence of another into the arms of her grief.
     

Chapter 72 – Impostor

    When the Chalaine had read of the epic battles of the past, they always started with two armies gathered against each other on opposite sides of the field, horses stamping and footmen nervous as the leaders parleyed in the center of the field. Parley failing, the leaders returned, and after raising a shout, two waves surged across the intervening space to mash against each other in chaotic thunder.
    After General Harband and Lord Kildan fought their way through one of Mikkik’s lesser legions at Butchers gap, they heard the drums of war arrayed against them again, but not the percussive thunder of the Uyumaak. The combined armies of Tolnor and Aughmere now pursued them on their southward track. Lord Kildan and General Harband had pushed Mirelle’s forces on through the night, but the soldiers behind them matched them for speed and endurance.
    Spies of the Church of the One had no doubt warned Athan and the Padras that a sizable force marched on the floor of the canyon, and that Mirelle rode in command. The Chalaine could only imagine what they thought of her mother, Gen’s unflinching supporter, who had, to their view, attempted to slay Eldaloth on the day of his reemergence into Ki’Hal. How would she and her mother ever convince them of the truth? What arguments could they possibly proffer to persuade the Churchmen that the bright shining being that now favored them with such beneficence was indeed the force of evil that they had so long feared would wrap his crushing embrace about Ki’Hal and destroy it?
    Even worse, the Chalaine

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