Over the weekend, I was able to put the calculations on army sizes (see previous article “Imperial Army of Duianna vs Population Size“) into play. It was pretty difficult to kill off so many people. It is war, and that is not pretty, very rarely is it heroic. Naturally, the point of high fantasy stories is to bring out the heroic and amplify it into a tale for the ages. I hope I’m getting close. These last few chapters have been pretty hard. Even though I already plotted out what was going to happen and have a running movie in my head of the scenes, getting what was in my head onto paper without going overboard on the prose was difficult.
I ended up throwing out almost as much as I kept. The results are pretty fantastic.
The great news is yet another chapter is complete. Only a few more chapters to write and then I have to edit in the already written ending so they blend together perfectly, and the third book will be done.
Here is a really cool scene from the latest finished chapter. This is the beginning of the gathering. The climax is not far off. Only, the characters don’t know that.
If you enjoy this and the other sneak peek scenes, let me know. I love hearing from you.
The throne room doors were closed and four honor guards stood blocking the way. On her approach, they rapidly came to attention and stepped out of the way. She used magic instead of her hands to push the large doors with their broken shield handles open. The doors swung open making a banging sound just as she stepped over the threshold.
Warlord Eshra-Zunia remained sitting in the carved throne. The other generals and officers present quickly stood and formed a path for Hiri-Rula. They bowed in unison as she moved past them to stand directly before the throne.
The Warlord frowned slightly at Hiri-Rula likely anticipating the news.
“General Hiri-Rula, what news of our attack on Duke?”
Hiri-Rula bowed slightly. “Warlord, the attack was devastating. We have been able to determine that Lord Dohma survived, many of Duke’s senior officers have also survived. We have reduced the division under Duke’s direct command by at least 30% perhaps as much as 50%.”
There were more than a few sharp intakes of breath at that news.
I’m not the only one who finds this news disturbing.
Walking backwards in her mind, she quickly identified who was standing where as she walked past and added the direction of the sharp intakes of breath indicating horror or surprise. She added all five of those people to her list of possible allies against such mass killings in the future. Of course, she knew she would have to sound them out. She was very pleased to note one of those people was her very own general.
The Warlord did indeed look unhappy but not horrified by the casualty numbers. “What of Duke?”
“We could not detect Duke’s life force.”
The throne room doors swung open again, banging even louder than Hiri-Rula ever dared to do. The Warlord’s eyes widened, and everyone around Hiri-Rula prostrated themselves on the floor. Hiri-Rula turned to see a magnificently chiseled warrior standing in the doorway. His black armor was amazingly beautiful with a pattern of gray highlights and piping. The armor had wide shoulder plates that turned up slightly from his heavily muscled shoulders. He stood taller than everyone in the room, the large doorway framed him perfectly. A fact Hiri-Rula knew immediately was no accident.
Shar-Lumen walked straight towards her. She dropped to one knee.
She did not look down. Her entire attention was riveted on his violet eyes. He stopped before her.
He looked up at the Warlord. “Warlord Eshra-Zunia, you have served well. Not even my most sensitive mage can detect Duke. He is very well detained. Hopefully he is also buried or trapped.”
She didn’t move a muscle, at least nothing she was aware of. Yet, Shar-Lumen’s eyes came back to her. “You don’t believe we are so lucky?”
How did he know? What did I do?
His eyes remained on her.
Think how to explain your prediction.
“Grand Warlord, Duke was with Lord Dohma. We have detected Lord Dohma. Through whatever means it is likely Duke saved Lord Dohma, and therefore will be found rapidly.”
Shar-Lumen’s eyes blinked slowly as he continued to stare at her.
No one dared speak. After what seemed like an eternity, Shar-Lumen nodded almost imperceptibly. “Very sound reasoning General Hiri-Rula.”
Shar-Lumen looked back at the Warlord, and it took every ounce of her mage training in control to not let out a sigh of relief.
“Warlord, congratulations on the excellent execution of our plan. Now, you are to take what aid you desire and go to the city of Llino. You are to assume command of all forces there and to take the city. I do not care if the city is destroyed. But, you will deliver to me Lord Dohma’s family, alive and uninjured, in Hisuru Amajoo.”
The Warlord stood and slapped her chest in salute. “It shall be done.”
“Warlord, when I say family, I mean all of his family. His sister, his brother, their spouses, their children, and most especially Countess Electra Neyon of Waylisia. None of them are to be threatened, mistreated, or in any way harmed beyond the necessary force to hold them and guarantee their passage.”
Shar-Lumen turned and started to walk out but then paused. He turned back looking at Hiri-Rula, his eyebrows creasing. He then waved for her to approach. She stood and stepped up to him. He placed a hand on her shoulder and drew her odassi of prayer with the other. He examined the blade very carefully before sliding it back into its sheath.
“Warlord, may I borrow your second in command for a special assignment. It may take some considerable time.”
The Warlord probably didn’t want to agree, but, she snapped instantly, “Sir, your will and pleasure. I trust she will serve you admirably.”
Shar-Lumen’s smile said all Hiri-Rula needed to know. He gestured at her aid who, she was surpised to see had followed her and still stood ready to assist.
“You shall remain.”
Shar-Lumen turned and stepped back through the doors and started walking down the long empty corridor.
Where did the honor guard go?
Without any other orders, Hiri-Rula fell into step with him, the throne room doors closing behind them.
At the end of the corridor, another pair of large doors with shields for handles waited. These opened by themselves, or with Shar-Lumen’s magic. Hiri-Rula wasn’t sure because she sensed no magical usage by Shar-Lumen. The doors opened wide into a grandiose throne room with a tall throne on a raised platform. Shar-Lumen swept through the highly dressed officers and warriors in the room, cutting a path like a ship running through the ocean. Stepping up, he turned and sat on the throne.
We’re in Hisuru Amajoo! I didn’t feel anything, no gate, no power, nothing. How did we get here?
If you enjoyed this you will enjoy the rest of the Golden Threads Trilogy. Why check them out? The series has been a regular bestseller since it came out in early 2013. Trust me, it is best to start with book one Thread Slivers.
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