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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction that combine worlds created by the original content owner with names, places, characters, events, and incidents that are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, organizations, companies, events or locales are entirely coincidental. Authors are responsible for properly crediting Original Content creator for their creative works.
Valdemar world, characters, events belong to Mercedes Lackey and Tor Publishing

Tests of Blood - 10. Chapter 10

“Shhhh” Paet’s whisper wasn’t really needed as they crawled up the ridge of the hill. The lands they were in now were the higher foothills just before the imposing mountains of Menmillith, and they had surprisingly caught up to the heavily-laden bandits that had raided the Holderkin. It was two days after they’d split off from Landir and Junie, and it had only been the whiff of smoke that Paet had caught that had warned them how close they were.

We’re both mindspeakers, Paet. Dalen sent.

I thought that using mindmagic would set off one of those warnings. Paet replied and his mental voice sounded like he was trying to whisper with this thoughts.

A powerful blast like trying to reach Haven, well that would set them off. Dalen said with a purely mental groan that he didn’t send to Paet. What we’re doing isn’t enough to set them off, I’m fairly certain.

Fine. Paet said determinedly. Just remember what we promised Herald Landir. We’re not going to do anything, just take a look.

Yes. Dalen agreed. His horse and Paet’s Companion were back at the foot of this particular hill with the Companion keeping Dalen’s mount from straying.

Paet was better at skulking around in the woods, and so Dalen was following his lead as they reached the peak of the ridge and looked over it into the camp on the other side. What Dalen saw there took his breath away and he closed his eyes, shook his head and prayed for a brief moment before opening them again.

That isn’t a bunch of bandits. Paet’s mind-voice expressed the shock that Dalen was still feeling. There, in the valley below them was what looked like the beginning stages of a forward military base. There were more than two hundred men down there, with tents set up and watch fires burning. A hedge of twisted barbed wire surrounded the camp, and it looked like sentries were going out for the night. Dalen lifted a pair of range-glasses to his eyes and focused them quickly, scanning what appeared to be a well-organized camp.

There, you see those cages in the central area? Dalen mindspoke Paet who nodded his assent in the fading light. The cages were filled with about a half dozen young boys and girls, ranging in age from maybe five or six up to their early teens. All of them wore the rags of what had once been regular Holderkin attire, and were huddled together.

Those damn Holderkin didn’t tell us they’d taken hostages. Paet replied viciously and Dalen shook his head.

They aren’t hostages. Dalen replied. Look, over there at the camping fires. There are full-grown women there tending the food. All of them are chained up fairly well. Those kids there, well, I’m guessing they are the power supply for the mage that is in that tent.

You sense a mage in there? Paet’s voice was hard-edged.

Yes. Dalen replied and then paused as the central tent, the largest in the camp, rustled a bit at the entrance. Three figures walked out, and Dalen nearly cursed aloud when he realized two of the three were mages, and neither of them were particularly weak. From this distance he couldn’t be sure, but one of them was a Master-level mage at least, and the other was a very strong Journeyman. Worse, they both were tainted with blood magic and looking at the cages with glee. Make that more than one – two of those that just walked out are mages.

I recognize the insignia on the other one. Paet’s mental voice was edged with a great deal of worry. They’re mercenaries. Tarval’s Raiders. They were kicked out of the Mercenary Guild about two years ago from what I remember. The Guild sent up a warning that they’d broken bond for the second season in a row and would no longer be a bonded company.

That’s bad. Dalen agreed. Once, Valdemar hadn’t known much about mercenaries and the differences between bonded and non-bonded companies. Now they understood a lot more since Herald-Captain Kerowen had led her bonded mercenary company the Skybolts to Valdemar’s rescue ninety-odd years ago. By and large, bonded companies could be trusted. Unbonded companies, well you ran a great risk using them. They often paid no penalty for switching sides, running at the first sign of trouble, or even raping and pillaging on friendly soil.

What in all the hells do they think they are doing? Paet’s voice was outraged. We are Valdemar! Do they really think they can get away with this? How often do we have to wipe out thugs like this before they get the hint that they can’t win?

You should know as well as I do that sometimes, they do win. Dalen countered his friend’s vehemence with calmness as he began to back away from the ridge of the hill. They’d seen enough, and he didn’t want to be caught by any of those sentries now making their way out from the camp. How many times have Heralds died in the line of duty? Right now, down south, we’re barely holding on.

Yeah, but Valdemar always wins in the end. Paet countered.

No, not always or have you forgotten the fact that magic was forgotten in Valdemar for nearly seven hundred years after the death of Herald Vanyel? Danel’s argument caused Paet to pause and stare at him before following him in the twilight. For that matter, what about the loss of territory in that same time period? We lost nearly a third of Valdemar for almost two centuries.

You always paid better attention in History than I did. Paet shrugged and Dalen could no longer see his face as the sun set happened far quicker than he’d expected. When they got to the Companion and the mount, Dalen’s mount tried to shy away from moving much in the dark, but under Dalen’s mental pressure, followed the Companion. At least the Companion had excellent night vision and could lead them away from the enemy camp.

We need to get to the rendezvous spot as soon as possible. Dalen told Paet who sent back a wordless feeling of agreement. The Companion picked up her pace as they went along, and Dalen’s horse balked for a moment before following her. It was long into the night before they stopped, and even the Companion was soaked with sweat as the two dismounted. Dalen’s mount was in bad shape, and he spent quite a bit of time combing as much of the sweat out as he could while Paet got both the horse and the Companion some water and what limited oats they had on hand.

Dawn was just a few hours off by the time the two of them had crawled into their bedrolls. It was a risk for both of them to sleep at the same time, but there was no choice for the matter. All of them needed rest.

“Why did you let me sleep so late?” Dalen asked when Paet finally nudged him awake. Dawn was still a short ways off, but the sky was definitely bright enough for them to get moving.

“Here, drink this.” Paet said as he handed a warm mug of tea to Dalen who looked at it in alarm. Paet chuckled softly. “I guess I never told you. I’ve got just the tiniest bit of Firestarting. Barely enough to light a candle, but I can warm a mug of water just fine, so here you go. The way I figure it, if a little bit of Mindspeech wasn’t going to set those alarms off, well then my tiny bit of Firestarting wouldn’t either.”

“No, it wouldn’t.” Dalen agreed and sat silently sipping the tea as well as munching on a travel biscuit that Paet handed him. He was sore, and it hurt to move even with him spreading healing energies into his sore muscles while Paet looked over his Companion and Dalen’s horse.

“We should get a move on soon.” Paet said as he sat down next to Dalen, munching on his own biscuit and drinking plain water from a canteen. “We should be able to make the rendezvous no problems, but I’d prefer we kept a good pace. How are you holding up?”

“Not too bad.” Dalen said with a shake of his head. “I can’t believe you’re in so much better shape than I am.”

“I’ve practically lived in the saddle since I got down here.” Paet grinned at Dalen. “You’ve been all posh up there at that fancy place of yours.”

“Yeah, well…” Dalen’s words were lost at the equine scream of alarm. Paet had just started to rise when the spell descended on them, freezing both of them in place. As soon as he felt the magic descending on them, Dalen had reached for his own power, tried to push it out as a shield, but was too late as well.

“Got ‘em.” A harsh voice said smugly as both of them found they were held tight by the paralysis spell. Paet crashed over to the ground because he’d been frozen in mid-movement and could not adjust his balance. Dalen struggled to reach for his power, but the paralysis had an odd component to it that froze his abilities in place. Even his mind-magic was frozen. He’d never heard of a spell like this before.

“That we do, Lars.” Another voice said with even more smug arrogance in it than the first one. From where Dalen sat, his piece of trail biscuit still in his hand halfway towards being thrown to the ground, he could see a half-dozen men walking towards them, all in the mixed leather and plate armor of the mercenaries they had spied on the night before. Then another figure moved into his field of vision, and he tried to wince but was reminded that the spell held him firmly in place. “One of them Heralds, and someone else. If I’m not mistaken we just got ourselves a grand prize in one shot.”

“Oh yeah?” The mercenary named Lars asked as he squatted in front of Dalen and gave him an inquisitive look. “The Herald I understand. That black-skinned bloke pays good money for those. This guy’s clothes look rich, but what’s the big deal about him?”

“There are two things about this one, really.” The unnamed mage said with a strong hint of sarcasm in his voice. Dalen noted that bit of information, that there was some type of tension between those two in case he could use it later. “First off, this boy here is a mage, and not a weak one at that. In fact, it’s a damn good thing we took them by surprise or he’d have blasted me to cinders already. Look at his eyes, he still wants to do that, but he won’t be able to break the block on this spell.”

“He better not.” Lars growled. “Taking down the magickers and the Heralds is why you’re here and getting paid so damn much.”

“I wouldn’t worry about pay after we turn these two over.” The mage laughed. “We’ll be sitting rich even if we never catch another one of them. There’s only one mage in this part of Valdemar that would be as strong as this kid.”

“Who would that be?” Lars asked greedily.

“Dalen Valdemar Ashkevron.” The mage chuckled. “You see, he knows we know who he is. Oh, if you could feel him squirming against the spell holding him! Cousin to the King of Valdemar, and to boot his father is leading the Alliance troops down south. Oh yes, the envoy from the Black Kings will pay dearly for this one. We’ll all be rich after we get him back.”

“Well then, we better get them loaded.” Lars said with a grin. “What about the horses?”

“You can have the gelding for your own mount if you want.” The mage said. “Remember what we told you about the Herald’s Companion. They are every bit as intelligent as their riders. I’ve got a spell holding that one just like these two.”

“So we just kill her?” Lars asked.

“No.” The mage said firmly and Dalen relaxed a bit. “You kill them, the Herald dies soon after and we don’t get half the money for a dead Herald as we do for a live one. Hamstring her and by the time the spell wears off of her she’ll be useless, but still alive.”

“That’s a good idea.” Lars said with a grim laugh and moved out of Dalen’s field of vision. For his part, he was struggling against his bonds even as he knew Paet probably was also. It was Paet’s Companion they were going to maim and he had to be in a near panic.

Panic.

The panic he was feeling was coming from inside of him and outside as well. The mage’s conversation hadn’t been as much about bragging but rather to increase the panic that he was feeling. It was a calculated gesture, and as he tried to calm himself, more and more of the picture became clearer.

It took concentration and effort to use any gift, whether mind-magic or regular magic. A mage had to be able to concentrate properly in order to use his powers, and the same rule went for a Herald. Emotions hampered the abilities of a mage, which was why he had been taught to always keep his emotions in check. Yes, a blind rage could increase a mage’s power, but it reduced his ability to use magic effectively.

Panic did much the same, except it was in its own way just as dangerous. When casting complicated spells, if something went wrong and the mage panicked, the spell would backfire, possibly causing a massive disaster if the powers involved were strong enough. That was why most lessons were taught in well-shielded work rooms where a panicking mage student would do less damage.

It was also why mage-teachers had to be calm, evenly tempered and not prone to panicking. If Mage and Student panicked together, the results could be chaos. Learning not to panic was one of the first things Dalen had learned along with his magic. He had learned to stay calm in every situation.

Only now, he was panicking. The mage had paralyzed Dalen’s body, and his powers, but he could not paralyze Dalen’s mind totally. That was why he was able to calm the panic inside him, and how he saw just how much of the panic was coming from outside. That was why the mage had said what he’d said, to increase Dalen’s own panic and despair, as well as that of Paet’s. The more he could keep them in a panicked state, the more his spell could work because thoroughly panicked, the spell would keep them blocked from their abilities.

Calm, though, would do the opposite and Dalen felt his mind calming under that realization even as the outside influence of the spell tried to notch up the level of panic he was feeling. That was something from the outside though, and Dalen was experienced enough as a mage to know the difference between what was coming from inside him and what was from the outside.

“Watch out…” The mage had time to shout as his broken spell backlashed against him, but Dalen didn’t give him any more time. This was the weaker of the two mages he’d felt in the tent, and Dalen knew he could overwhelm the man’s defenses and proceeded to do just that as he reached his own power and shredded the paralysis spell holding him in place.

Even as he leaped to his feet, grabbing the sword that he’d put next to his bedroll a few hours before, he let loose a blast of power that contained almost all his own personal energy reserves. The blast of pearly white, almost pure mage power took the weaker mage full in the chest. Blood red shields tried to keep the blast out, but failed even as Dalen whirled in place to use the sword, slicing the throat of the mercenary soldier he sensed behind him.

The mage’s words of warnings turned into a death gargle as Dalen’s power flash-fried him in an instant. Gasping for breath, Dalen scanned the surrounding area and saw just how deeply he was outnumbered even as Paet frantically got to his feet. The mercenaries had not had time to disarm him, and so he pulled out his two wheel-lock pistols even as an equine scream filled the air.

“Dana!” Paet screamed at the top of his lungs even as he fired both pistols at two separate targets. Both men he shot at went down even as Paet was obscured by a cloud of smoke from his two pistols. Seconds later he emerged from the cloud of smoke with his sword in one hand and a long dagger in the other. That was when Dalen’s attention was sent somewhere else.

Four men were closing on Dalen, three of them armed with swords and the last with a nasty-looking long axe. They moved together in a way that made Dalen think they were experienced in fighting together and he knew he was doomed if all he could call on was his sword. Fortunately, it wasn’t all he had in his arsenal.

The blast that had killed the mage had consumed most of Dalen’s personal store of mage power, but not all. Pulling at the dregs of his own power stores, he scrounged enough power to cast balls of fire that flew from his empty hand. The first took the axe wielder full in the chest, leaving a smoking hole where his chest plate had been. The next two took care of the swordsman next to the axe wielder. Unfortunately, the remaining two mercenary soldiers dodged his remaining balls of fire and Dalen was left gasping for air as he used up the last of his mage-powers.

He wanted to crawl into a ball on the ground and go to sleep, but there was no time. These soldiers knew mages well enough to know that Dalen had pretty much exhausted all his powers and they knew better than to let him have the time to concentrate and restore some of his powers. If he had been given a moment, he’d have been quite able to tap a nearby ley-line and restore his power reserves. It wouldn’t be enough to restore all his power at once the way a node would, but he’d have enough to take care of the rest of these soldiers.

“Get him!” The more experienced of the two swordsman shouted and the two charged at him from slightly different angles.

Dalen had been taught swordsmanship by a former mercenary hired to be the Forst Reach Armsmaster. The former mercenary had a secret that he shared with Dalen, something that he’d only previously shared with the Captain of his mercenary company and with the Lord Ashkevron. The man had a slight touch of the Mindspeech gift. He had used that ability to assess his enemies and gain an advantage on them that few people ever had.

It wasn’t a use of that Gift that Heralds approved of, and using it was deep in the gray area of Valdemar’s laws. Certainly using a gift to such advantage when you were committing a crime was absolutely wrong and would incur harsher punishment. Yet, in a situation like this where Dalen was on Crown business, defending his life and that of a Herald against people who were obviously Valdemar’s enemies, well using his own Mindspeech in such a way would not necessarily be considered wrong.

It wasn’t like reading a person’s mind at all. Rather it was like feeling what a person was about to do more than anything else. Certainly words did not come across in the light touch that Dalen put on both of his attacker’s minds. Still, he rolled to the ground and came back up in a spot that was clear of either of them, forcing them to cross more ground and come closer together in order to attack him.

Dalen was tired, exhausted, and not in any shape for a prolonged physical fight. His muscles were sore from all the recent horseback riding he’d done, and his mind was exhausted and a reaction headache was already setting in from his use of his magic. There was only way he was going to walk out the victor in this fight and it was to use every dirty trick he had in his book.

“Take him!” One of the two mercs roared as they closed on Dalen. Fortunately Dalen read the intent in the man’s mind and knew he was going to step to Dalen’s right instead of forward like the other man did. Dalen’s own sword flashed in a quick parry of the silent soldier’s blow and his empty left hand came across with a vicious blow to the man’s solar plexus. Then Dalen spun around and his sword was in just the right position to block the other merc’s blow. His attacker growled and Dalen just grinned while spinning away and letting the silent attacker’s blade slide into the other merc’s chest.

Dalen’s return blow managed to take the entire head off of the still-living fighter. Dalen’s arm wobbled a bit as he struggled to keep his grip on his sword, but he did drop to his knees in shock as the body fell to the ground with blood spurting out of the severed neck. The little bit of food he’d eaten earlier came back up as the smell and splattered blood hit him.

“Dalen, you alright?” Paet’s breathless question tugged Dalen back to the present and he looked up at the gray-clad Trainee who was blood-spattered just like Dalen.

“I… it…” Dalen stammered and there was pity in Paet’s voice.

“I know, it’s different when it’s close like this.” Paet said softly. “The other time, that ambush, you weren’t up close with them like this, were you?”

“No.” Dalen admitted, but he was feeling calmer now and took a deep breath. The smell of his own vomit was added to the others, but he had better control now and didn’t vomit again. Instead he stood up, still holding his bloodied sword and shook his head. The Armsmaster had warned him, but Dalen realized the warning was just a pale version of reality. When you used Mindspeech like that, to anticipate the moves of an opponent, you could feel it when they died. He now had an idea of what it was like to die, and if Paet just assumed it was because he was so close to the death this time, well that was fine by him. “I mean, yeah, it’s different. Their blood is all over us.”

“It’ll wash off.” Paet said calmly. “Dana’s fine, but the horses scattered when you used your magic to fry that guy. We need to get moving before more of them come.”

“You’re right.” Dalen said with a sigh. He put his bloody hands to his mouth and let loose with a fierce whistle. His mount was well-trained, and he could hear the sounds of hooves approaching a moment later. While he waited, Dalen bent down and started cleaning his sword before returning it to its sheath. Paet was doing the same, although Dalen had another step to take.

With exhausted mental ‘hands’, he reached out to that nearby ley-line and established a firm link with it. Power flooded back to him with a very satisfactory wave and he processed it inside of him, turning it from the untamed magic it was into his own personal store of power. Once established, he could do this without having to concentrate solely on it, but as tired as he was he decided to take no risks.

“I’ll get us ready to go.” Paet said when Dalen sat down and sent a brief explanation to Paet using Mindspeech.

They were ready to leave before Dalen was ready to drop the link. His power reserves weren’t totally replenished, but he acknowledged Paet’s impatience to get going and stood up when they reached the two-thirds point. That was close enough, and once they got on the trail, he could let his horse follow the Companion while he continued recharging.

“I’m going to need some more time to recharge.” Dalen said tiredly as he climbed into his saddle after Paet had mounted his Companion.

“I’ll take the lead, no problem.” Paet said as he began the extended process of reloading his pistol weapons. As cumbersome as they were, both were reloaded long before Dalen had finished his own recharging. He was tired, exhausted if he cared to think about it, but they had to keep on moving from the site of the ambush.

“I feel better.” Dalen lied when they’d been on the road for an hour with the only sound coming from the hooves of the four-footed ones.

“How do you think they found us?” Paet asked.

“Sentries, probably.” Dalen shrugged. “Or maybe we tripped a mage alarm and I didn’t notice it in time. It could have been a lot of things.”

“You heard them talking, right?” Paet asked.

“Yes, they were doing it in front of me.” Dalen said. “The spell they used, well it blocked our abilities by keeping us in a state of panic, where we couldn’t concentrate on things enough to use them.”

“I caught most of what they were saying.” Paet said slowly. “It has me worried, that the Black Kings are involved in this, and they put a price on the heads of Heralds.”

“I thought you weren’t worried, that Valdemar always wins these things.” Dalen teased his friend and regretted it when he saw the frown on Paet’s face as he turned in his saddle to look at Dalen. His companion dropped back until they were riding side by side now.

“Valdemar may win, but that doesn’t mean a lot of people don’t die along the way.” Paet said softly. “I almost thought we were going to die there. You saved my life, you know.”

“It was both of us that got us out of there.” Dalen said with a very small grin for his friend. At the moment, it was all he could manage. “If you and your Companion had not been there, well I wouldn’t have survived. They’d have overpowered me and killed me or knocked me out and taken me.”

“I’m a Herald.” Paet said sourly. “I should have…”

“Stop it.” Dalen warned his friend tiredly. “Heralds are human just like the rest of us. If Herald Landir were here, he’d tell you that you did just fine. He will tell you that when we meet back up with him.”

“Yeah, but I still feel like…” Paet mumbled.

I’ll take care of him, mage. A feminine voice sounded in Dalen’s head and he looked into the Companion’s blue eyes. We were all caught off guard there, but you did break the paralysis spell. Thank you.

You’re welcome. Dalen replied to her privately and Paet got the distant look he often did when she was mindspeaking him. Now it was Dalen’s turn to stand guard while his friend had a much-needed conversation with his Companion. That was fine. Dalen understood that Companions were in many cases wiser than their Herald, more experienced in these matters. That was what made them Companions.

Since there was now no doubt in his mind that the other mages knew he was there, Dalen tiredly spun out a few moving wards that would follow them and let him know if they were being followed. From now on he’d cast wards every time they stopped and then some so that they were not caught off guard again. He also readied himself to cast shields on very short notice. With the mental preparation, he could get shields over him and over Paet at the first sign of trouble.

“You can be the best mage, the best swordsman, the best anything, but if you are not prepared you are dead.” Herald Torrance had told him during one of their first lessons. His old, lined face was serious as he spoke. “There aren’t many Heralds that get to my age despite the fact that we are some of the best fighters, gifted, and mages in the world. Do you know why?”

“There are a lot of dangers out there.” Dalen gave the rote answer and Torrance smiled at him. “Yes, there are a lot of dangers out there and we get taken by surprise just as much as anyone else. If you are on your guard, ready for action, you can react quickly to surprise. If you get hit out of the blue, totally unexpected, well your opponent has the advantage and no matter how good you are or how clumsy they are, they might just win.”

Those lessons had been hammered home in Dalen by the recent events. He’d been on edge, but he’d taken risks and gotten caught by them. He and Paet had been caught off guard, but not totally unprepared. Dalen knew there was danger out there and so, while he wasn’t prepared enough to have stopped the ambush from happening, he had been prepared enough to fight his way out of the trap. Next time, he’d be even more prepared and he wouldn’t take anything for granted.

“Dana says she and your mount need to eat a little.” Paet’s voice called out just after mid-day. They’d made good progress, and for the last half-hour Paet had visibly relaxed and even chuckled at a few things his Companion had told him privately.

“We should as well.” Dalen agreed with the Companion who shot him a wink when he looked in her direction. They were now entering the lower foothills, and Paet remarked that there should be a small stream just ahead. That was one advantage he had over Dalen: knowledge of the surrounding environment. The Heralds had amassed a great deal of information about the environment of Valdemar, and often studied their maps until they had memorized all the details of wherever they were going on Circuit.

The rest when they reached the small stream did Dalen a world of good. He even managed to close his eyes for nearly half a candlemark while Paet washed their soiled clothing in the stream. The clear, cool mountain water had tasted sweet and wonderful and when Paet did wake Dalen, he felt much better.

This time their ride wasn’t quite as quiet as Paet managed to joke and talk with Dalen about other things than the ambush and the men that they had killed. Both of them were thinking about it, and the danger it meant for Valdemar. Yet, they didn’t let that stop them from enjoying what was a mild late summer afternoon.

Another stop for dinner had Dalen thinking about things and recovering his equilibrium quite a bit. He felt more centered, more ready to face what was coming, and the conversation with Paet started to turn to what they needed to do next.

For the moment, though, they were going to ride until Dalen’s mount was too tired to walk anymore. Valdemar had new enemies on its border, enemies that had to be dealt with and that appeared to be allied with their other enemies, the Black Kings. The sooner they met up with Herald Landir, Junie, and the soldiers that should be waiting for them, the sooner they’d be able to take care of business.

Valedmar and its world belong to Mercedes Lackey. Everything else belongs to dkstories. Copyright ©2013; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction that combine worlds created by the original content owner with names, places, characters, events, and incidents that are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, organizations, companies, events or locales are entirely coincidental. Authors are responsible for properly crediting Original Content creator for their creative works.
Valdemar world, characters, events belong to Mercedes Lackey and Tor Publishing
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Chapter Comments

The skirmish was exciting and nerve wracking. I enjoyed Dalen's resourcefulness and quick thinking. I was really worried for Paet and his Companion for a bit.

 

It's funny, when I read fantasy novels I often think "Man, the good guys could win this with a few walkie talkies" but even in this universe and it's higher level of technology we see that there are still communication problems.

 

Great chapter and thanks for continuing to post two a day.

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I'm enjoying this story! It really is a coming of age tale. We saw earlier how Dalen doesn't fit in well at home and was effectively thrown out, and now he is on his voyage of discovery. And I guess we'll see if he completes the hero cycle. His maturation is clear: constantly applying the lessons he's learned in the past and improvising along the way. Is he a shaych? Will he grow into his presumed destiny as a herald and, perhaps, heir presumptive? But I think you've been teasing us along the way ... Bart having to put hm to bed, Quinn being asked what his duties encompass, Paet offering to rub liniment on his sore muscles ... But all coming to naught! Hahaha!

 

Thanks for the regular postings! I appreciate something to enjoy starting my day as well as my evening!

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Yes i join with the other in saying thanks for the regular posting of two a day. Great chapter, very exciting i thought they would have been captured good turn of event, Dalen seems to be shaping up into a really great adept.

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On 01/25/2013 06:03 PM, TheGameMaster said:
I'm enjoying this story! It really is a coming of age tale. We saw earlier how Dalen doesn't fit in well at home and was effectively thrown out, and now he is on his voyage of discovery. And I guess we'll see if he completes the hero cycle. His maturation is clear: constantly applying the lessons he's learned in the past and improvising along the way. Is he a shaych? Will he grow into his presumed destiny as a herald and, perhaps, heir presumptive? But I think you've been teasing us along the way ... Bart having to put hm to bed, Quinn being asked what his duties encompass, Paet offering to rub liniment on his sore muscles ... But all coming to naught! Hahaha!

 

Thanks for the regular postings! I appreciate something to enjoy starting my day as well as my evening!

I'm glad to hear you're enjoying the story. It was originally posted a long time ago and as we bring my stories back to GA they are going up in a pattern that doesn't knock any other stories out the way they wood if we posted all of the chapters at once.

 

As for the teasing - sorry it's just soooo fun

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On 01/25/2013 01:09 PM, Rebelghost85 said:
The skirmish was exciting and nerve wracking. I enjoyed Dalen's resourcefulness and quick thinking. I was really worried for Paet and his Companion for a bit.

 

It's funny, when I read fantasy novels I often think "Man, the good guys could win this with a few walkie talkies" but even in this universe and it's higher level of technology we see that there are still communication problems.

 

Great chapter and thanks for continuing to post two a day.

I had forgotten how much I loved that first skirmish. It's a great example of smart magecraft being more important than power alone - both from the opponent and from Dalen.
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Thrilling chapter...the situation is definitely looking bleak making the turnaround that much more glorious when it occurs (I hope). Brilliant interpretation, thank you.

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