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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 - 30. Chapter 30

“You stupid idiot.” Blake murmured as he helped Dalen off of Jadev. Dalen winced as he reached the ground and sighed when he slipped his arm over Blake’s shoulder to support his weight.

What he said. Jadev murmured as Dalen tried to see the tent ahead of him. It was chaos all around them as Healers, Trainees, and Medics did their best to triage the injured.

“I will be fine until the Healers have finished with the others.” Dalen growled weakly as they stepped over the uneven ground leading to the Healer’s tents in the shelter of the Forst Reach entrance.

Somehow he noted that the fires on the west side of the keep where the Haighlei had broken through were now out. His cousins would be disappointed that the Haighlei had decided to just burn the keep down instead of going inside and getting slaughtered.

“Like hell you will.” Blake growled. “Jadev says your reserves are almost exhausted and only your little bit of Healing is keeping that wound closed. You were run through by a pike for Haven’s sake. It went clean through and you’ve only managed to close the outside part of the wound.”

Tattletale. Dalen growled at his Companion mentally.

I will have you remember that the Pikeman’s bastard friend got me with his sword too. Jadev countered. I am finding a Trainee to see to me right now.

“Fine.” Dalen growled just as a senior Healer spotted them. Dalen groaned with the pain of the wound as he realized the Healer was Elsa. The Burnham Gate must be nearly drained by all the use it had seen in the last two days as reinforcements were sent from Prince’s Retreat and anywhere else they could get more loyal Guard units.

“Get him in here now!” Elsa shouted after rushing over to Dalen and extending her gift into him for the barest of scans. Dalen noted how her face paled and admitted to himself that maybe the wound was as bad as Blake was saying.

He was semi-lucid as two Medics rushed over, taking him from Blake’s arms and laying him on a stretcher while Elsa tried to stabilize his wound with her gift. She seemed more concerned than he had been by his internal bleeding, and the fact that the wound had been inflicted almost two full hours ago probably didn’t make her job any easier from the way she was cursing ‘damn fool Heralds’.

“How bad?” Dalen whispered and she frowned at him while the Medics put him on some type of table where bright mage lights shined down. He wanted to protest at the way they cut his uniform off of him, but her look quelled his protests.

“You might live.” She growled. “I’m going to use my gift to put you out while we operate, Dalen. You should have come to us as soon as you were wounded.”

“No time.” Dalen growled at her. “It was the final push.”

“I know that.” Elsa growled at him. “We’ve been busy for the last three days, you know and it is a damn good thing we rotate ourselves unlike you Heralds.”

“How bad is it?” Dalen asked again.

“I told you…” Elsa growled but Dalen cut her off.

“No, I mean how bad are the casualties?” He repeated to make his question clear.

“At least a thousand on our side dead and twice that in wounded, which now includes you so they are someone else’s concern for the moment.” She growled, extending her gift again and this time he felt consciousness fleeing.

Luckily for him, he didn’t dream and didn’t hear the curses of the team of Healers that Elsa had grabbed to assist with his injuries. He didn’t know how close he came to dying and how they scrambled to find fresh sources of blood to replace that which he’d lost, or the desperate search among the Ashkevron relatives for similar blood types. Fortunately for him, while he didn’t quite fit the Ashekvron mold, he did share the most common blood types among his relatives and there were plenty of donors to keep his life from fading.

The last ten days had taken their toll on more than Dalen, though, and the Healers grimaced at the words he would have for them when he discovered how badly they had exhausted themselves to save his life, and how many other lives may have been lost among the wounded soldiers just to save him. They would never tell him, of course, since Healers were long accustomed to the guilty consciouses of Heralds. Still, he was no ordinary Herald, and no effort was considered too much to save him.

Ten days since the Tayledras mages had shared their startling news with Dalen had passed as his life hung in the balance.

Word came two days after his arrival that the Haighlei army was getting closer, and as Dalen predicted they were not bothering farms or villages that they passed by, except to search and seize any foodstuffs that they deemed to be in excess of the family’s needs to survive the winter. Most of those families had already sent their foodstuffs to Forst Reach for safekeeping, confident in the honesty of the Ashkevron family to pay them their fair share of any proceeds that were earned on the foodstuff.

On the night of the third day, Heralds returned from their scouting runs to report that the approaching army numbered nearly five thousand instead of the two thousand that had been expected. That night an urgent message was sent by Gate to Prince’s Retreat and another thousand Guards were deployed on the fifth day. Dalen spent those days working with Lord Mekeal, Major Mayweather, and a team of Herald-Mages as well as the two Tayledras mages who promised their magical assistance.

That gave them three full Adepts to back the Valdemaran defenders, as well as a Master-level Herald-Mage and three Journeyman-level Herald-Mages. Centuries ago an Ashekvron Herald-Mage had spent months buried in the local energy lines creating a network of nodes in the Forst Region where there previously had not been any. In the far past, all magic in the area had been routed to Highjoroune and the proto-Heartstone left there by Tayledras mages to heal a rift in the very plates of the earth, far below that city. Now there was plenty of mage energy in the area to support their defenses, and Dalen accepted the help of the Tayledras Adepts in locking and keying those nodes so their enemy could not also make use of them.

Then they’d felt the ripples of Gate energy from the approaching army and knew that they were in for more trouble. Sure enough the next day’s scouts reported the entire Haighlei army was now on the border of Forst Reach village itself and deploying for combat. Lee Mayweather had scrambled to redeploy their troops to face the new direction of the threat while Dalen and the other mages began to deal with the first mage attacks.

Magic on the battlefield traditionally had limited effectiveness. Few battlefields saw fireballs rolling across lines of troops, or lightning leaping out of the sky to blast squads of hapless soldiers. Such magics took a lot of power, and they also were easy to counter by the opposing mages. Instead mages were most effective in use before the battle begins to ‘prepare’ the way for the regular troops.

The first attack was a wave of massive, violent thunderstorms that came in from the south, a direction the Haighlei did not approach from, and was therefore unexpected until it was almost too late. Herald Lerna had spotted the storms approaching and tested them to find they were mage-driven. She didn’t have the strength to change their course, and by the time she’d reached Moonscream and Feathertouch, even they were challenged to stop the storms.

Already Valdemarans to the south had experienced hail the size of a fist, massive bursts of wind that tore the roofs off of houses, and drenching rain that caused flash flooding. They were the first victims of the Haighlei attack, although far from the last. There was no hope, even with three Adepts working together to divert the storm because it would only cause more damage wherever it went. Instead they worked to lessen the strength of the storm, spreading it out so that instead of a huge damaging storm, it stretched over four times its original breadth of land and dumped extremely cold, but only moderate rain over a good portion of Valdemar.

That nearly exhausted the three Adepts who kept their reserves full by use of the node energies. Their physical exhaustion they tried to deal with by taking naps, but the near constant harrying attacks from that point forward kept all the mages, not just the Adepts, busy almost day and night. Even rotating through shifts did little good since the attacks were often too strong for one Adept to handle alone.

If it hadn’t been for the Permanent Gate in Burnham, the battle for Forst Reach might very well have been lost before the Haighlei army even made their final approach. Thanks to the Gate they were able to receive fresh reinforcements by shifting through the available Herald-Mages that were not being sent to assist General Lofar Ashekvron in his assault on the Menmillith forward base. Even with the Gate though, they still nearly lost Forst Reach.

Somehow the Haighlei had constructed and put into use giant cannons, the likes of which no had ever seen before. Valdemar used smaller field cannons with a bore about the same width as two closed fists put together. These cannons that approached Forst Reach were ten times larger, and shot their balls of lead from nearly four times the distance. Their first salvo tore through the shields that Moonscream had raised and all but decimated half a company of soldiers.

By this time, Commander Helgenberger had been sent through the Gate with her promotion still so new that she hadn’t had time to change the rank insignia on her uniform. While she organized a cavalry raid on the cannons, Dalen reinforced the shields in a vain attempt to protect the troops. Finally it was a suggestion from an older Herald that convinced him to angle the shields so the cannon shots would roll up the shield and out of harm’s way instead of impacting it directly.

That only gave them a reprieve as their cavalry raid were driven back by Haighlei cavalry, and their attempts at using a particularly strong Firestarting gift among the Heralds failed to ignite the powder stores of the cannons. Repeated magical attacks against them also failed even though Herald-Mage Pyotr joined them in their efforts to defend the Ashkevron keep.

The battle raged for six days with Heralds imbedded in the Guard units suffering heavy casualties as they were specifically targeted. Valdemar’s greatest tool in battle had always been that their units enjoyed instant communication with their commanders. This was through the Heralds using their Mindspeech abilities to keep in contact, and even through their Companions who all spoke to one another if the Herald didn’t have a particularly strong gift in Mindspeech. With the Haighlei targeting the Heralds, any unit that lost their Herald also lost contact with the command headquarters and would often end up being cut off by the enemy before their plight was known.

On the final day of the battle, Dalen and the other mages had finally run out of power. Every node any of them could reach was totally dry and would take weeks to recover. Their own personal reserves of power had also been used up, and the cannons were beginning to break through their shields again. Two great cannonballs had struck the keep itself, starting a fire that the family’s women and children had started fighting almost immediately.

That was when Dalen had led a charge of Heralds against the cannons directly. Herald-Mage Pyotr led one group of ten Heralds while Dalen led another eight Heralds. This time, the speed of their Companions made the difference as they penetrated the defenses of the cannons in lightning raids and the two Adept-level mages used the last of their reserves to melt the bores of the cannons. It was on the last cannon that disaster struck and Herald-Mage Pyotr was run through by a mounted Haighlei officer. Dalen had gone to his aid, or tried to when a Pikeman had managed to spear him.

Blake, who had ridden next to Dalen through all this managed to take out both the Pikeman and the swordsman before either could finish their blows against Dalen and Jadev. Then he’d organized the remaining seven Heralds in the two groups to finish the job on the last cannon while Dalen focused on keeping himself alive. Another Herald had fallen on the desperate ride back to the keep, but with the destruction of the cannons, the Haighlei had begun a retreat.

They had suffered losses just as the Valdemarans had, although they had lost more mages than the Valdemarans, and had lost three soldiers for every Valdemaran killed. The Gate that opened up in their rear lines let them retreat quickly, before Commander Helgenberger could make effective use of their retreat, and by the time Dalen had reached the Healer’s tents, most of the Haighlei were gone.

Dalen came out of the blankness of the Healer created sleep with a foggy head and not really certain about what had happened after Elsa had sent him to sleep. There was a soft bed underneath him, and a feeling of quiet power flowing around him that reminded him of Burnham Vale. Opening his eyes, he saw the familiar greenery that meant sometime between then and now he had been moved by Gate back to Burnham. His attempt to sit up was met with very little resistance and almost no pain from his midsection where the pike had run him through.

“It’s about damn time.” A very familiar voice growled and Dalen looked to the side of his bed to see Bart’s familiar blond head there. There were pale circles under Bart’s eyes, and he looked slightly uncomfortable in his Whites, but his smile hadn’t changed at all, and Dalen found a similar smile forming on his face.

“You know me, a lazy indolent Prince.” Dalen said with a dramatic sigh that caused Bart to chuckle softly. “How long?”

“Six days and all the Healers say that Valdemar came damn close to losing its Heir.” Bart’s voice held that growl and the smile slipped from his face. “I’ll leave the lectures to General Ashkevron and Commander Helgenberger who are both waiting for you to wake up. The King is still at Forst Reach in discussions with Lord Mekeal about the future arrangements of Guards to be stationed there.”

“So the Haighlei were defeated?” Dalen said with a sigh of relief. There had been a nagging doubt in him that he was in Burnham because they’d lost Forst Reach.

“They turned tail and ran after you got done trouncing them.” Bart said.

“We lost Pyotr.” Dalen said. He had barely known the man, but had come to respect his abilities. The Herald-Mage’s training had been more stereotypical since he was a less powerful Adept, but he’d been a good mage.

“We also lost a total of twenty-nine Heralds.” Bart added and Dalen winced before nodding. “Lord Mekeal left a letter for you detailing the losses among the Ashkevron family, and a reminder not to blame yourself. They died defending their home and if you hadn’t been there, more would have died, probably all of them because they would have fought with or without you.”

“How nice of him.” Dalen said but he knew that the words were the truth. The Ashkevrons were already fighting, he’d just stepped up to fight by their side. Bart’s face was stern and Dalen wondered for a moment how he’d been handling everything. He hadn’t seen Bart since Dalen first went to Burnham, back before the assassination of King Rothar. “What about you? Any word on your family?”

“Our Vale is fine.” Bart said with a shrug. “They are helping the Heralds and Guards up north, and my father says that you had damn well better share this secret of Permanent Gates with Moonscream and Feathertouch. Both of them are here, by the way, and want some of your undivided attention. The two of them have been all over this Vale, and not just the domes, but the entire park area and are so excited I could tell that without these damn Gifts that decided to go active on me and get me stuck with a Companion.”

He’s lucky he no longer has Wren to tease him. Jadev opined and Dalen almost jumped, having forgotten to speak to his Companion. Yes, bad Herald. Ignoring your Companion for some handsome blond man in your bedchamber.

It’s not like that. Dalen growled while suppressing a shudder at thinking of Bart in that manner. He’s my friend. Oh, and I’m awake, dear.

I am not your ‘dear’. Jadev said and then his voice filled with relief. I am glad to see you are awake and recovering. Talk to Bart. You and I will talk more later.

Oh great. Dalen sighed physically and turned to look at Bart. “Jadev is promising to talk to me later. I think I need to go back to sleep.”

“He’s been near frantic about you and pissed that they won’t let him back here right now.” Bart said with a chuckle. “I know Anton has been jumpy every time I’m sleeping somewhere away from him. Wren dropped my bond with her when he arrived, but he and I couldn’t bond properly until we got to Prince’s Retreat.”

“How are you healing?” Dalen asked him.

“I’m good.” Bart said with a sigh. “The Haighlei never bothered me until after the escape attempt. I think your mother had something to do with that. They would come at night, and sometimes we could hear them in the corridors. I woke when they were outside my door and heard one of the say ‘not that one, the Regent said to leave him alone’. I didn’t think she liked me that well.”

“My mother has a few surprises in her.” Dalen said with a sigh. “Pity that she couldn’t protect all the Heralds.”

“It shouldn’t be her needing to protect us.” Bart growled angrily but shrugged quickly. “I know, Anton’s right, and there is no use fuming about the situation. We just need to deal with things as they come and be prepared to win this once and for all.”

“Oh, is there a final plan?” Dalen asked with real interest.

“Not likely.” Bart said with a shrug. “We’re reinforcing the cities and areas that we still hold, but the Haighlei are doing the same. All the Guard units in areas they control are either disbanded or have fled to join our loyal units. The sham of being here to ‘help’ is over and it is a blatant occupation now.”

“What about Haven?” Dalen asked with a dry mouth. Bart smiled at him and handed him a cup of water before answering.

“We’ve lost contact with most of our agents there.” Bart answered while watching Dalen drink the water. “It’s not good. Most of the Guard units were arrested and disarmed while still in their barracks, but a few hundred escaped when they saw the Gates go up around the city. The Haighlei have Gated in thousands of troops to hold onto it now.”

“That’s not good.” Dalen frowned after finishing the water. His mouth was dry, but not too bad, and was getting hungry.

“We can talk about all that later.” Bart said with a wave of his hand. “I am supposed to tell the Healers that you are awake, which I did by telling Anton, who told Mavren’s Companion and she’s telling the Healers. I am supposed to be giving you a lecture as King’s Own to Heir about recklessly endangering yourself.”

“Oh sure, now you pull rank on me.” Dalen teased and Bart smiled.

“That’s right, don’t forget I rank you now.” Bart teased him back. “I will until you take the crown, and knowing you that won’t happen if there’s any other way, so I’ll always rank you from now on, Prince Dalen.”

“Oh how my mother would have a fit.” Dalen laughed but the memory of his mother sobered him briefly.

“Ah, our patient is awake at last.” Healer Malcolm, one of the younger Healers Dalen had met said as he came in the room with two Trainees in pale green carrying trays and a bag. While the Healer came in and sat on the edge of Dalen’s bed, they set the trays on two small tables before moving them to where the Healer could reach them, and then set the bag on Dalen’s bed next to Malcolm.

“Blame Elsa for putting me to sleep like that.” Dalen growled good-naturedly and was happy that the Healer took his words as the joke he intended.

“You’ve got a visitor list ten feet long waiting for me to tell them you’re awake.” Malcolm said with a chuckle. “Be nice or I will let them in all at the same time.”

“You are a vicious Healer, aren’t you?” Dalen asked with a laugh as the man put his hands over Dalen’s midsection and extended his gift.

“I am getting all the experience needed in how to handle difficult patients.” Malcolm said with a shake of his head. “As often as you have needed our services, we are considering assigning a Trainee to shadow you everywhere you go in case you need immediate attention and we do not have three Healers to pull off other patients to keep you alive.”

“I am sorry.” Dalen said with a frown as he immediately wondered how many other patients had suffered because he needed so much attention.

“You saved many lives and shortened the battle greatly, according to the soldiers whose job it is to know such things.” Malcolm said with a shake of his head. “Your midsection is repaired, and all the organs that were damaged are working normally again. You will, of course, be in bed for the remainder of this day. Tomorrow, I will have one of our Healers that specializes in physical recovery come and help you remember how to walk again.”

“Healer Shaia?” Bart asked and Malcolm nodded, causing Bart to groan good-naturedly as he shook his head at Dalen. “My friend, I think I will go back to Prince’s Retreat when she shows up. She is a harsh taskmistress – worse than any of the Herald Armstrainers I know.”

“She is efficient and capable of making sure her patients recover the full use of their bodies as quickly as possible.” Malcolm said serenely. “The fact that she is quite good at what she does should be a reason to thank her.”

“Oh, I do, I do.” Bart laughed. “I just don’t want her setting me any more exercises when she sees me.”

“I am sure she will be happy to see you up and moving around with barely a limp.” Malcolm said with a glance at a cane leaning against the wall. Dalen hadn’t noticed it before and frowned.

“I’ll only need it for another week or two.” Bart said to Dalen who nodded slowly.

“Now, if you will excuse us, we have some examinations to perform.” Malcolm said to Bart who nodded before getting up, grabbing the cane and limping on his way out. What followed for the next hour was the most exhaustive exam Dalen had ever undergone from a Healer. It led him to understand how closely he had almost died and Malcolm told him it was only his own Healing abilities that had kept him alive long enough to reach the Healer’s tents.

The list of dietary restrictions was long, as were the lists of what he could not do until given clearance by a Healer. Chief among those lists was getting out of bed without help, even to use the watercloset. What made it worse was the list of magic he could and could not perform, to a level of detail that meant they had to have spoken carefully with Moonscream and Feathertouch. When the Healer left, Dalen was considering they should have just given him a list of what he could do, which was pretty much sleep and eat what they gave him to eat.

Oh, and to stay cheerful.

Dalen was left to stare at the foliage around his bed while a Trainee Healer sat in a nearby chair studying what looked like a thick textbook. The Trainee was a few years older than Dalen and his few attempts at conversation with the man left him deciding the foliage was far more interesting. Maybe in a year or two, the man would improve his bedside manner, but for now he seemed to be more interested in finishing his studies than conversing with Dalen.

The Trainee livened up a bit after Dalen’s lunch was delivered by a smiling Quinn. The young man was more than happy to stay a few moments and share information about what had happened to him and his family. They’d had a few tense moments as the Haighlei questioned them about the Vale, but after that they had largely been left alone. After the Haighlei had been driven out of Burnham, Quinn and the others had returned to the Vale and were now actually expanding the staff there that was providing support for the Vale and its occupants.

“Them Heralds and Healers have pretty much taken over all the domes.” Quinn said with a smile. “We’ve got three more cooks now, and six assistants. Gramma is happy that we’ve got more gardeners now for the gardens outside too. Those Hawkbrothers have been all over the place talking up a storm and giving directions about clearing some place near the middle of the park area.”

“It’s good to see you safe.” Dalen said with a nod before the Healer Trainee frowned at him and reminded him to eat more of the paste that was supposed to be his lunch. He grimaced but started spooning it into his mouth while Quinn excused himself. No sooner than he’d finished lunch and the Trainee had taken the tray away when more visitors arrived.

“Heyla, brother.” Moonscream’s voice boomed in the small room as he entered with a grinning Feathertouch behind him. The two of them looked well rested and happy.

“Heyla, Moonscream.” Dalen said easily. The two were no longer strangers after having fought together and shared a great deal of magic in the days defending Forst Reach.

“You look better than when we arrived in this place.” Feathertouch said gently as the two disdained the chairs and sat on either side of his bed. “Your Healers are quite exceptional. I doubt our Healers in the Vales would have been able to save your life after playing with that pike.”

“I got lucky.” Dalen said, finally realizing just how close to death he’d come. It was a scary thing, realizing that he could die so easily.

“You did.” Moonscream said in a voice that did not boom. “We are all lucky because I do not think we will be able to finish the creation of more Gates without you. In the days you were healing, we studied the Gate you have here. Most of it we can copy without too much difficulty, but the connections to the node, and the regulation of power through the Gate itself we do not understand.”

“It isn’t easy.” Dalen said with a chuckle. “It felt like years, not a few weeks that I was stuck in that plane with Windfire.”

“He was a genius, as are you, it appears.” Moonscream laughed without hurting Dalen’s eardrums too much. “I shall enjoy learning from you.”

“Not as much as I’ll enjoy it when I can teach it to you.” Dalen said with a sigh. “Then at least I should be allowed to get out of this damn bed.”

“Do not attempt it now.” Feathertouch said with a wide smile. “Your Healers gave us strict instructions before allowing us this visit. I do not wish to see them attempt what they threatened if we violate their rules.”

“Healers.” Moonscream snorted. “They are likely to be able to do what they threatened. So, we will abide by their restrictions no matter our eagerness.”

“We have an offer for you, Dalen of Valdemar.” Feathertouch said gently. “After looking at this Gate, we believe that we can copy all but the last steps. More, we have discussed it with our Vales, and they are willing to allow us to stay here for the next year in order for us to proceed, under your guidance of course. You will have other duties, of course, but we do not need you at every moment.”

“No, I’ll just need to help at certain points.” Dalen agreed.

“Valdemar needs such Gates almost as much as we need them.” Moonscream said and his voice was almost normal now. “That is why we will each be making one, and when they are complete, one will go to Valdemar and one to the Clans.”

“I think we can agree on that.” Dalen said cautiously. He’d have to run it by Dell, but he couldn’t imagine the King refusing.

“There is another thing.” Feathertouch added. “After some research, we believe that we can direct three more strong ley-lines to this place.”

“That is a lot of power.” Dalen said with wide eyes. “I mean, with the lines that are here now, it’ll be almost as many as those feeding the Haven Heartstone.”

“They will make the creation of a Heartstone here much easier.” Feathertouch agreed with a nod. “It is clear that this Gate will benefit greatly if it is tied to a stone instead of a regular node.”

“Windfire wanted to do that, but he couldn’t justify leaving a heartstone here in Valdemar.” Dalen admitted. “When his experiments were a success, he had planned to tie them into the k’Chona Vale Heartstone.”

“That would be sensible.” Feathertouch agreed. “Still, Valdemar already has a Heartstone, and when you retake Haven you can either move this Gate there and deactivate the Stone, or leave it here. We will trust Valdemar to make the right choice. You have done so already with the Haven Heartstone.”

“Thank you.” Dalen said with a nod. “Any assistance you can give will be appreciated.”

“And that is that.” Moonscream said with a smile as he stood. “Continue your healing, brother. We will need you soon.”

“Thank you.” Dalen said with a nod and watched the two leave. When the Trainee returned, Dalen gave him a smile that grew even wider when he saw the man standing in the doorway after the Trainee.

“You look like manure, son.” Lofar Ashkevron said with a wide grin on his face and Dalen returned the smile, suddenly feeling better at the sight of his father.

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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so sad, Dalen is still not learning i see, but that is to be expected. i still don't see how he can defend his mother without shame sigh.

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On 02/05/2013 01:08 AM, itachibones said:
so sad, Dalen is still not learning i see, but that is to be expected. i still don't see how he can defend his mother without shame sigh.
I think his last look at her in the palace before heading out ot fry Diers should have been a big clue. Also look at how he handled the guardsmen that were escorting him.


That's something about Heralds that made me know I'd never be one. I'm too harsh in my judgments, too willing to swipe away any good because of the bad being done. Bottom line is I'm too unforgiving. Heralds forgive, and while they do take harsh actions (like frying Diers), they look at the whole picture, the whole person, and they give second chances where they can.

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We need a miracle. Something huge needs to drop in order to take on a standing army 10% of the size of Valdemar. Hopefully Dalen's father has something.


I agree with you about forgiveness. I can understand second chances but when Dalen explained the Healer's responsibilities to the Haighlei I almost yelled against it. At the very least, any injured mages should be killed immediately. I don't know if I'd have it in me to forgive a people who brainwashed my friends and enslaved hundreds of thousands (at least) of people with blood magic.

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On 02/05/2013 10:12 AM, Rebelghost85 said:
We need a miracle. Something huge needs to drop in order to take on a standing army 10% of the size of Valdemar. Hopefully Dalen's father has something.


I agree with you about forgiveness. I can understand second chances but when Dalen explained the Healer's responsibilities to the Haighlei I almost yelled against it. At the very least, any injured mages should be killed immediately. I don't know if I'd have it in me to forgive a people who brainwashed my friends and enslaved hundreds of thousands (at least) of people with blood magic.

Miracles are not uncommon in Valdemar history - just look at the existence of Companions and their Heralds. Beings sent by the gods should count as a minor miracle.


Just be careful what you ask for from the gods (especially the Shin'a'in Star-Eyed Lady). You might just get it!

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Dalen's loyalty to his mother is sweet, though completely undeserved, but it's hard to write one's parents. It's was nice opening the chapter with Bart and ending it with Dalen's father.

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