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~ Previous Chapter ~
We come to it at last. It is the end!
The edge of the Wrathlen
“WELL, THAT WAS an impressive display.”
Monster cowered in the corner while Riame laughed in the middle of the room with her twin. The lamplight on the map table turned her skin honey-gold and her eyes glinted with inner mischief. But Monster could smell her – she was worried.
“It was,” her twin agreed, sounding pensive. “But by the wrong side. One cannot help but wonder -”
Whatever it was that he was wondering went unsaid as the door crashed open and Lord Yullik stormed in. Storm was the perfect word for it, Willym thought as Monster curled even tighter into its shadowy corner. The lord of the kaz-naghkt was fury barely contained within the fragile confines of his body. His black hair was wind-tossed and snarled, his cheeks scored with lines of strain, his eyes narrow and intent.
Lord Yullik had taken his kaz-naghkt to Nimbys – and he had lost.
“Decided to join us at last?” Riame enquired sweetly.
Roaring, Yullik lunged at the map table, sweeping all the charts and books piled upon on it onto the floor. The lamp went too, hitting the boards with a crunch and a tinkle, the glass shattering the room into darkness.
Monster tensed in corner, listening hard. All he could hear was laboured breathing as Yullik strained to bring his temper back under control.
Something moved, a rustle of cloth, a soft footfall, then a snick as flint was struck.
Light returned as Rion lit a fresh lamp, stepping over the wreckage on the floor to place it with deliberate care on the now-empty map table.
For a long moment they all stared at the fragile flame as it greedily drank the oil beneath it, growing fatter and stronger. Then Riame bent down to retrieve a map from the floor.
“So, we’re here,” she said, smoothing the paper over the table as if nothing had happened. “And I believe the remains of our little fleet is somewhere…” She paused, then circled her hand over the vast empty space between Nimbys and their current base on the eastern edge of the Wrathlen. “Around here, perhaps?”
“There is no little fleet,” Yullik snarled.
The twins looked up at him and blinked, but whatever surprise they were feeling was quickly hidden. Riame smiled. “Well, that should make mooring around Aquila a lot easier come the spring.” As if the loss of fifteen prime pirate skyships was of no import.
Then again, as Willym watched from Monster’s protective crouch, to these three the loss of anything but themselves was indeed nothing.
“How fare your kaz-naghkt?” Rion dared to ask.
Yullik looked at him, pale eyes burning with an inner glow. Monster shuddered, remembering the battle, seeing the black tide sweep down on Nimbys, sensing victory within their grasp.
Until the dragons came.
Ah, the dragons. Willym could still feel that roar shivering inside his blood. Monster still flinched at every flash of light, expecting that unnatural lightning to come looking for them.
Even on their little spit of land, two miles away from the battle, far from the nearest ships, Willym had felt that roar wash over him. Had felt it smash into him. If it hadn’t been for Yullik, he would have tumbled from the rocks and fallen into the Cloud Sea.
As so many kaz-naghkt had done.
So many had gone to Nimbys; so few would return to Aquila.
Yet Yullik was smiling.
Standing in the captains’ cabin, staring at the map table, pale eyes aglow, Yullik smiled. Then, seeing the bemusement on his companions’ faces, he started to laugh.
“They think they’re ready for us now,” he chuckled, tracing his fingers over the inked peaks of Imercian, pausing to tap twice on Nimbys. “They think they can take us.”
A look passed between the twins – raised eyebrows, small smirks – they believed the Riders and dragons could too.
“Confidence is such a fickle thing,” Yullik murmured, stroking his hand over the empty Cloud Sea to a tiny island, all alone in the middle of nowhere. “Let us see them repeat their tricks on Aquila’s walls.”
And the lord of the kaz-naghkt laughed.
And we’re done!
Until Aquila’s War begins in early October.
Thank you so much for reading along.
A long overdue post about editing and release schedules will appear soon,
and if you’re a Dragonlands fan, you’ll want to pay attention.
In the meantime, cheers, m’dears, and I hope to see you again soon!