Monday, March 7, 2016

The King's Challenge #238 and #239

Part 8
Enris Makar

TKC 238 and 239

Resting on my sword, I study the situation.

There are less than thirty Ilfin remaining to me. This untried army has shrunk to virtually nil. Everyone else we brought across the plains is dead. Those who are left are the fit men and women able to run long and fast enough to escape the Glonu – that is how they have survived until now, for they are not fighters. The old and the young are gone, as well as those who were too slow.

My gaze lifts to my sister. She is known as Lyra here – how strange.

Lyra’s aura is one of grief and horror, and helplessness. I have seen her employ her talents to kill and it bows her soul.

Damin Mur has lost all expression. He sits on a boulder alongside Lyra, but there is nothing to read in him. Damin is now a true soldier. He functions on automatic and he possesses the stamina to go on long after others surrender.

The older man, Mirlin, has not given in yet, but he is close to simply sitting and waiting for death to take him. He is now the sole westerner left in the gathering.

The one Damin calls Artur is indefatigable. The man is huge and refuses to surrender. He is also filled with rage. Apparently he is the final survivor from a place known as Grenmassin, other than Lyra and Damin.

The Messengers Joseph and Hanna, although older, have kept up. Their auras are of hopelessness.

My ghostly comrades have fallen, but they did us a service in taking all ethereal Glonu with them.

We now fight real men with mighty weapons and an inexhaustible supply of ammunition. The time of the sword has passed. Fortunately these men have no talents; it is the single advantage remaining to us.

Straightening, I sheath my blade. I wonder how we will win this as I do so. Our options are now limited. At present all we can do is run and hide.

Hearing the whine of cruisers, I squint through the foliage. One flies over too swiftly to mark our position, and there are at least four others in the region. Far enough away not to see us, by the lower tones of their engines.

“Damin!” I call out.

The fair-headed man stands and closes in. I notice he does not look at Lyra, and she watches him sadly. They are married, but in war love cannot function well.

“Enris.” Damin halts in front of me.

“Tell them we stop for ten minutes only.” I have made him my second.

The man folds his arms. “They are exhausted.”

“I am aware, but we will generate a heat signature the cruisers will read. Ten minutes.”

Damin nods stiffly and heads back to his perch. I hear him tell the others; no one responds. They are indeed exhausted.

Lyra strides towards me, her face set in determination. “Horin, we need …”

“My name is Enris,” I state.

She curses under her breath. “Whatever, brother. Now you listen to me; I am older than you are …”

“I am the eldest Makar,” I interrupt her. “Even if you could claim years on me as my sister, you have not before been to war. Here my word is law.”

She blinks at me, taken aback. “Enris, please.”

I lean closer to whisper, “Find the path to the Spire. We have not much time left to us. The slower you are, the more will die.’

She pales markedly, and swings away to return to Damin’s side. I inhale for equilibrium. Hurting her is not my intention, but it is a truth, without our ethereal guides, we are lost. Lyra alone knows how to find the Spire, for all view of it has been obscured by cloud and smoke. As a landmark it has vanished, leaving nothing to follow.

We must find it or we are doomed.

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