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Home Index of Cornell: The Resurrected Hero

Home Index of Tales of Strange Adventures

"Call of the Dragon, Pt I" Cornell #1

"Call of the Dragon, Pt II" Cornell #2

"Ruins and Hopes"

"Shield Maiden" Cornell #3

"Warrior Eternal" Cornell #4

"Childhood of a Fighter"

"The Pledge" Cornell #5

"The Rock of Discontent"

"A Tale of the Gods"

"The Miracle of Solstice Day" Cornell #6


The Miracle of Solstice Day

  by Marc H. Wyman & Chris Bogues

Index page

Chapter 5 / Chapter 6 / Chapter 7

  Chapter Six

 “It’s freezing,” Barandas complained and peered carefully over the edge of the roof he and Sylasa lay on, down to the road crossing through the sea of storage buildings of varying size, with a diverse range of signs (or none at all) attached to them. He’d read every one of them during the long wait in the afternoon, amusing himself more or less by thinking up puns for each of the signs. “This is the desert,” he said semi-reasonably. “It’s supposed to be hot, not cold.”

Sylasa harumphed. “I told you to get a coat. As soon as the sun is gone, temperatures fall.”

She was right in that dusk had come quickly. She was also right about the desert – tides of magic, Barandas had spent the better part of the past two months travelling through Tonomat. Not that the knowledge made him feel any more comfortable. “You don’t have one,” he muttered. “I thought we’d be done and out of here before nightfall.”

“My armor keeps me warm. Now be silent.”

“Talking keeps my mouth from turning into an icicle!”

Sylasa looked at him, her eyes full of concern that heightened Barandas’ hopes. Then she said sweetly, “Mumble quietly, like an old, demented fool, or I will rip your jaw off.”

Quickly Barandas turned his eyes away from here, huddled closer to the roof, hoping for some warmth from his robe. From Sylasa he wouldn’t get any – not even emotional support, obviously.

I should have stuck with Cornell, he told himself. He only nags, but I don’t think he’d ever hurt me. With Sylasa, he absolutely wasn’t sure. Shivering, he looked again out at the storage house they were watching. It was an ordinary stone building, with a flat roof four stories above the ground – one lower than the one that Barandas was on. A broad window was cut in what would have been the fourth floor in any other building, and through the glass pane the wizard had seen that inside there were no stories, just one large hall, with crates stacked up neatly towards one end, and a barricade of more crates like a wedge towards the entrance. The point of the wedge was at the doorway, allowing for a maximum of defense capability.

And defenses there were plenty.

In the daytime, now and then a patrol of two men had walked slowly around the building, wearing heavy black overcoats with hoods. Through the window, though, Barandas had seen what the men wore under the overcoats – shiny imperial armor and helmets, including obviously their curved blades.

Sylasa had mentioned that, he remembered. But the prize, stored in one crate at the furthest end of the wedge, would be worth the risk. Or so he’d thought. Now, shivering in the evening cold, watching the torches blaze inside the opposite building, the Tonomai guards sitting around their prize, blades in their laps – well, he was starting to reconsider.

He’d counted fifteen guards thus far. There was a chance that some more were outside his line of sight – admittedly, he might also have counted too high. After all, there had been a lot of movement inside the building, and he was too far to see the faces of the imperials.

Barandas dug in his pockets, searching for the Modayrean firelighter. He was sure that Sylasa would scold him if he tried to actually light it – and really, the tine flame it produced would give him little comfort. Bloody tides, it was cold up here. Why couldn’t they just get going and – well – do something? Maybe go back to the tavern, that wouldn’t be a bad idea, after all. The Crimson Talon was surely warm, and there was the innkeeper’s daughter. No matter what Cornell said, she was a good-looking girl – and far more probably to respond to his charms than Sylasa. All the Gods in the Great Beyond, he knew he should have stayed away from Sylasa! The woman was trouble. Why, he’d told that to Cornell, hadn’t he? But did he heed his own warnings? Nooooo, of course not.

“It’s time,” Sylasa said calmly. “Get ready to cast your fireballs, wizard.”

She tapped his arm, then started crawling over to the ladder attached to the side of this building. Her silver armor was strangely dark, as if it started to absorb whatever light shone its way. But if it did, then it shouldn’t have still looked silvery, should it?

Damn that woman, Barandas cursed. He wasn’t all that eager to start messing with those Tonomai warriors. There were a lot more than he had thought, for one thing. For another, this plan had seemed to make a lot more sense before they had gotten here.

Casting another glance across the chasm between the buildings, through the window showing the imperial guards inside, he cursed again, then hurried to follow the warrior woman.

Moments later they were on the ground. The wizard glanced quickly inside their own storage building – they had rented it in the afternoon, and the wagon stood inside, with the horses half-asleep. “Flink!” Barandas muttered.

The alreu’s voice answered directly behind him, “Yes, Master Wizard?”

A curse and an insult already on his tongue, Barandas was saved from answering when Sylasa curtly told Flink, “Get the horses ready. We’ll be needing them in a few minutes.”

The alreu nodded, then vanished inside the building. Sylasa looked at Barandas with a raised eyebrow. “Prepare your light grenade.”

We should really, truly talk about this again, Barandas thought wistfully, knowing that it would do him no good. The ‘light grenade’ she’d mentioned was one of the easiest spells in a wizard’s arsenal – and therefore one that Barandas felt rather secure about. (Not entirely, as with so many other spells. Paying more attention in class might have helped.) A few words in the arcane language of magic, a bit of his power, that was all.

It should work.

He loosened the short sword he always kept under his robe. He might not be very adept with it – nowhere close to Cornell or Sylasa -, but he knew how to use it. Just in case his power ran out, and the fireballs didn’t work anymore. It might happen, he reasoned to himself. Not that he didn’t trust himself, he just had this strange affliction of seeing reality and not wanting to take any chances.

“Repeat the plan,” Sylasa growled.

What? Don’t you think I’ve memorized every tiny little detail of your plan by now? He ignored the sarcastic comments in his mind and quickly ran down the points, “I throw the ‘grenade’, then I rush towards the crate, attach the levitation appliance you gave me and activate it. I push the crate outside, don’t mind whatever is happening around me, straight for Flink who is waiting outside the gates. I put the crate onto the wagon, throw covering fireballs for you to come on board, turn the appliance off, and then we drive as fast as we can. Did I miss anything?”

Sylasa didn’t bother with an answer as she was already moving towards the building with the imperials, each movement so graceful that a cat would stop to admire her. To his great fortune, Barandas had learned his lesson from Chazevo and paid her as little mind as was possible. (Fearing for his life as he was, he barely noticed her.)

 He closed his eyes for a moment, concentrated on the right words for the spell – one hand on the short sword, the other on the levitation appliance. (How he wished to study it closely! It looked so new, freshly made, not old and dusty like most of the others of its kind. Modayre, he’d decided earlier. No other land could boast of wizards as adept at creating magical appliances.) It would consume some of his magical powers to turn on – who knew how much? Perhaps even so much that he couldn’t cast any fireballs? Oh, dear gods, I know I haven’t paid that much attention to you in my life, but could you perhaps cut me some slack here?

Prayer wasn’t the kind of thing he was good at. Besides, he was in Tonomat, and his own gods were so far away that it was surely useless to apply for their support. None of them would help him. The only deity he had ever really cared about was the Goddess of Love. A shame that Alyssa had never cared about him in return.

Who needs gods? he thought angrily and hurried to follow Sylasa.



Bwyell, we have a problem,” Gabe sighed towards his axe. Of course the metal was unresponsive, as always. But often enough, it felt right talking to his axe. It was of dwarven make, and dwarves said that each of their weapons held a soul of its own. Well, not as literally as Cornell’s buckler did, of course. After all that he and bwyell had been through, after all the times that his trusty axe had saved him from certain doom, Gabe was sure that the dwarves were right. One day he would have to look up Tramalow, the smith who had made bwyell for Gabe, and thank him. If the dwarf had forgotten about the circumstances, that was.

Gabe shook his head and shouldered bwyell. He’d spent the afternoon looking all across Atnas for Barandas and Flink, earning more than one bewildered glance when he asked for them. Mostly because few of the Tonomai spoke meantongue. All right, some of the bewilderment stemmed from the sight of a man such as he was – clad in furs despite the heat of the day. He didn’t mind. Tonomai could not understand the significance of his clothes, could not understand what it meant to him. Not even Cornell knew. His friend thought that Gabe kept this garb because of his barbarian heritage, when really the furs reminded him of his home more than anything else. The house he had built for his wife and himself, next to Toriel’s. He’d worn furs like these when he had been working on the house, with Caeryl – similarly clad – watching him.

“He wouldn’t like it,” Gabe told bwyell. “And he’ll like it less that I haven’t found Flink yet. You’d think it was easy to find an alreu, wouldn’t you? The little one must have stolen something, right?”

The axe remained silent, which Gabe took as a sign of consent.

Where was Flink? And where was that overbearing wizard? He wouldn’t have minded losing Barandas when they moved on. Who needed a magic-wielder, anyway. All the problems facing Cornell and Gabe could be solved by solid, good metal. Hokey magic was no replacement for a good blade.

But he wondered where the alreu was. Flink was liable to get into trouble – he’d proven that often enough in the time he had journeyed with Gabe. Thus far the barbarian had always managed to pry the alreu loose from any of his problems, but now he was starting to worry. Had a shopkeeper decided to do away with Flink, after he caught the alreu stealing?

Gabe didn’t want to think about that too much. He knew what he would do to that shopkeeper if he found out. Bwyell would have a good time, that was for certain. But he didn’t want to find that his fears were true.

“Great Keshmire, God of Battle, keep my little friend safe,” he whispered, hoping that Keshmire could hear him, this far away from Robhovard.

He and bwyell were in a more or less deserted part of Atnas – deserted at this late a time of day. Most of the houses around him were for storage, and the only living souls aside from rats – and of course the cats and quiragars preying on them – were the guards posted at the buildings. There was a fleeting chance that Flink might be here. The alreu liked storage houses, after all. To him they were repositories of art. Well, what the alreu called art, anyway.

Yet there was no sign of him. Gabe had hoped to hear a cry of alarm from one of the guards, and a tiny figure darting away into the night. But it had been quiet. Too quiet for his taste. Maybe he should have gone back to The Crimson Talon again. He had checked in once in the afternoon, to see if either of the two missing had turned up – and if Cornell had calmed down. Perhaps by now Flink had come back to the tavern. Perhaps Cornell had done so, too. He’d been invited to the city governor’s mansion, Vairpole had said. Gabe hadn’t liked that piece of news one bit. He’d never trusted any government officials, and he despised all noblemen. Knowing that Cornell had to deal with them made him very uncomfortable. At least the Cayaborean was better at handling aristocrats, he knew. Alas, Gabe would have to see what came of that invitation later on.

Right at that point whiteness flashed out of the mouth of a road a few yards ahead of him, blinding white that made the barbarian blink.

Magic. No doubt about that.

Apparently this place wasn’t quite as peaceful and quiet as he had thought. Grinning, Gabe started running towards the source of the light. There was something to do, after all! Some fun to be had, and perhaps some honor and glory to be found!



The ‘light grenade’ had worked beautifully. Sylasa had kicked open the door to the storage building – after cutting through the padlock with a single swipe of her gleaming and magically loaded sword -, then Barandas had waved his hands hurriedly inside, loosening a shower of white light that burned brighter than the sun. Even through his closed eyes, he felt the blinding power.

He’d paid it no mind, just dashed straight forward, hoping that none of the imperial guards were in his path, that he would have to use the short sword in his right hand. None had been there, and after a few steps he’d opened his eyes again.

There was the crate, straight ahead. Two Tonomai were nearby, rubbing their eyes ferociously, their swords lying forgotten on the floor. Good! Just keep rubbing, boys! A surge of power flowed through the wizard, convincing him that he could pull this off quickly.

Around him he heard noise – first the yells of surprise by the Tonomai when the light hit them, then their groaning and mumbling, mixed with angry shouts when they realized they were under attack, but oh so fast did some of those cries turn to agony. Wet, moist sounds occurred, tell-tale signs of a blade cutting through flesh. Sylasa, using the distraction to the fullest of effect.

Barandas kept running. The Tonomai before him squinted, tried to see what was happening. One knelt, searching for the sword he had dropped. Barandas felt his breath quicken even more, wondered whether he could brush by them in his headlong dash. Probably not.

He raised his short sword, ready to strike. Cut one man’s throat while you run past him, that ought to work. Then you can whirl about and stab the other one. No big deal, right? You’ve seen Cornell do it a thousand times, remember?

Then he heard something heavy beside him, breathing, footsteps, and instinctively Barandas threw himself aside. Cold fear flushing through his chest, he saw a curved blade cleave the air right where he had been moments earlier.

Another of the imperials, one he hadn’t paid attention to, had seen him. Now the man was standing there, squinting urgently to see where his prey had gone to. At least the light has blinded him a little, Barandas thought, feverishly checking how many other Tonomai were around him. The nearest was at least four paces away, good enough for him. Barandas crouched for a moment, then launched himself, the sword leading the way, towards the first of the Tonomai. He would impale the guard, impact him, then roll over and continue his run for the crate, yes, surely he would –

Barandas missed.

By only a few inches he flew straight past the Tonomai who had attacked him, crashing hard into another of the guards, one that had been unaware of him before. That man cried in surprise, but his heavy arms were not at all stunned when they automatically wrapped the wizard into a bearhug that squeezed the air out of his lungs.

Magic! Cast a spell! he told himself and tried to remember something useful, a spell that he could actually cast. The hold of the Tonomai’s arms was too strong, as was the man’s breath, smelling of garlic and ginger enough to make any decent person dizzy. The Tonomai grunted victoriously. Barandas tried to punch him, but the imperial didn’t seem to notice.

Then, suddenly, the pressure of the arms vanished, and Barandas had to struggle to stay on his feet when the Tonomai dropped away from him. “What…”

“Get the crate, wizard!” Sylasa screamed furiously, pulling her blade from the Tonomai’s back. No, not his back. Bile started to rise up his throat when Barandas realized that her sword had cut the imperial in twine at the waist, leaving two perfectly severed halves lying on the floor, guts and blood spilling out. “The crate!” Sylasa repeated, and Barandas whirled around automatically.

Don’t think about that! You’ve seen battle before, haven’t you? he told himself. Yes, a voice from inside his mind answered, but I haven’t often seen a sword this deadly. Boy, am I glad she’s on my side.

“And pick up the appliance, you fool!” the warrior woman yelled, stopping Barandas in his tracks.

“Bloody tides!” he yelled at himself. When the Tonomai had grasped him, of course he had dropped the two objects in his hands – the sword and the appliance. There they were, the blood pooling around them. Barandas stopped caring at that point, sure that Sylasa would have some very unkind actions reserved for him if he didn’t do what she said – then he dived for the two objects, picked them up smoothly, ignored the blood splattered over his robe, and resumed his dash towards the crate.

This time he reached it unimpeded. The Tonomai were too busy with the murderous fury of a woman unleashed amidst them. The crate was big, bloody big. At least as long as a man, and almost the same height. It had to be heavy, made of elm wood. Would the appliance be enough? By all the abysses, even if it lifted the crate off the ground, it would still be heavy, wouldn’t it? That was how levitation worked usually, wasn’t it?

Barandas didn’t have the time to ponder the matter. He didn’t care much about the exact workings of a spell or appliance anyway, as long as it got the job done. He pushed the appliance towards the crate, its oblong shape so dark, dull and seemingly ineffective. Then he powered his magic into the appliance, whispered the words that would call it to life.

And it happened.

A glow spread over the shape, blue and iridescent. Barandas could feel the appliance demanding more, greedy for more power, like a living being. Shockwaves rolled through him, but he couldn’t resist. He had no choice, really. The image of Sylasa standing over the bisected body of the Tonomai was enough to make him feed all his magic into the appliance.

Slowly the crate heaved off the ground, with a sigh as if it were asleep and didn’t want to wake up. “Come on!” Barandas yelled, barely cognizant that the levitation appliance stuck to the side of the crate when he shoved his shoulders against the elmwood and started pushing. His hand slipped off the appliance, he put all his strength into moving the crate.

It did move, much faster than he had expected it to. Either the crate was lighter than he had thought, or the appliance was more powerful than he had credited it. Whichever was true, the crate lurched from his grasp and floated at a brisk speed away from him.

Barandas cursed, then ran after the crate, to fold his hands around the edges and guide its flight as well as he could. The Tonomai screamed, he heard their footsteps, he heard their cries – but no blade came near him. Always there was something that kept the imperials from striking at him. And the sickening sounds he heard amidst the cries were sufficient to keep him concentrated on moving the crates. Oh ye gods, he thought, what kind of a woman is Sylasa?

He wished that he never knew as much about her as he already did – then suddenly he was outside the house, surrounded once more by the darkness of the night. Quickly he peered around the crate, to see where Flink was, but there was no sign of the wagon.

“Flink, you bloody little twerp, where in the bloody abyss are you?!”

“Oh, I’m over here,” the alreu’s voice cried from more than twenty feet away, and when Barandas turned his head, he saw the small creature hopping up and down on the seat of the wagon, the reins forlorn on the seat behind him. “Master Wizard, the horses really didn’t like to get back into their harnesses, they were so tired and –“

“Shut the abyss up, you bloody annoyance, and get the bloody wagon moving!” Barandas cried and shoved the crate into the direction of the wagon.

He couldn’t see anything, only hoped that the alreu would do as he was told. Tides of magic, he was trusting an alreu, wasn’t he? How much lower could a man sink?

“Here, sir, you can put the crate on now. Now, really, dear horsies, you have heard Master Wizard, it’s really necessary that you do some walking. I’m sure you’ll get some nice hay afterwards, or what do you like, and –“

Halfway through the torrent of alreu words Barandas started ignoring the noise, he just kept pushing the crate forward, happily noting that at some point the elmwood crunched onto something solid – the wagon! The wizard bent forward, pushed the crate up – it obeyed pleasingly fast -, then he maneuvered it onto the wagon and jumped on after it. “Get the bloody horses going!” Barandas cried.

Flink didn’t answer him directly but spoke to the horses sweetly, much too sweetly for the wizard’s taste. “Get moving!” He snatched the levitation appliance from the side of the crate, noting with a bit of satisfaction that the heavy box slammed down immediately, then he dived for the seat of the wagon.

“Fireballs!” a woman’s voice screamed demandingly.

Sylasa! Barandas grabbed the wall of the wagon, swiveled his head back towards the storage house. There the warrior woman was, holding off some five or six of the Tonomai guards with blindingly fast moves of her sword, so fast that the blade’s gleaming metal blurred into what seemed a wall of steel. But more imperials were running towards her, and despite her efforts, she wouldn’t be able to keep up her defense much longer.

“Damn you, wizard!” she yelled.

Curiously, Flink asked, “We can’t leave yet, can we, Master Wizard? The lady has to join us, right?”

“She can run,” Barandas muttered, then stretched out his hands towards the Tonomai, turning his fingers into claws and willing his magic back into them. Concentrate! He had to direct a stream of magic into his fingers, generate the substance of the fireball, then hurl it over to his enemies. His teachers at the Wizard’s College had been adamant about this, that this was the only way to create a fireball.

Barandas didn’t know if they were right. Only once had he managed to cast the spell – and his memory was hazy. Cornell had been killed (a long story, really), his murderer had been smiling at Barandas and Sylasa, about to make them join Cornell on his trip to see the gods. The wizard hadn’t been thinking, his hands and his magic had seemingly worked of their own accord, and then he’d flamed the murderer to a smoldering crisp.

Now, though, the fireballs didn’t want to come. He was doing everything according to the instructions at the College, whispering the right words – for naught. “Bloody tides,” he muttered.

“Shouldn’t you be helping the lady?” Flink asked casually, playing with the reins in his hands.

“That’s what I’m –“ He cut himself off, stared with utter shock at the giant figure that suddenly leaped from the shadows of an alleyway, a large metal axe glaring in the light of the torches.

“Look!” Flink shouted eagerly. “That’s Gabe!”

“I don’t bloody believe it,” Barandas muttered, staring empty-eyed at the barbarian swinging his axe at the Tonomai around Sylasa, cutting off heads as easily as if they were apples on a tree.

The wizard believed even less when the alreu abruptly jumped from the wagon and ran towards Gabe. Leaving the reins and the wagon alone. “Damn the alreu!” Barandas cursed, swung his legs over the front of the wagon’s cargo part, onto the seat and grasped for the reins.

Off to the side, Flink was happily shouting Gabe’s name, while Barandas finally found the reins. He didn’t give a damn about anybody else at this point, he just snapped the reins and yelled at the horses to get going.

They hadn’t taken more than one or two surprised steps, quickly catching up on the signal from the reins, when somebody joined Barandas on the seat. Instinctively he slammed his arm towards the intruder, tried to push the person off – but Sylasa deftly caught his arm and wrenched it painfully down.

“Sorry,” the wizard groaned, pain shooting through his body.

“I’ll drive,” she told him and fetched the reins from his hands. Barandas didn’t mind. At that point he was happy to fold his aching arm close to his body, hold it tightly with the other arm, as if that would assuage the pain.

The wagon lurched back into motion, fast and furious as it clattered over the road. “We’ve lost Flink,” Barandas grinned. That was at least one good thing that had happened thus far. If everything turned out nicely, if the gods were smiling on him, he’d never see that tiny creature again in all his life.

“I don’t need him anymore,” Sylasa said tersely.

Something flashed through Barandas’ brain, something like a thought that was trying to pierce into his consciousness, but didn’t fully dare. “Uh, sure,” he said. “He’s just a nuisance, right?”

Her eyes turned towards him, as cold as they had been in Tarum’s place. “Like you are, inept wizard.”

Barandas was still nursing his arm, so that the push from her sword arm caught him defenseless. Not that otherwise he could have helped toppling over the side of the wagon, the rolling wheels suddenly before his eyes. Then a boot landed in his backside, launching him forcefully from the wagon, and straight into the hard, paved ground.

The skin on his head cracked, releasing blood that warmly flowed down his head. It was nothing compared to the pain in the rest of his body. He rolled around, raised his head and saw the wagon roll off into the darkness. On the seat, Sylasa’s armor gleamed silvery and bright. Whatever magic had darkened it before, now it was gone, and its gleam added insult to the injuries Barandas had just suffered.

Well, old friend, that bloody voice of sarcasm in his head said, you really should have stuck with Cornell. He’s never left you like this.

“Shut up,” Barandas told himself.

He sat up, wiped the blood from his forehead. Disconcertedly he looked back towards the storage building and saw Gabe and Flink approaching. None of the Tonomai were in sight. All of them were probably suffering the acute loss of such organs as hearts or heads at this point. The barbarian’s axe was dripping with blood.

Just great. This is just wonderful. Now I have to explain myself to a useless barbarian – and my wonderful prize is gone with that bloody bitch of a woman!



“Did you see that, Master Wizard? Did you see how good Gabe was?” Flink cried excitedly and scampered towards Barandas, babbling on, “And Gabe told me that bwyell was getting dull. Hah, Gabe, you mustn’t ever say that about bwyell, he’s as sharp as ever! Isn’t he, Master Wizard?”

“It,” Barandas muttered emptily. “The axe is an it. Hello, Gabe, fine night, isn’t it?”

The barbarian had reached the wizard, towering over him with a face disfigured by seething rage. Not a nice sight. All in all, Barandas would have far preferred having Cornell around. “Are you all right, wizard?” Gabe grunted.

“Oh, yes, certainly,” Barandas smiled and licked some blood off his hand. “I’ve only been thrown off a rolling wagon, hit my head on a pavement, and a brain-challenged savage is about to introduce me to his axe, but otherwise I couldn’t be better.”

Flink jumped up and down, looked around eagerly and cried, “A savage? Where?”

Gabe dropped one of his hands on the alreu’s shoulder, gently pushed him aside. “You’ve had your excitement for the day, Flink. Why don’t you go back there and see if you’ve dropped anything from your knapsack? You never know, right? I really wouldn’t want you to go missing something.”

“That’s right!” the alreu shouted and rushed forward to hug one of the barbarian’s legs. “What would I do without you, Gabe? Goodness gracious, there could be so much over there!” The next instant he was already rushing towards the storage building, his spindly legs moving at blurring speed. Gabe smiled after him, then turned his glance back towards the wizard, and the smile vanished.

Barandas shook his head (and regretted that instantly). Groaning he rubbed his arms. “Want me to stretch out my neck so you don’t miss it?” he muttered defiantly and glared up at Gabe.

“I will not kill you.”

“Really? What a relief.”

“You should explain yourself to Cornell first,” Gabe said calmly and hefted his axe. “That is the only reason you will not speak to bwyell yet.”

“Would be a brief conversation, anyway.”

Gabe nodded. “You can be sure of that,” he said in a surprisingly soothing tone. “For whatever madness has befallen Cornell in your regard, you are his friend, and I will make it a clean, quick cut.”

Wonderful, Barandas commented grimly in his mind. Didn’t that savage understand sarcasm at all? No, of course not. You need to have brains for that.

“Now we must leave,” Gabe said gravely. “Those were men of the Empire. Surely others will have noticed and – Dear Keshmire!”

The cry at the end made Barandas look up. He would have anyway, for a heartbeat later the barbarian grabbed him roughly and tore him off the ground, giving him only instants to see whether Barandas could stay on his legs or had to be hoisted onto Gabe’s back. Another heartbeat later the wizard found himself lifted into the air and bent over Gabe’s shoulder. “What?” he cried exasperatedly.

“Cornell was called to the governor’s residence,” Gabe explained while running towards the storage building. “Flink! We have to hurry!”

Cornell is at the governor’s? Barandas thought. Bloody tides of magic, why didn’t anybody tell me that before? He didn’t bother to tell Gabe that he could probably walk on his own. As enraged as the savage was, who knew what he would do? Possibly he would reconsider waiting for Cornell’s decision on whether to kill Barandas on the spot.

Now that was one reason for Barandas to keep quiet. A ‘conversation’ with bwyell truly was not one he was looking forward to.



Read on in Chapter 7 !