"A Brave New Naroom"
Togoth began yelling madly at his minions. ? "Form a line, you goons! The masters are besting Orwin and the Corestalker just ahead. We must stop the enemy from reaching the training grounds!" The Shadow Magi rallied under their general’s command. ? Spells were being remembered and creatures were being dreamt into being. The whole clearing leading to the training grounds was alive with nightmarish magic.
Snarling creatures from the depths of the Core rubbed wing and claw with less discriminating creatures from surface dreams. ? All of this seemed impenetrable to the gathering forces of the Naroomi resistance, as they watched the Shadow Magi forces grow.
"Who is still missing?" Poad quickly swept his gaze over the assembled resistance.
"Orwin and Yaki are ahead," replied Sorreah. "That is everyone."
Ulk, Grej and Ohk nodded sharply while Woot shot a concerned look to Chayla. She was watching Trug sleep, his broad form propped up against a shattered tree stump. ? Zajan was the only one to raise his voice with concern.
"We never found the prisoners. Shouldn’t we look for them?"
Zannah’s sweet voice greeted them like silver bells. ? "No need, we found you."
Each member of the resistance, save the snoozing Underling, turned thankful eyes on the four ex-prisoners.
"KAZM!" Grej darted from her post at a rainwater barrel to hug the Kybarite messenger.
"Uh, Grej, I?um, thanks?" As uncomfortable as always around women, he could hardly stay on his feet being embraced by one.
Pruitt made her way to Poad, followed by eleven blue skinned Magi.
"Yeah, we made it. And we brought friends."
"YOU IMPUDENT WEAKL? A loud CRUNCH finished Evu’s threat as Yaki’s magic flung him into another of the training ground’s statues. The morning mist was beginning to dissipate as the Corestalker pummeled the traitorous historian against the stone.
Orwin and Hrada had been screaming at one another for the last few minutes, and Yaki was glad that he could devote his undivided attention to his mutinous old friend.
With a swing of his staff, Yaki sent Evu careening into yet another stone obstacle. "You had enough yet, stumpy?" Yaki’s voice was tainted with Warrada’s cocky inflection but it was an idiosyncrasy he would gladly assume if it meant making Evu regret all he had done.
"Your treachery brought all this down, old man, and I am gonna see to it that you pay." With scarlet energy sparking from his eyes, Yaki raised his staff above his head; Evu’s floating form followed suit, hanging the librarian twenty or so feet in the air. Evu groaned angrily, wearily struggling against the immaterial bonds.
Swooping above, Sorreah unleashed several bolts of lightning upon the battle line of Core Magi. "Press hard, they will crack!"
Straining beneath his battlestaff, Bronn held back the blow of a mightly bone cragnok. "Easy for you to say, Sky Warrior. It is you who remain out of reach!" His grunting under the pressure made it hard to pick out the Naran’s jest. ? Ulk however, was just thankful that Bronn was so close ?it was her head the cragnok was aiming for.
"You look like that actually scared you!" ? Grej bellowed humorously as she brandished her hammer. Ulk responded by sticking out her tongue before tumbling out of Bronn’s way.
Poad grimaced as he watched yet another of his hinkos dissipate into the Dream Plane. Moving back to back with Laranel, the innkeeper forced his energy down his arms and into his rings with more force than he was accustomed to. ? Through grit teeth he grunted slightly. ? Laranel looked down from her spell casting, impressed by the smaller Magi’s fervor. "Orwin is surely blessed by the ancestors to have such a general serving him." Releasing the razor sharp ice shards floating before her, Laranel sent them streaking toward an approaching borgor, who exploded into a rain of twinkling animite as the shards tore through him.
Calling back over his shoulder the innkeeper responded grimly. "I’m not a general. I’m the cook."
Before Laranel could question him on the matter, the ground pitched violently, filling Vash Naroom with the sound of snapping wood and shifting earth. To the north of them great trees swayed and lurched as if the moon itself was rejecting their embrace. The ground pulsed with a few tremors before settling, and all present watched as the northern half of the city slowly stood atop wooden legs.
The air fizzled and snapped with trickling energy as both sides stilled their powers to gape in awe at the sight unfolding before them. As the wooden creature stretched its ancient limbs, a gigantic trunk unrolled from its massive snout and lifted to the heavens.
A thunderous trumpeting unmistakably announced the awakening of the carillion titan.
Orwin’s eyes burned with excess energy as he summoned long untapped reservoirs of his power. Trembling with scarcely controlled might, the Elder would look intimidating were it not for half of Vash Naroom plodding its way toward Hrada on the back of the largest carillion that the Shadow Magi could have imagined. ? Shining brighter than the morning sun, the ring on Orwin’s finger matched the brilliance of the carillion’s angry eyes as it looked down into the training grounds.
Hrada took a single step back as the carillion titan lifted an enormous foot to step on him. Frozen by fear, the Shadow Magi only had the will to lift his arms to cover his face while the creature’s crushing heel bore down on him.
Just in time, a primordial form shot over him. ? A ripple of force rushed through the air as the skull of the darkwood furok stopped the carillion titan’s attack short.
"Huh?" Timidly, Hrada opened one eye to see why he had not been crushed. With a startled step back, he gawked at the shaggy black furok that saved his life. Straining visibly, the darkwood furok was a shuddering mass of coarse fur that held back the heavy heel of a walking city.
A strangely intoxicating voice wafted though the training grounds. "Perhaps you should move, Hrada." A soft, girlish giggling faintly echoed behind the words as Sperri strolled onto the scene. With her came a throng of furoks with ominously glowing eyes.
Struggling to keep in check the forces that gave him control over the titan, Orwin craned his neck to bring the Fiend of Furoks into view. "Child, stay out of this." ? His words pleaded for her obedience, but they were answered only with more innocent laughter.
"Let us see which of the ancestors?beasts is truly king of the forests, old man." Cocking her head slightly towards Hrada, she snapped at the deposed warlord. ? "Naroom is no longer yours. Take your sister and get out of my forest." ? Her words bit deeply, almost causing Hrada to lash out at her, but a growling troupe of furoks made the gravity of the situation very clear to him.
"No!" Orwin reached out desperately with a hand sheathed in crackling energy. "You mustn’t let them escape!" The break in the old Magi’s concentration allowed the darkwood furok to shrug the carillion titan’s foot aside, destroying several trees with its misdirected force.
Hrada sprinted by Yaki, gathering up the unconscious Warrada in his arms. The sudden motion distracted Yaki from his floating victim, allowing him to spot Hrada bounding away. Flooded with rage, Yaki’s eyes narrowed to slits that gushed with crimson light. ? Still holding Evu aloft with the magic of his staff, the Corestalker drew forth every trace of Warrada’s stolen energy. Coalescing about his free arm, the raw power consumed his gauntlet and tore at the sides of his tunic and cape. "There’s no escape from Yaki, brother. You’re in for a WORLD OF PAIN!" ? Drawing back his arm, Yaki readied to smite down the fleeing twins with every ounce of his being.
"BRING IT, YA BUNCH’A NO GOOD YAHOOS!" Trug slammed the heads of two now-unconscious shadow magi together with intimidating force. The ruckus caused by the carillion titan was just what was needed to wake the old Underling from his nap. The sheer destruction it left behind also happened to put him in one of his favorite moods: a fightin?one.
Togoth tried to laugh mockingly. "Get his crazy old man out of the way." He waved off the Underling dismissively and four of the Shadow Magi stepped forward. Each leveled ring-covered fists or animite encrusted staves as they advanced menacingly.
"Crazy?" The corner of Trug’s mouth turned up slightly. Violet lightning stuck the ground next to him as his mushroom hyren flashed into being. "Heya Spot, he thinks I’m crazy." The hyren grinned gleefully at Trug, before sweeping the same disturbing face over the four closing Magi as it chuckled in grim anticipation. Trug tightened his fists, cracking aged knuckles distressingly as the left side of his mouth curled to match the right. "You take the ugly one, I’ll get the rest."
Chayla hung back, picking off wayward monstrosities that managed sneak past her friend. She wore her hesitation on her sleeve, retreating a few paces whenever the opportunity to join the fight presented itself.
"C’mon, Fuzz! I could use a hand here!" Woot’s face was drenched with sweat as he single-handedly assaulted their share of the Core’s defensive line. "A rabbage, or something!" Ducking under the snap of a shryque’s beak Woot loosed a pouncing wasperine in reply; the way any other Magi would have loosed a spell.
"Y-you’ve got things under control. ‘Sides, I’m taking, um, care of these grubbles? To the duo’s flank, a pair of merging grubbles were torn apart by Chayla’s hasty spell. "See? I’m busy too." She found time to shoot him an annoyed glare before turning to finish off her new targets.
Woot let out of a sigh of defeat just before being startled by yet another shryque.
Sorreah flung himself backward with a single beat of his guide-wings, beginning to hover above Poad and Laranel. Through the din of battle, he called down to them. ? "Impressive as our attack has been, I fear I am losing momentum. How fare you two?"
"Though I would never submit to defeat, I must agree that their defenses are stalwart." Laranel’s tone was even, though she respired heavily from the battle.
"Poad?" Sorreah leaned to look past the Ice Queen at the innkeeper.
"Um, what she said." Poad didn’t even look up from his spell casting to answer.
Laranel peered over her shoulder at Poad. "Can your warriors continue to harry the enemy in our absence?"
Not sure he fully understood the question, Poad shrugged. "Tiller and Zajan could close the gap, why?"
"Our airborne friend has given me an idea." the Ice Queen looked up again. "Sorreah, fall back with Poad and I. I have a plan." Sorreah nodded down to her and left a pair of flutter yups to cover his retreat.
Swimming in a sea of strength and anger, Yaki’s mind was barely his own. Dark whispers from some unknown corner of his mind goaded him on. Unleash the fury upon them ?they have earned no less. ? Blood thundered through his veins, filling his ears with an unholy drumming while the whispers continued. Destroy them, and then the rest. You do not need anyone ?you are the Corestalker, the Shadow Tracker. Yaki’s will buckled under the temptation. Nothing can stem the tide of your anger. Release it ?relish it. Though grinding teeth, while losing the battle for his soul, Yaki heard his old friend crying in the distance.
"Yaki!" Orwin’s voice was pained and frantic. Those furoks who were not aiding their darkwood cousin had begun to circle the Elder of Naroom hungrily as he distractedly directed the carillion titan’s movements.
Sperri’s laughter resounded as she watched her darkwood furok leap out of the way of the titan’s attacks, one after another, leaving the primeval furok unharmed. Amid a mass of its smaller cousins, the darkwood furok seemed invulnerable. ? Before each of its counter attacks nearby furoks bayed mournfully as they faded back into the Dream, lending strength to their champion.
It was this hopelessness that gave the Corestalker strength.
Green began to consume the red in his eyes as Yaki gazed upon the impending fate of his friend. Chance granted Yaki an idea as he remembered which ring rested on one of his crackling fingers.
"I need the skies ready to weep." Laranel wore the airs of a queen while she spoke, something she was very accustomed to.
"A few minutes is all I need, " came Sorreah’s reply.
Poad distractedly watched the Naroomians battle without him; pride renewed his strength as their character carried the day. ? It took him a moment to realize that Laranel had asked him a question.
"Can your forest bind our enemies?"
"If you are asking what I think you are asking, I can manage it."
Laranel looked relieved. "Move to Odavast’s side, my little friend, and ready to fetter our foes to the forest at the splitting of the sky."
"Gotcha ?I think? Poad raised an eyebrow as he turned to move away. Just as he began to run, Laranel’s voice reined him back momentarily.
"Please, when the time is right, bid Odavast to open the seal of the core."
"Right? Dashing away, the innkeeper tried hard to remember exactly what she told him. Misspeaking something that cryptic is bound to have baaaaad consequences, he thought to himself.
Driving his knee into the shadow magi’s stomach, Trug released the poor, gasping clod’s shoulders and let him slump to the ground wheezing. "Dag nabit," bubbled out of him as he remembered that was the last one.
A sizzling sound behind Trug’s head froze him in place.
"Stop right there, Underling." Togoth’s staff was so close that it zapped the back of Trug’s neck with static energy. "One move and I?i>Oooomph!" With a triumphant roar, Spot rammed the Practitioner of Core Magics off his feet.
"Atta boy, Spot!" Trug spun on his heel enthusiastically. "Wait! Hold ‘im!" ? Trug lifted a bent arm and slapped his gnarled old elbow. "Time fer the ole?Ombor Drop!"
Distracted by Trug leaping through the air, elbow first, Zannah didn’t even finish her sentence.
"Zannah," Pruitt chimed, "Naroom to Zannah?" ? Pruitt was obviously growing bored with playing healer. Because of their exhausting experience with Morag, the others asked Pruitt and Zannah not to get directly involved with the fighting, and the girls had only begrudgingly accepted.
"Oh," the beautiful Naroomian blinked a few times before continuing, "Where do you think Laranel went?"
"Who cares?" with her tom-boyish sensibilities intact, Grej skidded to a stop between the two. "Just means more for us. Heh."
Zannah rolled her eyes at the Kybarite’s brutish interruption, but acquiesced silently as she let a rush of energy surge into Grej’s vogo. Personally, Zannah enjoyed the duties of a dream-healer much more than slogging about in the fray. That was for Magi like Trug ?who currently was pinning Togoth to the ground with the help of his cagey mushroom hyren. ? Zannah watched Trug and the hyren exchange wicked, childish grins before sinking their teeth into the Core magi.
"HEY! NO BITING!" forced its way painfully from Togoth’s lips.
Overhead gathering xyxs and thunder vashps circled wide around Sorreah, each bringing fat rain clouds in their wake.
Weaving her hands dramatically, the Ice Queen began reciting the powerful spell taught to her by Orthea. Calling on age-old incantations and rarely used gestures, she began to draw a raging storm from Sorreah’s cloudbanks.
Across the battlefield, Poad slid beside Odavast in the growing mud.
As if the chaos around him was but singing firds and cheerful music, Odavast smiled warmly. "So this is the touch of rain? It is odd; snow does not fall this suddenly."
The innkeeper forced out words amidst his panting. ? "Laranel…message…for you."
"She has invoked the Voice of Storms, then?"
Regaining his breath, Poad nodded. He held up a finger, indicating there was more as he began forming the words in his head carefully. "When the time is right, open the seal of the core."
Odavast nodded, seemingly knowing the Ice Queen’s mind.
The sky overhead was split with lightning, a sure sign if Poad ever saw one. Lacing his fingers together, he began pouring energy into the forest floor. ? Many times had he cast this spell, but never on the scale of which Laranel asked for. The little innkeeper hoped he was up to the task.
In accord, the circling furoks charged Orwin with gnashing fangs and drooling maws. They struck like bolts of lightning, mimicking the horrendous tempest that instantly formed above them.
But not one reached the weary old Magi.
Their bodies twisted and distorted as they attacked, each dispersing in a flash of dark fire. One by one, each of the furoks in the training grounds suffered the same fate; vanishing painfully back into the Dream Plane.
Sperri hysterically twirled about, searching for the source of the attack. When only her darkwood furok remained, her eyes fell squarely upon the shuddering Corestalker.
Yaki’s eyes again shone emerald green, but their light was wavering and weak. All of the energy that once danced about his arm had been pushed into a single ring on his right hand, a ring that now burned his hand with black fire.
It was Yaki’s furok ring.
The fire hungrily consumed the ring, burning his flesh as the forged metal melted and the animite sparked. It had taken a good deal of Yaki’s stolen power to open his Furok animite to the Core, and it had cost him the only way to summon an old friend as well. But in his beleaguered mind, the chance that it would take the other Furoks with it was worth the sacrifice to Yaki.
Falling to one knee, Yaki silently doused the fire in a growing puddle. Behind him Evu laid in the mud unconsciously, no longer held aloft by Yaki’s magic.
"What did you do to my children?" ? Sperri’s shrieking voice nearly froze the falling rain.
"The Core’s not just power, sister," Yaki looked up at her with hair plastered to his face by rain, "it is also a hungry void. ? And it doesn’t care what you feed it."
Lightning stuck the carillion titan, causing it to roar angrily, while Orwin took a weakened step toward Sperri. "We may be weary, child. But you can not stand against us alone."
Sperri glowered at the old Magi, then at Yaki. ? Gathering her cloak over her shoulders the Fiend of Furoks remained silent for a few moments. Yaki took the opportunity to stand and brandish his staff defensively. "Orwin’s right, Sperri. Don’t make the same mistake the others did. You can fight it, sister."
With another bolt of lightning, Sperri spoke. ? "No, Yaki. You can fight it." Silently she commanded her companion to flee. Snagging a handful of the coarse black fur as it loped past her, Sperri swung herself onto the darkwood furok’s broad shoulders.
Orwin lifted a crooked finger to indicate her as the carillion’s prey but the titan was already wavering from depleted stores of energy. The electric aura around Orwin faded and the old man sighed exhaustedly, "Perhaps the day is won, Yaki. ? We will get another chance to sway her heart."
Yaki watched Sperri ride into the forest with thoughts of pity. Alien to him was this absence of rage and it was more than a little scary. Turning his thoughts to the Twins and their escape reminded him that there was still a warm seed of seething hatred taking root in his soul ?a thought which brought him strange comfort even as it chilled his bones with terror.
Recoiling, the Naroomi magi and their allies watched writhing roots explode from the earth. Taken by surprise, the forces of the Core were helplessly ensnared by the grasping tendrils. In the darkened morning light punctuated by lightning, the groping roots were a disturbing sight indeed.
Odavast watched as rain-soaked Magi fought against rain-soaked roots; watched as Magi splashed in growing pools and puddles; watched as water seeped into nearly everything in sight. About his neck hung a thin, silvery chain that supported a small blue-white crystal, and it was for this trinket that he reached.
Poad tightened his interlaced fingers and willed the entangling roots to do the same, with what little thought he could spare he hoped that "when the time is right" meant soon ?he did not know how long he could hold the shadow magi.
Speaking softly, Odavast’s low voice resonated with the small crystal as he removed it and dangled it from his hand. Whispered words caressed the crystal’s surface and it began to shimmer with inner light. Growing until it cast a feint blue hue on everything nearby, the inner light intensified while the crystal began to change form. No longer a shard of mineral, it resembled a gathering dewdrop hanging from a blade of grass. Odavast’s words finally grew loud enough for Poad to hear. "Open seal, and awaken blizzard’s core."
The shining dewdrop fell.
As the drop touched the soft wet earth, a blinding white light flared for but a moment and all that surrounded the Magi was instantly frozen.
Poad shivered as he broke from of the thin sheen of ice that coated him, watching in awe as the storm above them dispersed at Laranel’s whim. As he broke his boots free of the frozen mud that gripped them, the innkeeper surveyed his surroundings.
None of the Narans were touched by the "blizzard’s core," and each Naroomian was battling sniffles and chattering teeth to break free; just as he was. The Core Magi however, were encased in steely, frozen tendrils that held them fast ?the frigid remains of Poad’s own spell.
Awestruck, the Naroomians all turned to Odavast with unspoken questions. Sorreah wrapped shivering guide-wings about his lithe body, while Grej and Ulk huddled together for warmth.
Aside from hushed mumbling, no single magi spoke their confusion, save one.
"WHAT IN TH’NAME’A ORMAGON’S BIG BLUE BEHIND IS GOIN?ON?!?" Trug would have stormed up to the gathering of magi had he not slipped and slid into their midst on his posterior instead. The fall, short slide and ridiculous entrance did not faze the grumbling Underling in any way. "Ya just get in a good wrasslin?match with someone and some brub’s always gotta muck it up with magic!"
"Is that not always the way of things, old Trug?" ? Orwin’s voice was unmistakable to those who knew him, even if it now bore the weight of great sorrow.
An explosion of cheers and well wishes greeted Orwin as he walked slowly across the ice, leaning on his well-worn staff. ? Carefully clambering toward him on the slick ground, the children of Vash Naroom happily embraced their Elder. ? Orwin gently pulled away, excusing himself from their offers of support. Lifting a hand bearing a wooden ring, Orwin offered thanks to the ancient carillion for its aid. "It is for Naroom that you have always risen, old one. And as always, you have earned your rest."
In reverence, the collected Magi watched the lumbering titan make its way to the gaping wound it left in the city. ? Ponderously turning and aligning itself, the carillion titan lowered slowly into the earth ?trees rooted themselves and chasms refilled, leaving no trace of the great beast’s passing save for destroyed plots of city.
"I guess we shouldn’t rebuild there, huh?" This voice was unmistakable as well.
"YAKI!" Pruitt launched herself at him, scrambling across the ice. Throwing her arms around his neck and nuzzling her cheek against his, her near-frozen skin unable to feel the cold of his touch. "You scared me so much back whe? a curl-toed boot thumped her in the chest accidentally. Utterly confused, Pruitt looked down at the bundle Yaki held. A red-robed, bald little Magi was wrapped in the Corestalkers arms, twitching and fretting it his slumber like a child having a nightmare. Through a bushly little beard Evu mumbled "jellybeans…I’ll show you…mmm…grr?
The ringsmith would have been horrified if it weren’t so pathetically cute. "Is he?"
Yaki voice was solemn. "He is still one of them. But Orwin has hope for the little guy ?oh yeah."
Hearing her love’s trademark tag opened all the floodgates in Pruitt’s heart and eyes. She moved to his side and flung her arms around Yaki’s broad torso, her head coming to rest against one shoulder. "I am so glad to have you back."
Memories of Warrada’s dark soul hung in the back of Yaki’s mind, ghosts of what he took from her reminded him of what he could have become. "Me too, Pru. Me too." He eased Evu to the ice, leaving the Magi to snicker evilly in some twisted dream. Squeezing Pruitt tightly, Yaki lifted her from the ground in a long awaited embrace.
Looking on, the Naroomian Resistance murmured with renewed spirit; inspired by the lovers?reunion. Even Poad finally cracked a smile.
"Well ain’t that right purdy." Trug stood, brushing his hands together. "We took back a city, trounced some baddies an?
"Trug?" Ulk’s tone was sweet as honey.
A round of laughter rose into the trees, something not heard in Vash Naroom for quite some time ?and it was a welcome sound.
Pruitt tenderly dressed Yaki’s grotesquely burned hand. "So," biting her lip unconsciously as she worried about hurting him, "you think she will be back?"
"Yeah, she called Naroom her forest. I think we can count on it."
In the background, Core and shadow magi were being stripped of their animite and their staves, one by one. A team of "jailors" led by the grizzled Thast made sure the dark magi posed no threat as they were escorted to a massive gilded cage in the center of town.
"We didn’t catch Morag," Pruitt’s voice wavered slightly at the mention of the specter’s name.
"I’m sure we will get the chance, Pru. He is a Core magi, eventually he will do something stupid."
With a loaded smile, Pruitt teased him. "So all Core magi are stupid, huh?" Yaki studied Pruitt’s lovely face. He was a bit unnerved at how well Pruitt was taking his…condition. As usual, he tried to play it off.
"Well, you know, not me. I-uh…well? His answer sent Pruitt into a fit of laughter. ? Narrowing his eyes, the Corestalker looked positively terrifying, a detail that made the whole thing more hilarious to her.
"I am glad to see that the two of you are in good spirits." Orwin loomed over them, smiling lightheartedly. "But if you could spare me a moment, there is someone I would like Yaki to meet."
Behind Orwin stood two of the blue skinned Narans. ? One, a stately woman and the other a man that looked almost as old as Orwin. The elder of Naroom stepped aside, allowing Yaki to stand and meet these guests.
"I am Laranel, Ice Queen of the Owtee Clan." ? The woman’s voice was strong and sure, that of an accomplished speaker. Meaning no disrespect, Yaki bowed his head after her proclamation.
As he lifted his eyes to meet hers, he spoke evenly. ? "I am Yaki."
Pruitt stood behind Yaki, holding his good hand in hers. As he exchanged words with the Ice Queen, Pruitt beamed proudly. Laranel met eyes with Pruitt for a moment, silently offering her new friend approval for her choice in a companion.
The elderly Naran was much less engrossed in his own pomp, and humbly offered his name. "I am Odavast." Laranel did not give him much time to finish his name before she added "Guardian of the Blizzard’s Core and King of the Owtee Clan."
After casting an amused look to his queen, Odavast addressed Yaki like some sort of knight. "Brave Yaki, Lord Orwin tells me of the Dark Twins and their escape."
"I will find them." Yaki’s tone forgot his manners.
Orwin tensed at his Tracker’s faux pas, but Odavast continued without offense.
"Like a glacier, darkness creeps slowly and destroys everything in its path. One man cannot stop a glacier, Yaki."
Yaki met Odavast’s eyes with his own jade pools of energy. "With a little help, King-dude, I can surely try. I know where they are going, and I know what Warrada’s up to." Again, echoes of Warrada’s thoughts stalked through Yaki’s mind; harrowing poltergeists of the energy that he stole from her. It seemed her very name called to them.
Laranel spoke up, moving to Owrin’s side. "Many of your people need stay and rebuild their homes." Orwin nodded, begrudgingly erring on the side of wisdom.
Odavast leaned on his walking stick and tilted his head to indicate the Narans working with the prisoners. "If it is a glacier you wish to stop, you should take those accustomed to the winter."
"Thank you, King Odavast," Pruitt stepped forward, "Yaki and I appreciate the offer of your magi to our cause."
Yaki cocked his head to gaze over at Pruitt. ? "You sure, babe? Could get rough."
In the most gravelly Yaki-voice she could muster, Pruitt’s answer was certain:
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