Well of Darkness | Chapter 9 of 10 - Part: 1 of 29

Author: Margaret Weis | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 2483 Views | Add a Review

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“Very good, Your Majesty,” Argot said, but to himself he thought, You would be much better advised to be out on the walls alongside those of us who are going to die to preserve you, rather than with the gods, who probably care not one whit about this battle.

Helmos seemed to hear the unspoken words. A faint flush overspread his cheeks. “Though I wear the armor of a Dominion Lord, I am no warrior, Captain, as you well know. I would only be in the soldiers’ way, were I to try to take my place upon the battlements. But I will be fighting, though my sword is made of faith, not steel. I will be fighting to protect the Sovereign Stone,”

the King said, gently touching the diamond pendant that he wore on a braided chain of silver and gold around his neck. He wore it always, now, so it was said. Even when he slept.

“I had not forgotten the Sovereign Stone,Your Majesty,” Captain Argot replied. “I was going to suggest that the sacred stone be sent away under guard to some safe place—”

“You’ve been speaking to the High Magus,” Helmos interrupted.

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“Reinholt speaks with wisdom, Your Majesty. If—the gods forbid—Vinnengael should fall, the Sovereign Stone must be preserved. At least, it should be hidden in the Temple, in a secret place, kept safe by wizard locks—”

“And what good would it do any of us there? I have heard of misers possessed of sacks of gold who, though starving and clad in rags against the cold, refuse to spend one penny of their hoard, not even to feed or warm themselves! I will not make that mistake. I will use the power of the Sovereign Stone to save the city.”

“Then at least allow me to place guards around you—”

Helmos shook his head. “That would make it look as if I lacked faith.”

“The Dominion Lords, then. Forgive me for pressing, Your Majesty, but I feel it is my duty—”

“No need to ask my pardon, Captain.You and the Dominion Lords may do what you like about protecting the city. In this, however, I hold sway. I took the burden and the joy of the Sovereign Stone upon myself. None other but myself may bear it. I have faith in the gods.They will keep it safe from falling into the Void. They will see to it that the stone that is now divided will once more be whole. That is all, Captain,” Helmos added, returning to his studies. “Let me know when the Dominion Lords have arrived.”

Captain Argot accepted his dismissal. He could do nothing else. But he planned to bring up the matter of protecting the Sovereign Stone before the Dominion Lords.

It was all very well to talk of wielding a shining sword of faith. But, to the captain’s mind, such a sword would be stronger if the blade were tempered with the alloy of common sense.

3

Command the Darkness

The army of Prince Dagnarus,Lord of the Void,marched along the old Vinnengael Road, thousands strong, their gaily colored banners whipping in the wind blowing from the ocean, bringing with it the sharp tang of salt and winter. They were led by a figure wearing shining black armor, but that figure—so the Vinnengalean scouts reported, creeping through the brush, close as they dared—was not Prince Dagnarus.

Where was he? No one knew. He did not march with his army, that much was certain. The hearts of the people of Vinnengael were cheered; rumor spread that the prince was dead, that the gods—through the intercession of King Helmos—had struck down the evil demon before he could attack Vinnengael.

His army was coming to lay down its arms and surrender. People built bonfires and began dancing in the streets. Captain Argot ordered his men to go into the city and quell the nonsense, tell the dancers to return to their homes or else find a place upon the wall with the rest of the city’s defenders. The army had not come to surrender. It had come to conquer.

As for the whereabouts of Prince Dagnarus, Captain Argot Well of Darkness

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asked that question of himself a hundred times a day until he heard it hammering at him even in his sleep. Argot had fought alongside the prince. Argot had seen Dagnarus ride in the fore-front of the charge, lead the troops over the wall himself, be the first to reach the enemy lines. He was not the type of general to lead from the rear. He was out there somewhere, and if Argot knew where, he might have some idea of the prince’s strategy.

Not a single scout reported seeing the prince, but then the weather in the mountains was terrible. Hard-driven rain slanted down like arrows. Devastating lightning set trees to blazing.

Thunderclaps started rockslides. Finally, a blinding fog enveloped the mountains, fog so thick that the entire dwarven nation mounted on horseback might have ridden through those mountains and no one would have been the wiser.

Argot held a force in reserve, ready to send it at a moment’s notice to wherever it was Dagnarus planned to try to make a breakthrough.This meant that the north wall was defended only adequately. If its defenders began to falter, he would have to send in the reserve force there. The Dominion Lords had elected to remain with the defenders on the north wall, adding their powerful magicks to those of the war magi.

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Alice
Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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