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12. Storm's a Comin'

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Chapter 12. Storm’s a Comin’

An unfamiliar Minya just approached me, bearing greetings from Brojan, leader of the Makalo army. He and his troops are in the valley just east of here, and are awaiting word from us as to when the attack should begin. It can’t possibly happen for several days, since we have not yet begun to gather forces. I am appointing Lahs, a member of King Roylance’s guard, to round up an army to meet up with Brojan’s army. Lahs is eager to be of assistance. I’ve instructed him to find any and all who are willing, from every race, to join the cause for freedom.

We are nearing the next element: fire. The land around us is burned, and I have a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that says danger is ahead. Hopefully the Fat Lady’s instructions will prove useful, and Lasia will be held at bay.

***

Jacob, Akeno, and Aloren finally made it to the original trail Akeno and Jacob had been following for so long.

“Aloren?” Akeno asked.

“Hmmm?”

“Can you explain what happened in the basement of the castle? Why couldn’t we touch the water?”

Jacob perked up, glad Akeno had asked his questions. He wasn’t about to start a conversation with Aloren.

 “Of course,” she said. “The castle is built over Sonda Lake, one of the most dangerous parts of Redland. The water is really deep, but no one knows for sure how far down it goes because of the Eetu fish. They live only where the water is darkest—they can’t stand the sun, and so only come to the surface after it’s gone down. Eetu fish are really dangerous. Their fins can act like feet, giving them the ability to move quickly regardless of whether they’re on land or in water. They get to be huge—sometimes up to ten feet long. They have razor-sharp teeth that triple line their mouths, and are able to make a full-grown man disappear in a matter of seconds.”

Jacob raised his eyebrows. These fish sounded like piranhas on steroids.

Aloren looked at Akeno. “This isn’t the only reason why they’re so dangerous, though. If a drop of the water from their territory hits you, they will hunt you down until they’ve eaten or destroyed you. They’re able to sense where that water went, regardless of whether it has evaporated or not. They know when someone has come in contact with it—even just one drop.

“Your only defense when you get wet is to hope you’re able to outrun them. They only last above water for an hour or so, but most people make the mistake of thinking they’ll die or retreat after that. This isn’t true. An Eetu fish can replenish itself with any water source big enough to cover its gills. Once it’s replenished, it continues the hunt. On average, it takes the Eetu fish around twenty-four hours to lose the scent of that bit of water.”

Jacob glanced at Aloren—this topic was seriously fascinating to him, and he wanted to ask questions. That would require talking to her, though, and he wasn’t sure he was ready yet. He shook his head at himself, then finally swallowed his pride. “What about the water the Eetu uses to replenish itself while on the chase?” he asked. “Does it become the fishes’ territory?”

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