Chapter XIV: A Parting Of Ways

4.8K 42 2

The meeting with the Council and Grand Cardinal Malthorp went on for hours. They seemed to endlessly debate what should occur next, so Dymorla had a difficult time steering the men in the direction she wanted to take. As soon as it was evident that she had learned everything of use from them, she excused both herself and Zack and escorted him back to his quarters. Just walking through the stronghold was now a chore; Zack had become a major celebrity and everyone from high priestesses to servants gawked, asked for blessings or even stopped them along the way. Dymorla was relieved when the boy could finally get some rest.

She then found all the others huddled near and around the huge crackling fireplace in the common area of their guest wing. In late summer so high I n the mountains, a cold snap could set in quite suddenly, and this was certainly one of those nights. The trolls sat on the floor, in their usual crossed-legged fashion while the others sat on plush couches and chairs pulled in a rough semicircle.

When they saw her approach, they unleashed a flurry of simultaneous questions.

“Ah, Dymorla, what have you learned?” asked Aeilronic.

“Where is Zack?” asked Cookie.

“Did you learn any more of the scepter?” Asked Thag.

“What do we do next?” asked Omag.

Dymorla held up both hands. “Slow down. We have time for everything. Zack is fine, but he was pretty tired. I escorted him back to his quarters so he could get some rest.”

“But how is he?” asked Cookie, knowing that the boy must by now know much of the sorceresses plan, as everyone else in the small company now did.

 “He is in fairly good spirits, considering. That boy is someone to marvel at.”

“Dymorla, if I may,” interrupted Halk. “I have been thinking …”

“Yes, Halk, you may accompany us to Kaleb’s Claw.”

“My thanks, Dymorla. I have become quite attached to that boy and I tire of this big bear’s snoring, anyhow,” he said, pointing to Omag.

“Who be a big bear? You don’t make a good lapdog either. I be serious though, when I say I’ll be missing that boy and ye.’ But I will feel better with you watchin’ over him.”

“Okay, then that’s settled,” continued Dymorla quickly. “Halk will accompany Aeilronic, Thag, Myself, Zack and Grand Cardinal Malthorp to Kaleb’s Claw.”

“Malthorp?” asked Cookie clearly surprised.

“Though they debated this for hours, he wouldn’t have it any other way. And that is not all. Elyan is leading a division to Mahhrain to meet up with the other forces that will be under Djar’s command.”

“And the Council of Twelve went along with this?” asked Aeilronic.

Dymorla waved her hand. “Some of them couldn’t get out of bed in the morning without a debate. Thankfully, however, Malthorp and Elyan hold enough sway with enough to have made the vote swing their way. I don’t think they’re all happy, but I don’t care either.” 

Thag tapped his wide nose with a huge finger. “Well this is good news. We’ll soon have a potent force to deal with the goblins in and around Mahhrain and Fort Durn. I believe that the combined might of the priest warriors, Alya’s divisions of Treeguard, my forces led by Goff, Aara’s Imperial Army and, of course, the remnants of the Imperial Guard and the various human home guards should be able to drive the goblins back north in short order.”

“So why don’t we just stick together and deal with the goblins, then worry about the wizard?” asked Cookie, glancing at Dymorla. She still didn’t like the idea of splitting with Zack. 

A Book Of The Lands: The One Who Would Be KingRead this story for FREE!