Chapter 16 (18th of Taru-Des in the year 6198)

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The deadliest of weapons is a fear that cuts through the mind like a knife that cuts through the body

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The deadliest of weapons is a fear that cuts through the mind like a knife that cuts through the body.

Master Daru of The 2nd Circle

An hour after sunrise, Reane stood on the aft deck of the Oracle

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An hour after sunrise, Reane stood on the aft deck of the Oracle. It had been two days since pursuit ships were spotted, and she watched the faint forms. They were still on the horizon. Her crew had done a superb job keeping The Oracle out of their reach. Corsair's cutters had gained ground, but far, far less than they should have.

The sea was rough and the winter winds had begun to pick up. The turbulent seas played into the favor of her ship, which was heavier. Corsair's smaller, lighter ships were not designed for the chop and froth the ships were currently encountering.

Reane huddled in her fur cloak, feeling stronger than yesterday. She waited - waited to see if Corsair would continue to follow.

A call from the lookout told her that they had traveled further south than she would have liked. "Telowan Islands dead ahead!"

Reane smiled. "Now," she said to the wind, "we see who is the greater fool."

Without a word, Brentai moved to his captain's side. "It doesn't appear that our pursuers believe you will continue on your present course," he eventually commented.

"The helmsman has his orders. We maintain this course until they back off. If they don't, we run the straits between the islands and take our chances with the Archeons. If we back down, they will catch us."

Rubbing weary eyes, Sheala climbed onto the aft deck. "So, is anyone going to clue me in here?" She was given no response as both Brentai and Reane continued to watch the horizon.

One of the ships started to turn, then another and finally the other two. Reane let out a sigh of relief.

"The Telowan Islands don't appear on most maps," Reane explained. "And few people outside of smugglers and sages know they exist. They are home to the remaining members of an ancient breed of dragons."

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