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I threaded gracefully through surprised travelers on the road, leading the way as we tore down the north road. Lylisia never would have run at a time like this...

...but she's not here, is she?

I nearly tripped and went sprawling.

"We're gaining ground fast!" Andrin gasped from somewhere behind me. He and Maeldok had a harder time keeping from barreling into passersby who didn't leave room on the narrowing path for fleeing fugitives.

"Great, keep it up then!" A few steps behind me, Koren shouted to clear the way as we ran.

I glanced behind me for a moment—wham!

I collided head on with someone and he went flying. He was a short little man, and though I was slim myself, I barely even stumbled. "Sorry!" I shouted as I regained my balance, making to speed off again.

In the brief pause, I heard it—hoof beats.

Koren snatched at the edge of my cloak and shouted something, but I didn't hear him. My legs had a mind of their own, sent almost into a frenzy, tripping over myself to get moving again.

They were coming.


I didn't make it three steps before I was on the ground too, grappling with Andrin, who took me down with him. My deep, ragged breaths had turned suddenly to short, shallow ones, and I stared with wide eyes.

"Sed we need a plan." Koren strode calmly up and put a heavy hand on my shoulder.

I froze in the middle of scrambling to my feet and tried to take a deep breath. What's gotten into me?

It was the magic. The moment I heard hoof beats it swelled up like a flood, filling my lungs and throat and soul.

"E'suze me, but do you need helping?" It was the man I knocked over. "I take you to safe place." He dusted off his hat—a strange cloth piece, one like I'd never seen before—and continued in a thick accent. "I take it they are coming for you?" The little man cocked a black eyebrow and tilted his head down the road. I suddenly noticed his very fine mustache.

"Yes, yes they are, and we could use your help... fast." Koren's tone remained even, somehow, even though my heart was still pounding.

Still jittery, I must've looked over my shoulder a dozen times as we stepped off the road and between the trees, dodging soaring, jagged rocks rising to reach the treetops. The rumbling of horses was growing louder, so much that I could've sworn they sent a whole army after us.

Koren conversed in a hushed tones with the stranger. It was like he had barely broken a sweat, and he moved with such confidence I might've doubted he understood the seriousness of the situation.

"So Maeldok," Andrin was saying behind me.

I tried to listen in, if only to stop my ears straining for signs of pursuit.

"...how are you in a fight?"

I snorted. Little as I knew about the Channeler, I could just imagine his expression.


Fair enough. Maybe even modest, I thought to myself.

"See I only ask because, you know, if it really comes down it, we have to know who's in and who's out you know?"

Peeking behind me, I cracked a nervous grin at Maeldok, whose eyebrows were raised to his hairline.

"I see," was all he replied.

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⏰ Last updated: Apr 21, 2022 ⏰

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