The Search for the Unicorns Chapter Nine

This is the ninth chapter in the story, if you have not read the previous chapter please do so before continuing: Chapter 8 – Rebellion!

It’s been brought to my attention that chapters 5 and 8 did not post correctly that has since been remedied.

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Here is the ninth chapter:

Chapter 9

ATTACK ON THE CAPITAL

By the time Carla had hurried into her clothing and gotten down to the courtyard, everyone else was ready and anxious to go. She barely had time to take note of the fact that what she was presently wearing was still far beyond the kind of dress she was used to.

The courtyard was full of men in armour and bright surcoats, mounted on tall horses. For a moment she did not recognize Bruderic or Lungand among them. But just as she was mounting the horse being held for her by a servant, the man next to her said, “So you are coming with us?” and she recognized the voice of the King.

“Yes,” she said, simply.

His grin shone from under the helmet. “After having guarded Dumberlin’s forge for a night, I will not warn you about the danger, but I hope you will be safe. And I am glad to have you along.”

She wasn’t quite sure what to say. But she gave Bruderic a close look and saw that under the carefree outside, he was burdened with sadness. She smiled. “But of course I had to come along,” she said. “We have been together for too long for me not to want to see first-hand how things turn out.”

She knew how foolish that sounded even as she said it, but it seemed to please Bruderic.

Outside the castle were rows of other men, mostly afoot. They were armed with swords, spears, and shields, all wearing bright coloured surcoats. As the mounted party rode out of the castle, these people began to march along behind them.

After they had gone a little way, Carla said, “We seem to have a large army with us.”

Bruderic laughed, not unkindly. “Not really. All we have with us at the moment are Hergard’s men. We will have more joining us on the way.”

“Do soldiers always go so brightly dressed?”

“Yes, and for a good reason. Battles always begin with armies lined up in neat rows. But within minutes of the battle’s beginning, those rows are bent and twisted. There is so much dust in the air that you can barely see the man in front of you. And when you see him, you may try to strike at him unless he’s wearing the right colours and shouting the right shout. Despite that, many men are killed by their own fellows in the confusion.”

As Bruderic had predicted, they were joined on their way by several bands of men. Many as large as the band they were with. Carla and Wissagebreht were introduced to each of the Lords. Though Carla found herself mostly unable to keep them straight in her mind. She eventually hit upon the thought of remembering each one by the device on his shield and pennon, which helped very much.

One of the bands, numbering no more than twenty-five, was led by a man who was no more than two years older then Bruderic. He was slender, dark, handsome, and treated Carla with great politeness. His name was Gadmot, and he had recently come into the inheritance of his father’s lands and title.

He first flattered Carla excessively. But when he saw that she was repelled by that he made his language a little less extreme. He could be very entertaining. He had a way of telling humourous anecdotes about everyone in such a manner that even the subject of the story would laugh. Nor did he spare himself in this regard, and some of his more amusing stories were of his own discomfiture.

Carla had been given a dark green cloak for warmth. She soon discovered that if she donned this cloak and stood still, remembering Wissagebreht’s lessons on not being seen, people would pay no attention to her. In this way she could overhear all the plans they were making.

This soon brought home to her the fact that they were in a situation little short of desperate. Nechtgang and Gaistferu had gathered a number of Lords to their cause by promising them rewards. More lands, more power within the Kingdom, and so on. Others had joined them out of fear. Because at the time Nechtgang set himself up Bruderic was missing, and they did not know when or if he would return.

There were many who were on the King’s side. But some of these did not dare move just now, being so close under the eye of the usurper. Most accounts said that the King would have more troops when he arrived at the city. But that Nechtgang would have easily enough troops to defend the walls and hold the city. This by itself would convince many of his strength, and bring some waverers to his side. If, on the other hand, the King could take the city, he would attract many of those same waverers and thus be able to defeat Nechtgang.

And the King could not wait long. For there were a number of Lords in the outer territories gathering their forces on behalf of Nechtgang. Once those forces were gathered. Unless the King had demonstrated his own strength, his army would be outnumbered. Then, if it came to a battle, they would be defeated.

Carla, seeing Bruderic more and more weighed down with all these problems, tried to spend a little time with him and cheer him up. Unfortunately, it seemed that every time they began to talk, someone needed to speak to the King about something. Whether it was authorization to forage for food in a particular neighbourhood. or be it authorization to requisition horses, arms. Or armour on promise of future payment, or a host of other problems. There were even certain of the Lords hinting that they would be even more loyal and willing to help the King if he could make a promise to better their circumstances when the war was over.

“After all,” said one of these, “there will be a number of traitors to be gotten rid of, and someone must be given their lands.”

In such cases the King made a promise that he would do his best to see that no man who remained loyal to him would suffer loss by that loyalty. This was not so strong a promise as was usually desired, but most of them feared to press the King too hard in such a matter.

For two days they marched. Two nights they spent in tents. Around which the campfires of their growing army flamed and smoked. Soldiers gathered, talking, eating, laughing, and speaking of everything except the of battle which must come.

On the third day they came to the ridge outside the capital and camped again, just out of sight of the city. Most of the Lords went with the King to view the situation in order to make plans. While Carla, by simply riding along as though she belonged there, accompanied them.

Even from this distance they could see that the walls were manned. Therefore, would be little or no possibility of their army approaching the city unseen. Save perhaps at night. Even that would require them to move much more quietly than any of the Lords expected to be possible.

Small parties of men on horseback were approaching the city by all the visible roads into the city. Most of these carried pennons declaring which Lord was coming. Carla saw Lungand’s face go grim as he looked at them.

Bruderic spoke. “One of the first things to do is to send parties out to watch the roads. Inform the Lords going in that the King wishes to speak to them.”

Hergard, who appeared to have taken the place of Commander along with Lungand, nodded. “True. But you will notice, Milord King, that few of the Lords are bringing more than ten men-at-arms with them. This means that the Usurper will have sworn support from many Lords, but few troops with which to fight us. if we can bring him to battle before those Lords can send for their armies, we have an advantage.”

“Yes. And the fewer Lords he has to call on, the better for us. From the looks of it, Nechtgang has sufficient troops to hold the city against us. If we attempt to storm the walls. The chances are that we will lose so many in the attack that even if we get over the walls, we will be unable to do much else.

“So. We will have to send out word to every Lord within a few days’ march to join us here. If we can build up our force quickly enough, we may be able to take the city. If we do not, then we are going to have to stay outside, building up support. And eventually putting the city under siege. And that will prove who is the more popular, myself or Nechtgang.”

“And Nechtgang will be promising to his various Lords all the properties of those who are on our side. We cannot wait too long, Milord.” Said Lungand.

“No. But there is little more we can do here. Hergard, please assign a few men to keep watch from here in case anything happens. Such as Nechtgang sending his army out against us., Said Bruderic.

That was done, and the rest of them went back to where the bulk of the host was still in the process of setting up a camp. The King and the Lords began to talk about all the various methods which might be used to get into the city, most of them risky at best, and fatal if anything went wrong. After a bit of this, Carla drifted away, watching all the barely organized disorder in the camp around her.

“One wonders, doesn’t one, whether half of them really know what they’re doing,” said a soft voice at her shoulder.

She jumped a little, then turned; Gadmot was smiling at her. She smiled back. “Shouldn’t you be over with the others, making plans?”

He shrugged his elegant and dismissive shrug. “I come with a scarce twenty-five men at my back. With the possibility of perhaps that many again if I call on every male who is able to walk. And bring them to war armed with pitchforks. And I am a mere boy, inexperienced in war. So they would prefer not to hear from me at all.”

He looked over his shoulder at the Lords all discussing and expostulating. “No, all I should get from them if I pressed myself into their counsels would be dreadful frowns from all. And too many frowns from too many old men could easily turn me into just as disagreeable a person as they are.”

Again he shrugged. “So rather than that, I come to talk to one other person who is out of the counsels.”

He asked how she had come to be with the King, and she explained that they had been on a quest together. He knew that they had been on a quest, and with careful questions he drew out of her what the quest had entailed. As he learned more and more, he began looking at her with almost awe.

“Well,” he said at last, “you have had more experience in battle than I! Perhaps you ought to be part of the counsel.”

Carla laughed. “They are deciding how to use huge armies; my battles have only been small, involving the four of us. I wouldn’t know how to use an army if anyone asked me, and to tell the truth, I’d rather not.”

Their conversation went on into other less serious fields then. She was a little angry when Bruderic came and interrupted them.

Bruderic seemed upset himself, and she couldn’t quite be sure what it was. She felt perhaps it was merely the same thing that had been bothering him since they had first found out about the rebellion. So she did what she could to talk to him, though it was not the same as talking to Gadmot.

The only plan they had been able to come up with was to wait for more men to join them before trying an attack. For they all knew, more men would also be joining Nechtgang. Therefore they could not wait too long before taking some sort of action.

About the middle of the next day a young man came into the camp. He had been wearing a dark brown cloak which made him look much like a common man. But at the camp he threw off the cloak to reveal his surcoat which showed an arm brandishing a mace. The guards brought him to the King almost immediately.

He bowed and said, “Milord King, I am Bridwic the son of Hargrad, and I am come to offer our services to you.”

Bruderic looked skeptical. “In what way do you plan to serve me? Do you have soldiers nearby to join us?”

“Even better, Milord King, we have a plan to aid you to get into the city.”

Bruderic raised his eyebrows. “Indeed?”

“Indeed. You see, Milord King. My father and I were both inside the city when Nechtgang made his declaration, and it was not possible to escape. Also, the Wizard Gaistferu was watching and listening to all, seeing who was loyal and who was not. We dared not do other than what we did, to swear allegiance to Nechtgang, but look for our opportunity.

“What my father has planned is that this afternoon he will open the gates to the city. And hold them with his men long enough for you to bring a force in.”

Bruderic smiled. “It seems to be possible. I suppose he has made his whole plan known to you?”

“Of course, since that is the only way it would work, Milord King. All he asks is that you yourself come down to the gate so that he will know that you are accepting his terms and his plan. You could bring a small band of your people. About ten or so, and disguise yourselves as peasants in order to come through the gates. When he sees you there, he will give orders to his men. Who will be waiting thereabouts, and they will take control of the gates. Holding them open until your main force can arrive.”

Lungand shook his head. “The plan is good, but we cannot risk sending the King himself down there.”

The young man shrugged. “My father will not act unless he sees the King himself. You understand, there are so many people declaring their loyalty or changing their loyalty. That anyone could claim to be from the King. In such a case, my father would be caught in treason to Nechtgang and executed. The King himself must come. And to prove that he has no treachery in mind, my father is offering me as a hostage for your safety.”

“So.” Bruderic frowned. “I must discuss this with my Lords and advisers. Will you please wait?”

The young man nodded and the army held council on what was to be done. The general attitude toward this plan was negative. It was risky to place the King thus at the head of the small group which would be at the mercy of whoever would be waiting at the gates. It would take a long while for the main force to come up, and during that time the King might well be killed or captured.

The King shook his head. “I think treachery is unlikely; after all, we have his son here. And as for me being alone there. Well, I shall be at risk in any battle we fight, unless I sit back and let my people do all the fighting on my behalf. If we pick the men carefully who will come with me, then even if there is treason. It is possible that we can hold the gates open until the rest arrive.”

Lungand shook his head. “Too many risks, Milord King.”

“And what of the victory if we do actually take the city from Nechtgang? If we take him there, we will end the rebellion in one stroke. If he escapes, we have the capital, and we have proven him less capable than he claims. We must try.”

Lungand shook his head. “Milord, even if we do come in through this gate, Nechtgang has an advantage. He will know we are coming. For the matter will not be hidden from his loyal troops, and we will have to fight for every street and alley. And being able to bring our troops in only at one point, we will have a definite disadvantage.”

Bruderic frowned in thought for a moment, then spoke. “So while our first attack comes in through the gate, we send a rapid storming party to another point on the wall. Even if they do not succeed in coming over the wall, they will force Nechtgang to divide his own forces.”

“But you will still be there at the front, and if it is treachery, then they need only let you in and slam the gate behind you. Whatever force we send in then would be fruitless.”

Wissagebreht spoke up then. “I have some thoughts on that. It might be possible to arrange things so that the gates could not be closed easily.”

Carla sat her horse on the ridge overlooking the city, in the midst of the vanguard of Hergard’s army. Hergard himself, fully armed, sat beside her. He had his helmet off, slung at his saddle, and his red hair seemed more wild and shaggy than ever. There was a grim sadness in his eyes, as though he could see the sorrow this day would bring, but could see no way to avoid it.

Down the road in front of them was a party of ten men dressed as peasants. They carried sacks over their shoulders. They appeared to be carrying their produce to market. That was the King and Lungand and the few men in their party.

A little ahead of them were three oxcarts. These were huge lumbering vehicles with two huge wheels each. Wheels built by strapping a set of heavy planks together, then cutting wheels out of them. They made a dreadful squealing, though that was barely audible from this distance. On the oxcarts were Wissagebreht and ten others. A small addition to the force with the King personally.

Way down below the city stood. All seemed calm and normal, though there were more men on the walls than would be there in peacetime. Small bands of nobles with a few men were still on the roads toward the city. No few of these had been intercepted by the King’s men and sent on up to the King’s camp. But some still felt that their best interest lay with Nechtgang and Gaistferu.

Carla looked around. The first group of soldiers were about fifty mounted men who would ride hell-for-leather down the road to get to the gates. Once there, they would reinforce that dreadfully small band as the King reached the gates. In that group was Gadmot, and as her eyes fell on him he smiled at her.

Gadmot had told Carla earlier that he begged to go in this group, “and for some reason,” he said with his little grin and shrug, “They thought I could as well die in this way as any other.”

Despite that bravado, his face was a little pale, and his smile was a little forced. His hand held a lance which he was alternately squeezing and loosening, as though he sought a better grip. But this was more likely a case of nerves.

That force was headed by another leader, a grizzled soldier by the name of Grinhald, who sat still with little expression. Some of the men were mounted. Others were still afoot. Others were loosening up muscles, checking the harness of their horse, taking a last drink of water or wine, or just talking to their neighbours.

The men on foot were overtaking the oxcarts now. They were passing the odd word between them as would be expected of such groups on the way to town.

Carla looked at Hergard. He was looking down at the city in such a way that it looked as though he were willing things to happen. She moved nervously in the saddle, and the horse responded by shuffling its own feet. Hergard looked over at her, then smiled. “Patience, young Carla. It is barely begun.”

She forced herself to return his smile, but she could not help but feel frightened of what was to come. Even if this was no trap. Even if Hargrad was waiting to hold the gate for them. There would still follow a tremendous battle before the city was taken. And Bruderic would be in that battle.

“Milord Hergard, surely this will be no trap, will it? After all, Bridwic is here as hostage, and his father will surely not risk his life, will he?”

Hergard tried to smile reassuringly, but failed. “Probably not, but there is a chance. After all, if this is treachery, they are acting with the knowledge of Nechtgang. If the King is taken or killed, our cause will fall apart immediately. And who would want to be the person to kill Bridwic, knowing that his father will have great influence with the Usurper?”

“Then why does the King risk himself in this way?”

She had heard the answers, she knew them well, but she had to talk about something.

“Because there is a chance that this is no treachery. Because even if it is, there is still a possibility that we can turn it against them. And if we can do that, then we will have struck a strong blow against the Usurper. Perhaps we might even make it impossible for him to fight much longer.”

They were silent then, watching the two groups slowly travel the road to the city. They were wearing chainmail and surcoats under the peasant garb. Which would likely fool anyone who did not look too closely at them. Of course, all it would need would be one flash of metal or one glimpse of colour which ought not to be on a peasant, and they would be betrayed.

At last, at long last, they had reached the gate. Grinhald half-turned his head and said, “All right, you lot. Get mounted up; it’s time.”

Hergard moved his horse a little out of the way, and Carla did the same. There was movement down at the gates now, metal flashing in the sun. “For King Bruderic!” shouted Grinhald, and was away. Behind him his small band put spurs to their horses and followed.

No sooner were they out of the way when Hergard clapped on his helm and called to his Captains, “Forward, for King Bruderic!”

They advanced, marching steadily downward toward the city. Leaving Carla with the three men-at-arms who had been told off to guard her. They were not rushing as Grinhald’s men, for they were expecting to come in through the gate and fight their way through the streets. Grinhald and his men were merely to provide immediate protection for the King.

There was confusion down at the gates now. There were flashes of colour as Bruderic’s men tore off the peasant garb to make themselves known. Carla could see the oxcarts too. Wissagebreht and the other drivers had taken them as close to the gates as possible. They jumped down, cut the traces, and cut the tongues of the carts. Then they smashed the wooden bands that held the wheels together. It would now be something of a job to move the carts, and that must be done before the gates could be closed. Grinhald’s men ought to be there before that could be done.

She strained her eyes to pick out Bruderic in that struggling knot of men in the gate. But she knew that at this distance it would be impossible. They seemed to be being pushed back, back through the gateway. No, wait! They were holding! Then slowly they were being pushed back, and men in Nechtgang’s colours were heaving at the carts.

Suddenly Grinhald’s men came crashing in. Then a little later she could faintly hear the shouts from below. Now they were back within the gates, moving inward. They were out of her sight now. Had they moved too far and too fast? If the gates were shut behind them now—!

At that moment some people in Bruderic’s colours took up positions at the gates to prevent just that. Carla could see the bodies lying in the gateway. People in both Bruderic’s and Nechtgang’s colours. She wondered again if Bruderic were safe. But surely if he were not, they would have already fallen back?

Then the vanguard of Hergard’s men were in the gateway, and now the shouting redoubled. At this distance it was not possible to make out the individual shouts, but the noise swelled. There was a cloud of dust in the gateway now, and Carla remembered Bruderic’s explanation of the surcoats.

The advance of Hergard’s men was suddenly halted. About half the column still protruding out of the gate like a strange tail. Out of that column came several small parties, running to the walls. Some of them set ladders against the walls and began to climb. While others shot arrows up to keep defenders back.

Some of the ladders were toppled. But in two places the attackers managed to reach the top. Then there was a fight around the heads of the ladders as more men mounted them. Now the wall was taken for several hundred feet on each side of the gate. More ladders were being brought up as more and more of the column went up over the wall.

Shortly after that the column began to move again. A little later the last of them had disappeared inside, leaving a few men to hold the gates.

A moment later Carla saw another forest of spears moving across the plain. That was the second force. Which was to assault the walls on the far side of the city and draw off more of Nechtgang’s soldiers. After a little, even that column was out of sight beyond the city, and there was nothing left to watch.

Carla looked around her. There were a few men too badly lame or too sick to join the attack, and a few of the women who followed the army standing and watching. There was also a small contingent of men-at-arms, under the command of a certain Terbold, who had been ordered to watch the camp. There was nothing to watch any longer, but eventually the battle would be won or lost. Then it would be time to bandage wounds and count the dead.

This suddenly brought to mind the fact that there were few medicines with the army. They would need potions to ease pain. She called some of the women over and they came, cautiously, for she was clearly a woman of rank. As such, she was potentially dangerous to them. Carla remembered her own feelings about nobels when Bruderic and Lungand had first ridden into her life and she smiled slightly.

In a few minutes Carla had most of the women off looking for the proper plants. While she herself was giving orders as to how they should be prepared. All of this kept her busy enough so that she seldom had a moment to give thought to what might be happening as Bruderic and his men fought their way through the twisting streets of the city.

They had just gotten the mixture into its final stages where it had to cool off. When Carla heard a sound of rapid hooves coming into the camp. She looked up to see a sweaty, dirty rider coming up to Terbold. She walked over, wiping sweat from her brow, in time to hear the message.

“The city is taken, Nechtgang and his people have fled. The King commands you to bring the camp to the city. He further commands that there is to be no plundering, on pain of death.”

There was a bit of muttering from the people around at that last order. Long tradition held that the people who accompanied the army had the right to plunder enemy camps or captured cities. This was of course in exchange for their help with the camp and their care for the sick and the wounded. In this case, however, the city was the capital city. The city of the King, and there had been little likelihood that he would allow it to be looted.

Terbold turned and began to give orders to the camp guards to get everything ready to be moved down to the city. He also passed along the order that there was to be no looting. That done, he looked around again. Seeing Carla, he approached her. Dragging the left leg which kept him out of active fighting, he asked, “Are you sure you’ll want to come with us, Milady? After the battle, it will not be a pleasant sight.”

Her status had changed very much, it seemed. She still could not get used to people being so polite to her.

“I will go down to the city, Terbold. I have seen a battle before. Please make sure that this gets delivered as well,” She waved toward the cooling potion, “I imagine that Wissagebreht will be caring for the wounded, and if so, he will appreciate having it.”

The carts and wagons creaked and jounced down toward the city. Carla, with barely restrained impatience, walked her horse among the guards. Terbold would have been quite upset had she attempted to gallop down alone. He would then almost certainly have sent men to bring her back. This was another side of the politeness she was being shown. She was a friend of the King. Therefore, anybody who carelessly allowed her to go into danger felt sure that they faced the wrath of the King.

They set up a camp outside the gates, and again there was a long period of waiting. Around the gates were several soldiers in the colours of both sides. Most of them lying still and lifeless, but one or two moaning slightly. Terbold sent some of the people of the camp to look to them and see if anything could be done, but mostly they waited.

Soldiers came out occasionally, on ill-defined errands. But all the information that could be gotten from them was that it had been a dreadful battle. That the King was still well. That Hergard was still well. That Grinhald had taken several wounds but was still on his feet, and that Lungand was as ill-tempered as ever.

Wissagebreht came out finally, looking around a bit grimly, then came over to the camp. Carla went forward to meet him, explaining how she had had the people brewing the potion while the battle was going on. He nodded, smiling slightly. “Good, good, I knew I could rely on you to use your head. Now, we need some people to come in and care for the wounded.”

“I want to come in too.”

He looked at her in sudden surprise, but said only, “Then come along.”

“Would you speak to my guards? They seem afraid that I would either get hurt or get too upset at the sight of the aftermath of battle.”

He nodded. “I will talk to them. But now I have to speak to Terbold.”

The path they took through the city was essentially the same one on which most of the fighting had been done. It was marked with bodies in bright-coloured surcoats, men who had been killed or wounded in the attack. By now parties of soldiers were collecting the wounded. But they were collecting at the far end of the path and working toward the gates.

She could tell the places where the defenders had made their stands, for these were the places where the soldiers lay thickest. The King’s and the Usurper’s, mixed in their rows.

They came at last to the palace, where the attack had culminated. In fact, by the time the fighting had reached that point Nechtgang was already fleeing, leaving only a few of his troops to delay the King’s forces. All that had been left afterwards, was a pursuit. A running fight as that rearguard sought to make its way out of the city before being surrounded and overwhelmed.

They finally reached the palace steps where Bruderic was standing. He was giving orders to various officers regarding disposition of prisoners, defence of the walls, and a host of other such details. Carla dismounted and waited patiently. Bruderic was mostly setting capable men in charge of various things. In the end, many men in the crowd who had a question for the King found before they reached him that it was not the King they had to see, but someone else.

Finally the last of the soldiers turned away, and Bruderic was able to look at Carla.

“Welcome to my city and my palace, Carla,” he said.

He was smiling, but Carla could see the strain on his mouth, the weariness in his eyes, and the grey colour of his skin. He had washed his hands and face, but his surcoat was slashed and stained. There was no doubt that he had been in battle.

Carla tried to think of something to say, but all she could do was smile. It was Bruderic himself who broke the silence. “Well, this battle has been won, but there will be others to fight, and I must have some rest and some food. Will you join me?”

“Yes, thank you. Where is Lungand?”, asked Carla.

Bruderic smiled again. “Ah, he has already taken charge of seeing that there are servants in the palace and that they are doing their duty. Wissagebreht, will you join us?”

“Very shortly, Bruderic. There are still a few things to be done, said Wissagebreht.

Bruderic hesitated. “What more?”

Wissagebreht smiled. “No, nothing that requires the presence of the King, only that I wish to see to the comfort of the wounded.”

The King smiled slightly, “If my uncle heard you speak thus, he would teach you better. ‘The King goes into battle first, and is the last to find rest afterward.’

“But I will go see if there is a small bite of food to be had in the kitchen. Then see if there is a clean surcoat to be found, then finally, I will come visit the wounded myself. Thank you, Wissagebreht, for reminding me of my duty, even though it robs me of a meal,but he smiled as he spoke.

Carla wanted to go with him, but she was also thinking of what she had seen on the way to the palace. “I will go with Wissagebreht, Bruderic, and perhaps see you later. I’m glad to see you well.”

“Well? Ah, I suppose that I am well enough in body, only one or two scratches. But I am not really well. I have seen men today, Carla. Men who were once my playmates screaming at me across shield-rims. And now that the battle is over I cannot say whether or not I hope that they are safe.”

His body sagged for a moment, then he drew himself up. “Ah well, there will be much to be put right once Nechtgang has been taken care of.” He turned and walked up the palace steps.


That was Chapter Nine. Please let me know what you think by emailing me at [email protected]

Or if you want to wait, I can email you a pdf of the complete beta in a month or so once the chapters have been released.

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