Toby Neighbors: Crying Havoc

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Toby Neighbors Crying Havoc
  • Название:
    Crying Havoc
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    Mythic Adventure Publishing
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    Фэнтези / на английском языке
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Toby Neighbors

Crying Havoc

Cry ‘havoc!’ kings; back to the stained field,

You equal-potents, fiery-kindled spirits!

Then let confusion of one part confirm

The other’s peace; till then, blows, blood, and death!

— The Life and Death of King John, Act II, Scene I, William Shakespeare


Brianna shook Zollin, but he didn’t stir. He was breathing, but just barely. She looked up at the dragon, which was roaring in pain on the mountaintop. It was using its tail to try to pull her arrow from its chest. The thought that she had wounded the beast gave her a sense of satisfaction she had never known before. She only wished she still had her bow and could finish the job, but at that moment she knew she had to find a way to get Zollin off the mountain or he would die. The air was too thin, and he needed food, wine, and rest.

She had a length of rope that she kept slung over one shoulder. It wasn’t enough to lower Zollin down the mountain, but it would come in handy. She still had her quiver of arrows attached to her belt. And she had a few odds and ends in her pockets. She looked around and realized that they were on a part of the mountain that would be impossible to descend, and going back into the cave was not an option. Their only chance would be to climb over the mountain and hopefully find a way down.

“Zollin,” she said loudly, slapping him in the face. “You have to wake up!”

His eyes fluttered and then closed again. She tried to lift him, but she couldn’t. Tears stung her eyes. She had to save him, but she didn’t know how. Then she heard the sound she had been dreading, the whoosh, whoosh, whoosh of the dragon’s wings.

She looked up and saw the beast taking flight. She knew she had to do something. There was still snow on the sides of the mountain, and she grabbed a handful and dropped it on Zollin’s face. He sputtered, and she rubbed his cheeks with the snow. His skin turned bright red and he opened his eyes.

“What are you doing?” he said in a weak voice.

“We have to get off this mountain, or we’re going to die,” she told him.

“Can’t,” he whispered. “Leave me here.”

“I will not,” she said. “I’m jumping off the ledge, Zollin. I’m going to pull you to the edge, and we’re falling off together. Are you listening to me?” she said, slapping him hard in the face when his eyes started to close. They snapped back open and she told him her plan.

“There was an avalanche,” she said. “The valley is full of snow. All you have to do is slow us down enough that we aren’t killed. Can you do it?”

“No,” he said. “I’m too weak.”

“Then we’ll die together,” she said. She pushed him to the edge of the ledge. Looking down at the drop was terrifying, but she could see the snow far below. Her hope was that the snow would soften their landing.

“Stay with me, Zollin!” she shouted.

She glanced up and saw the dragon wheel toward them. She lifted Zollin’s head and shoulders so she could wrap the rope around him. Then she lay on top of him and wrapped the rope around her back as well. The sounds of the dragon were growing louder. She could hear the deep growl in its voice and the flapping of its wings as the beast swooped down toward them.

“We’re going to die if you don’t help me, Zollin!” she screamed as she tightened the rope.

“I love you,” she whispered. And then she rolled them both off the ledge.

* * *

A power too great for the eyes and minds of mortal men erupted in the far north. It sent a shock wave roaring through the Five Kingdoms. It was like thunder that shakes a house and cows all inside. Offendorl, Master of the Torr, was knocked off his feet. His brittle bones, centuries old, snapped as he fell, but even though the pain was agony, his mind was consumed by the shock of power.

Zollin, the wizard in the north, the bright flame of power that Offendorl had felt blossom years ago, was back and brighter than ever before. For months now, the young wizard had been able to hide his power. Now suddenly, it was back, and it had grown, more than even Offendorl had thought possible. It was as if the boy were a roaring fountain of raw power. It took a huge effort for Offendorl to pull his mind away from the radiance that he felt from the boy. They were separated by hundreds of miles, and yet the ancient wizard felt like he was standing in the sunlight after a long, cold winter.

He was in the tower of the Torr, a massive, round structure that stood like a silent sentinel over the Grand City of Osla. Armies were massing along the coast, marching toward Brimington Bay, from which they would sail north under Offendorl’s command. The Master of the Torr was over three centuries old. His mind was sharp and his magic strong, but his body was like an antique, still functional, but brittle. The floor of his chamber was polished stone, worn smooth by the master’s constant pacing, and his body had broken against it. He closed his eyes and focused on healing himself. It was difficult with the distraction of Zollin’s power. It was like trying to sleep in bright sunlight that floods through closed eyelids. The shine of power seemed to invade his mind and draw his attention away from the matters at hand.

The pain didn’t help. He was used to pain: it was always with him, and although his magic allowed his mind to bypass the pain, his body was in shock. It took a long time to heal the many fractures and bruises. Only then did he rise up off the floor. He moved slowly, careful not to hurry; he didn’t want to have another accident. He sank into a thickly padded chair and rested his hands on the smooth finish of the massive desktop in front of him. Without moving he levitated a crystal decanter that was filled with a mixture of spirits, many of which were decades old. The decanter rose up and floated across the space between the bar and the desk. It was followed by a goblet with jewels and gold decorating the outside. The drink seemed to pour itself.

Offendorl drank and then settled further into his chair. He loathed the thought of the journey before him. He didn’t like to leave the Torr. It was too inconvenient. He had spent centuries gathering everything he might need around him, but now he needed the boy in the north-the young wizard named Zollin. Offendorl had sent three of his most capable wizards to bring the boy into their fold, but Zollin had defeated all of them. Then he had sent the twins, but with so many wizards spread far across the Five Kingdoms, his strength had waned, and he had lost control of the witch. It was just one more problem he would have to deal with, but first he needed Zollin to shift the balance of power back to him alone.

So now Offendorl would go with the armies of Osla and Felxis, sailing up the coast to attack Yelsia from the west, while the armies of Ortis and Baskla invaded Yelsia from the east. The two-prong attack would crush the Yelsian army and force Zollin to join the Torr. The young wizard had defied Offendorl, an act no one had even attempted before. Even Offendorl’s master had died without a fight when Offendorl had usurped his mentor’s place as head of the Torr. Zollin was like a dream, alluring but untouchable and totally out of his control, but that would change, the ancient wizard thought.

He smiled, a rare sight, for the Master of the Torr rarely felt amused or excited. Most things in life held no more pleasure for the wizard, but power still made him giddy, and once he controlled Zollin his own powers would increase exponentially. Offendorl strengthened his resolve to capture the boy and add Zollin’s bright, billowing power to his own.

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