Thirty-nine – 06

[This post is from Marin’s point of view.]

My gaze scythed up and down the wall, taking note of who was there and almost more importantly, who was absent. It will be enough, I told myself. It has to be.

I don’t know at what point I unslung my bow, but as I watched the mists at the far end of the field, I found it filling my hands, the wood smooth and familiar, almost soothing against my fingertips. Next to me, Matt was leaning forward again, both hands pressed against the stones of the wall. Ambient power crackled in the air, half from the storm and half from the magic rising on the wall and out in those mists.

“Do we know?” A breathless Phelan clambered up onto the wall on the other side of Matt, already soaked to the skin, staff in hand. “Have we figured it out?”

“Aietes,” Matt said. Phelan sucked in a sharp breath through his teeth.

“With how many?”

“We don’t know,” I said. I glanced at him for a second, taking in the sight of red hair plastered against his skull and the barest hint of concern in his eyes before I tore my gaze away again before the sight could sweep me away into another when.

Focus.

A double thud sounded on the drums and it was if both sides took that as a signal for utter silence. I didn’t even dare to breathe as I strained to hear anything but the sound of the wind and rain. A crack of thunder startled me so badly I nearly toppled—only Seamus’s sudden iron grip on my arm steadied me enough to keep me from going over the wall.

I could hear the faint sound of a man’s voice in the distance, somewhere beyond the mists. There came another double thud, then nothing again. Our forces stirred restlessly on the walls.

On the far side of the gate, Thordin scrambled up onto the wall. His gaze wasn’t on the field.

It was on the sky.

Another double thud.

I could hear the voice again, but I couldn’t make out the words. It sounded like giving orders, but without knowing what was actually said, all I could do was go on feel, on instinct. I cleared my throat.

“Archers ready,” I called down the line. My order was echoed in both directions by others, all the way to each end of the wall.

Another double thud.

The mists swirled at the far end of the field. I could almost see something in them—almost.

I held my breath.

Another double thud.

Thordin reached for the sky.

The clouds started to bend.

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