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Rudolfo

Rudolfo sat in the shade of a fir tree, alone, and thought. There was dried blood on his sleeve and his boot, but it wasnt his. Hed killed a magicked sapper the night before when they breached the perimeter. Rudolfos men had taken a beating had held their ground. Three of his Gypsy Scouts-three

lost in one night.


Gregoric slipped beside him and sat. General Rudolfo, he said. Rudolfo nodded. Gregoric. What do you think?

Gregoric shook his head. I dont know.


The bird had arrived two hours earlier bearing news of the new Pope and the Writ of Shunning. Rudolfo had immediately sent word to House Li Tam and the Seventh Forest Manor. Just as hed finished, his Captain of Intelligence had approached with more bad news. Weve word that two more brigades of Delta infantry are northward bound. And Pylos and Tyrn are sending contingents.


Thats when Rudolfo slipped from the camp into the forest in order to think. Of course hed known that Gregoric, still magicked from the morning patrol, had followed at a distance. And after sufficient time had past, his first captain had done as he always did and came to sit with his friend.


Rudolfo sighed. I think we may have to pull back and find new vision. This new Pope has changed the pieces about on the board.


Aye, Gregoric said. We still have some time. A few days. We can do what we can and then divide the


army.


Rudolfo nodded. And I will be needed elsewhere.


Tomorrow, with his own half-squad of Scouts, Rudolfo would ride for the Papal Summer Palace to parley with this Pope. Behind him, his Wandering Army would fall back to their forest islands until their general called them back to war.


For the first time in a week, Rudolfo wondered if he truly would prevail.


| Psalms of Isaak 01 Lamentation | Jin Li Tam