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Were after being close now.

Bahzells voice was low as his companionshradani, human, and courser alikegathered about him and Walsharno. He sensed their tension, their dread of what awaited them. But he also tasted their grim determination and their hatred for the evil theyd come to find.

How can you tell? It was Battlehorn. Even now he sounded sullen, resentful, yet the question was genuine, not a challenge or statement of skepticism.

Its a sense Himself is after giving his champions, Bahzell replied levelly, answering the question with the honesty it deserved. Its not something as I can be putting neatly into words, but Im after sensing the presence of the Dark much as youd see a cloud against the sun. And what it is thats waiting up ahead there is after being the very stormfront of Krahana herself.

Muscles tightened, and jaws clenched, but no one looked away.

What is it you want us to do? Kelthys asked simply.

Its little I know of exactly what well be facing, Bahzell said grimly, but this much I do know. Theres after being two battles waiting for usone as will attack physically, with claw and fang or blade, and one as wont be using weapons most of you will be so much as seeing. Ive a nasty enough sense of whats ahead to know as there wont be anything of the mortal, natural world about it, physical or not. But anything as is solid enough to be after hurting you is solid enough that you can be hurting it. Ill not say as how you can be killing it, but at the least, you can be after holding it in check.

He paused for a moment, surveying his allies, then flicked his ears.

Ill not be lying to you. Its in my heart and soul to wish as how youd none of you come, beyond us of the Order, but youd have none of it, and I knew it. And, truth to tell, I cant but be admiring the guts as brings each and every one of you to this. Youve made us sword brothers all, by your courage. Yet menand coursersare after dying in battle, brothers, and its in my mind as how some of us will be doing that this night.

Dozens of eyes look back at him, levelly, despite the tension ratcheting higher and tighter behind them.

Theres a part of this battle as will be mine to fight, he continued. Its not one as any of the rest of you can be after joining. But what you can be doing is to keep the rest of whatever it is were facing off of me while Ive the fighting of it. Will you be watching my back for me, brothers?

Aye. It was Luthyr Battlehorn, his voice cold and hard with promise despite the dislike still showing in his eyes. Aye, Milord Champion, we will.


Chapter Forty-One | Wind Rider's Oath | * * *