Enjoy this additional preview scene of The Crown of Sight, my new novella in the Eternal Dream Legends series, releasing on March 22.
“What is there to sabotage, sir?”
Mardrel took his eye away from his telescope for a moment to look at Talel, who stood leaning against a charred tree trunk, his face wrapped against the chill of the fog that billowed perpetually from the Fay Lands close at hand.
“Much to sabotage,” Mardrel replied, “but very little we have the capacity to affect.” He handed the telescope to the scout and sat down on a nearby rock.
Talel brought the brass-barreled device to his eye. His grey cloak and gambeson made him blend in well with the tumbled stone and old ash of the burned-out grove, but he made a stark silhouette against the glow of the Fay. There, the trees grew of their own light, stretching in a golden green sheet behind the city. The fog that enveloped the raiding party picked up that light and the misty plain of Balara looked aflame in the failing light of day.
“They have sabotaged themselves, I think,” Talel said after a time. “To spite us, they have burned what would be food for them as well. I see even the remaining livestock they have slaughtered without thought to their own hunger.”
“Katach is no fool,” Mardrel said. “He will have left the farms and fields to the east intact, knowing we cannot march through the valley to reach them when he holds the pass against us.”
“My sister says otherwise,” Talel said. “We went far afield with Ared a few weeks ago, miles beyond the encampment, and they have ravaged even the unsewn fields. These ahead of us were the last, and now they gone.”
“You made it that far?”
“We can avoid being noticed if the eyes are few, or are busy.”
Mardrel stood up and grumbled. “Dark elven magic.”
“Yes. Tara and I have a knack for it, it seems.” Talel handed the telescope back to Mardrel, who put it carefully in a satchel at his hip.
“The Draesenith are aware of his talents, then, since they are willing to burn the fields behind them,” Mardrel said. “I don’t think he is aware of our ability to conjure food, however, or surely he wouldn’t be trying to wait us out.”
“I was under the impression the enemy strategy was working,” Talel said.
Mardrel closed an eye. “What have you heard, eh?”
Talel smiled and shrugged. “If the prim were as accessible to the mages as the leadership says, we wouldn’t be out on this sortie.”
“We’re keeping the map updated, that’s all,” Mardrel said.
“Then why check the fields? Each time we do this you survey more land. I’m beginning to think troop movements are merely incidental.”
“Watch your tongue,” Mardrel said. “I don’t suffer insubordination, even if Ared does.”
Talel bowed. “My apologies, sir. You are right. I have grown too casual keeping company with the dark elf.”
“Apology accepted. Now, where is your sister?”
“Tara will be here soon, I’m sure,” Talel said. “But keep in mind she too must tread at least a little through the Fay to bring her riders hither.”
“Let’s hope she loses no more time than us.” “She’s already lost some, but I’m sure it is fine.”
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