Sadow and Entrik surveyed Sadow’s estate.
“A lot of guards you hired,” Entrik observed. “That frightened, are you?”
Sadow looked him over. If he’d had lips, he might have smiled. “My friend, we can not be too careful. You’ve heard the news about Larick. I have no desire to leave another seat at the Magi’s table vacant. So, I have taken some extra precautions.”
“Allow me, then, to render further assistance,” Entrik stated. He chanted softly for nearly five minutes. Sadow watched, knowing a spell that took the likes of Entrik that long would be impressive.
Finally, Entik slammed the palm of his hand against the ground. A massive, shimmering circle appeared. First, a serpentine, crystal blue head emerged. Then another, and another. They all had long, cylindrical necks. The body came next. It was massive with large, shimmering wings and fierce claws. The tail came last. It was long with a spiked end.
Sadow would have whistled, were he capable of it. The beast was easily as large as a great dragon. And looked even more powerful.
“An Ice hydra of some kind?” he asked.
“Crystal, actually,” Entrik answered. “Incredibly powerful, it is. Put it behind your main force in the event of an emergency, I suggest.”
“Very well,” Sadow agreed. “I’ll have Femre decide when to unleash it. He can be trusted. At least, as long as he’s paid.”
“The honest type, he does not strike me as,” Entrik stated.
“I really would prefer not to use his sort,” Sadow stated. “But dangerous times and all that.” He clapped Entrik’s shoulder. “Come inside, I’ll get you some tea.”
Entrik floated inside behind Sadow, wondering briefly just how suicidal an enemy would have to be to assault a building with two magi, his crystal hydra and that many mercenaries.
“Royal One, we present Selene Nol, the envoy of the troll kingdom.”
Selene bowed, politely. She looked around. There were a lot of guards. If she made a hostile move, she’d be dead before she could reach either the Royal One or any member of the council.”
“You have my apologies for the security,” Lan stated, noticing her wandering eye. “There are many who don’t trust our peace pact or His Majesty, Pinbol’s intentions.”
“As we would not in your place,” Selene stated. “It will take time for our peoples to be able to trust each other. But, that is why I am here. To take that first step. His Majesty believes that peace will strengthen both our kingdoms.”
Lan nodded and smiled. “Then we are in agreement on that much. Lais!”
The elven Captain stepped forward and bowed. “Yes, Royal One?”
“We do not need this many soldiers for one troll representative,” Lan said. “You will stay with two of your most trusted subordinates. The rest surely have other duties.”
“Royal One…” Lais was about to protest but she caught the look in his eye. “I understand. I will do as you request.”
Selene was surprised by his decision. Even if she was old, she was still a general. She could easily kill two or three of the council before she was stopped. The Royal One was making a big gesture of trust.
Perhaps there was a future for this alliance after all.
We were prepared. Everything was in place for our journey. We would be leaving Wicadia after nightfall.
Callie entered my room. “So, are you prepared for this?”
I thought about it for a moment. “Well, Sadow knows he’s coming, right? And I doubt he’ll just wait. He’s going to have guards and other defences.”
“One would assume,” Callie replied. “He doesn’t exactly have a reputation for being foolhardy. Then again, he doesn’t have a reputation as a murderer either.”
“It is strange,” I agreed. “Everything I’ve heard paints him as a man of justice and righteousness.”
I felt Callie’s arms around me. “Those are the types you most have to worry about,” she said. “Unfortunately.”
“To be honest, I’m a little scared,” I said. “When I fought Larick I….” I was going to tell her he’d let me win. But I stopped myself. I wanted her to feel secure. “I almost lost you.”
She tightened her embrace. “I know. I’ll be careful, I promise.”