Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Page a Day: One Hundred Thirty Four

            “Nogilian,” said Jerem Cozak aloud, and the man nodded. “There has been no change?”
            Nogilian shook his head. “She will not move. I’ve claimed the eastern coast all the way to Promontory-of-the-Storms and the western coast all the way to here. And still she will not move. They will not come without her. Sepira is yours. But we all need to leave. Won’t you go and talk to her?”
            Jerem Cozak shook his head, ignoring the question. “Nogilian, meet Del Tanich, my scribe. He’s a capable spearman when he puts his mind to it.”
            Nogilian paused and offered his hand, and I shook it. “A spearman, eh? We could have used some of those in the swamps.”
            “Just as we’ll need valkyries in Nesechia,” said Jerem Cozak.
            Nogilian’s face fell. “I’ve given you ten thousand mastodons, five thousand artillery, and all the forage the southern lands could spare. Do not ask for more.”
            “He doesn’t ask you to give up anything,” said a voice from toward the stern. I turned to watch Julius approach, and saw that he now limped. “He asks you to take what your men have already given you.”
            Nogilian shook his head. “For three days we have had this argument. I do not lie. They will not go without her. She will not be moved, and it is her army. It is not mine.”      
            “Warlord,” said Julius, “we don’t know what’s happening there. We don’t know how it’s going or what they face or what help he needs. Forget her. She has left the path.”
            Jerem Cozak began to speak, but Nogilian interrupted, scowling. “Go and reason with her! She will listen to you!”  
            The warlord shook his head. “She will not listen to anyone because she needs to listen to herself. She will not listen to me because she is not of this world. And I will not listen,” he looked at Julius, “to anyone who says I should abandon her.”
            Julius flared, standing more upright. “And so you abandon him, and everyone who went.”
            Jerem Cozak shook his head again. “We are bound here! If we don’t arrive together we won’t be strong enough for all to be accomplished.”
            Julius replied, “If we don’t leave now, we will be weaker than we ever were.”
            I drew in my breath. “I have a message about that,” I said.

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