Saturday, March 8, 2014

Page a Day: One Hundred Eighty Four

            Ingenious,” I replied. “I wish we would have thought of that.” 

            Jerem Cozak shrugged. “There would have been no time. The Augers advanced too quickly here. But Earth had warning.”

            He did not elaborate. “Will we be?” I asked. “Engulfed in flame?”

            He smiled. “We will be taking the strongest citadel in the world, the greatest city-fortress Thaeron has ever known. And at any time, I would rather be resistant to fire than not.”

            I had to laugh at that. “Just so,” I said. “Perhaps we will not have succeeded in any other way.”

            His eyes found mine in the darkness. “Now you begin to understand.”  We watched the flames for a while. He passed the Swarm through the flames again. If there were fewer casualties falling from his hand, I could not quite see it.

            “I no longer feel as I once did,” I said at last. “Ever since we took the Profuse Hand whenever we rode into battle the world turned beautiful and we rode or marched as one. But now in Nesechia we have fought together more than ever, and I only feel the other way. There is a great weight inside my chest that threatens to tear it open. I feel it more and more, though the danger is behind me. But I should not, because it is the feeling that men call dread, which only fears the future.”

            Jerem Cozak nodded. “The ones who come are dread themselves, and they are nearly here. We will always be in danger until they and all their kind are gone.”

            “But who?” I said. “Who are these creatures? What do they want? Are they pets of the Augers or what?”

            He smiled and pulled a brand from the fire. The end smoked, but had not yet caught. “This is Being,” he said. “Everything that is has this property. Being claims space and time for itself. Rocks, plants, and objects each have this property. Beneath it there is nothing.”

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