Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Page a Day: One Hundred Ninety Six

            Hearing that made me shiver. I watched another cycle of the exchange between Kasora and our artillery. This time, when the Towers shrieked their keening sound, all our operators took their cover. And there were no disks destroyed by the counter-bombardment, which went wide of its marks.

            “They think we have fewer artillery than we do,” I said. “That is why you use so few and move them so often, though they cannot be seen.”

            He nodded. “It will take them time to realize how we keep the bombardment so constant. Any sortie that crosses the river will have a similar experience.”

            “They’ll think they’re fighting ghosts, the Augers.”

            He nodded. “It is something of a plan.”

            I reflected on our conversation. “Marcus asked about them, the Arks of Kasora. When I told him what they were, he said he hoped they stayed sealed.”

            He raised an eyebrow. “Did he? Imagination has never been his merit.”

            But I knew he did not mean anything about the Arks, but another realignment of our army. After Neseschia, Marcus had pulled all the Neverborn from leading sections of the infantry and replaced them with now experienced captains. The death of Julius required this, I learned from a scout named Phaedrus. But it did not require that Marcus place himself and his Neverborn as Jerem Cozak’s personal bodyguard, which is how they came to be digging ditches and not leading the defense of the crossing. And which meant that they would make up the rest of the vanguard charging through the gate, instead of doing something more clever and effective.

            But Marcus did not relent, nor did Jerem Cozak, and I understood that Julius had been more important than I ever knew. I had only liked him because he was kind, and my friend. His power had not been obvious. But how many of the decisions we had made, I wondered, had actually been his? Not because he had made arguments, but because he had mediated them?

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