Disclaimer; Elemental Truth, the first of the Elemental Wars books, is in the final stages of editing. I’m sorry this bit took so long to get to you. Hope you all enjoy it.
The Negasti Mountains marked the border between Sandau and Nekar. The old mountains, with their jagged weather-worn peaks, were like silent sentinels, warning all who neared them to turn back. Who in their right minds would want to go further? Into Nekar, into the Seeress’s lair? Captain Adden had spent many months on border duty, and he could never understand why anyone would dare. He would have thought more people would flee the Seeress’s web, yet that was rare. Even so, it was unusual to see a lone rider on a travel worn horse picking their way down the narrow, steep path to the border station. The men and women under his command had gathered, watching, whispering as the ruddy mare made her way towards them. Her rider was slumped over her neck, even at this distance, Adden could see his white knuckled grip in her mane.
Adden felt the eyes of his second on him and glanced at her.
“Is that who I think it is?” She asked. He shrugged.
The horse half slid to a stop when the path leveled out. Her sides heaving, she lowered her head, took a step forward and Adden flinched when the rider lost his bid at staying astride and dropped to the ground with a heavy thud. The mare turned her head peering at her rider before she nudged him with her nose, her soft grunts and swishing tail loud in the silence.
“Aye, Sergeant. That is who you think it is.” One of the other, older guards said.
“Had to have been bad to have him returning.” Adden murmured. The man wasn’t moving, his breathing shaky, skin sallow.
“Think he’s dead? Or just ill?” The Sergeant asked, glancing up the pass.
Adden said nothing as he strode over, crouching beside the fallen man. Without giving it much thought, he reached over, absently stroking the mare’s nose before pressing his fingers to the Nekarian’s neck. He shook his head and rolled him over, staring down at the unconscious man.
“Our orders,” The Sergeant began, but hesitated. The man groaned. She swallowed and looked ill.
“I’ll not kill an unarmed man, Siari.” Adden said finally, hefting the unconscious man over his shoulder. “Go find Degan and take care of that horse. She’s a loyal beast if nothing else. I’ll take him back to the city.”
The younger guard nodded, taking the loose reigns and murmuring words to the horse who watched with uncanny interest as her rider was carried off.
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