Chapter 24 Blood War

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The army is ready, standing in formation together, filling the top of the canyon. The allied leaders stand at the front, waiting. All wear the colors of their respective armies, but one thing ties them together. The flags that fly bear the same symbol. Meah is the one who chose it. It’s a symbol from her dreams, the one she’s come to know as Ime’s symbol.

Standing at the front of the army, ahead of the allied leaders is Ime. At his side is Tanith, her dark scales catching the light of the morning sun. He calls an order and it’s echoed through the ranks of men and women. The ranks salute and the army marches to war.

Those remaining behind stand at the top of the watchtowers lining the edge of the canyon. Others stand at the base of the watchtowers cheering and saying their final goodbyes.

Meah watches the army from the same watchtower where she spoke to Jaxon for the last time. Next to her stands Altan. Against his wishes, the allied leaders decided it would be best for him to remain behind with a group of his most trusted soldiers to keep the city safe while Deven goes in his stead.

Bon and Cal, the youngest of those who escaped the Arena stand behind Meah, angry they can’t join the fight, but understanding why. Lyrrel stands with them, volunteering to assist with communications between the army and Kellahn.

Sitting away from the group in a chair with her arms and legs crossed is Seera. It’s the first time she’s been allowed out of her cell since she arrived, but with the news of Jaxon’s betrayal she is now accompanied at all times by two guards who stand on either side of her.

“How long will it take them to reach Klaeon’s lands?” Cal asks, not aiming his question at anyone in particular.

“With an army this size, two weeks at most,” Altan says.

“And how long do you think the fighting will last?” Bon asks.

“I think Ime intends to end it quickly, but war is never quick. Some last days, most last years.”

Circling an arm around Bon, Cal’s eyes burn with an intensity befitting a young man. “I hope this war is a quick one.”

“We all do,” Altan says bowing his head. “And hopefully the gods will shine upon our men and women with favor.”

It takes a long while for the army to disappear in the distance. The thousands of fighters eventually meld into one blob of shadows then into a single line of black before fading away to nothing and leaving the vast plains empty.

Watching the horizon with worry in her eyes, Meah wishes she could see further. She stretches her magic as far as it can go, but it’s pointless. She bows her head and prays to the gods to protect Ime and those fighting. When she raises her head the sun is already high in the sky. She turns and realizes only Seera and her guards are with Meah on the tower.

“Where did everyone go?” Meah asks.

Standing, Seera walks towards Meah. “They left over an hour ago.”

“An hour?”

“You’ve been standing there for three hours, Life Healer. I volunteered to stay behind with you, much against everyone’s wishes.”

Lowering her eyes to the stone floor, Meah believes Seera. It only felt like seconds to her, but Meah knew more time had passed. She feels a comforting hand on her shoulder and stares up into Seera’s face.

A reassuring smile is on Seera’s face. “He’ll come back.”

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