Chapter Fourteen- VERA
The Wall is an enormous structure, made of rock taken from the mountains. It’s built on the edge of Wolfmere Peaks and stretches down to the West’s southern shores.
Years and years ago, when the East tried with their greater strength to conquer the West, the West united with the North to push them back. Then the West and North together wove magic into The Wall.
When magic died, the magic in The Wall died too. But The Wall is still a formidable barrier. There’s only one entrance and the West guards it diligently.
This is why I have to march the Silent Watchers along Wolfmere Peak to the least guarded part of The Wall. With the help of my gift, I hope to secure this section.
Provena paws at the ground and blows impatiently. The week has flown by fast, and we’re now standing at the edge of a batch of thinned pines, facing The Wall. Thousands of assassins stand behind me, awaiting my command.
A command that would have come from Bellek--if he were here. Instead he’s out on an errand for the king. A message from him arrived earlier this morning.
It read along these lines: knowing that I was to be made Commander, that there were those who would not be ready to accept it, and to watch my back. But I knew all that already. What I didn’t know was in the second part of his message, about a friend of his. How he would be keeping an eye on me. It had irritated me at first, as if Bellek didn’t trust me. But I brushed away the negative emotions. I have only few in my life I can trust. And he is one of them.
“Commander,” Leech speaks, “we are ready.”
I walk Provena out onto the open field. My eyes shift over to the mountains and I wonder if Bellek’s friend is watching me now. Supposedly a coin engraved with the markings of a dove’s head will be presented to me, a token of peace.
My focus returns to The Wall. Doubt creeps to the edges of my thoughts. Will my magic reach that high?
My red Commander cloak spreads out behind me--a late gift from the king. I can still feel his slimy hands over my body from his early morning visit. I hadn’t expected him. It took seeing Zyrik afterwards to put my mind back on my task.
The Violet Guard gather with their bows drawn. Their bodies twitch, showing their hesitancy as they see a girl approach. I count fifty, but I know there are more.
I embrace the Western chill air. It’s foreign, like the magic that thrills through my veins. But it’s also comforting.
“Hold your position and state your business,” a guard shouts over the edge.
It starts with a simple thought and my gift sparks.
Fifty guards step to the ledge, and throw themselves off The Wall. Their bodies thud hard against the solid ground with the sound of shattering bones.
Two heads barely pop over the ledge, and I grab hold of their minds and send them to their deaths as well. Arrows begin to soar over, the remaining guards shooting blindly toward an unseen target. I move closer to The Wall to avoid the random flights of arrows.
Watching for any movement, I wait patiently, keeping my mind quick. Twenty more guards look over the ledge to assess the damage, and soon enough my mind locks onto theirs, and I burst their hearts inside their chests.
Minutes drag on until I’m sure there are no guards left. A subtle pounding settles behind my eyes. Ignoring the pain, I place two fingers in my mouth, and whistle.
Catapults are pushed forward and set. Giant boulders are released to crash into The Wall. We have to make a large enough hole for the assassins to pass through easily.
Some time passes before The Wall begins to crumble. Violet Guards continue to appear, but before their arrows can find targets, they are dead.
Before long I am leading Provena through a gaping hole into a kingdom I thought I’d never see. Thousands of black pines stretch out before me, a dusting of snow brushing their tops. My lips part, then curve up. The snow is beautiful.
“Happy to be home?” My eyes snap to Captain Ryker’s mocking grin.
“Must you always be an ass, Captain? Go find someone else to annoy. I have no need of your pointless observations.”
Ryker’s sneer disappears and I nudge my horse forward. He really is a prick. We travel west, maneuvering through the thick pines before Leech rides to my side.
“What you did back there was impressive. The men think so as well. If there were any who doubted you, they no longer do.”
Pain shoots through my head, and I clamp my eyes shut.
“Commander? Are you all right?”
“I’m fine. It’s just a headache.”
We finally stop to make camp, and I barley find my tent before passing out into darkness.