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Saturday, June 6

Naoke: Prologue

Vlad handed one of the oars to Kham. They were in the open sea, somewhere off the coast of Nyambe, completely at the mercy of Khitani pirates.

The Milandisian warrior didn’t need to look at his Solani companion to know that they were of the same mind. They weren’t going to go down without a fight.

“Do you think you can hit him from here?” asked Beldin. The dwarf squinted. It was over a hundred yards to the ship, and even further to reach the crow’s nest where Cho Sun held Yolanda hostage.

“No.” Vlad cranked his crossbow, his back concealing his actions to the pirates. “I don’t.”

Beldin grinned beneath his bushy beard. “Good. I was afraid this would be too easy.” He cranked his own crossbow.

Kham was uncharacteristically silent. With his throat cut by the King in Yellow he had difficulty speaking. He set to rowing, brow furrowed.

“Any wizards?” asked Vlad.

Beldin scanned the deck. “Hard to tell. Not familiar with Khitanis. But there’s a woman in robes on the aft deck. She’s as good a candidate as any.”

Vlad nodded. “This may be our only shot.”

“If I die, throw my body overboard.” Beldin loaded his crossbow. “I don’t want my stone in the hands of those mongrels.”

Vlad held his crossbow tight to his chest. “Don’t worry. I don’t intend to survive long enough to see you die. Ready?” [MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 7:51 AM


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