After the loss of the helmet and the destruction of Azure Bay, things are looking bleak for the allied forces of the Western Continent. The orc army is on the move toward the dwarves’ mountain, seeking the last artifact Sart and Selene need for world domination. Kit and his fae companion, Kylie, now face the task of uniting their allies, stopping the orcs, and taking the fight to the enemy halfway around the world in a desperate bid to save the planet. Even if they manage to survive their ordeals and make it to the final battle against Sart and Selene, how can they hope to prevail against the god-like powers their foes wield? The most difficult battle for Kit though, may be with himself, as he has to decide who and what he is willing to sacrifice for the greater good.
Dust swirled around Kit’s boot as he crested another hill. He bent over with his hands on his knees taking a few minutes to catch his breath and prepare for the descent down the other side into the valley.
“I think I can see them halfway up the next slope,” Kylie called down from the dozen feet above his head where she was hovering. Her wings had healed enough from the injuries she’d suffered in Azure Bay that she could fly, but she couldn’t go too far on them yet. “They’re making good time, but it looks like they’ve stopped. I can’t tell why.” She descended and plopped gently onto his shoulder as he took a swig of water from a skin in his pouch. “It looks like they’re setting up camp. We can probably get there before dark if we hurry.”
“I don’t remember the trek to Opal Bay being this tiring before,” Kit said. He put his water back in his pack and shouldered it before starting to trudge slowly down the slope.
“How long has it been since you’ve had a decent night’s sleep? Since you were in prison? Being knocked out doesn’t count. It’s a wonder you’re still standing at all. Once we get to the main group, I’ll give you a pinch of powder, and you’ll be off to sleep in no time.”
“Whoa, hold it, I don’t want any of your sleep dust. Last time I had strange visions and I had to drink that tea of Dagny’s to wake me up. I can’t get that tea anymore. Therefore, I don’t want your dust.”
“That’s because you overdosed! Every fairy down that hill threw a handful at you as you tumbled past. This will be a pinch. You’ll fall asleep, get plenty of rest, and wake up with much more energy. I promise.”
Kit was too tired to argue with her as he navigated a path of dry rocks across a small creek that ran along the bottom of the hill. “Are you going to deliver a message to Sidero about all this? She needs to be kept informed, and since we have her troops with us, she should know what happened.”
“Trying to get rid of me already? We helped you take out a magic soul-sucking dragon with surprisingly few losses. I think we’ve more than proven that Sidero knew what she was doing sending us with you. She won’t be fretting too much about us, but once we are safe and secure in Opal Bay, I’ll send her a message. Now, quit trying to change the subject.” Kylie flew up above a group of trees in front of them. “We’re almost to the group. I can see campfires a few hundred yards ahead.” She deftly alighted onto his shoulder, “Just through these trees and up a small slope.”
“It probably wouldn’t be a bad idea for you to get some sleep too before you go. You’ve been up even longer than I have. Maybe just a pinch of dust for you.”
Kylie rolled her eyes. “Fine, we’ll both get some sleep when we get to Opal Bay. I don’t think we’ll get any before then—look at that.” They had just exited the trees, and Kylie was pointing to a large group of people arguing off to one side of the road, apart from the main group of tents and people.
Kit groaned. “We’d better get up there and see what’s going on.”
They had managed to cut the distance to the arguing group in half before they were spotted. “Hey, it’s Kit!” someone shouted, and pointed. Everyone turned to look, and before long everyone in the arguing group and all the people milling around the tents had gathered to watch him approach.
“Kit, thank goodness you’ve arrived—please come over here and help us end this discussion.”
Kit recognized the voice of Alika in the group and begrudgingly headed in that direction. The last thing he wanted to do was get involved in a heated argument between the elves and the townspeople, but he had no choice. They had foolishly camped in the middle of an open area, near dusk, with no defense. If the orcs decided to attack, they would be sitting ducks. They couldn’t spend valuable light arguing when they should be fortifying against a possible attack.
“Kit, what happened back in the city? Why aren’t you in a bunker? What happened to the plan?”
“The plan fell apart when I was knocked on the side of the head by one of the traitorous knights,” Kit said, rubbing the still tender spot on his temple. “Has Taika, Ivor, or Azaz shown up? If all went according to plan, they should be in the bunkers.”
“No, you are the only one to arrive since the wave hit the city.”
“I didn’t see their bodies floating in the debris, so I’m hoping they made it into the bunkers. I’m hoping they weren’t attacked like I was—we barely made it.”
“Well, it’s fortuitous that you arrived when you did,” Alika said. “We were just preparing to head south and report home, but your people don’t want to let us go.”
“You were going to just leave them here defenseless?”
“Don’t be absurd, there are hundreds, if not thousands of troops among the ranks here. Surely they can protect the people of this town more than a handful of elves.”
One of the townspeople who had been arguing with Alika spoke up. “He’s been directing us since we evacuated! Telling us what to do and not to do. Then he just wants to leave us on our own. So I tells him, no, take us to Opal Bay. He says to just follow the road and tries to flee, a real piece of work, I says.”
“Where are the dragons, Alika?”