This book tells the continued story written by a young Teir’Dal at the beginning of the War of Fay.
There are many stories from the War of Fay.
This one is collected from the journal of a young Teir’Dal soldier.
The Cantor and I run from the ship, our shoulder curled forward and heads down until we pass into the surrounding trees.
My eyes adjust to the darkness and I see the remaining members of my unit.
We started across the Ocean of Tears with twenty. There are seventeen of us now, crouched in the shadows.
“You should not have stopped for him; he was destined to die,” the Cantor whispers in my ear.
It is the first she has spoken to me since telling me her name aboard the ship.
“I did not stop for him, he grabbed my arm,” I whispered back. “You can wait here; once the ogres have slain the dwarves, they will escort you.”
“No,” she says, “I am coming with you.”
I raise a eyebrow at her, but there is no time for further discussion.
I know that we have not planned to bring her along with us. In our training, the Cantor always traveled with the ogre units, primarily to be safe but also because my unit’s mission is different from other missions.
The unit leader will put her into her place; it is not for me to tell her she cannot come along.
Surprisingly, the team leader does not care that the Cantor is accompanying us to our meeting place.
She glances at the Cantor and some secret signal passed between them, for they turn as one and fade into the treeline. I fade behind them.
The ground rises and falls beneath our feet as we march steadily onward.
The sun rises. The ogres have done an excellent job through the early light.
From the place in which we hide, I can still see toward the hates. Bodies are strewn about and already there are beasts gathering to feast.
Our arrival has definitely caught the dwarves unaware.
The Cantor sits beside me briefly but I avoid her gaze. Is it coincidence that someone named “Death” had spent time with my comrade, who died so soon after we came ashore?
As though sensing my thoughts, the Cantor leans towards me. She is not smiling.
“He was not meant to survive. Do you blame me for easing his final hour?”
I do not answer, so she continues, “They call me Death for I have the curse of knowing who will live and who will not. You will not die today.”
When I turn to look at her, she is gone.
The sun is high over head and the ogres have finished with the outer defenses of Kaladim.
The dwarves, so proud of their fortress, have retreated into its bowels.
When the skies darken again, my team and I are to move forward, then divide into smaller groups.
We shall not see each other again until we reach our final destination.
I see the Cantor now.
She sits beside the team leader and they whisper back and forth, occasionally smothering smiles behind their hands.
Are they speaking of me and my twisted gait? I shake myself, for such thoughts are foolishness in battle. I am not a child, whose only care is whether someone likes me.
I do not care how the Cantor spends her time. Her name is Death, She makes me uneasy.
As darkness falls, we hear the ogres working hard below us.
They are piling high vast quantities of trees before the hates of Kaladim and will soon set them ablaze. Our until will leave before they light the fire and will disappear into the night.
The team leader comes to me and whispers, “The Cantor will go with you.”
“She cannot,” I whispered back, angrily adding, “This is not part of the plan.”
The team leader’s eyes narrow, but her voice drips with menace: “This has always been part of the plan; we do not tell everything to those in service beneath us. The Cantor goes with you; you will do as she bids.”
The team disperses and I..nod curtly to the Cantor and we too slip off into the dark.