The Unspeller and the Book of Days
I could not see the battle, but I did not need my eyes to know when the Book of Days unleashed his magic. The air
crackled with his power, thundering in the sky as the storm closed around the world and broke my army.
I knew my Arkenian war riors would all die when I sent them to attack the Trader for tress, but sacrifices had to be
made. Magic was worth any amount of blood.
Tonight Na Serin would drink itself mer r y and then sleep the deep, unshakeable slumber of the victorious. They
would not be weak in battle. They would be weak in triumph.
Aesa collapsed on his bed, still in his cloak, but he didn't care. His body ached pleasantly as he sank
into the warmth. The three older boys had drag ged mattresses through the halls, ig noring the stares of
anyone they passed. They slid the mattresses next to Aesa's bed and collapsed. Dalynara happily claimed one
of them, deciding to stay with Aesa.
“Dex can keep watch for us,” Dalynara said, snuggling down into her blankets until only the top of
her head peeked out.
“Bless the dead,” Loken murmured.
Tamlin did not come, Aesa said to Laeron, not sure if he was awake.
Maybe I killed him.
Jasper doesn’t think so.
Ah. Well, I can always kill him later.
Aesa managed a smirk at the dragon's confidence before he surrendered to exhaustion.
In his dreams bright lights flickered, at first only glimmers that lit the fields of home. Then the lig hts
became painful, shards of searing white that cut his eyes.
He tried to look away, but he could not close his eyes. There was no relief from the relentless shining.
A shadowy figure gave some relief from the blinding brightness. After a few moments he realized it was Dex.
Wake up, Unspeller. It is time to fight.
He opened his eyes to escape the dream, but the brightness was real. The whole room glimmered like
fiery glass. He could see no runes to unspell. If there were any, the flood of light swallowed their dim glow.
The magic in the room prickled against his skin, and he broke out into a cold sweat, his hands balled in fists.
There was so much power around him. He couldn't hope to fight this.
A black shape rose in the light. The dragon's wings made a welcome shadow and his silvery eyes
I don’t know this magic, the dragon said.
And I can’t see any runes to unspell—it’s too bright.
Aesa heard Dalynara cry out, her voice rag ged with fear and pain, but he could not see her.
“Dal! Where are you?” he called, shielding his eyes with his arm.
A black ring suddenly appeared on the floor, and he saw her rise from the center, her hair wild and
her eyes searching the room. She had been in the Dead Realm, but Dex had not returned with her.
The room dimmed, the portal from the dark ring sucking in the pitiless light. As his eyes adjusted,
runes began to appear. He recognized them as Arkenian, and his throat grew tight. There was so much power
Thrusting out his palm Aesa quenched all the runes, the heat of his gift rushing through him. The
backlash buckled his knees, the power needling through the marrow of his bones and making his limbs weak.
He searched the room for the Arkenian who had cast the spells, but there was no one.
Dex appeared in the black ring, facing Dalynara, who had fallen to her knees. Tears ran down her
face as she looked up at him.