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.“What is it?” Welstiel asked.“The elf ship.come fast.we are seen!”Welstiel looked out past the prow.“Put men on the ballistae.Now!”Leesil roused from half-sleep as Magiere thrashed against him.She rolled toward the narrow bunk’s edge, and he tried to grab for her, but she slipped over to the floor.“Magiere?”He pushed up onto one elbow, trying to come fully awake in the dim light.Magiere crouched on all fours.Both of them were fully clothed, since they had to share a cabin with Wynn and Chap.Amber light glinted in her black hair hanging around her face—and she was panting.Had she been dreaming again? Perhaps another nightmare?“What’s wrong?” he asked.He clutched blindly for the lantern or whatever light Wynn had forgotten to put out, but he couldn’t get a grip on it.“Leesil.?” Magiere whispered, and started to lift her head.With a frustrated grunt, Leesil sat up and reached out.The light didn’t come from a lantern.At the head of the long bunk ledge, he saw the topaz amulet Magiere had given him.It glowed softly.Leesil sucked in a harsh breath and looked at Magiere.Yellow light exposed her pale features through the tendrils of her hair.Her irises were blacker than the room’s shadows.An eerie wail rang out from somewhere in the ship.“Chap?” Leesil said, but Chap wasn’t in the room—and neither was Wynn.“Oh, dead deities!”Magiere scrambled up, snatched her falchion, and jerked open the cabin door.“Where are they?” Leesil growled.“And how could an undead get on board?”She didn’t answer and ran out as he snatched up the amulet and pulled its loop over his head.He grabbed one of his winged blades, but with no time to strap it on, he threw aside the sheath and raced out.Running, he caught up to Magiere as she slammed the hatch door with her palm.Its latch shattered, and they both burst onto the deck at the ship’s seaward side.The crew raced about purposefully.Several of them strung longbows and shouldered quivers.But Leesil saw no sign of a conflict or fight.“Wynn?” he shouted, and then spotted her before his call faded.She ran toward him with Osha close behind as they rounded the cargo grate.She skidded to a stop before the shore-side forward hatch.“Leesil.Magiere? I was coming for you.” Wynn whirled, pointing ahead.“Undead.another ship ahead.Chap sensed undead and ran up the forecastle!”Magiere leaped to the cargo grate’s edge, running past Wynn, and Leesil heard Chap cut loose another shuddering howl.Several elven crew members cast frightened glances toward the bow as the sound spread over the deck.Leesil started to follow but stopped short when Sgäile appeared from the other forward hatch.He was struggling to pull on his tunic.All around, crew scrambled as the hkomas shouted over Chap’s howls.Sgäile twisted about in the commotion, pausing to listen to elven voices.He grabbed for Leesil as he stepped in beside Osha.“The ship will need a wide berth,” he said.“The hkomas will head seaward to bypass the other vessel.Be ready to assist as needed.”“No,” Wynn said quickly.“The other ship turned out to sea.We are closing for a look.”“What?” Sgäile asked in open surprise.“If it is Ylladon, that is folly! This is not a fighting vessel.”Chap’s howls waned, and Leesil stepped back to peer up into the forecastle.The dog hung upon the forward rail-wall with Magiere.“Show me!” she growled, her voice nearly lost in the noise on deck.Chap stretched his head out as far as he could.Magiere leaned over the dog to follow his sightline.“What is that?” Sgäile whispered.Leesil glanced at him in confusion and found both Osha and Sgäile staring at him.No, rather, at his chest.He looked down once to the soft yellow glow of the amulet.“Magiere gave it to me,” he said, frustrated by the distraction.“It glows when we’re near an undead.”“That is why Chap is howling,” Wynn added urgently.“He wants to hunt.because he senses an undead.And it is on that other ship!”Sgäile exhaled sharply, as if overwhelmed.Two pairs of elven sailors thumped up the aft hatchway.One set carried a tall, stout wooden stand, while the other hauled a long heavier bulk wrapped in canvas.They trotted along the seaward rail-wall and up onto the aftcastle.One pair set the stand on the aftcastle’s seaward side, and the second pair mounted the canvas bulk on top.When they ripped off the covering, the first two lifted a broad steel bow, and then locked it down across the mounted stock of a ballista.Two more crewmen ran past Leesil for the forecastle and its shoreward side.“It appears the hkomas made extra preparations for this journey,” Sgäile said and glanced to Osha [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]

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