The Northern army had ridden all that day without rest, and they came to the docks weary and hungry. Much time passed as all the horses, gear, and soldiers were settled on the ships, and Adrienne sighed with relief when they were finally on their way.
A great feast was held that night to refresh the soldiers, and Adrienne, Darien, and Cochran joined the others in the large galley. They all ate and drank, and some even sang with musical instruments they had brought.
Suddenly, there was a loud noise. Someone was banging on their tin plate with a spoon.
“Attention! Attention!” the man called. “Jacob, the leader of the Southern army, wishes to make a toast!”
Everyone cheered as a tall, lean man with auburn hair stood on the table with a mug of ale in his hand. The cheering subsided.
“As we all know, this is a dark time. We are joining in alliance to crush the Western forces and their sorcerer leader, Rado!”
A cheer rose up. When all was quiet, Jacob continued.
“Even though the future will be a time of sacrifice and war, let us enjoy our feast tonight and gather energy for the upcoming struggle. Eat, drink, and be merry!” he cried, and then all cried, “Hear, hear!” and held up their mugs.
Adrienne looked at the Southern leader and found that he was looking straight at her. He raised his mug at her and drank, not taking his eyes off her. Adrienne raised her mug to him and drank also. Then she turned her attention back to a man playing a lute.
Later on in the evening, many of the musicians came together and played a song they all knew. Not many women were in the army, so most of the men danced with the serving girls.
Adrienne sat by herself. Darien had asked a pretty serving girl to dance, and Cochran had gone to get more ale. Suddenly, someone lightly touched Adrienne’s shoulder. She turned to see Jacob standing there.
“I would be honored if I could have this dance,” he said and extended his hand. Adrienne took it and let him lead her to where everyone was dancing.
“I noticed you before,” said Jacob. “Where are you from?”
“I am with the Northern army,” Adrienne said.
“You must be very special—you are the only woman in the Northern army.”
“I have been well educated, you could say.”
Adrienne and Jacob were separated as they switched partners, and Adrienne found herself with Darien.
“Well, what a surprise, sister! I did not know that you liked to dance!”
“I was asked by the leader of the Southern army.”
“Really? I have heard that he is quite a man. His fighters revere and respect him almost like Gorban himself. He is Gorban’s right-hand man.”
Partners were switched again, and Adrienne was back with Jacob.
“We meet again,” he said and smiled. “I did not get a chance to ask your name before. What is it?”
“I am called Adrienne.”
“That is a lovely name. I am Jacob.”
There was a pause for a few moments, and then Adrienne said, “Jacob, what do you think our chances are of winning this war? The Western forces are very strong.”
“That is true, but their strength stems from Rado. If we can kill Rado, then the strength of his armies with be extinguished.”
“Who is this Rado?”
“He is a great sorcerer. Possibly the greatest that has ever walked this Earth. His power has not been matched—not even by your leader, Lorenai.”
“Then how can we overcome him?”
“We will just have to utilize what sorcery power we have—and pray to the Gods for a miracle.”
Come back next Thursday for chapter 8!