Horace and Juju Tip the Scales
by Jeremy Miller
Horace had watched the swarming mound of red, pulsing
tentacles come through the black hole when it first
opened. The adults could not see them, even as each
tentacle chose a follower, arched up like a cobra
preparing to attack, and plunged into their chest. The
children could see them though. They had watched with
Horace, and they were frozen with him -- Juju was frozen
Once before, a long time ago, Horace had been hit in the
head with a rock. He lay there, staring up at the sky.
He felt like that now, except his voice still worked.
Juju kept playing the same waves over and over. It
annoyed him. Horace stopped singing and watched the
tentacles; they looked like a creature that he had once
seen in the water. ”Beautiful and dangerous,” his mama
had told him as he watched it dance in the ocean waves.
The tentacle connected to the fat man was thickest of
all. Kinked and tortuous, it shifted constantly while
the fat man moved, trying to relieve the tension. Horace
studied one tentacle grow out from the black hole, thin
as a string, and run up to a little girl sitting still
in one of the pools. It paused for a moment then passed
into her chest. Her eyes started to glow red, and she
started to move. Raising her hand, she swiped at the
tentacle, but the hand passed right through. She
giggled. Horace watched another tentacle as it connected
to a boy and allowed him to move.
There was something there. Horace closed his eyes and
listened. He followed it, reaching out with his mind,
outward, then downward into the darkness of the hole. A
presence resided down there, powerful and inviting. It
was asking permission to join him. “Yes, I accept you,”
Horace said with his mind.
He opened his eyes as a tentacle pushed into his chest;
there was no pain. He felt power surge through him and,
instead of keeping it in, he guided that power through
his chest, up his neck, and out with his voice. As he
opened his mouth, a fine, red mist shot out, particles
floating and vibrating to the waves of his song. He
followed the particles up, until they passed through the
rows of bristling spikes blanketing the ceiling and
disappeared. Horace pursed his lips and hummed. Instead
of a fine mist, the barest of tendrils emerged from his
mouth. Horace watched the fat man approaching Juju and
sensed danger. Controlling the tendril’s growth and path
with the strength of his song and the movement of his
head, Horace turned his gaze back to the ceiling,
guiding the tendril upward.
The warm stream of urine ran down Juju’s
leg. He sobbed noiselessly. Gideon completed the half
circle, standing between the void and the stage, just in
front of Juju. He stopped chanting and all was silent.
“We offer this sacrifice,” Gideon said, raising and
shaking his flabby arms, “to show our devotion to our
most loving god, Kaza.” Again, the townspeople spoke and
repeated as a single voice: “Our most loving god, Kaza.”
Gideon stepped up on the stage, his massive belly inches
away from Juju’s face. Juju closed his eyes and tried to
block out Gideon and the chanting, focusing instead on
the feeling of his fingers gliding across the strings.
He drifted down into Horace’s range; but in place of
bass tones, he found rapidly alternating notes. As Juju
wondered what in the world Horace was doing, a sound
rang out in the air, punching through the simple,
repeating melody of the mandolin and the townspeople’s
chant, like someone wrenching a string violently from
its instrument. The cracking of rock echoed through the cave, and
Juju opened his eyes as a large stalactite fell from the
ceiling and impaled Gideon through the stomach. The
chanting stopped. Juju’s hand faltered on the strings.
Gideon considered the stump of the stalactite sticking
up from the top of his belly. Blood and entrails gushed
from the wound, running down his ample, naked flesh, and
pooled onto the stage. He shifted his gaze to Juju,
bringing the knife around purposefully, but it fell from
his limp grasp and rattled to stillness on the stage
floor. The burning red eyes were gone now. Gideon
extended his arms out, trying to catch his balance, but
it wasn’t enough. He tipped backwards, off the stage,
and plunged into the void.
In the southern hemisphere, deep in the Navani desert,
at the nexus of three sand dunes, Kaza’s long,
cylindrical body remained still. Its gaping maw sat
flush with the ground underneath the raging vortex. Kaza
was still pumping energy into the hole but was worried.
Someone -- more than a child and less than an adult --
had tapped into its power flow. Kaza had barely gotten a
sense of the being before it redirected power, actively
using instead of absorbing.
The connection with Kaza’s most devout follower was
severed with a jolt, and Kaza, who had been waiting
nearly a millennium for the delicious pure blood of a
blue man, shivered in disgust as a
pâté (three parts Gideon
and one part calcium bicarbonate) sprayed out of
the hole and onto its taste buds. Kaza cut the power,
causing the vortex to blink out of existence, then
plummeted back into the sands, made a sharp turn in the
earth, and accelerated northward.
Juju picked up the knife and stuffed it into his belt.
His legs were shaking, but his voice remained in
control. “Get up,” he said to Horace. They lifted the
lid and reclaimed their bags, then turned to face the
audience. Silence. Horace followed Juju as he stepped
down from the stage and walked across the open space.
The townspeople didn’t try to stop them. They sat in
their pools, staring at the point where the vortex had
been moments before. Horace and Juju climbed the stairs
and disappeared into the shadows of the cave.
They stepped into the moonlight with Juju’s shins
scratched and bleeding from stumbling in the dark. He
walked as quickly as he could up the switchbacks,
leading Horace by the hand. When he got to the top, he
listened, trying to locate the river. He heard a strange
clicking sound from somewhere in the cave and looked at
the entrance nervously. A dart came streaking out of the
night and struck him in the left calf. Juju hopped up on
his other leg, howling in pain, and yanked the dart out,
tossing it away. Screams came up from below and several
figures raced out of the cave entrance. There was no
time to think. Juju picked a direction and ran. Horace
loped ahead of him, spurred on by the noise of their
It didn’t take long for Juju to realize he had been
poisoned. His strength started to fail him immediately,
his pack feeling like an anchor, and his legs struggling
to bear his weight. He considered dropping the pack all
together, but he had earned that gold and would be
damned if he was going to surrender it now.
He lost sense of direction, and Horace was nowhere to be
seen. He heard the yells of the hunt closing in and made
his decision. He took off his pack, pulled out his
knife, and turned around. Crouching low in the grass,
Juju sang “Come Gently Reaper” and watched the line of
torches draw near. The words of the song slurred in his
mouth as the approaching lights turned fuzzy, then
blurry, then stretched into squiggly lines and danced
with the surrounding darkness. “Shit,” Juju said,
falling face forward into the soft grass. He heard
shouts and curses then felt a pull at his mid-section
and the rush of cool air on his face. It was the second
time that night he prepared for death.
Juju slowly opened his eyes. The flood of light sent a
dull ache cascading across the back of his head. “Ahhh,”
he groaned. He tried to put his hand on his head, but
the jostling made it difficult. Juju was slung over
Horace’s shoulder, bumping up and down as Horace’s feet
hit the ground in a full run. He tried to crane his neck
to one side, then the other. His head felt like it was
going to burst. “Stop,” he said weakly. When Horace
didn’t respond, Juju yelled, “Stop!”
Horace skidded to a halt, and Juju slapped him on the
back, indicating that he wanted off. Horace obliged by
bending down and setting Juju firmly on the ground.
Juju had never felt so weak. He steadied himself against
Horace, waiting for his vision to sharpen, then studied
his surroundings. They were on flat, arid land, a far
cry from the grassy valley Juju had collapsed in, with
the sun beating down on them from directly overhead. He
scanned the horizon behind Horace and didn’t see anyone
chasing them. “Where the hell are we?”
Horace moaned. He held Juju’s knife by the
blade in his bloodied left hand, their packs in the
right, and the mandolin slung over his other shoulder.
Dried snot covered his mouth, and white crystals covered
his body. Juju took his hand off Horace and put his
finger to his tongue. “You’re covered in salt,” he said,
tasting the crystals. Horace had been the one to pick
him up off the ground. Judging from the position of the
sun, Juju estimated that Horace had been running for
“Drop,” Juju said. Horace obliged, collapsing to the
ground and releasing their worldly possessions in a
cloud of dust. Juju coughed and waved at the dirt, then
he bent down and examined Horace’s hand. The knife had
bitten into the flesh, leaving it crusted over with
dried blood. Juju pulled his handkerchief and water bag
from his pack and cleaned the wound, then wiped Horace’s
pale face. As Horace panted, his swollen, cracked tongue
protruded slightly from his mouth. Juju gave the water
bag to Horace, who swallowed the contents in one gulp,
then he went into Horace’s pack and brought out the big
water bag. It swung flaccidly in the desert breeze,
empty. He cursed himself for not refilling the bag when
he had had a chance.
“Well, the good news is we’re rich,” Juju said, pulling
the bag of gold out from his pack and flopping onto the
ground. He untied the drawstring and poured the gold
coins into his lap, then picked one up and rotated it in
the sunlight. “The bad news is we probably won’t live to
spend it.” He counted the coins as he replaced them one
by one in the bag, hoping that the monotony of the
action would hold back the tears. It didn’t. Juju wept
with Horace at his side, and the bag of gold in his lap.
When he had wiped the final tears from his face, he
picked up his mandolin and began to play.
He examined his calf before they left. It was red and
swollen, with a ring of black skin circumscribing the
wound. Juju didn’t know what to do, so he left it alone.
They continued in the same direction with the sun at
their backs. Juju limped along, supported by Horace.
When they made camp, Juju decided that a fire was too
risky. They laid out their bedrolls on the cold ground
and shivered under blankets. Horace fell asleep quickly
while Juju tried to find solace in the vastness of the
stars. But the sky turned into roiling blackness filled
with red eyes, all watching him, so he turned to his
side, closed his eyes, and sang himself to sleep.
Early in the morning, before the sun could make its
grand entrance, Juju struggled against unseen demons
under his blankets, feverish and sweaty, while Horace
remained in deep sleep, spurred on by exhaustion. They
didn’t notice the cautious approach of a scout, nor his
retreat into the lifting darkness to report to his
Kaelan sighed and looked into the basin mirror with one
hand running through her long, brown hair. She was
trying to shake the disappointment welling up within.
They had been able to restock on supplies in Tanju, but
little else was accomplished. It had been almost fifty
years since her grandfather had recruited nigh on four
thousand Tanjuvian men before battling his brother for
Ascension. She had recruited less than two-hundred
Tanjuvians; most of whom were either incompetent
fighters or barely old enough to pick up a weapon. Worse
yet, her scouts reported that Jareth was still getting
Pushing the flap aside, Kaelan walked out of her tent
and headed over to morning rounds with her physician,
Asten. When he saw her, he squinted at the papers in his
hands, and pushed his glasses up. “Three patients today,
Dreadlord,” he said. They entered the tent, and he
rattled off information she already knew -- a junior
sergeant had been stabbed in a Tanju casino. Soldiers
were not allowed to gamble, and Kaelan had yet to decide
The second and third patients were new. “These two were
found on the plains yesterday morning just southeast of
our position. The first one,” the doctor looked down at
his notes, “Juju, is a thin male, blue in color --
possibly a blood malady -- with an infection secondary
to a puncture wound in the left calf. I opened it midday
yesterday, quite purulent, and drained it. He does not
look strong, my Dreadlord, but with rest and the proper
medications, I believe he could join the battle.”
“What about him?” Kaelan asked, pointing to the large
one. Even on the largest bed, his feet were hanging over
“An impressive specimen to look at. He was found with
this other gentleman, in a state of moderate to severe
dehydration. We are replenishing his liquids now.
Unfortunately, he is simple of mind. He will never make
a competent soldier, but he could make quite the first
“Is the blue one oriented to time and place? Can he
talk?” Kaelan asked.
The doctor nodded.
Kaelan walked to the side of the bed and tapped him
lightly on the arm. “His name again?”
“Juju,” replied the doctor.
“Juju,” she stated.
He stirred slightly. She repeated his name while rubbing
his sternum. He opened his eyes, staring up at the
“Do you know where you are?”
“Where is Horace?” He asked, looking at her, then at
Asten standing at the foot of the bed.
“He is sleeping next to you,” Kaelan replied. “I rescued
you from the desert.”
Juju shook his head. “We don’t need your help. We’re
doing just fine. Where are our belongings?”
“Doctor?” Kaelan looked over at Asten.
“If the Dreadlord had not intervened, you would most
assuredly be dead from that infection in your leg. Your
friend would either be dead or on the brink from
Kaelan decided to take a less confrontational approach.
She sat down next to Juju and put her hands together,
touching the tip of her index fingers to her bottom lip,
“I read your completed contract and saw the money in
Juju’s eyes grew big.
“Don’t worry. Your supplies are safe.” She paused and
crossed her legs. “Let me make a proposition. I am
Dreadlord Kaelan and believe my scribe tried to recruit
you before your...misadventure. First, I saved your
lives. The doctor said it. I know it. You know it.
Second, you and your friend have shown yourselves
capable of escaping dire circumstances, and I need
capable men. Third, I am to fight a battle in a week.
The doctor assures me that you will both be healthy by
then. You have the opportunity to gain glory and wealth
in the name of Sho’Gul, the almighty god, free from
whatever troubles you were running from.”
“And if we decide to leave camp? Take our own chances?”
“We will return your belongings to you, minus fees
incurred. But you will be carrying a a considerable sum
of money, and I cannot guarantee your safety. Not even
my men are immune to that kind of temptation.”
The blue man did not respond so quickly this time. He
looked over at his companion, then back at Kaelan.
“What contract would I have to sign?”
“The standard one-year contract. Since you will
be under my care, the moment you both sign, the medical
attention you receive will be free of charge.”
“And what of our belongings?” Juju asked.
“You will be allowed to keep your weapons. Everything
else will be kept under the protection of my caravan.
Should you die in battle, all debts will be settled and
everything in the caravan will go to a third party of
your choosing. If we should lose, you only forfeit what
is on your persons; the opposing army will respect the
caravan laws.” She leaned in closer. “I need both of you
for this agreement to work.”
“The Guild magic will not hold under such conditions.
Horace will not understand the situation, and I would be
signing under duress.”
“Then you will have to sign on behalf of your friend. If
he fails, then YOU will pay the price. As for duress, it
is certainly not from me. Word of your fortune spread
quickly. I was powerless to stop that. I have no
interest in your money or your problems, only your
Juju looked over at Horace and tears welled up in his
“Fine,” he said, avoiding eye contact.
Kaelan rose from the bed. “Doctor, please call on the
scribe and strategist.” Asten nodded and left. “My
scribe will step through the contract and answer any
questions you might have. The strategist will discuss
your roles in the upcoming battle. Rest and recover as
best you can.”
When her men came in, Kaelan signed the contracts and
left, returning to her tent to reflect on her most
recent acquisition. She had finally found the man to
take point on the infantry charge. He would be dressed
in full armor, towering over all the troops, like the
heroes of old, formidable and intimidating. If he was an
imbecile who needed an emaciated, blue man to pull his
strings, so be it. Victory was the only thing that
Juju did not talk to the Dreadlord after
that first day. He spent a week convalescing with Horace
by his side. At one point, a lieutenant Garron marched
in and tried to get Horace to drill, but Horace just
glowered at him, refusing to budge. The Dreadlord’s
intent for Horace was clear, and Garron did not push the
situation; instead, he stomped out of the tent and never
returned. Now the lieutenant was mounted on horseback,
crossing in front of them, giving words of
Juju stood directly behind Horace, who was clad in full
armor. The army was deployed in a symmetric wedge, with
Horace acting as the converging point. Directly across
the field stood Dreadlord Jareth’s massive army in a
similar configuration. The field was flat and sparsely
vegetated. Kaelan and Jareth were mounted and conversing
with a delegation in the middle of the field.
The doctor had explained that the delegation made sure
certain rules and regulations were followed. He told
Juju that Kaelan and Jareth were cousins, and that the
victor would ascend to the real battlefield out in the
Tulisia highlands, where their family was engaged in a
long blood feud. When the doctor offered to teach Juju
about the royal family lineage and their great god,
Sho’Gul, Juju declined.
The group broke off suddenly, and the Dreadlords
returned to their respective armies. The delegation
receded west to gain an ideal vantage point.
Horace held a poleaxe by the shaft in his right arm. It
had taken Juju several hours to get him to hold the
weapon correctly. He had this image of Horace charging
with his weapon held upside down, the opposing army
snickering as they prepared to run him through with a
The horns sounded and they began to march. Juju had
accepted only a belt and scabbard for his knife,
preferring to stay light, so he could keep up with the
charge. He rubbed his palm against the handle of the
knife and looked up at Horace
“Here we go,” Juju said. “Yell, Horace!”
Horace took a deep breath and let out a low pitch roar
that reverberated up and down the valley. Their army
gave out a shout. Juju felt the resolve of the troops
tighten around him. They sped up.
A few seconds later, he said, “Raise your stick,
Horace obliged, raising and pumping his poleaxe in the
air. The butt of the shaft swung back and clanged into
the man marching next to Juju. No one seemed to notice.
The men around them pumped their fists and weapons in
the air in response.
Juju used the space between Horace and the surrounding
men to peer out at the opposing army. The gap was
closing quickly. His left calf started to burn, and he
winced as the pace quickened.
“Yell, Horace,” Juju said again, this time breathing
Horace let out another mighty roar, and the army broke
into a run. Juju’s leg threatening to give out. He
looked down at the ground, concentrating on his feet
hitting the dirt, and suddenly collided into Horace. He
hadn’t accelerated. Was Horace slowing down? He could
hear it now, a deep hum. Horace was slowing down to
“Keep going, Horace,” Juju said, trying to spur him on.
Horace decelerated rapidly, increasing the volume of his
song. Juju scanned their surroundings, searching for
some musical instrument, something giving off a
vibration. But his field of vision was limited by the
surrounding troops. Horace was walking now; the
formation buckled at the center and the sides surged
“No,” Juju said, helplessly. He peeked out around
Horace’s side, and looked at the face of an enemy
soldier coming straight at him. It was an older
gentleman with grey hair sticking out from underneath
his helmet. Juju realized he was looking at Berzog, the
village innkeeper. His surprise was short-lived; the
ground rose beneath him, spewing dirt in all directions.
A pillar of flesh rose from the depths of the earth,
sending Juju spinning up and up until gravity gained the
advantage. Juju smashed into the earth with pain
erupting from his left shoulder.
All was lost. Kaelan’s plan for the giant had turned
into a disaster. Then she watched the giant worm erupt
from the center of battle and plow its way through the
opposing army, swallowing men as if they were specks of
dirt. Training took over and she sounded the final
charge. Her army poured around the worm’s body, and
metal clashed against metal and flesh.
“Sho’Gul! Sho’Gul! Sho’Gul!” She heard the chant rise up
from her army.
Juju awoke in a tangle of bodies. His left
shoulder burned anew with pain as he tried to move. He
pushed a body aside with his right hand and stood up.
“Horace!” he yelled. A large, gaping hole was directly
in front of him, with bodies piled all around it. Juju
bumped one of the bodies. It slipped over the edge of
the hole and disappeared. “Horace!” Juju yelled again.
No response. Juju stumbled forward then caught himself.
Tears of frustration rolled down his cheeks now. He
looked around for something, someone to help him. He
spotted the caravan back where their army had first set
formation. The guards were watching the battle. Juju
felt for his knife; it had never left the scabbard.
Four soldiers stood in front of the wagon of supplies,
eyeing Juju’s approach. The sergeant spoke first,
“Looking to desert are we?”
Juju did not answer his question. He asked one instead,
“Do you have my mandolin?”
The soldier scowled. “Yes, but you won’t be getting that
back for a long while. Go back to the battle, to your
idiot giant. Any other direction and we will kill you.”
The soldier spat on the ground. Juju continued walking
towards the sergeant. His clothes hung in tatters, and
he dragged the left side of his body behind his right.
The sergeant was heavily armored and stood his ground.
The other soldiers watched the mismatched confrontation
unfold, mild amusement flickering across their faces.
Juju’s lips peeled back in a snarl. He pulled the knife
out of the scabbard and lunged at the sergeant’s
breastplate. A brilliant white flash erupted, followed
by a wave of heat. Juju felt no resistance as the handle
of his knife clanged against the man’s armor, the blade
buried deep into his chest. He saw the life dim and wink
out in the man’s eyes, a look of surprise etched across
his face. It was like he was looking into Gideon’s eyes
again, but this time he felt no fear, no horror. Juju
pulled the knife out and turned, facing the other
soldiers. “Is there anyone else who wants to insult my
brother before I go find out if he is dead?” The
soldiers backed away, looking at his knife dripping with
blood. He turned, cut the ropes, and pulled back the
tarp. Their packs and mandolin were lying on top, one of
the last things added to the heap. Juju put his knife
back in its scabbard and grabbed the mandolin. He pulled
the mandolin strap over his torso and strummed the
instrument with his right hand, checking the sound. Then
he limped back towards the battle while the soldiers
stared after him.
The delegation had decided during the course
of the battle that whatever Kaelan had done to garner
such attention was legitimate: she had won the right to
join her grandfather in the Tulisia highlands. Jareth,
her cousin, had knelt before her, ruined. He just looked
up at her blankly while she cut his head off. She patted
it now, sitting in a sack, attached to her saddle. She
had faced superior numbers, but Sho’Gul had ruled in her
favor; her name would be synonymous with divine
She bowed to the delegation in respect and appreciation,
then mounted her horse, and rode back across the field
to examine the huge hole left by her god. As she
approached, she heard a familiar sound and was surprised
to find the blue man strumming his mandolin. He stopped
and cocked his head to one side, listening intently,
then limped over to a pile of bodies and began pulling
them off one by one. He screamed, “Horace! Horace!”
The giant’s head popped up through a hole, his helmet
gone and his face a mash of bruises. Kaelan’s anger
flared. She dismounted and walked towards them. Juju was
hugging Horace’s head to his chest, weeping, while the
giant sat there smiling.
“You almost cost me the battle,” she said, unsheathing
Juju let go of Horace and took a step forward when she
spoke, his hand going to his blade. “You don’t know what
you’re talking about. We won the battle for you.”
Kaelan pulled up short. She had not been expecting an
“That was the giant worm, Kaza,” Juju continued. “Horace
heard him. That’s why he slowed down. Kaza would’ve
popped up in the middle of our ranks and decimated both
Kaelan was confused. “Who? What are you talking about?
That was Sho’Gul. MY god answering MY prayers.”
Juju laughed. “My pursuers worshipped the giant worm,
Kaza. They tried to sacrifice us to their god and they
failed. Then, unfortunately for your cousin, they joined
his army. Kaza came to punish them.”
“How do you know that?” She asked.
“Because I saw one of my pursuers in Jareth’s army
during the charge,” Juju replied.
Kaelan stood frozen, sifting through the story. She
remembered getting word from her scouts that a group of
villagers had joined Jareth from the west. She had also
not heard of Sho’Gul taking the form of a worm. It was
said that Sho’Gul was a fire-breathing reptile of some
sort, wreaking havoc from above.
“Maybe,” she said. The weight of the concession stung.
She looked back at her army. They were still sifting
through the dead, searching for valuables. She could see
her scribe and accountants walking amongst the troops,
tabbing who owned what. It had to be Sho’Gul working
through her. What would the delegation say?
She walked back to her saddle, sheathing her sword.
“What happens now?” Juju asked.
“At ease,” she said and took out her horn, blowing it
twice. “I will permit you to buy out your contract.”
One of her soldiers stirred in the pile of bodies.
Kaelan took her crossbow from her saddle, aimed it, and
pulled the trigger. The bolt made a soft thumping sound
in the man’s chest. She paused to look for any other
signs of movement. “You will pay for that soldier.”
Juju opened his mouth to protest.
“This is not a negotiation,” Kaelan said, interrupting
him. “Sho’Gul did this. If I hear even a whisper of Kaza,
I will hunt you down.”
Her scribe rode up behind her, dismounting quickly.
“Yes, my Dreadlord,” he said.
“I am allowing these two to buy out their outstanding
debt, their contract, and the full contract of one
“Two,” Juju corrected.
Kaelan turned and arched an eyebrow in his direction.
“I killed the caravan sergeant,” Juju said.
“He wouldn’t let me have my mandolin.”
She did not have time for explanations. She nodded and
looked back at her scribe. “Two soldiers. One of them
senior rank, enlisted.”
The scribe moved his lips noiselessly as he did the
calculation. “Forty-four gold, eight silver, and 3
copper,” he said.
“Order the caravan here and bring me the blue man’s
contract,” she said.
When the scribe returned, Kaelan signed the contract and
her initials on a slip of paper that the scribe had
filled out. The scribe handed the papers and quill to
Juju. He signed it. Kaelan felt the tingle of the
“Give that slip of paper to the caravan, and they will
settle your account. You leave as free men. Don’t make
me come looking for you.”
“Where do we go?” Juju asked.
“Tanju is your best bet. My army will be too busy with
victory to care. Purchase what you need from the caravan
on your way out.” Juju bent down and started removing
the giant’s armor. Kaelan mounted her horse and rode
back to the battlefield.
Later, when she was examining the deep trough left by
the worm, Kaelan looked up and spotted two specks on the
Her scribe approached her side and whispered in her ear,
“Should we send someone?”
Kaelan bent down and scooped up some of the dark soil.
She held her hand out and tilted it slightly, letting
the gentle breeze take the soil from her. “No,” she
said, shaking her head. “I have my victory, let them