Read The Silent Army Online

Authors: James A. Moore

Tags: #epic fantasy, #eternal war, #City of Wonders, #Seven Forges, #The Blasted Lands, #Sa'ba Taalor, #Gods of War

The Silent Army (42 page)

BOOK: The Silent Army
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“How do you know these things, Inquisitor?” Pella’s voice was soft and low and lovely. Her eyes looked into his and he smiled, content to know that he could drown in her eyes as easily as any of the Sisters. They could enchant a soul with ease and chose to leave his alone.

“When he died he drove his ship to Louron.” He shrugged. “Sometimes the spirits find their way to us and we do what we can.”

“Did he know he was dead?”

“He did not. He had a small seed of talent. His anger was so great that he dragged the spirits of the dead with him. So, of course, we did what we had to, to help him. In another life he might have been a sorcerer. Instead he took to the seas and had his fun and games dodging the military and the City Guard.”

Callan’s skin was cold, but surprisingly well preserved all things considered.

Tataya almost asked, but before she could Darsken answered her. “It’s the waters. They are very cold and hold off decay. Now that he is here, on the land, the rotting begins.” He looked down at the man and shook his head. “A pity. I liked him.”

“I remember you yelling at him very clearly.”

“I had hoped to convince him to try a different career.”

“Apparently soldier was not the right choice, either.” Tataya’s voice was touched by sorrow and she touched the captain’s face.

Goriah’s voice was soft and cold, “Was it you, Darsken?”

“Was what me?”

“Did you silence the gods?”

“Who am I to silence gods?”

“There are many tales of what the Louron can do.”

“Do any of those tales speak of silencing gods?”

“Well, no, but it was not us.”

“Had I that ability I would have used it long ago. The Louron do not believe in gods, after all, and having them silenced would work to our benefit.” Darsken rolled his shoulders. “We can call this one a war hero and give him a proper ceremony. He and his crew killed several of the enemy and foundered their ships. Besides which, he was a good man. I will send the City Guard to claim him before the birds can feast.”

The Sisters nodded as one and moved with him. Darsken did not mind the company.

Not far away a member of the Silent Army looked out at the waters, guarding against whatever might come.

They were all disheartened. They were all, to the last, broken. They could not speak to their gods and that was as great a sin as if they’d had their ears ruined and their eyes cut out.

Still, the Sa’ba Taalor were fighters. They moved across Fellein using whatever methods were available to them. Many walked, others ran. Some cut down trees and took to the waters, building small vessels to let them find their way to Wheklam. There were a lot of small boats and more stolen along the way.

Tuskandru found his way home easily enough. He killed any of the Fellein who crossed his path on the trip and he took the time, now that the war was at least halted, to get to know Stastha better. They lost themselves in their lust and it eased the pain of their broken contact with the gods. At least for a while they could connect with each other. Also, his second seemed determined to break some kind of personal record. Who was he to argue?

Every king made it back home. The first of them was Swech, who rode Saa’thaa to the mountain where Morwhen no longer stood as if her very life depended on her being first. In some ways it did.

She followed the rules, of course, and made her way to the heart of the mountain, crawling and climbing as was needed.

Through the Thousand Veils of Paedle she worked her way until, finally, she stood at the heart of the mountain, naked and afraid.

“Where are you, Paedle? Why can I not hear you any longer?” The stone beneath her bare feet surged with warmth and she heard the voice of her god.

I AM HERE SWECH, I HAVE NEVER LEFT YOU.

She wept and dropped to the ground, pressing her face to the warmth of the volcanic heat below her. “I have been so alone, so very alone.” She wept. They were tears of joy at finding her world was not destroyed irreparably.

THE DAXAR TAALOR LOVE YOU AS THEY HAVE SELDOM LOVED ANY OF THEIR CHILDREN. THAT IS WHY WE HAVE GIFTED YOU SO MANY TIMES.

She nodded, feeling the love of the gods and returning it.

“I thought you would make me kill him. I would do it, you know. If you asked, but I am grateful that you did not.”

HE IS AS SPECIAL TO US AS HE IS TO YOU. MERROS DULVER HAS NOT YET COMPLETED HIS TASKS FOR THE DAXAR TAALOR. Swech felt the warmth move over her and concentrate on her belly, where the life within her continued to grow, a sign that she and Merros were meant for different things.

IT IS NOT MERROS DULVER’S TIME AND IT IS NOT YOUR TIME. YOU HAVE MANY THINGS TO ACCOMPLISH IN OUR NAMES.

Swech rolled over and looked up at the stone ceiling above her. At a distance she could see the opening to the heavens and the Great Star above her. For the moment she was content in the love of her gods and in the knowledge that they loved her still, despite her flaws.

Her hand rested where the baby stirred inside her, growing slowly.

It was enough. For now, it was enough.

The Pilgrim listened to the words of Empress Nachia Krous and ignored them. Rebuilding themselves from the ground was easy enough. The giggling man, Nolan March, had found him and asked a simple question of him. He had asked if the Pilgrim could make the Sa’ba Taalor suffer.

After consulting with the gods, he had said yes.

The idiot godling fed power into the Pilgrim and the Pilgrim shared that power, bringing back the defeated Silent Army and then striking in a way the Sa’ba Taalor could never have expected.

The Silent Army could not silence gods, but they came close. They deafened the followers of the gods. In time the effect would wear off. Eventually the Sa’ba Taalor would reach their gods and the connections would be reestablished. Until then the enemy fled, uncertain how to react when they could no longer hear their gods.

It was a simple trick, really, but one with heart-wrenching implications. The Pilgrim and his faithful devotees would have been just as lost if their gods stopped speaking to them.

Drask took little with him. He had little to take. His weapons stayed with Brackka and so they came along. Just to his side Tega rode in comfortable silence and Nolan March held onto her as he always did.

He did not know how Nolan had silenced the gods. He did not care. The lad had ended the war and that was enough.

“Why do you suppose he silenced the gods?” Tega was looking at Nolan as she asked.

“Perhaps they offended him when they killed his mother.”

“Did they kill her, truly?”

“Swech did as she was told. She is no more responsible than a sword blade.”

“Are you a sword in the hands of your gods?”

“I am not Swech. Her faith has always been greater than mine.” He paused a moment. “Are you certain you want to come along?”

“I cannot stay here, Drask. Desh will ask too many questions and I must have my time away from him before he learns what I did.”

Drask nodded. Tega climbed atop the saddle and looked around as her mount purred.

“Where are we going, Drask?”

“Wherever you would like.”

“You have no destinations in mind?”

“I have not read a thousand books telling me of the past. I have only lived in the now. The past is as good a place to look as any, but you are the one who knows where wonders might be hidden.”

“Perhaps across the sea.”

Drask nodded. “Wherever you like. For now we can see the world and later we can consider what the world is trying to tell us.”

“Can you still hear your gods?”

Drask nodded. “They are angry with me.” He tilted his head a bit. “They are also weak at the moment. Now is a good time to leave, before they grow strong again.”

Nolan chuckled to himself as they started off. Sometimes Drask suspected that the boy knew more than he showed. On other occasions, he was certain of it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

James A Moore is the author of over twenty novels, including the critically acclaimed
Fireworks
,
Under the Overtree
,
Blood Red
,
Deeper
, the
Serenity Falls
trilogy (featuring his recurring anti-hero, Jonathan Crowley), and his most recent novel
Blind Shadows
. He has twice been nominated for the Bram Stoker Award and spent three years as an officer in the Horror Writers Association, first as Secretary and later as Vice President.

He cut his teeth in the industry writing for Marvel Comics and authoring over many role-playing supplements for White Wolf Games, including
Berlin by Night
,
Land of 1,000,000 Dream
s and
The Get of Fenris
tribe. He also penned the White Wolf novels
Vampire: House of Secrets
and
Werewolf: Hellstorm
.

He currently lives in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia.

genrefied.blogspot.com

twitter.com/jamesamoore

BOOK: The Silent Army
7.98Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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