Today’s excerpt is from the QUEST FOR NOBILITY. The Telkur Duchy is nearly bankrupt. Darius and Dyla Telkur have no choice and have entered the dangerous and grueling Grand Competition. If they win, the winning purse could save their duchy, but that’s the big question. It’s not only IF they win, it’s IF they can survive the two week competition. Is Éclair Jortac their secret weapon?
Chapter 14 – Movement excerpt:
Dyla moved to the lead for this leg of their trek extending her empathic senses forward, trying to detect any life signs ahead of them. Eclair followed her and Darius covered the rear.
A few hours into their movement, Dyla stopped suddenly and crouched down along the trail. Eclair nearly fell over her. Darius quickly grabbed him, pushed him behind, and moved up to his sister’s side.
“There are people up ahead. I feel them, their nervousness and eagerness. Someone is real anxious over the rise, higher to the right,” Dyla whispered in his ear.
Darius motioned Eclair to stay put, and he disappeared to the front. After a few moments, he was back.
“Move back, they’ve set up an ambush.”
Quickly, the three retraced their steps to a safe distance. They quietly put their heads together to strategize a new approach to their objective.
Darius looked at Dyla and told her what he had discovered along the trail.
“There’s a small force laying in ambush about 50 meters along the right side of the trail. They were moving around and making noise, so they weren’t that hard to see. I also caught some slight movement on the rise behind them. There must be their spotter up there to alert them when someone gets close. If you hadn’t sensed them, that spotter would have seen us and warned the ambush we were coming. We probably would have walked right into it. They’re covering that entire section of the trail. What do you think?”
“We’ll have to backtrack and find another way around,” Dyla replied.
“Why can’t we can go right through them,” Eclair said.
Exasperated, Darius shook his head.
“How do you think we’ll manage that?”
“I’ll make us invisible and we’ll walk right past them.”
Dyla frowned at Eclair.
“That’s not funny. This is serious.”
“I am serious. Watch.”
Eclair promptly disappeared.
The twins were transfixed, staring at the spot where Eclair had stood. A moment later, he reappeared.
“Damn. How’d you do that?” Darius asked.
“It’s easy. I bend the light around me and it makes me invisible. I can do it for all of us. The range is limited, so we’ll have to walk closely together, but I can hold it long enough to walk through the ambush.”
“Why didn’t you say so before?”
“You didn’t ask me.”
Dyla smiled broadly.
“Eclair, you never cease to amaze me. How long can you hold it?”
“I don’t know. I’ve only tested it on myself and held it for about 20 minutes.”
“That’s more than enough time. If you can get us through this, you’ll be well worth all the headaches you’ve caused me,” Darius said.
As he readied himself, Eclair’s bravado quickly disappeared. He momentarily blanched at the thought of bending light around all three of them for 20 minutes. Dyla felt his anxiety level rise and moved to his side to ease his nervousness.
“Don’t worry, I know you can do this. I can feel your power.”
Eclair was special. Whenever she focused on him, she could feel an unfathomable well of power beneath his surface. That unknown depth of power gave her pause and made her wonder exactly how strong he was.
“Good, it’s settled. Let’s move,” Darius said.
The trio stood close together, and Eclair extended his power to encompass them. At first, it was easy, but he soon realized that the constant forward shift of focus, while maintaining enough rearward concentration to cover them all, was taking its toll.
After a few moments, he was in trouble, but they were already committed. They had crested the hill and, even at night, they would be in full view of the ambush force if his concentration slipped even a fraction.
Dyla felt Eclair’s tension growing and his hand on her shoulder began to tighten. They had agreed to move slowly through the ambush site to minimize the noise, but something was terribly wrong. She decided to move faster and risk discovery by noise, rather than from exposure should Eclair’s concentration fail.
Darius also realized something was wrong when their speed increased, but dared not probe Eclair for fear of interrupting his concentration.
Halfway through the ambush site, Eclair was drenched in sweat from the effort. He was vaguely aware of Dyla’s shoulder beneath his hand and the waves of reassurance he felt emanating from her. By a supreme effort of will, he continued to move forward, concentrating on his circle, putting one foot in front of the other. He didn’t know until later that Darius had physically helped him along from behind. Holding the power was agony and the tension extreme. His skull was near splitting when they finally stopped moving.
“You can let go now,” Dyla whispered.Eclair looked up, released his concentration, and fell back into Darius’s arms, unconsciousness.