Monday, July 24, 2017
Ghost King By Jeff Altabef
About the Author:
Dermot’s face looked hard and resolute, as he appeared every bit the King his tribe needed. Done with Eamon, he turned toward Aaliss and softened his tone. “You and Wilky are welcome to join us on the field of battle. We could use your sword and Wilky’s... advice. You both have proven yourself worthy to be members of our tribe. It would honor me if you would join us.”
Join the tribe?
All eyes turned to her, and heat singed her face. She had no desire to commit to the Butcher Tribe. She desired a simple life, but she also needed to keep Eamon and Wilky safe. How could she do that and refuse? She needed time to think. “We will consider your generous offer and let you know our decision in the morning.”
Dermot looked disappointed, but he nodded. “So be it. May the herd be forever strong and the heavens guide us in all matters.” He rose and stalked off.
The War Council dispersed, leaving her, Wilky, and Eamon behind by the Naming Tree. Eamon rubbed his hand through his shaggy hair and walked in circles. “I can’t believe he’s doing this to me. Has he no faith in me?”
Aaliss stood in his path and forced him to stop. She pressed her hand against his chest. “Protecting the Stronghold is important. If the war goes badly, you’ll have to make sure the rest of the tribe is safe.”
“My place is at Dermot’s side. He should see that. I made an oath with P’mina to fight these invaders. I can’t stay behind now.”
Wilky stepped beside him. “You must come to the battle. We all must go. Otherwise, only darkness.”
Wilky might as well have swung a war hammer into Aaliss’s stomach. She seemed to have so little control over events. Surely, the Stronghold would be a safer place for Eamon than the battlefield, yet Wilky’s decree meant that she couldn’t keep him in the stone city behind the sturdy walls.
“We all have to go to the front to have a chance to win? Are you sure?” she asked, even though she knew the answer.
Wilky nodded. “Even then the result is hidden in shadows. I only see glimpses of light.”
Eamon whispered. “That settles it then. We’ll have to escape tonight.” He glanced over his shoulder.
Two armed members of the King’s Guard stood ten paces away, watching them.
Great. Another escape from the Stronghold, and this time we’ll be heading straight into the storm itself.
“There’s more,” said Wilky.
“More?” asked Eamon.
“A witch leads the Wolves. Darkness gathers behind her like a long shadow.” Eamon spit on the ground, his way of warding off evil spirits. Aaliss narrowed her eyes. “Witches can die like anyone else.” Her voice sounded sure, but her heart wasn’t. What did she know about witches?