Still, when news came of the Orc-perpetrated massacres, Qassim immediately rode to meet, at last, with Elghinn.
Elghinn had been properly fed and tended for the last ten years. He had even been allowed to hunt the dunes under guard.
Elghinn was a patient, deliberative soul, and he knew that in due time he would meet his Serapat counterpart.
Qassim arrived at Elghinn’s hut late one night. In the hut, lit only by the moonlight peering in through a portage at the top, Elghinn listened as Qassim, in measured tones, informed him that he was to be set free.
He was to go immediately to Astrell and deliver news of the Serapat position. The dunes forces would never, though the Fury massacres them all, swear allegiance to Astrell’s Alliance.
They would, for as long as was necessary to ensure their safety, combat the Fury in the desert.
Moreover, they would bring mages to the Great Wood and the Shore. This was his pledge to Astrell. Elghinn had written it on a papyrus leaf.
Qassim drew a dagger, sliced open his palm, and poured his blood over the parchment.
It was engendered, and Elghinn rode to the Shore with the pledge.
Astrell and Gregor were overjoyed to see their brother alive and well, a joy that was augmented by the news that the sorcerers of the dunes had decided to join the fray.
Within days, Serapats emerged from the sands and took up ranks in the Wood and on the shore.
Qassim left the majority of the Serapat warriors behind to fend off the Fury, but he himself rode to meet with Astrell.
Brusque as always, Qassim curtly informed the leader of the Alliance that any man or woman of the desert would only take orders from Qassim: they were not at the disposal of the Alliance leadership.
Astrell, as proud as he was wise, bit his tongue. The Alliance needed these skilled mages, and if enduring Qassim’s arrogance was the price of this help, so be it.
10: The BloodDrake Contingent
Ofren was enraged by this turn of events. Orcs of the caves knew of the dunes-mages only through rumor and legend. This incursion of the Fury into the sand was proving as costly as the assaults in …