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Chapter 20
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Chapter 20

They had been steadily feeding some false information to Demerita through his mage. They were trying to create an ambush situation where they could cause a huge dent in their forces. If they could take out a good third of the soldiers of Malaquent without suffering huge losses themselves, then they would have the upper hand. Their plan was slowly coming into place, and Taru was glad that they would be doing something major soon. She loved living in the camp, but the constant threat of death was a bit of a mood killer. Nik had confirmed that their plan was working well, and it would only be about another month before what he had jokingly called the final showdown would take place.

Taru had managed several more spells in the time since the battle, and she was learning quickly that to perform a spell, it was all dependant on will. If you wanted something to happen and you knew what you needed, you could make it happen. A lot of the time it was simply knowing that the spell existed that allowed you to perform it. Knowledge was a powerful tool, as Shet liked to preach over and over again. Taru was starting to agree with him. Trying to memorize the names of spells, and the triggers for the spells made her head hurt, but she committed as many as possible to memory. They were all offensive spells, as she would worry about the more subtle and beautiful spells when this war was over.

That was something that could possibly happen now. Taru had never expected to hear that, but Alye and Dayn were convinced that if this plan went through the war would be over one way or another. Taru didn’t want to think about any other way it could end but with them winning. Their information was getting to where it was supposed to, but they had no idea how Demerita and Rederick would react to it. Nik couldn’t seem too interested, but he was doing his best to find out of any major plans. They were hoping that the main force of Malaquent’s army would be sent to face them. If they could manage to control where that meeting took place, they were certain that they could win. If they didn’t manage to get the army to where they wanted them it would be a toss up. Nik was also certain that Demerita would send at least half of his mages to fight. They would attempt to destroy the rebels before they could even get a chance to fight. Helena was working on a defense for that, but there was currently no guarantee.

Hawk had a plan that they should attempt to take out the mages before they would become an issue. If a small force went to the compound and used the poison that had been used against Taru they might be able to take out a few of the mages. In this game numbers were a big factor, and even if they managed to kill only one mage it would be a huge difference. Nik thought the plan had merit, but he decided that it would be better if he were the only one to deliver the poison. At this point he considered himself expendable.

“I’ve informed you of all the plans, and there is little chance that things will change now.” He told them as they sat in the small room they had started using for their real meetings.

You don’t think that if we manage to kill mages that Demerita will change his plans? We need you to be there to let us know what happens. Dayn rebutted. Taru knew that he was worried about his partner, and absolutely didn’t want him to do this alone.

“Yes, his plans could change, but it wouldn’t be so completely that anything I would be able to tell you would make a difference. If I succeed then they will be looking for a leak somewhere and will keep all their plans even more under wraps, and if I fail then they will think that that’s all they have to worry about, and not change things much.” Nik replied. He didn’t want to do this, but he knew that it was the best way for them to get this done, and not lose a team. Dayn had finally relented and they had continued with other plans. Taru and Shet would be working on the poison, and they would give it to Nik when he left for the Compound in three days.

They had a basic idea of how to make the poison, but they didn’t know for sure if they were making it correctly. They also had no way to test it. Taru was almost certain that the mage who had poisoned her had tested the poison on someone else before using it on her. The rebels were not going to poison anyone just to test it however. Helena was thinking of a way to test it, and she would let them know if she managed to think of anything. The potion was not very complicated, but it did require a large amount of power to be forced into it. Taru was not sure that she could manage the dark energy that was needed. She had talked about it with Hawk, and he was worried about her having to feel that way in order to make the potion work.

“You do have it in you to make that potion Taru, but I’m not sure I want you to try and find such a dark place within you.” Hawk had told her when they lay together one night. “You have such a kind heart and I would hate to see you suffer to bring darkness out for this poison.”

But if I don’t do this, someone else will have to. I could not burden someone else with this. I know I can do this, I just don’t want to. Taru responded, she had a memory that could provide the perfect feeling to put the energy into the poison, but she didn’t want to call that memory up.

“I know what you’re thinking of and Taru no one would blame you if you chose not to remember that.” Damn Hawk and his perceptiveness. Taru shook her head. She needed to do this, and as much as she loved Hawk, he just didn’t understand. It would be hard, and it would hurt, but she needed to finish the poison. Hawk telling her not to do it had just made her want to do it that much more. Well she already knew she was messed up, this just was one more thing to prove it.

She was planning on attempting the last step of the potion the next day, with Shet there to supervise. She was nervous and Shet could see it, but he didn’t say anything.

I thought of a way for this to work Shet. I do have a memory that if I could channel those emotions it would work well I believe. She shuddered, and she wondered if Shet knew much about her history. He placed a gentle hand on her one shoulder, and only seeing it coming was enough to keep her from flinching. She smiled wanly at him, and he nodded to the small pot boiling in the corner. She walked over to the corner, and looked down at the brownish liquid that was bubbling gently. She knew that right now this was a powerful poison, but it lacked the lethality that it would have if she managed to do what she wanted to do.

She looked down and closed her eyes. She let her mind drift back to memories that she had tried her hardest to keep hidden. They were locked inside of her mind, but she had the key and let them slip out. She could almost feel his hands on her as she thought of her fear and anger and revulsion of that night. She hissed through her teeth at the sensations that bombarded her but she focused harder on her task. She placed her hand on the pot in front of her. She would have seen a distinct darkening of the poison, but her kept her eyes clenched tight. The anger shifted to pure hate, and the potion turned a deep black. Shet’s hand on her shoulder startled her, and she reacted by grabbing it and forcing him to his knees with a wristlock. His grunt of pain startled her out of the attack, and she jumped back.

Oh Shet I’m so sorry! You startled me, and man, I’m sorry. Taru, helped Shet back to his feet, and gave him a weak smile. She looked at the potion, and she was pleased that at least it had worked according to the directions. She was slowly forcing the memories back into that part of her mind she could block off. She didn’t want to have to deal with them any longer then she had to. She needed to see Hawk. She knew that seeing him would be the only thing that could help her now. She needed to feel his soft fur under her fingers, and listen to his wonderfully loud heartbeat. He might already know that she needed him, so she headed back to her room. He was there, sitting by the bed.

“I thought you might need to talk love.” He growled gently, and moved over to escort her to the bed. She lay down, and patted the mattress. Hawk leapt up and settled next to her, gently licking her face.

I never wanted to think about that time again, and I was pulled so far into memory that I attacked Shet when he touched me. I don’t know why I don’t have a problem with you Hawk, but it seems any time someone else touches me I freak. I can’t help it, but it drives me crazy. I wish I could just get over this. I got over what Blue Sky did to me, I can deal with the scars, but for some reason Demerita still haunts my dreams. She sighed and hugged him closer. They huddled together for a while before drifting into uneasy sleep.

That night Nikkaron was given the poison, and he headed back to the compound. It would be almost a week before they heard anything, but they were preparing for the worst. They were all arming up, only the oldest and youngest would remain in the camp during the battle. They were also fortifying the small camp so that if they weren’t successful those who remained behind could survive for quite a while before they had to find another place to live. Alye and Dayn had closed up most of the buildings, and any extra outposts were hidden, but not destroyed.

It was a lot of tedious work, but Taru enjoyed the monotony, as it didn’t allow her much time to think about anything then what her hands were currently completing. The camp looked so different when they were done, as if someone had done a poor drawing of a wonderful place. The feeling in the camp was also quite somber, as they knew that what they had been fighting for, for years was finally coming to pass. They would either finally do what they all dreamed of, or they would be defeated and killed. Taru would not allow herself to be taken alive, she was unwilling to live and not be free. Hawk had talked to her about it as well, and she was glad that he agreed with her.

The daily drills were becoming second nature, and Taru had to admit that she was getting better at the group maneuvers. Loyalty was amazing, and most of the others in her section were jealous of her mount. Loyalty wouldn’t let anyone else near him however, and Taru was quietly proud of this. Hawk was working with her at night on some battle magic as well. They didn’t work on a lot of spells, but the three that she knew were very powerful, and she had them down. Her main one was a manipulation of air, which basically forced riders from their horses. Her second choice was another very basic spell that caused all metal in the area that she focused on to become unbearably hot. If you can’t hold your weapon you make a nice target.

She was nervous about the battle, but she tried not to show it. There were three others who would be using magic with her, but she was by far the most powerful. Helena had begged them to not include her in the fight, and they had been able to work around that. She wanted to help, but she refused to risk her daughter if they lost. Taru didn’t blame her, but she knew that some of the others felt betrayed that she wouldn’t help. Helena was still passing misinformation to her contact in the compound, but she was worried that he was getting a little suspicious. It was however the fact that he disappeared that told them their poisoning plan had worked.

“Taru, we have a meeting!” Jaki shouted as she burst through the door. Taru and Hawk had been talking about spells, and she was very glad that that was all they had been doing. She glared at Jaki’s back, and shrugged to Hawk. They walked together to the main building where most of the leaders were already gathered. Taru took her seat and waited to hear what this was all about.


TBC...

 Malaquent is completely fictional, any relationship to real people, places, or events is purely coincidental, and is in no way ment to offend. All pictures of the Cheveyos are Emy Rothenberger. Any use of names, places, or images from these pages is strictly prohibited. Other images may be other artists, and all rights belong to those artists. Use without permission is prohibited.