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.
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
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