Betray: Part 2

Daybreak washed the sky with an orange flame as they passed the border to Malacia. Though they travelled off-road to avoid the enemy, Julian knew it would be a matter of time until a home patrol came upon them; they passed the time in whispered conversation.

"Do you recognise this place?" asked the dark elf, Jonarleth, from behind.

Julian paused thoughtfully, toying with the reigns in his hand as he took better note of the land. "We have been travelling south... the south-west of Malacia. Less rain, warmer climate, mostly arable lands," he replied. "I have visited once before."

"I see. Tell me; was it as part of your army?"

He shook his head. "No. The place where I studied lies in the west, though north of here and further east. The College of the Magi, it is called, and I once vacationed in these lands during my final year." His voice took on bitter tones, self-mocking. "Of course, I never came this close to the border."

"Vacationing? And there, I thought you just a poor young conjuror," Jonarleth laughed.

Julian smiled in turn, guardedly. "There are ways to holiday without wealth, let me assure you."

The black-skinned one let this comment lie. He had noticed a change coming over Julian the closer they came to Malacia, something in his poise growing prouder, more authoritative. At first he had thought it a zealous patriotism, but some slight inflexion in that voice seemed darker, more cynical. "Tell me about Malacia," he hazarded, pointed ears pricked upward.

You can find the complete version of Betray: Part 2 in issue 46 of TBD.

James Thornberry