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The Battle (The Adventures of Jecosan Tarres, #3)
The Battle (The Adventures of Jecosan Tarres, #3)
The Battle (The Adventures of Jecosan Tarres, #3)
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The Battle (The Adventures of Jecosan Tarres, #3)

Автор Laura Lond

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Having done his best to fulfill the commission given him by a supernatural messenger, yet apparently having failed to do so, Jeco and his friends, Dalian and Lord Farizel, find themselves running for their lives from the wrath of King Alvard III.

The Battle is Book 3 of The Adventures of Jecosan Tarres trilogy. It is approximately 103,000 words (370 pages in the printed edition).

ЯзыкEnglish
ИздательLaura Lond
Дата выпуска22 нояб. 2010 г.
ISBN9781458071194
The Battle (The Adventures of Jecosan Tarres, #3)
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Laura Lond

Laura Lond is an internationally published author of several novels and a collection of short stories. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in history. Having worked for 2 years at a literary museum, Laura entered the world of business, working for large international corporations like Xerox Ltd. and Fluor Daniel. After moving from Europe to the United States, she has been self-employed as a freelancer.

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  • Рейтинг: 4 из 5 звезд
    4/5
    2nd book to the Jecosan Tarres trilogy and it was just as good as the first. Orphan Jeco saved by the mysterious Black Night Elgur who helps him get to the palace so that he can fulfull his destiny. Jeco shows perseverance and good manners will take you far. Nicely written store and made a nice story time. Well written and hard to put down. Very nice way to spend an afternoon in the sun. Good Job!!

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The Battle (The Adventures of Jecosan Tarres, #3) - Laura Lond

The Adventures of Jecosan Tarres

Book 3: The Battle

Laura Lond

Published by Laura Lond at Smashwords

Copyright 2010 Laura Lond, Second Edition

Cover design by Steena Holmes

This book is also available in print at most online retailers

Smashwords Edition, License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Epilogue

Chapter 1

[Back to Table of Contents]

Jeco?!

Holding up a candle, Dalian looked at his friend, surprised to see him in the middle of the night.

Yes, Dalian, it’s me. Sorry for waking you up, but I am in big trouble. May I come in?

Sure… Dalian stepped back from the door. What happened?

I’m not alone. Please meet my friend, Telm. He has just saved my life.

A tall, hooded figure showed up in the doorway. Dalian lifted the candle higher, trying to see the face, but he couldn’t.

Well, come in, both of you, he muttered. What in the world’s going on?

They entered the room.

Jeco is accused of treason, the hooded one said, his voice deep and strong. We are leaving the city.

Dalian regarded the man, not sure what to think of him. Would you take off your hood? I want to see whom I am talking to.

The man obeyed, and Dalian backed off, almost dropping his candle.

The black ghost!...

Telm is not a ghost, Dalian, Jeco interfered. Don’t call him that.

…Well, then what is that mask about?! Good grief! I am no chicken, but you did get me, fellow. Don’t you know that the whole city’s gone crazy talking about the black horseman from Devron woods?

It is me they call the black horseman, the man replied. But, as Jeco just said, I am not a ghost.

Dalian stared at him, then shifted his gaze to Jeco, then back to his strange companion.

Remove your mask and let me see what you are.

I cannot do that. Not because I distrust you, Dalian. I must not take my mask off. Ever. I am under oath.

The blacksmith turned to Jeco again, the incredulous look on his face clearly saying, Do you expect me to believe that?!

It is true, Dalian, the boy nodded, somewhat wearily. I never saw his face, either. It’s a long story.

Dalian spent another moment studying the man, then shrugged his shoulders. Rather strange friend you’ve got, I must say… Well, fine. Have a seat and tell me what it’s all about.

The late visitors sat down at the table.

I’ve got enemies at the palace, Jeco began, in the same weary manner that was new to Dalian; he had never seen his friend like that before. They told the king that I was a spy.

The blacksmith jerked up his eyebrows. Couldn’t you prove them wrong? A spy! Why would the king even listen to such a silly thing?

They are smart, Dalian. They told him half-truths I couldn’t deny, twisted to make me look like a traitor. The king got so angry that he didn’t let me speak for myself and explain everything. He sent me to jail.

That was nice of him, the blacksmith remarked, frowning. But why—

A sudden knock interrupted him, startling Jeco. The boy glanced at the door.

You were followed! Dalian cried out in a hushed voice. He dashed to his bed and grabbed a sword.

Do not worry, Telm reassured. It is a friend.

Jeco breathed a sigh of relief, but Dalian wasn’t convinced.

Oh yeah? he whispered, slowly approaching the door with his sword ready. How do you know?

He knows, Dalian, Jeco said. You can trust him in such things. If Telm says it’s a friend, then it is a friend. Let me open the door.

He rose and lifted the latch. A tall man wrapped in a brown cloak up to his eyes quickly stepped in.

Tarres! Thank goodness, you’re already here! he exclaimed, throwing the cloak back and revealing his face.

Lord Farizel! Jeco gasped. Why are you here?! How did you find me?!

His Lordship has gone too far trying to save you, Jeco, Telm said before the lord could reply. To the point of endangering his own life. He is going with us.

The boy looked at him, confused, then turned his eyes back to the lord.

Have you two met?...

Yes, Farizel nodded. Twice.

Puzzled even more, Jeco regarded Telm. Why haven’t you told me?

There is a lot to be told and explained, Telm replied, but we have no time for it now. We must leave as soon as we can.

Then I’ve got no other choice but to join you, Dalian spoke up, who had been silently standing behind the boy, the sword still in his hand. Because I want to hear it all.

Dalian! Jeco turned to his friend, not knowing what to say. Everything was happening too fast. I’m sorry, I forgot to introduce you… I am so confused. This is Lord Farizel, Dalian, about whom you have heard so much. And this is Dalian, Your Lordship, my dear friend.

Dalian bowed to the lord, hiding the sword behind his back, and was very surprised when Farizel extended his hand to him.

It will be a pleasure to get to know you, Mr. Dalian. I am much impressed with what you have just decided to do.

Are you sure you want to go, Dalian? Jeco asked. You’ve been through enough because of me, and you just got your life back on track…

"Just as you have been through enough because of me, the blacksmith returned. Yes, I am quite sure. And I hope I will be a better companion this time."

Then let us go, Telm said, rising from his seat. Take only what is necessary, Dalian. And please, hurry.

I will be quick. Here, hold this.

Dalian gave the sword to Jeco and went to his bed. Having opened a trunk that stood at his bedside, he pulled out a large empty sack—the same one he had with him when he and Jeco had first left home—and began stuffing it with his belongings.

Jeco weighed the heavy sword in his hand. At some other time he would have been fascinated with this nicely made weapon, but right now his spirit was too burdened to enjoy it.

So Your Lordship is leaving the palace? he asked, looking up at Farizel. And—everything? Also because of me… I am so sorry.

The lord smiled and placed his hand on Jeco’s shoulder. Don’t be sorry. There was not much to leave. Except for Her Highness, to whom I did not have a chance to say my last word, I have no regrets.

But what did you do? How did you put yourself in danger?

Farizel smiled again, this time with some sadness. Whatever I did brought no results, and therefore is not worth mentioning. You owe your freedom to this man here, he nodded at Telm, and him alone.

"I would still like to know what you did, sir, Jeco insisted. You went to the king? he guessed. You spoke for me and brought his anger upon yourself."

That’s about right.

Dalian was already done packing. He tied the sack, then reached behind his bed and pulled out two more swords, sheathed and wrapped in cloth, and an empty scabbard for the third one.

I think it’s a good idea to take these, he said, taking the blade from Jeco and sheathing it.

How did you get so many swords, Dalian? the boy asked. Are they all yours?

Yes. I made them. That’s what we have been working on for the last couple months here in the shop. We’ve got a large order for armor from the king.

It doesn’t surprise me… Farizel muttered to himself.

Dalian fastened one sword on his belt and handed the other two to Telm and Lord Farizel. Farizel took his, but Telm declined.

I don’t need it, thank you.

The blacksmith gave him a studying look. Well, if even a half of what I heard about you is true, I suppose you don’t. Here, he turned to Jeco, you have it then.

They left Dalian’s room. The inn was dark and empty, only the entrance hall at the end of the long corridor they stood in was softly illuminated by candles.

To the back door, Telm whispered, pointing in the opposite direction from the remote candlelight.

It is locked for the night, Dalian whispered back. We’ll have to—

It’s all right, Jeco interrupted, touching the blacksmith’s arm. Telm will open it. Follow him.

Dalian gave a doubtful look, but said nothing. His frown deepened when Telm did easily open the heavy oak door and let them all out into the cold, frosty night. Jeco smiled, guessing his friend’s thoughts: Dalian knew only one type of people who could open locked doors without keys, and he had most certainly heard the black horseman being called a robber. However, Dalian kept his comments to himself, and Jeco offered no explanation. It was all right. If they were to travel together, Dalian was going to have plenty of time to figure Telm out and get used to him.

Jeco looked at his other companion and noticed that Lord Farizel, on the contrary, showed no surprise. Did that mean he knew?...

That way, Telm pointed again. The carriage is waiting behind the corner.

That brought another suspicious glance from Dalian. Carriage? Not hired, I hope?

Of course not.

Who is the driver, then? Can he be trusted?

He can.

As they walked to the street corner, Jeco wondered whether it was going to be the same carriage they used when Telm had delivered him from the mines. They had come to the inn on foot, but Jeco was half-expecting a carriage, remembering their previous journey. He also wondered about the driver just mentioned; last time there was none, Telm drove himself. Was there someone else helping them now?

But, to tell the truth, Jeco cared little. What happened to him had left a hole in his soul, a cold, empty spot right in the middle. He was glad to be free, excited to see Telm again, and happy that Dalian and Farizel were going with them—all that had distracted him from his heavy thoughts and cheered him up, for a time; yet the emptiness was still there, and he was beginning to feel it again. He had failed his mission. Failed to fulfill his purpose.

The carriage was not the same, but the horses were—Jeco recognized the two magnificent stallions right away. A man sat on the driver’s seat, cloaked and hooded like Telm. He made no move when the group approached, and said not a word. Telm addressed him in some unknown tongue; the driver replied with a short phrase.

Everything is fine, Telm said, turning to the rest of them and opening the carriage door. Let us get in.

Farizel entered first, then Jeco and Dalian. The two of them sat together, facing the lord (Jeco figured that Dalian wouldn’t be comfortable sitting next to anyone but himself). Telm jumped in when the carriage was already starting to roll, and by the time he had taken a seat and threw back his hood it was already going full speed.

No one spoke for a few moments. Two not very bright lanterns fixed to the ceiling were casting patches of yellow light on their faces—and on Telm’s mask—throwing deep shadows into the corners.

Well, gentlemen, Telm broke the silence. We have a long ride ahead, which gives us plenty of time to piece our story together. I suggest that you start, Jeco—from the very beginning.

Jeco sighed. For the first time, the memories of that day brought sadness, not joy. The glorious visitation, the unexpected and more than astonishing assignment he had received… It was all ruined now.

It happened this summer, he began, in Chegmer, my home village. I was sitting in the attic one day, reading, and… and suddenly an elgur had appeared before me.

He saw Farizel’s eyes flick to Telm, and Telm shake his head no. The exchange took only a second, but it made the boy’s heart leap because it could only mean one thing: yes, Farizel knew. He knew who Telm was.

Thrilled with that discovery, Jeco almost forgot what he was telling them. He looked at the lord’s fine face, wondering how it came about and whether there was any help on Telm’s part…

Meanwhile, Dalian interpreted the boy’s silence in his own way.

I didn’t believe you then, Jeco, he said after clearing his throat, and I admit I still don’t know what to think of it. But do not let that stop you. Go ahead, tell us everything. Maybe—maybe I’ll understand things better when I hear it all.

Jeco smiled to his friend. Thank you, Dalian. Well, it was like a burst of white light, he continued, bright, powerful, piercing, and yet… Ah, I can’t describe it; each time I think of it, I fail to find words. It was the most beautiful thing I ever saw in my life. The elgur stood in that cloud of light—a tall shining figure right in the middle. He spoke to me. He said that my time had come, time to do the will of the heavens, and asked whether I was ready. I told him I’d do my best. He then said that I must go to Kanavar, join the king’s service, and stop the coming war.

Farizel leaned forward. War. With Tirgan?

He didn’t say, but yes, now I’m certain of it.

And how were you to stop it?

I had no specific instructions, except that I was not to do it alone. The elgur had said that at the king’s palace I would find help—a person he referred to as Unarmed Warrior and Unlit Fire. He said that I would light that fire and give a sword to the warrior, and then we would be working together.

Farizel listened, his gaze intent. "This sounds like a prophesy… Wait a minute—you called me Unarmed Warrior once, do you mean to say that…?"

"Yes, Your Lordship, I thought it was you. When we dined together that day, and you were sharing about your service, your efforts to help His Majesty, and your doubts—it had suddenly dawned on me that you must be the person I was supposed to find. I couldn’t help whispering those words—Unarmed Warrior—and Your Lordship had heard them, and said that it was a very true comparison. I took it as confirmation… Jeco sighed. Maybe it was just a coincidence, and I was wrong. I don’t know."

You were not, Telm interposed. "Lord Farizel is the warrior. And he is no longer unarmed."

Both Jeco and Farizel gave him blank stares. Telm provided no explanation, looking at the lord with a knowing smile in his eyes.

Isn’t that right, Your Lordship?

Farizel’s expression remained the same for another moment, then his face brightened as he understood.

"Well, yes! You have lit the fire, Jecosan. I’ve pledged my allegiance to the Light this night. Several hours ago."

Jeco looked at him as the words, and their implications, were gradually sinking in.

Oh… You have, sir? That… that’s wonderful… But it is certainly not of my doing.

Maybe not directly, the lord allowed, smiling, but I doubt it that I would have reached this point if you never showed up at the palace, Jeco. So I thank you.

Let us proceed with the story, Telm reminded. I bet His Lordship can’t wait to hear about my part in it, and how the two of us met.

The question has been burning in my mind since the moment I learned about Jeco’s arrest, Farizel nodded.

Jeco resumed his tale. The elgur had warned that the journey to Kanavar wouldn’t be easy, and it was not. Dalian and I had decided to go together. When we reached the town of Gver, we were arrested—mistakenly, but we could not prove our innocence.

My fault, Dalian spoke up. I bought a pair of stolen boots, and we were caught with them. Ended up in jail, then in the Gverian mines.

Farizel raised his eyebrows. Both of you?

Yes. I was sentenced to one month, Jeco went on, Dalian to half a year. Then it turned out that the mines overseer was… well, playing his own games down there. If he liked a worker, he wouldn’t release them, even after they’d served their term.

I think I heard something about it, Farizel noted, narrowing his eyes as he tried to remember. Yes, I am sure I did. There was a trial, not very long ago, over a mines overseer who was illegally holding his prisoners.

That’s right, he is in jail now. Well, I happened to be one of those he picked. When my time was up, he wouldn’t let me go. I tried to escape, but they caught me. That was when Telm showed up.

Telm?...

Your servant, Telm bowed. Your Lordship has known me as the black horseman, or the black knight.

Oh, I see… Somehow, it never occurred to me to ask for your name. I sincerely apologize.

No need to apologize, we’ve hardly had any time for proper introductions.

The carriage jolted and came to a sudden stop, startling everyone except Telm.

We are at the city gates, he explained. The driver will speak to the guards. I might have to interfere if they insist on searching the carriage.

Dalian’s face hardened as he silently reached for the sword.

Pressing matter, you say? came a rough voice from the outside. And a very important passenger? It better be so!

Is our escape already discovered? Farizel asked in a quick whisper.

I suppose we will soon find out, Dalian muttered, carefully lifting a corner of the window curtain and peering outside.

However, the lord’s question was not addressed to him.

No, it is not, Telm replied. The guards check everyone who wants to leave the city so late at night.

Then I can deal with them and get us a quick passage.

Telm thought for a moment. Very well. But this must be the last time you use the power of your name, Lord Farizel. In the morning, an order for your arrest will be sent to every city and town in Meoria.

They heard the guard’s footsteps approach.

Let me see for myself what kind of a very important passenger you’ve got! He banged on the carriage door. Hello there!

Farizel turned to the door and pushed it open. A big soldier with a torch in his hand, clearly displeased to be forced out of the warm guardroom, stood there scowling, his breastplate reflecting the torchlight. The scowl quickly faded, giving way to fearful astonishment.

Oh… Your Lordship?

Farizel regarded him with a cold smile. Well, soldier? Am I important enough for you?

The guard took a step back and made a hasty bow. I—I am terribly sorry, Your Lordship, I had no idea… The carriage bears no signs of belonging to a person of your station, so, uh…

Yes. The matter I am attending to is of private nature, I do not wish to be recognized or draw attention. Now, if that explains things and you have no further questions, would you please hurry to open the gates.

Certainly, sir. As you say, sir.

The soldier ran to carry out his charge, shouting to summon others for help. Within short order the carriage was on the road again.

Well done, Lord Farizel, Telm remarked.

Farizel smiled. Thank you. I think I will miss this power… But it will be a valuable experience to try going without it.

They rode in silence for a minute or two. Wind howled outside, the carriage swayed and jumped, flying at neckbreaking speed. Jeco saw Dalian shift uneasily and glance at the window, but, seeing that no one else expressed concern, the blacksmith kept his to himself.

So you had come to the mines, Telm? Farizel asked, returning to their conversation.

Yes. I was sent to release Jecosan from the mines and, should he decide to continue his journey, to escort him all the way to the palace: there was too much at stake, and too many dangers to avoid. Jeco chose to go on. Thus we had arrived to Kanavar together.

Now, one question here, if I may, Dalian interrupted, with a slight irritation of someone who had been restraining himself for too long. Who sent you? How did they know about this whole thing? That Jeco was trapped in the mines and all that? And why did they choose to help? What’s their interest in it?

That was more than one question, Dalian, Telm smiled.

Well? What is your answer?

Don’t you see it yourself?

Dalian’s frown deepened. I don’t! Why would I ask if I did?

Telm smiled again. I’ll wait till you do, then.

Dalian regarded him with marked displeasure. I can’t fully