Read Fallen Ward (Deepwoods Saga Book 3) Online
Authors: Honor Raconteur
Tags: #guilds, #Honor Raconteur, #magic, #redemption, #pathmaking, #coming of age, #Deepwoods, #Fiction, #ya, #fantasy, #romance, #Young Adult, #Raconteur House, #adventure
Published by Raconteur House
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
A Raconteur House book/ published by arrangement with the author
Raconteur House mass-market edition/August 2015
Copyright © 2015 by Honor Raconteur
Cover Illustration by Katie Griffin
Illustrations by Christa Triumph
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.
Purchase only authorized editions.
For information address:
3425 Daisy Trail
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Other books by Honor Raconteur
Published by Raconteur House
THE ADVENT MAGE CYCLE
Advent Mage Compendium
The Dragon’s Mage
The Lost Mage
Special Forces 01
The Midnight Quest
THE ARTIFACTOR SERIES
The Child Prince
The Dreamer’s Curse
Arrows of Change
This one is dedicated to my fans. I never thought I would turn so many of my fans into characters, but I had a whale of a time doing it. Who knows? I might do it again.
Also to Tony, who ‘helped’ me plot and write every book I’ve written. Miss you, bud.
What matters most is how well you walk through the fire.
Siobhan knew, intellectually, that people were anxious to get back their city. It made perfect sense to her, as she felt the same way. But it still took her by surprise when Darrens sent a message to her and requested that she come to the strategy meeting to be held in the next hour. Rain and drought, but they’d barely won the battle at Converse last night! Siobhan would have thought that people would take at least two days to rest up and take stock before planning the assault on Goldschmidt. Or at the very least, Darrens would give time for everyone to finish breakfast!
But apparently she was the only one that thought that way.
Darrens was still camped out in the main tap-room of the tavern, only this time he had commandeered more tables, probably to accommodate the influx of people. When Siobhan entered the room, her eyes automatically scanned the area, counting heads. Her own people were already there—Rune, Wolf, Tran, Fei, Markl, Conli, and interestingly enough, Grae. She blinked at seeing him. Grae had never been a part of the planning sessions before for the simple reason that he was not a fighter. Even she was usually invited only because it was mostly her men that were the commanders, and as guildmaster, it would be rude to not inform her.
As she wound her way through the tables and to the side where all of her guild sat, Siobhan glanced at the rest of the room. Emalee, Darren’s wife, was at the head table with her husband, Lirah sitting at her side. Hyun Woo and Ryu Jin Ho were on the opposite side of the table of their students, as well as a few other men that Siobhan recognized as being the main enforcers of Blackstone. Two men she didn’t recognize, but she did know the guildcrest on their sleeves—Silvermoon. They must be the commanders of Hammon’s enforcers, then.
From the looks of things, it seemed she was the last to arrive, as Siobhan couldn’t think of a single person they could be missing.
Sliding into a seat between Wolf and Grae, she leaned closer to her childhood friend and asked in a low tone, “Grae, why are you here?”
“Wolf asked me to come,” Grae responded, brow furrowed in bemusement. Apparently, he wasn’t entirely clear on why he was there either.
Hearing them, Wolf murmured for their ears, “Grae knows the land around Goldschmidt better than anyone else here. And I have a notion or two about pathmaking that might make our job easier I want to run by him.”
Ahhh. Well, that made total sense. Grae did indeed know the land better than anyone, including Darrens, as he had to know every nuance of the land to work his paths. Not to mention the dozens of times he’d dug around in the soil so he could build new paths. If Siobhan had been thinking, she’d have invited him herself.
Darrens stood and cleared his throat, gaining their attention. “Everyone’s here, I believe? Good, good. This might be somewhat premature, as we just won a battle yesterday, but I want us to start working on the plan to retake Goldschmidt.”
“You are not overly hasty,” Hyun Woo assured him calmly. “To retake a well-fortified city like Goldschmidt, we will need much time and preparation.”
Well, true, they likely did. Darrens seemed relieved no one was going to argue that point with him and gave Hyun Woo a grateful look before moving on. “Let’s start with introductions, as I think this might be a first meeting for some. These are my commanders, Talik and Romohr.”
Siobhan was personally pleased to see both men, as she hadn’t seen Romohr since the bridge incident at Quigg, or Talik since that last, desperate escape from Goldschmidt. It relieved her to know they were both fine.
“From Silvermoon, this is Jonathan Glass and Gaurav Hasur. They have been invaluable help to us and have volunteered to stay at least long enough to reclaim Goldschmidt.”
Jonathan Glass had that ‘nice man’ look to him. Not particularly tall, fair hair, glasses perched on his nose. He looked more like a scholar than a fighter, but the solid build to his arms suggested that looks were very deceiving. If he had the rank of main enforcer, and was handpicked for this battle by Hammon, then he must be very, very good. He ducked his head in greeting but didn’t say a word.
Gaurav Hasur absolutely must hail from the very southern edge of Robarge, with that dark toned skin and jet black hair. He had a wonderful smile, though, which he flashed at the table in large. From his height and build, Siobhan was fairly sure he could tackle a raging boar and come out on top.
“Pleasure,” Gaurav said, voice pleasant and soothing.
Darrens kept going around the table, introducing the rest. He finished with, “Now, that out of the way, I am now taking any suggestions that seem viable. Hyun Woo-zhi, Ryu Jin Ho-zhi, is capturing Goldschmidt possible? With the forces we have?”
Instead of answering, Hyun Woo turned an expectant look at his students.
Siobhan’s enforcers shared looks between them, not out of uncertainty, but more like,
Are you going to answer, or should I
? In the end it was Fei that turned to Darrens and assured him, “We can. It will take cunning on our parts, but we can.”
“The trick will be to lure as many men out of the city as possible,” Tran added. “We don’t want a pitched battle on top of the walls like we had here in Converse. If it came to that, we really don’t have the necessary manpower to win. But if we can trick them outside of the city, then we have a solid chance of winning.”
All of the non-strategists at the table listened in growing confusion, but it was Darrens that voiced the obvious question. “And how do we lure them out? I would think only an idiot would leave fortified walls when an army comes knocking.”
“The essential point in order to bring down the defenses of any stronghold is,” Hyun Woo held up an illustrative finger, “to block them from receiving one essential element.”
Siobhan blinked. “Just one?”
“Just one.” A disturbing smile resided on Hyun Woo’s face that made her think he was cackling evilly on the inside. “If you take away just water, or just food, or something of that nature, a man caves quickly to the pressure. How long can a man fight and live without water? Without food? Removing that one thing can force him out of his stronghold within days.”
“There was a time, in long forgotten past, where a general tried this,” Ryu Jin Ho added musingly, fingers stroking his mustache. “He blocked all trade to the city. They came out within two days.”
Fei apparently couldn’t resist this history lesson as he expounded, “And when the general of long-lost Kold was forced to recapture his home city, he blocked their route to the sea. When the commander in charge of the city defenses realized what had happened, he immediately put together a force and charged the attacking soldiers. Without the sea, no one inside had enough food to live on for more than a few days. The general of Kold was able to breach the walls and retake the city in a matter of hours.”