Lord of the Sea: Betrayal
(Story continues from where
Arctic Mission left off. Click here to read Arctic Mission)
Foresight sets the clock
Ticks down to tonight’s attack
Seconds slip away.
Anurevin sent a mental shout at his teammates to get their asses out of bed. Five seconds gone. He scanned the sky. Ten seconds to pan from horizon to horizon. Five more to prod his foresight gift for a direction but it yielded nothing more than a countdown that dwindled with every breath. No bizarre collage of images of future mayhem attacked him, not that he’d wanted a mental glance at the coming fight.
By the thirty second mark the first of his teammates stumbled onto deck still yanking their suits into place. Marduke strolled out sixty seconds later with the last straggler. A black hull parted the gleaming shield a second later giving them a target. Anurevin’s feet pounded the deck a second later angling his trajectory so that when he threw himself off the bow, Sarcosi’s back would catch him. She was already on the move; they were of one mind on this–hit the enemy fast and hard. Too bad Marduke disagreed with that plan.
Aurevin ignored the guy’s repeated shouts for him to stop. The tide smacking the hull made plenty of noise which helped muffle the idiot’s invective. Mind calls slung in Aurevin’s direction slammed into a nice thick shield and bounced off. Marduke wasn’t strong enough to muscle past that wall. Not one of the half-trained fools milling around on deck listening to their CO were.
Insubordinate? Hell yes. Nothing Marduke could do about it either and that made Aurevin smile as he launched himself off the bow. His boots struck dragon scales and he raced up Sarcosi’s back using the spines that protruded from her spine as handholds. Her wings beat the air lifting them up as he slid into his accustomed place behind her neck ridge. Amusement warred with worry–not about the fight, but about Marduke and what this little show of rebellion would cost Anurevin.
*As if I care, what can he do to me that the enemy hasn’t already done? Not a fucking thing that’s what.*
Sarcosi didn’t comment but he knew she disagreed. That chain of command thing meant something to her. Dragons had complex hierarchies and they loved to brag about their place in it. ‘Course they also respected the hell out of that caste system and the human facsimile that existed in what passed for a military.
Dragons didn’t disobey orders. Temporary insanity must have gripped her; there was no other explanation for her decision to partner with someone who had never met an order he didn’t disagree with or intend to disobey.
That went double for this arctic hell hole thousands of miles from anything where that chain of command thing meant not a God damned thing. Marduke could scream his head off down there on his precious ship until the enemy destroyed it. Or he could get his ass off that gleaming white tub and get airborne to stop it.
Anurevin reached over his right shoulder and his hand closed on air instead of a hilt. Great he was flying unarmed to meet the enemy. That too was Marduke’s fault. He rolled his eyes and concentrated on calling the blade to him. Tension built and released, then a familiar hilt settled against his gloved palm. It had arrived ready for action without its sheathe and so had half a dozen panicked hails.
They streamed after him, those tenuous pink threads, each one a separate mental shout. He could accept them or he could ignore them and their senders could do nothing to stop him from doing either. Out of the dozen losers stationed here, he was the most telepathic. Thier minds were silk and he was the spider who could, if he chose, weave them into a cohesive communications network.
Minds spun their silk threads
He’s the spider who could weave
Minds into networks.
If he chose and that was the problem those shadows rising up from the sea faced. Did he want to deal with that level of bullshit right now? It would all be inside his head–twelve human minds and their dragon compliment, twenty-four minds chattering, some of them dying. It wasn’t the number that gave him pause; he could handle more than that and still fight. After all, he was just the damned conduit–just a node on the network he’d create and he didn’t have to directly interface with any mind if he didn’t want to. That was the beauty of his gift.
Sarcosi maintained her mental silence but their bond hummed away below the level of thought. She wouldn’t push him one way or the other; it was his mind, his decision. Twenty-four lives lay in his hands. If he didn’t do this, they’d all get themselves killed.
Decision made, training kicked in and he started grabbing those threads and weaving them into into a network of minds. Profound relief flooded him as connections were made and access granted. Weaker minds got an immediate lift; someone had once explained that power was like water; it always flowed downhill, stronger to weaker, etc. It was bullshit but it explained the sudden drain on his resources that made his grip go white knuckle on Sarcosi’s neck ridge.
Spots danced in his vision as the last mind slotted itself in and then reached out with mental hands that scoured him from the inside. Power flowed out of him unchecked down one thread to one particular mind. He had to sever it–break the leech’s hold. Black edged his vision and winnowed it away; his grip loosened and the sword fell from his hands. It spun, a white shape falling down towards an ice studded sea.
~ ~ ~
To be continued…
Part of The Lord of the Sea
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