Current Projects
Stormlight 4 & 5 outlining
88 %
Starsight (Skyward 2) 5th draft
100 %
Stormlight 4 rough draft
29 %
MTG: Children of the Nameless release
100 %

Warbreaker Prime: Mythwalker Chapter Twelve

The following is a draft chapter of Brandon’s unfinished novel Mythwalker from 2001. Brandon later repurposed some elements of this story into Warbreaker, Mistborn, and The Way of Kings.

Siri woke to the strange voice. She blinked in the night’s darkness. Some fool was bellowing just a short distance away—probably a street vendor outside her window. They weren’t supposed to come to the wealthy district.

“—princess has vanished!” the voice screamed. “Just like all who try to impede the glorious Eruntu Rebellion! We will hold her until our demands are met. Vengeance, repayment, truth!”

Siri snapped awake. She was in the princess’s guest quarters, as she often did when she knew Vvenna would need her early in the morning. Preparations for the wedding would begin as soon as Vvenna rose and—

Something was wrong. Siri cursed, rolling out of bed and rushing toward the princess’s rooms. She threw open the doors as confused handmaidens began to pour out of their quarters. Vvenna’s rooms were dark, but not as dark as they should have been. The balcony doors were open, and the princess’s bed was empty, her down blanket in a pile on the floor.

“Hess!” Siri swore, spinning around to face the group of confused women. “Call for the palace guards!”

“But,” one of them said, “we’re not dressed.”

“Do it anyway!” Siri snapped. “Someone’s kidnapped the princess!”

She didn’t wait to see if they did as told, instead rushing toward the balcony and peering over the side. A group of dark forms were climbing down a rope, and she could hear muttered voices and cursings from below.

The Eruntu Rebellion! Siri thought with sudden shock. These are the same men who killed Vevinn.

Before she knew what she was doing, Siri rushed over to the ledge and began to pull at its knot. Her efforts did little good—the men’s weight was so great that the knot was impossible to untie. If only she had something to cut it with—

Siri paused. They had Vvenna with them. Siri sat back, frustrated with indecision. She couldn’t risk harming the princess—no matter how much she would like to see these men plummet to their deaths.

So, all she could do was sit impotently as palace Guards began to flood into the room.

“I am going to kill him,” Hine muttered from below.

“Just keep climbing,” Devin ordered.

“I am going to twist his spindly little neck until it comes off in my hands.”

“Keep climbing,” Devin reiterated.

Even with the encouragings, Hine wasn’t moving very quickly. His moves were methodical—he was obviously horrified. Yet, he kept going, keeping his fear to himself.

“Um, we’d better go a little faster,” Skeer said from above. “I think they’re calling the Guards.”

Hine growled.

Suddenly, the rope began to quiver in Devin’s hands. He looked up with confusion—the motion didn’t match Skeer’s.

“Hess!” Hine swore. “They’re cutting the rope!”

“My,” Skeer said appreciatively. “They’re moving a lot more quickly than I assumed.”

“Oh, Hess. Oh, Hess. Oh, Hess . . .” Hine swore like a mantra, still moving with care rather than speed. At this rate, the rope would be cut long before they reached the ground.

Devin looked up. They were barely a third of the way down. There was another balcony a short distance away, but not within reach, or even within jumping distance. However . . .

“You two keep going,” Devin said, taking a deep breath. “I’m going to slow them down.”

“What?” Hine asked. “Son, no—”

Devin jumped, pushing himself off the rope. He soared in the air for a brief moment, Hine’s outraged call sounding behind him. Then he hit the side of the building.

His fingers immediately searched for handholds, one locking into the corner where balcony met wall, the other finding a crack where two blocks had been fitted together improperly. His mysterious abilities now in control, Devin moved reflexively, finding places for his hands and his feet. He scrambled up the wall for a moment, then jumped back onto the rope above Skeer.

“By the Demon God,” Skeer breathed, looking up at Devin. “Um, you hold them off. We’ll get the princess out of the city. Meet us back at the camp.”

Skeer’s voice faded below him as Devin scrambled up the rope, ignoring the Rebellion leader. Climbing the knotted rope was ridiculously easy after the smooth Amberite walls, and Devin reached the top after just a few seconds of work.

He swung up onto the balcony’s banister, surprising a young Kkoloss girl who was sitting beside the tied rope. She yelped in surprise, but Devin ignored her, noting the pair of enormous Sserin Guards just as they noticed him.

Devin’s sword came out. The Guards rushed him, and Devin jumped forward. He parried their blows with ease, but held himself back. He didn’t want to kill—he only needed to buy some time.

The Guards cursed, calling for aid. Devin noticed with trepidation as two more appeared in the princess’s room. He had fought two before, and could probably hold off three. He’d never fought four men at once.

The Guards eyed Devin with wariness. These weren’t like the others he had fought, back when he had escaped from the Sserin Compound. Those men hadn’t taken his offense seriously. These were ready for him—they expected him to be skilled.

They attacked in tandem. Devin spun, trying to watch all four at once, whipping his sword back and forth to block blows from all sides. He quickly broke a sweat, and his muscles strained to move quickly enough. He parried all of the attacks, but just barely.

Just a few minutes, he told himself. Just long enough for the others to get away. The larger the disturbance I can create, the less attention they will pay to those below.

Siri watched the stranger fight, her eyes wide with amazement. She had watched numerous fencing bouts between Kkoloss, but she had rarely seen such skill. The rebel defended against all four Guards, ducking beneath their blows, weaving between their swords, and generally making fools of them. Each time it looked like a blow would fall, the rebel’s sword would somehow move to block it. Metal rang against metal, sounding like a cascade of silverware dropping to the floor. He would often block two or three attacks at once, somehow dodging the fourth at the same time. He fought almost like . . .

Like Vevinn. Except even more capably, if that was possible. And the strangest part about it was his hair. It was pure white—this man was no Kkoloss, even though he was nearly tall enough to be one. He was Eruntu.

Devin’s breathing came in gasps, and he felt his body slowing. He couldn’t maintain such a defense for long—sooner or later, one of the attacks would get through.

At that moment, one did, and it came from a completely unexpected place. One of the men feinted, but then—instead of swinging his sword as Devin expected—he swung his fist, pounding it directly into Devin’s chest.

The powerful Sserin blow threw Devin back against the balcony ledge. Even as he was sailing toward the banister, his sword dropping from stunned fingers, the seizure began.

Devin slammed against the Amberite banister, his head shaking, his body quivering. He just barely kept himself from toppling over the edge with a shaking hand.

The shaking stopped with a jerk. Devin looked up through sweat-dripping hair to see the four Guards advancing on him, and smiled.

He had just discovered a way to attack without killing.

Devin sprang at his opponents. They responded far too slowly. One raised his sword, but Devin’s hand whipped out, slamming against his wrist. The bone snapped with a crack as Devin brought his elbow up, smashing it into another Guard’s face.

The first dropped his sword, the second fell without a sound, and Devin spun in a low kick, tripping a third. The fourth got in an attack, but Devin jumped over the blade and drove the flat of his hand into the man’s face, throwing him backward against the Amberite floor.

As Devin landed, he chopped at the neck of the disarmed man, dropping him as well. Finally, Devin spun one last time—the man he had tripped had just started to rise as Devin’s high, sweeping kick took him in the face.

Devin fell back into a defensive stance he hadn’t known just seconds before. As he did, he watched the man he had just kicked slam against the banister, and drop backwards over the edge.

Devin cursed, throwing himself forward. His feet slipped against the Amberite, his entire body contorting as he reached a hand forward into the darkness below. He barely caught hold of the falling man’s shirt.

Devin strained to hold the Guard. The man was unconscious—somehow, even as he’d been delivering the blow, Devin had known that it would knock his opponent out. Unfortunately, that left him without help. He could barely hold the Guard—the man’s enhanced muscles also made him incredibly heavy. The shirt was beginning to rip, and the weight of the man’s body threatened to pull Devin over the edge.

Suddenly, a hand reached forward, grabbing the Guard’s shirt. Devin looked up with surprise to see the Kkoloss girl leaning over edge beside him. Together they pulled, lugging the unconscious man up and over the banister.

Siri dropped the Guard with relief—he was amazingly heavy. Then she looked up at the strange Eruntu. He was breathing hard—as good as he was, fighting four men at once had been difficult for him. As she looked more closely, she noticed something. He was much younger than she had assumed—perhaps in his late teens. Almost more of a boy than a man.

The bodies of his opponents lay scattered around the balcony, and a group of frightened handmaidens stood just inside the balcony doorway. They had all paused to throw long veils over their faces, so no one would see their tangled hair and sleepy eyes.

All four Guards were still breathing. Why had he bothered? If he had so callously murdered Vevinn and his family, why worry about a Guard? It hadn’t bothered the Rebellion before—they were supposed to have killed many Guards in their previous assault.

The Eruntu regarded her with wary eyes. “We have your princess,” he said quietly. “But we won’t harm her. We’re looking for freedom, not revenge.”

A commotion came from the other room—more Guards on their way. The Eruntu looked up with concern, then quickly snatched up his sword and sheathed it. He nodded once to Siri and leapt off the side of the balcony, grabbing the rope and scurrying down.

“Wait!” Siri called suddenly, leaning out over the banister.

The boy paused.

“Why did you kill him?” Siri demanded. “What did it accomplish?”

“Kill who?” the Eruntu asked.

“Prince Vevinn—House Kkeris. Why slaughter an entire family?”

The boy looked confused for a second, then he shook his head slightly. “You have been lied to, my lady,” he informed. And then he was gone, disappearing down the rope at an incredible speed.

Devin jumped the last few feet, landing lightly on the cobblestones. The entire palace was awake now, and he could see a line of torches coming his direction. It was time to go.

He dashed toward the cover of houses, his movements catching the attention of those behind. Running, however, was one thing Devin did well on his own, and he quickly reached the line of buildings. From there, he slowed his pace and began to move more stealthily. He intended to go back the same way they had come in—moving through the poorer district of town where the buildings were packed closer together.

A sudden sound to the side made Devin jump, and he instinctively reached for his sword.

“Son, you’re absolutely crazy,” a scratchy voice informed.

“Hine?” Devin asked with surprise. “What are you doing here—you should be with the others.”

Hine shrugged, but gave no response.

“Fine,” Devin said with a sigh. “Let’s get out of here.”

Hine wasn’t as good as Devin, but he was a great deal more stealthy than Skeer or Voko. Without those two, they were able to move much more quickly through the alleyways. Hine led the way, and pursuit trailed behind. Unfortunately, Devin knew that the race wasn’t over. The Sserins would probably alert Guards from all over the city—escaping through one of the gates was going to be a difficult enterprise.

Siri turned back from the banister, shaken and confused. Why would these rebels slaughter an entire House during one raid, yet avoid killing even a single Guard during the second? It didn’t make sense. And what was it he’d said—she was almost too shaken to remember. She’d been lied to? By whom?

Around her, the four men who had been defeated were groaning and coming to their senses. Only one seemed to be seriously wounded—the one with the broken arm. The bone had pierced his skin, and he was bleeding profusely. Of the four, he was the only one who hadn’t regained consciousness.

One of the men saw their companion and cursed. “We need a medic,” he said, nodding to one of the others. The second Guard nodded, and moved to dash away.

“Take your time,” Siri informed. She knelt beside the man and lay her hand across his forehead. Immediately, the skin on the Guard’s arm resealed most of the way, and the blood flow slowed to a small seep. The break wasn’t healed, of course—Siri’s was only Third Sept, and her power wasn’t strong enough for that. Still, he wouldn’t bleed to death from the wound.

“My Lady,” the lead Guard said with surprise. He carefully kept his eyes averted from her, since she had awoken without brushing her hair. Of course, she was also wearing a fairly thin nightgown—a fact emphasized to her by a passing breeze.

“What?” Siri asked, responding in the Kkoloss language as was customary.

“That man . . . ” the Guard said uncomfortably. “He’s . . . Eruntu.”

“He’s also wounded,” Siri said testily.

“Um, yes, My Lady.”

Fortunately, the palace healer was quick in coming, and the Guard wasn’t forced to suffer Siri’s breach of etiquette for very long. The wounded Guard woke groggily just before the healer arrived—her Kkell power working to restore him to counciousness. As soon as the healer walked through the door, Siri rose, letting her fingers slide free of the wounded man’s forehead. The wound immediately returned to its former state, the skin peeling back, the blood flowing freely once again. Siri cringed as the Guard cried out in agony, his pain returning.

The healer set about his work, and Siri left the balcony behind, walking into Vvenna’s bedroom. The handmaidens had vacated the room, retreating shamefully before the increasing number of Guards. Siri felt like doing the same—she felt numb. First Vevinn, now Vvenna.

“What is going on here?” a harsh voice suddenly asked.

Siri looked up with surprise. An imposing form stood in the doorway, the hulking Kkell-enhanced Prince Sarn. His flame-red hair was held up with a thin strip of red cloth, and he was dressed in a thick silken robe. He regarded the scene with displeased lips. As a Guard captain rushed by, Sarn reached out and snatched him on the shoulder.

“Speak,” Sarn ordered in his authoritarian style.

“The Princess, My Lord!” the Guard responded. “She has been taken by the Eruntu Rebellion!”

Sarn paused. “How many know of this?” he demanded.

“The Guards here in this room and the lady’s handmaidens, My Lord,” the captain explained.

“And the other palace Guards?” Sarn prompted.

“They know something has happened, but not what. I was just about to go organize them, my Lord. The assassins were just here, but are escaping below!”

Sarn’s hard, discriminating eyes looked over the room. “Go,” he finally said. “But tell no one what has happened here. Say that Eruntu assassins snuck into the palace, but do not tell them who was taken captive. Recover my royal-sister if you can, then report directly to me. Speak of this to no one.”

“Yes, My Lord,” the captain said with a quick bow. He had to pause and wait, however, for Sarn to step aside before he could rush through to carry out the orders.

Sarn then stepped back into the doorway, folding his arms, his eyes worried. Worried, but not concerned. Vvenna was Sarn’s royal-sister—he was a prince of Sserin, she a princess, but they were only distantly related by blood. He didn’t care about her—Siri doubted Sarn cared about anyone. However, the princess’s disappearance would be a major embarrassment to House Sserin—much of its recent political power, and the Ssu rewards that entailed, had come from the impending wedding.

As he stood in the doorway, Sarn’s eyes fell on Siri, and she shivered reflexively. There wasn’t desire those eyes, but there wasn’t reservation either. He didn’t care that her clothing was inappropriate or that her hair was mussed. To Sarn, she wasn’t a woman. She was a thing to be used.

Suddenly, Sarn’s eyes opened widely, and he hissed with a strange sound. His entire body grew rigid and tense.

“What?” Siri demanded.

Sarn ignored her, his eyes both surprised and strangely pleased. He turned to one of the Guards. “You!” he snapped. “Make certain no one leaves or enters this room. Tell no one what has happened tonight.”

And, before Siri could demand an explanation, Sarn dashed from the room.

Hine paused in a shadowed intersection. He peeked down an alley, searching for signs of pursuit. Just ahead, a larger street bore several lighted buildings. The bars were quieting as the night progressed, but several still appeared to hold revelers. One was just closing, and several drunken forms were stumbling—or being pushed—out its doors.

“It looks like we’ve lost them,” Hine guessed.

Devin nodded, leaning up against the side of a brick building. His body was protesting the night’s activities—he might have suddenly gained the skill to fight like a master, but he hadn’t trained his body like one. It wouldn’t be able to keep going for long—with the climbing, the fighting, and the running he was quickly running out of energy. In addition, the blow to the stomach he had taken from the Guard was still painful to the touch—it would probably grow to be quite the bruise.

“You know these alleys well,” Devin noted, relishing the short break.

Hine shrugged. “I’ve been through this city many times,” he mumbled. “More than you would believe, son.”

The two stood quietly for a moment, catching their breath. Finally, Hine broke the silence. “Son, I have a question for you.”

“Yes?” Devin asked.

“When are you going to admit what you are?”

Devin frowned. “What do you mean?”

“You can’t fool me, son. I’m too old and surly to play games. You’re a master swordsman, an expert chef, and an accomplished healer—not to mention your ability to ride horses, to climb impossibly slick walls, and to pick locks like a street burglar. All that by age seventeen?”

Devin felt cold. “What are you implying, Hine?” he asked.

“Your ability seems strikingly similar to the Kkeris Kkell power,” Hine noted quietly.

“That’s impossible,” Devin assured. “I never even took the Sserin Kkell Oath, let alone the Kkeris one.”

“You’re far more powerful than a Guard, son,” Hine said. “They learn about twice as fast as a regular man. You learn instantly.”

Devin shook his head. Hine had to be mistaken. Devin knew something odd was happening, but what the old soldier was implying . . .

“We saw House Kkeris get slaughtered,” Hine said. “We saw King Sserin try and take the power for himself, but he failed. Voko says they still haven’t found the Kkeris Heir. Somewhere out there, all of the Kkeris Kkell power is packed into a single man. A man who would learn hundreds, even thousands of times faster than a regular person . . . he’d pick up skills almost instantly.”

Devin shook his head with disbelief. Devin looked down at the darkened street below. A short distance away, a drunkard was trying to talk a tavern owner into serving one last drink. “You have to be wrong, Hine,” Devin mumbled. “I’m nobody. I’m just average. I can’t be Kkoloss.”

Hine placed a hand on Devin’s shoulder. Devin looked up to see the older man’s face in the weak starlight. His beard, patched from the scars on his face, was scraggly, but his eyes were honest. “You don’t have to defend yourself to me, son. Just admit it to yourself. You don’t have to like your power, but you do need to recognize it. Come on, let’s keep moving.”

Admitting his strange ability somehow made Devin feel even more ashamed—now someone else knew. He didn’t deserve the loyalty the others had given him. He couldn’t fight well because of anything he had done—he had cheated, somehow.

“The other men look up to me, but they shouldn’t,” Devin whispered. “The things I do—they’re lies. Those skills, they aren’t me. Voko and the others don’t see me, they see the power. When they do recognize me for what I am—when they realize that I’m just Devin—then they’ll understand. Then they’ll wonder why they were ever so stupid as to listen to me.”

Hine snorted. “They don’t follow you because of what you do, son. They follow you because of what you are.”

“A liar,” Devin said, looking down.

“A man who saved their lives when he could have just run away,” Hine corrected. “A leader, a man who cares to know who they are and to help them become what they could be.”

Devin shook his head. “You should be leading them, not me, Hine,” he said.

“No, son, that path isn’t for me,” Hine mumbled. “I make a good second; I make a terrible leader. I can’t talk to people the way some can. I can tell them what to do, but they want someone to look up to.”

Devin paused. “What was it that ended you up in that prison cart, Hine?” he asked impulsively.

Hine paused. “I refused to kill a man,” he finally informed.

That’s what I should have done, Devin thought. Hine is a far better man than I’ll ever be.

Hine stood for a moment. Then he smiled. “We’re quite the pair, aren’t we?”

“Two men convinced they shouldn’t be leaders,” Devin agreed, smiling slightly himself. “One a fake, the other a gruff pacifist.”

“We’re all they have,” Hine added. “Poor scrants.”

“I guess they could be left with Skeer,” Devin mumbled, gathering his strength.

Hine grinned, and the two moved out of the alley onto the larger street. Devin moved warily, keeping an eye out for signs of Guards. However, except for the stumbling drunk, the road was empty.

Suddenly, there was movement. A group of dark forms jumped from a side alley to grab the drunk man. The man cried out in surprise before his opponents, and Devin saw steel flash in the starlight.

His body complained, fatigue and soreness setting in, but Devin didn’t even think. He dashed forward, battle reflexes guiding him to spin a powerful punch at the lead robber’s head.

“Devin, no!” Hine called out. Devin looked down in surprise. Too late, he noticed the knife in the supposed drunk’s hand. It flashed toward Devin’s side.

And then, Hine was there. The Guard grabbed the drunk’s hand in his own, twisting the knife free. Then, he wound up with his free hand, and smashed his fist into the drunk’s side. There was a resonant crack and the drunk’s body spun backward, flipping several times to land in a heap on the other side of the road. Hine flexed his Kkell-powered muscles, turning toward the robbers.

Devin’s punch connected, even though he wasn’t looking. There was no crack, and the man’s body wasn’t thrown backward—Devin didn’t have Sserin strength. Yet somehow he knew the attack had been perfectly executed. The robber collapsed. The two remaining men regarded them with trepidation, then dashed back toward the alley, leaving their companions behind.

Hine snorted, cracking his knuckles. Then he turned toward Devin. “We’re going to have to remember that, son.”

“What?” Devin asked.

“You fight like a professional, but you don’t have the sense of a warrior. You’ve only been doing this for a short time—a man who’d been fighting his entire life would have easily seen that for a setup.”

Devin looked down with embarrassment. “I’m sorry,” he mumbled.

“Don’t be sorry, son,” Hine said with a shake of his head. “Experience comes with age; it’s not something you have control over.”

Devin looked down at the wounded men. The one he had hit would be all right—somehow he knew that. The one that Hine had punched didn’t look so good.

“He’s dead, son,” Hine said quietly.

“You know?” Devin asked with a sinking feeling.

“The Sserin Kkell power is part curse, kid,” Hine said, shaking his head. “The strength it gives is incredible, but—as Voko will tell you—it doesn’t give you the ability to control that strength. The Kkoloss, they grow up with it, but Guards get it later—most of us spend the rest of our lives learning to moderate ourselves. I know what one of my punches does, and I hit him square in the face. That man is dead.”

Devin sighed.

“He deserved to die, son. He’s killed before, and he would have killed again.”

Devin frowned. Hine spoke almost as if he knew those facts for certain. Before he could ask further, Hine had taken off down the street, and Devin was forced to hurry in order to catch up.

“They’re ready for us,” Hine guessed.

Devin scanned the city gates. The Guards looked to be lounging to him, not really paying much attention. The gates were open, however. “How can you tell?” he asked.

“They’re pretending,” Hine said, squatting just inside the alley’s shadows. “They’re trying to look like they’re not paying attention, but they obviously are.”

“You’re sure?” Devin asked.

“Yes,” Hine said simply.

Devin regarded the gates. It would be light soon—false dawn was already starting, and people were beginning to trail through the gate. They had to get out of town quickly, before the entire city went on alert. Whatever advantage they had from surprise would soon be depleted.

“What do we do?” Devin asked. “Try and get through, hoping that they won’t recognize us?”

“Maybe,” Hine said. “We might not have much choice. It’s either that or try and find a place to hide for the day.”

“And hope whoever we stay with doesn’t betray us for looking suspicious,” Devin said, watching an old Eruntu farmer drive his cart toward the gate, carrying a load of hay out of the town.

Hine nodded. “They aren’t good choices, kid.”

“All right,” Devin said. “Let’s go.”

“Wait,” Hine said, holding out his hand. “Lets see if they detain the old man—if they’re not letting anyone through at all, then there’s no need to expose ourselves.”

“Good idea,” Devin noted.

The old man drove his cart forward and the guards stopped him. A couple soldiers walked forward and began to plunge their swords into the hay, searching for stowaways.

“Hear, naw I say!” the old man objected, speaking with a thick accent Devin had never heard before. “Dan’t you be mussin’ my harsfood, now! Dan’t you be throwin’ it around. My harses need to eat, I say!”

The Guards ignored him, continuing their search. The old man ranted at them, waving his arm in the air and grumbling. As he did so, however, one of his motions went too wide, and he bumped his lantern pole. The lantern tumbled off the pole, rolling back into the hay.

“Na!” the man yelled, jumping up. “My harsfood! What will the harses eat!”

The back of the cart immediately burst into flames. The Guards jumped back, cursing. One threw his cloak over the fire, but it was already burning too quickly—the dry hay provided perfect fodder for burning. Smoke began to rise from the cart, and in just seconds the entire structure was a massive ball of flame.

“Look at the smoke,” Hine noted. “There’s some green hay underneath.”

Devin watched with amazement. Guards were running all around, and the old farmer was screaming loudly for them to do something. Hine was right about the smoke—there was far too much for dry hay to have created. Men were coughing and cursing, and with the smoke and the still-darkened sky, it was fairly hard to see.

“I don’t think we’re going to get a better chance,” Devin noted.

“Agreed,” Hine said.

The two moved furtively out of the alley, keeping to the shadows. They needn’t have worried—men were running all directions in the commotion. The flames were threatening the wooden Guard post, not to mention the gates themselves. No one even looked their direction as Devin and Hine slipped through the gate in the confusion.

The two ducked into the shadows just outside the city wall, then crouched and began to dash toward the treeline a few hundred manlengths away. As soon as they reached the edge of the forest, they stopped, puffing to themselves.

“That was just about the luckiest thing I’ve ever seen,” Hine declared, leaning back against a tree and scarring a few lills that had been poking around the trunk in search of food.

Devin just shook his head. “I guess we—” He paused. A sound was coming from the direction of the town. The sound of someone walking through the grass.

Hine cursed, pulling out his sword.

“By Hess!” a familiar voice cursed. “One would think you people would wait for someone after he saves your lives.”

Devin paused. “Voko?” he asked with shock.

A form appeared from the darkness—a form whose face was covered with dirt, and who was wearing a simple smock. A smock just like the one the hay farmer had been wearing.

“I say!” Voko declared. “My harses aren’t gaing to be eating tanight, eh?”

Hine chuckled, sheathing his sword.

“A few things I learned in my former profession weren’t ruined by the Kkell power,” Voko noted.

“But how did you know we would be here?” Devin asked.

Voko shrugged. “I guessed, Dev. That was the gate we planned to escape through. I just had to hope that you saw the fire and took the chance.”

Devin nodded. “My thanks, Voko.”

“It’s good to know there’re some things you still need help with, Dev,” Voko replied with a smile. “Come on, I’ll lead you to the others.”

Assistant Peter’s commentary: So, Devin is finally confronted with the fact that he has the Kkeris Kkell power. This is something that seems like it was too long in coming. I mean, for me it was obvious in the chapter where Devin gained the power, and I’m pretty sure I reacted the same way the first time I read the book. Keeping your characters in the dark about something the readers already know can increase suspense for the reader, but it can also get old fast.
Sarn leaves Siri in a hurry. What’s his plan?

|   Castellano