Dawn of Empire: A Novel
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Then all who can dig will help Mesilim’s men prepare the grave. We bury our dead with theirs, and they honor our own by the offer.” “What are they doing now?” Sisuthros asked. A dozen or so warriors had mounted horses and ridden off, half of them leading spare animals. “They’ll gather the bodies from the other battleground. After everyone is buried, the corpses of the Alur Meriki will be left to rot on top of the grave and to feed the carrion, so all will know how many died here. Then, I think,
first battle. Don’t be concerned about these thoughts.” The night before battle, every man had to face his fear, some men of sword thrusts, others of arrows or lances, and most worried about their own bravery. He realized a woman could be as afraid. “Anyway, we have nowhere to run.” “And death? We could both be dead by tomorrow night!” That was more likely than she realized. He pulled her from her chair onto his lap, holding her close as her arms went around his neck and she squeezed him with
her dress, as she seemed too weak to do it by herself, then pushed her back gently. When he slid under the blanket, she moved into his arms and buried her face in his neck and he barely heard her words. “Give me your strength, Eskkar, and I’ll be strong for you forever.” Chapter 22 Eskkar awoke with a start, alone in bed, with the morning sun making bright patterns of light on the blanket and the floor. Sitting up, he realized the soft bed had let him sleep at least an hour past sunrise.
the process. He held out the arrow. “The arrow is short because it must fit the bow and be carried on the horse. The tip may be of hardened bone or bronze. It weighs almost nothing.” Eskkar tossed the arrow in the air a few times, so they could see how light it was, then put the arrow to the bow. He turned toward the wagon, bent the bow, and launched the shaft. The arrow quivered into the thick wheel. “With a bow such as this, even the slowest barbarian on his horse can launch ten to fifteen
gold coins,” Trella mused. She remembered her first day in Orak. Nicar had questioned her for almost an hour, tested her, to ensure she could count and write the symbols before he assigned her to work with his senior clerk. She needed only a single day to learn the differences between the symbols used in Orak from those in her native village. Nicar’s clerk soon found her more useful than the other two slaves who served as Nicar’s record keepers. She’d quickly learned the full extent of Nicar’s