Larik rides for the Zathinian cavalry, and he's happy to lead his men against the Kipzian threat. But during a fateful battle, he's lost, trapped with his enemy and forced to stay with the Kipzian man in their city, sealed from the rest of the world.
With a sickening truth staring at him, Larik doesn't know what to think. He focuses on the one thing he can: Gidid, the man who saved him. Because faced with a new reality, his feelings are the one thing he has some control over. But even that could be torn away by the conflict, leaving him alone.
And possibly dead.
Larik spun around and cracked the reins, ramming Tufex's horns into… nothing. Every attack he launched missed. The Kipzians didn't even try to attack him, that he'd noticed. They only ran, engaged no one. Taking out the limbs first.
General Zart's division filled the gaps in Larik's, thickening the wall against the Kipzians. They still managed to break through, sliding below attacks and jumping above, two rivers of bright red converging on a single point. Tufex stung out repeatedly, but every strike missed by less than an inch. These men rode closer to death than any enemy Larik had gone against, even closer than he would have ridden to the sting of a manticore.
The Kipzians avoided them all, but never struck. Not really. They scratched with horns and whipped out, striking with the sides of their tails, but did nothing to kill. Larik didn't understand until they'd pushed through half of the army. They'd opened a path to Bincha.. Why, he couldn't say, but they did. Amid the red of the Kipzians, his mount looked solid, steely gray. The long-haired rider Larik had locked eyes with rushed straight for Bincha, his mount throwing waves of sand back with every strike of paw to ground.
A sudden movement pulled Larik's attention away. On the smaller hill, the mage corps dropped their invisibility. He saw them raise something, some sort of gray stone, and start maneuvering it, but he didn't risk a real look. Instead, he forced Tufex forward, rushing in to help Bincha even though he knew he wouldn't arrive in time. Damn fool.
The rider he'd seen before locked his manticore's horns with Bincha's, lodged them together in an unbreakable hold. The two beasts warred, both pulling back, but the Kipzian won out. His manticore stood a bit shorter than Bincha's, but he swung and tossed his beast's head, keeping Bincha off balance. They inched ever-closer to the mouth of the tunnel.
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