The Siege of MacIndaw (Ranger 6) by John Flanagan


The Siege of MacIndaw (Ranger 6) by John Flanagan

Author:John Flanagan
Language: eng
Format: mobi
Tags: Fantasy
ISBN: 9780399250330
Publisher: Philomel
Published: 2010-09-14T14:00:00+00:00



23

MacHaddish looked up quickly, suspicion mixed with fear on his face as he heard the terms. He had expected something else from the wizard – a demand for riches or power or both. Information was the one thing he hadn't expected Malkallam to ask for.

"It's a simple question," Malkallam continued. "Tell me what you have planned."

In spite of the terror that gripped his insides, the discipline MacHaddish had learned over long years as a warrior and leader reasserted itself. To disclose plans like this was treachery, nothing less. His jaw set in a hard line, and he began to shake his head.

Malkallam's staff begin its inexorable work again, wiping out the circle that protected the Scotti. MacHaddish knew his own folklore. He knew the black circle was his only protection against Serthrek'nish. He knew that once there was a gap in the circle wide enough for the demon's hand to enter, it would be the end of him.

Serthrek'nish would drag him, screaming, from the circle and into the black night under the trees – and into a greater blackness beyond.

He watched the gap widen. A lifetime of loyalty and discipline struggled with a lifetime of superstition, and superstition won. He reached out and grabbed hold of the tip of the staff, stopping its deliberate movement.

"Tell me what you want to know," he said in a low voice, his shoulders slumped in defeat.

"Your plans for attack," Malcolm said."How many men are coming? When are they going to be here?"

There was no further hesitation from the Scotti. He had committed to betray his trust, and he could see no point in hedging.

"Two hundred men, initially, from the clans MacFrewin, MacKentick and MacHaddish. The commander will be Caleb MacFrewin, warlord of the senior clan."

"And the plan is to occupy Castle Macindaw, then spread out farther into Norgate Fief, correct?"

MacHaddish nodded. "Macindaw will be our anchor point, our stronghold. Once we have neutralized that and occupied it, we can bring more and more men through the passes."

A few meters away, Will and Horace exchanged worried glances. Both knew the potential danger of having an armed force of two hundred men loose in the province. And those two hundred would be just an advance party. Once a foothold was gained, more would follow in their tracks.

It would take a major army to dislodge them, and that army would have to come from the south. It would be months before King Duncan could put a large enough force together and then march them north. By then, the Scottis would be firmly entrenched and it might well prove impossible to drive them back through the passes to the high plains of Picta – particularly if they held Castle Macindaw in strength. If this went unchecked, it could mark the beginning of a long, drawn-out war, with no guarantee of victory for the Araluen forces. You could almost redraw the maps of Araluen and Picta and move the permanent border fifty kilometers to the south.

But most of this they had already guessed.



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