Silver Road by James Maxwell

Silver Road by James Maxwell

Author:James Maxwell
Language: eng
Format: azw3
ISBN: 9781503938236
Publisher: 47North
Published: 2016-11-08T05:00:00+00:00

Vikram led them for hours, but the pace he set was an easy one. Chloe gave him their names and told a story somewhat close to the truth, saying they had been heading from Phalesia to Tanus when an army approached. Fearful of the soldiers, they’d hidden in the northern hills but had been discovered by the band of hunters.

‘If there’s some way I can repay you . . .’ she said. ‘You saved our lives.’

He waved a hand. ‘So you are Phalesian?’ he asked, his gaze encompassing them both.

Chloe saw him taking note of her copper medallion and its symbol of Aeris, as well as Liana’s unadorned bronze necklace. Liana’s tunic was plain whereas Chloe’s chiton was thick and well made. Chloe’s pale skin and near-black hair, cascading almost to her waist, marked her out as Galean, but Liana’s wild red hair, while not exactly rare, was certainly uncommon.

‘Both Phalesian,’ Chloe said. ‘Liana is my maid.’ Liana shot Chloe a dark look but Chloe, seeing Vikram’s attention diverted, shook her head slightly.

Vikram shrugged. ‘I know little about Phalesia other than its name. But it seems to me that two women should not be traveling unaccompanied. Where are your protectors?’

‘Our escort . . . They tried to lead off the horsemen. I . . . I don’t know where they are now.’

Until she knew more about Vikram, Chloe decided against mentioning more about herself, or even seeing if he would help them get back to the Phalesian Way. They needed food, water, rest, and information.

She also needed to learn about the strange power he’d called upon to defeat the hunters. Zachary had said that some of the magic of Aleuthea might still survive. She glanced at Vikram, who had just saved their lives with nothing but a staff. She wondered if he would share his story.

‘Here.’ Vikram handed a skin of water to Liana, who drank gratefully before passing it to Chloe. ‘So your guards . . . Might they still be looking for you?’

‘I hope so,’ Chloe said. She drank and then changed the subject. ‘You live out here?’

‘I do,’ he said with a smile. ‘I prefer it “out here”, as you call it.’

‘You don’t get lonely?’ Chloe asked.

‘My wife is long departed but I am known among the local tribes. I have fire at night and music for my soul. And perhaps one day I will find another to share the sun and the wind, the rivers and the valleys.’ He swept his arm grandly over the vista, as if claiming the plain and its rows of windswept hills for himself.

‘What were you doing when we found you?’

‘Contemplating the world. There is a special energy in some places, and I often explore and meditate.’ He glanced at Chloe, seeing that she was perplexed. ‘To meditate is to delve into the corners of one’s mind. I must hone my powers of concentration the way a swordsman does his blade. I am a sorcerer, a true magus.’

Chloe’s gaze now went to the metal fork that topped his staff.


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