GUESS WHO FORGOT TO POST YESTERDAY.
A sample of yesterday’s writing:
“I’ve heard of Torvan,” Daniel told Gaius. “I thought he was a politician.”
Gaius snorted. “He’s a war-lord,” he said, not nearly so courteous with his eyes as Daniel had been as Lucia took a small embroidery kit from a saddlebag and began to close the gash on Jana’s thigh with quick, neat stitches. Jana caught him looking and flashed a sharp grin, all teeth. Gaius returned it, and then glanced at Daniel. “He styles himself as a man of letters; it gives him credibility to foreign leaders.”
“But he’s just one steading-master,” Daniel said, frowning.
“A steading-master sending slave-takers into the mountains,” Jana said, narrowing her eyes. “How far is this Torvan’s steading by the main road?”
Gaius looked thoughtful, stroking a hand over his greying beard. “A day’s journey from the border at a hard clip,” he said after a moment’s calculation.
“That’s farther than any man needs to send a patrol,” Daniel said, a horrible sinking feeling settling in his gut. “You said this pass is mostly used for smuggling?”
Jana’s frown deepened. “Yes.”
“And we used it during the war,” he said, his mind racing now, even as a terrible dread grew in his chest. “To get soldiers into Dolonde.”
Jana nodded. “Yes,” she said again, slow, quiet realization blossoming in her eyes.
“So if we could get soldiers across the pass into their country…”
“They can get soldiers into ours,” Jana finished, her eyes fixed on Daniel’s, not so much as flinching as Lucia put another stitch through her skin.
Lucia tied off her stitch and looked up at them. “Dolonde doesn’t have an army,” she said, a frown tugging at her features. “Even if this man was planning some kind of attack, it couldn’t go far.”
“We don’t have an army either,” Daniel remind her grimly. “The troops we took into Dolonde last time were pulled from the Palace guard and border defense. We’ve never kept a standing army, it goes against everything we stand for as a non-violent country.”
“Might be time to re-think that,” Jana muttered.
“Correct me if I’m wrong,” Tae said, wincing as he opened his eyes and looked at them. “But we’re just guessing here, aren’t we? We don’t have any proof that this Torvan’s going to try something like this.”
“Right,” Daniel said, but a nagging voice in the back of his mind told him not to drop the idea completely. “It’s just a feeling I had,” he said, feeling uneasy.
Jana looked steadily at him. “We could send someone back,” she said. “Have them warn your mother and uncle, just to be safe.”
Daniel set his teeth. They could split up, he knew, but they would be safer in numbers. Either they all went back, or none of them did. And who knew what the extra delay could cost Ella and her sister, not if Dolonde was slaving. “It’s just a feeling,” he said again, slowly. “We keep going. All of us.”
“Great,” Tae said. “Glad that’s settled. Now someone take Isi so I can throw up again.”