While I work through the first round of development notes, here is another glimpse of Shieldbearer: Thornraven, Volume 2.
Turning from the glare of the battle, Lilian examines the cavern. Touching the brim of her helmet, she releases the transparent visor. Running her finger along the edge sets it to dark view, turning the dark section of the cavern purple and revealing the slender yellow columns of the sentries stationed thirty feet beyond the encampments. It would have been well to have elite guard helmets when lost in black. Beyond the sentries there is naught but purple for the three hundred paces to the distant wall riddled with a warren of alleys, corridors, and chambers that lead deeper into the black. The destroyer’s information was erratic, but they suspect the reserves are hidden in those dark holes.
An army of a thousand does not seem so large until it is viewed arrayed on a cavern floor, surrounding a fortress. Lilian looks again. Something is amiss. She scans the closest encampment and the next. “Paladin, from the stronghold to the sentries is that one hundred paces? And from our position to the far side of the stronghold—another three hundred paces?”
Baldric steps to her shoulder and peers into the cavern. “To the far side of the stronghold, aye. For the other, more like one-ten. Why ask you?”
Five warriors take it. “The despoilers have a quarter thousand attacking in the south, and there are at least a thousand in the encampments.”
Monsignor’s mouth thins. “Commandant. Trevelyan. There are two to three hundred more despoilers than expected. We cannot assume they are Harrous’ reserves.”
The commandant pushes in by the spymaster. “We are not planning a frontal assault. It is only the two hundred in our path that concern us.”
Monsignor turns to Lilian.
“Two-fifty. Mayhap three hundred.”
In the dim light, the commandant frowns and looks at the spymaster. “It does not materially alter our attack. We must go now or wait for Seigneur Sarai’s reinforcements.”
Mr. Baldric makes a rough sound. “If we wait, the stronghold will be lost.”
Monsignor readies his rifle. “We go.”
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