Omens of Kregen

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Authors: Alan Burt Akers
Tags: Fiction, Science-Fiction, Fantasy
not care to emigrate and come to live with us in Vallia. It seemed to me a flying man or woman was even more suitable as a merker.
    Still, that must be for the future.
    Right now we had the North Vallian campaign to fight and to bring to a successful conclusion.
    The days went by in marching and flying forward until we bumped the hostiles again and then we would fight. Battles were fought of intense ferocity. Others were over after our first charge.
    Drak’s fortunes prospered on the east. And Seg, that astounding blade comrade of mine, Seg Segutorio, did just as Delia said he would.
    The merker flew in with Seg’s latest. He had gathered a goodly force and was headed through the Kazzchun Pass to create mayhem in the center of North Vallia, in the province of Durheim. As he wrote: “I have experience of a River called the Kazzchun, so it is suitable, my old dom, I learn about a pass with the same name.”
    I smiled as I read this. The kovnate province of Durheim lay to the east and was separated by the River of Golden Sliptingers from the hyr-kovnate of Erstveheim to the west. My Eighth had sent a corps to the south west into the finger of land containing the vadvarate of Thothveheim, and the main body of the army was now pushing hard to the northeast through Erstveheim. Drak had to negotiate the trylonate of Tremi before bursting through into Durheim.
    So, like the three flukes of a trident, and those three prongs would cooperate fully, we were poised to rip the fraudulent kingdom of North Vallia to shreds — and then to repair and reunite with the homeland.
    Marion said to me one day as the wind blew over our shoulders, fluttering scarves and swelling the sails of the vorlcas: “Prince Drak will surely detach a force to march north?”
    At her shoulder stood her husband, Strom Nango. I could not detect avarice in either of their faces; rather Marion looked sad, and Nango concerned.
    “Cheer up, Marion. I expect Drak will do so; but I will send him a direct order to that effect. After all, I am still the emperor, am I not?”
    She did not rally to my feeble humor.
    “Thank you, majister. To think that at last I shall return to Huvadu. I never believed it, not in my heart.”
    Nango said nothing.
    I was a trifle perplexed. “By Vox, Marion! I’d think you’d be overjoyed.”
    “Oh, I am happy that Huvadu is to be mine again. Yes, that is true. But when I go there to take command of the force Prince Drak sends, I shall leave you. And I shall leave my splendid regiment of Jikai Vuvushis.” She put the nail of her middle finger under her eye. “And I shall leave the Empress Delia.”
    There was nothing much I could say to that.
    I did say: “You have our best wishes, Marion.”
    Then, with a flash of inspiration that came, I suppose, from cowardly cunning, I added: “Oh, and, of course, Marion, you must take your girls with you. I won’t hear of anything else.”
    Before she could react — and I’d no idea how she would take this stroke — Delia turned up and I was able to slope off and see about a gros-varter that had been shooting crookedly.

Chapter six
    A dagger in the night
    The Battle of Gwalherm turned out to be a desperate affair.
    This upstart King of North Vallia cleverly drew us onto a strongly fortified position which, in the normal way, we would have bypassed and possibly masked. As it was he’d sited the line of entrenchments across a convenient line of march. We were into the battle almost before we were aware.
    In the end we managed to tumble him off, and a magnificent charge by a division of heavy cavalry finally threw him out.
    I call this king an upstart. Well, by Krun, and so was I.
    All the same, my upstartedness was the result of the people of Vallia calling me to be their emperor. We had heard stories of the cruelty of this North Vallian king, who apparently went by a number of names. The latest name he was using we gathered was Nath the Greatest Ever. Previously, he had been known as

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