The Second Book of Iaddius Iohann (The Exchange, page 1 of 5)


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Dark clouds loomed low over the gray desert like the dark beards of the great gods watching us in curiosity. The silence was broken only by the sound of the softly blowing wind and distant birds cawing somewhere in the distance.

I stood at the head of twenty-three thousand men, all clad in heavy, metallic armor, all ready to rush at a moment's notice, all of them willing to die. Their flags - the flag of Khenochia dispersed throughout the ranks - danced in the light breeze. Haig stood at my left, and I could hear him breathing. They were sharp, quick breathes. He was scared. So was I. We all were. We stood, twenty-three thousand men, across a small patch of dreary desert from an army of tens of thousands of Maikin and Khenochian dissenters. Their icy blue flags swam gracefully in the slight, cold breeze, mimicking our own.

I looked at Jacob who, at my own insistence, stood at my right. He looked back at me. Those eyes, filled with sadness, watched me intently. He was the only one, besides my Generals and the Clan Chieftains, who knew my true intention here, and he hoped I'd change my mind. I could read it on his features as plainly as though he had spoken the words aloud. I wished that I could, and I considered it from time to time. The memory of Amelia wouldn't let me. Her face appeared in my mind. Her kind brown eyes, her soft, silky skin - I couldn't steal her life for myself, and that's what it would be.

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