Kalmar is wonderful here. If you read the previous chapters, you’ll know that he is struggling with something that weighs on him, and it will (spoiler alert?) keep weighing on him for awhile yet. But I love to see him run, and to fight for those he loves, and to be seen as a warrior by people who have been suspicious of him, and all this even before he has finished wrestling with the matter which haunts him. Take heart. We, too, can be both broken and valiant.
The Fang crackled into dust, and Kalmar plummeted to the earth. When he hit the snow, his teeth clacked together and every bone in his body shuddered. But seconds later he realized he was sliding, then tumbling downhill. Without wasting a moment to collect his wits, Kalmar found his feet and raced toward the Field of Finley, thinking not of the gathering monsters behind him but of his family, his friends, and the Hollowsfolk who needed his help.
When at last Kalmar reached the hill that overlooked the encampment, his strength was spent. He stood on the hilltop, swinging his sword wildly at the cloud of beasts as they feinted and screamed and circled in the air.
It was Carnack Ban Soran who saw him first. He was standing with his clansmen around a fire, holding a skewered hen leg over the flames when he glanced to the west. As he would later tell it, he saw a cloud of darkness whirling about the hilltop. He thought it was smoke, but instead of rising, it spun downward like a bewitched storm wind. Then he spotted Kalmar Wingfeather at the center of the churn, covered in green Fang blood and dust, wielding his sword like a hero of old. Ear piercing shrieks broke over the Field of Finley, yet through the awful sound cut the clear, golden voice of the High King of Anniera: “Help!”
Arrows sprang from a hundred bows. The archers cleared the air of Bat Fangs in moments, then thousands of the fiercest fighters in Aerwiar poured over the hills to the aid of Ban Rona.
Kalmar fell to his knees as the warriors raced past him. “Arrows . . . archers . . . to the Keep,” he panted. “Help them.”
Then he collapsed into the snow.
Carnack would later boast that it took two men to pry Kalmar’s fingers from the hilt of his sword.
—From chapter 12, “The Center of the Storm.”
What did you love best in this week’s reading (chapters 7-13), or what passage leapt out at you this week from anywhere else in the books? Post it below!
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