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The battle between the wood elves and the dark scaled sky-beasts lasted until dawn, at which point they simply flew off. Ten ships had been burnt to a crisp, and almost no survivors had made it to the other ships. They had been at the right side of the fleet, the farthest from the mountains. Sadron assumed that was where the enemy thought he would have been. Instead, mostly women and children had sheltered there. He knew the creatures they had fought were allied with the dark elves, although he knew any dark elf worth his bow would have spread out the area of fire instead of focusing it. To Sadron, this revealed his enemy’s single-minded thinking. In that one night, the fleet had travelled farther than they had in the past three months. The magicians had sped up their ships using their own energy, leaving the soldiers to shoot down attackers, and as a result they were now all exhausted. The fleet now sailed on wind power alone.

Sadron had returned to the flagship, where his queen had stayed during the fighting with several families. She was now three months pregnant, and guarding her had been Sadron’s highest priority. His former renegades had protected the flagship during the attack, but now was the time for a speech. He could hear the wails of his people, as they mourned the drowned and burned victims. There were a few wounded, but most the beasts attacked had died. They were thoroughly efficient. Seborhil cast the voice projecting enchantment upon his king, and Sadron began to address his people. All eyes turned to him, and many gasped as they realized he was in no better state than they were. Sleep deprivation afflicted them all, so Sadron planned to keep his speech brief. “My people…” he began, “Last night we were attacked by the allies of the dark elves. The creatures that bolstered their ground forces in the battle at Lor’drassil rode upon those black scaled beasts. For that reason, we shall continue to sail until this mountain chain ends, and we find the edge of this continent. For all we know, we could be on the eastern shore of Mythrindiar. We shall stay at sea for as long as possible, until the food runs out, before going ashore. Hopefully, we’ll be out of our enemy’s territory by then. Until then, mourn your loved ones, tend the wounded, and ration what you can. There will be no more feasts.” Sadron turned then and entered his own quarters, and collapsed on the bed within. He felt Eiliandis remove his boots, and cover him with a sheet before he knew no more.

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