Dark Magick Rising (Draegan Lords Book 5) by M.L. Rhodes
Copyright 2019 by M.L. Rhodes, All Rights Reserved
Title???? (If anyone has any suggestions for what I should call this second part of the book, let me know in the comments! As a reminder, Part One is called “Darkness Rising.” Also, there will be three parts total in the book, and I’m open to suggestions for names for the final part as well. 🙂 )
“You can take off the ropes and blindfold.”
“I told you before. I’ll go willingly with you, wherever it is you’re taking me.”
“Oh my gods, shut up!” Allend snapped.
“I’m only say—”
“Enough, Caleb!” Wesley’s tone was sharper than he’d intended, but, bloody hel, it wasn’t the first time Caleb had mentioned his restrained and blind state, and clearly Allend was as weary as Wesley of listening to it.
Wesley had to admit, though, that Caleb’s pestering about his current circumstances aside, the man had actually been surprisingly cooperative since they’d found him a few days ago. He could have fought them or tried to run or caused any number of other problems, but he hadn’t. Nor did Wesley read any emotions from him that would indicate he intended Wesley and Allend harm.
That didn’t mean, however, that Caleb was being honest about anything he’d told them.
Caleb wore his tightly guarded nature like a full-body shield, one Wesley hadn’t been able to easily breach. Though, breach it he had eventually, with focused concentration. And when he’d delved more deeply, he’d picked up shadowy areas within Caleb that he couldn’t decipher. He’d never experienced anything like that with anyone else he’d tried to read. Though, to be honest, up until recently he hadn’t had any real reason to dig beyond the surface with anyone. He wasn’t sure why he thought it, but he got the distinct impression those pockets of shadow were the result of Caleb keeping his true emotions buried for a long time, hiding them away, so they could never see the light of day. Like another layer of self-protection.
That was speculation, of course. They could also be purposely placed shadows, ones created by magick, to hide Caleb’s true intentions.
In spite of not fully believing, or trusting, the man, something about Caleb still rang genuine with Wesley, though. He just couldn’t put his finger on what or why.
In either case, Caleb was clearly hiding something. So even if he didn’t intend to harm Wesley and Allend, Wesley wasn’t going to take any risks. His and Al’s mission was to bring Caleb back to Iann at Kellesborne, and that’s exactly what he planned to do. So, Caleb would stay tied up until then, whether he liked it or not.
Every day they drew closer to the White Mountains where, according to Allend, the ancient draegan stronghold of Kellesborne lay hidden. Though the Daneson brothers had never lived at Kellesborne—apparently no draegan had for decades—they had hunted in the mountains around it while they were growing up.
He and Al hadn’t shared their destination, or who they worked for, with Caleb. But Wesley suspected Caleb had a pretty good idea they were part of the rebellion. Which was why every time Caleb said he would go with them willingly, it was a bit unsettling. Was he, indeed, a spy for the sorcerer and they were leading him right into the heart of the draegan stronghold? Wesley hoped not, and, again, his senses didn’t detect anything nefarious about Caleb. But if the sorcerer had Caleb under his control, it was possible Wesley’s abilities wouldn’t be able to see past a dark magick spell.
At the moment, and as it had been for the past few days, Allend was in the lead, winding his way through the dense forest. He was the only one of them who knew where Kellesborne was hidden, so it made sense for him to go first. Caleb walked behind him, and Wesley brought up the rear with a hand on Caleb’s back, guiding him.
“I’m just saying,” Caleb said, after a couple of minutes of silence, and sounding genuinely frustrated for the first time, “we could move faster and more efficiently if I could at least see where I’m going. That’s all. For the sake of expediency.”
“We probably could. But it’s not going to happen,” Wesley told him.
“Wesley, you know me. In all the years we lived in the settlement, did I ever do anything to make you distrust me? I worked with you and your mother and the others to build the huts we lived in. I hunted for everyone when I was there. I always helped however I could. And I was a victim of the sorcerer just like the rest of you when the previous village where we all lived was destroyed.”
Wesley sighed. They’d had this conversation before, too.
“You’d show up for a week or two at the settlement, and then you’d be gone for months. None of us had any idea where you were or what you were doing while you were gone. As for me, I barely ever spent time with you even when you were there. Which is why you’ll stay tied up and blindfolded until we get where we’re going. And if you keep complaining about it, I’ll gag you again.” His voice took on an edge of unwavering authority that surprised him a little.
It must have surprised Caleb also because he said, with a hint of grudging respect in his tone, “I have to say, whatever it is you’ve been doing since I last saw you, you’ve come a long way from the inexperienced kid I once knew.”
Yes, he had. Wesley almost couldn’t remember his old self—the one before the draegans had arrived in his life, before his training. Before Wen.
“For what it’s worth, you wear the maturity well,” Caleb added. “It suits you.” Again, a tone of genuine respect.
But if he expected a response, Wesley didn’t have one for him. Right now he just wanted to keep moving. Because every step took him closer to being done with this mission and back together with Wen.
Gods he missed Wen. The loneliness of being apart from him was a constant, painful ache inside him.
It had been three long weeks since they’d left the draegan camp, and every part of Wesley felt worn and testy and stretched thin.
Their journey hadn’t exactly been smooth. The first day had been quiet, but things had gone downhill from there. On their second day out, a blizzard had blown in, forcing them to take cover for almost two days in an ancient, ramshackle hut they’d had the good luck—or so they’d thought—to stumble across. Unfortunately, the huge, silver sabeen that had already taken up refuge there had other ideas, and after it had lunged out at them, fangs bared and razor-sharp claws extended, and come damn close to tearing Allend apart, Wesley’d had to kill it. He’d put an arrow between its eyes, and the beautiful, fierce cat had gone down in a heap at their feet.
Allend had been beside himself with awe at both Wesley’s quick-acting skill with the bow, and at the fact he’d killed an actual sabeen—one of the most savage wild creatures in Velensperia. But even as he praised Wesley, he wasted no time pulling out his knife, dropping to his knees next to the dead creature, and slicing open its belly.
“What are you doing?” Wesley had asked, aghast.
Allend looked up at him, surprised. “It’s not the best eating—most wildcats tend to be tough with not a lot of meat, and I’d imagine a sabeen isn’t much different—but we shouldn’t let it go to waste.”
Wesley tried to remember that Allend and his brothers had grown up during hard times, living off the land like most draegans, and they were, at the core, practical people who had survived by using what they had available. And it wasn’t that Wesley hadn’t survived hard times himself. He’d eaten wild game most of his life. But this… This beautiful, majestic cat that he’d killed, with its blood pouring out onto the frozen ground, and the exposed, oozing flesh…
The sight and scent of it caused a sudden, disturbing urge to claw its way up out of Wesley. And, for a moment, it was all he could do not to shove Allend out of the way and brutally… Oh gods…
As soon as he recognized the urge, self-loathing flooded through him. No, no, no! This wasn’t happening again.
“You need to keep the pelt,” Allend said as he worked. “Sabeen fur is really valuable. You could sell it or trade it, or use it for something amazing, like make a new cloak with it.”
Bile rose in Wesley’s throat. He had to take several hard swallows to fight it back. “I don’t want it. You can have it.”
Allend glanced up at him with another startled look. “Of course I can’t. It was your kill, and a damned impressive one at that. It’d be bad luck for me to take it. I can flesh it and tan it for you, but you’ll definitely want to keep the fur for yourself.”
“I need to go find firewood,” Wesley choked out, desperate to escape both the conversation and the situation.
He couldn’t get out of the hut fast enough, nearly tripping through the doorway as he returned to the storm. As the snow and wind battered him, they were nothing compared to the brutal memories pounding through him of his recent, night-long rampage, killing animals, ripping out their throats, and feeding on their blood. He relived it all in horrifying, detailed glory, and it left him sick, trembling, and utterly repulsed by what he’d done. By how much he’d craved it, enjoyed it.
In contrast, he’d taken no enjoyment in slaying the sabeen, yet the moment its blood had spilled, the desire to feed from it had come out of nowhere, blindsiding him. The lure had gone now, thank the gods. But the possibility the dark magick still held some kind of power over him scared the hel out of him. He couldn’t…wouldn’t…give in to it. Just the thought of it made him ill all over again.
It was a while before he could go back into the hut. He delayed as long as possible, not wanting to see Allend stripping the beast of its skin, and certainly not wanting to smell the scent of death that hung heavily in the air.
When he did return, he busied himself building and tending the fire and avoiding looking at what Al was doing. Later, he hadn’t been able to eat any of the meat Allend cooked, though he’d pretended to try.
The only thing he’d had to be grateful for during the hel-like stay in the hut those two days, as Allend used the poor creature’s own boiled organs to tan the hide, was the fact he hadn’t experienced any further urges to feed…on the beast or, gods forbid, on Al. So maybe, maybe, he wasn’t still under the dark thrall of the magick that had possessed him before, and the initial craving for the sabeen had been only a leftover reaction.
That’s what he hoped, anyway. Though it concerned him that ever since the night of his hunting rampage he hadn’t quite felt right. He’d told Wen the next day that he felt different, and somehow that “difference,” whatever it was, still lingered. Wesley couldn’t put into words what he sensed within himself, but it troubled him.
After the sabeen, he let Allend do all the hunting for food on their journey, and made himself scarce while Al cleaned and cooked whatever game he’d found. Unlike with the sabeen, once the meat was crisply roasted, Wesley was able to eat the more typical game. But he couldn’t bring himself to be present when Allend first spilled blood, too afraid of what it might trigger in him.
If avoidance made him some kind of weak coward, so be it.
Allend never questioned it, at least. All it had taken was one compliment from Wesley that Allend was an excellent hunter to make Al eager to prove his worth over and over. Plus, the story they’d come up with to explain why they were traveling was that they were hunting and trading, so the many furs in Allend’s growing collection, which he hauled in and atop his pack, gave credence to their claims.
Once the blizzard that had waylaid them passed, they pushed hard, traveling as fast as they could, to the Zekklesian, where the burned-out huts in which Wesley, his mother, and the others had lived sat abandoned and frozen over like otherworldly ruins in the snow and ice. The mound where they’d piled and burned the bodies of the sorcerer’s soldiers that day months ago lay buried under the snow as well, and if he and Allend didn’t already know it was there, they would never have noticed it.
Wesley hadn’t held out any real hope Caleb might have returned to the settlement and be staying there, but he couldn’t in good faith not check it. It was also a logical place to start their search.
From the Zekklesian, they moved through the closest towns and settlements, asking questions when they dared to without raising suspicion.
Everywhere they went, they saw signs of the sorcerer’s sway spreading across the land. Every village, even the ones that hadn’t yet been visited by Byram’s soldiers, was on watch, and Wesley sensed fear and suspicion radiating outward from the residents whenever they drew close to any inhabited places. He, of course, didn’t mention this to Allend, not wanting to have to make excuses or explain why he knew. But it was a constant drain on him, trying to hold the bulk of the intense, collective emotions at arm’s length, while still allowing enough in to sense whether a village or town was even safe for them to approach.
The weather had been wretched on and off during the whole journey. So, between the cold, the snowstorms, a couple of too-close encounters with Byram’s soldiers, and the first dismal two weeks of not a single lead they’d had about Caleb’s whereabouts panning out, Wesley had wondered if they’d still be out wandering the land until he and Al froze to death. Or until their luck ran out and Byram himself captured them and tortured them to death. Either way, his hope of getting back to Wen anytime soon had diminished with every passing day.
And then, at last, their luck had turned around.
Another damned snowstorm had hit, and he and Allend had decided that for one night they’d see if they could find a room so they could get out of the miserable weather. They had a few coins between them, so they entered an inn with an attached tavern in the small village of Inthwaite near the Haldran Vale. Their coins bought them a hot meal and spiced wine, and a couple of Allend’s furs got them a rundown room. Wesley was certain the innkeeper was getting the better deal in that bargain, but the thought of a real bed, inside four walls and out of the snow, obviously meant enough to Allend he was willing to part with some of his bounty.
They stowed their packs in the room, and then went to the warm, fire-lit tavern to eat. The day before, they’d heard of a redheaded man traveling in this direction, so the plan was to wait out the storm tonight, see if anyone here had information to share, then first thing in the morning, they’d pick their search back up in the Vale. The other leads they’d gotten all indicated Caleb was on the move, heading toward the Aurion Mountains. When Caleb used to leave the settlement over the years, he’d say he was going to the mountains to hunt. Wesley couldn’t help but wonder if there was a connection between then and now. Wen had told him that, according to Lord Rizik, Byram had an outpost in the Aurion mountains, somewhere near the Charn River Valley. It could just be coincidence Caleb seemed to be headed in that direction, but Wesley believed less and less in coincidence these days.
The one bit of good was that everything indicated Caleb traveled alone, which meant Wesley and Allend had a decent chance of subduing him if need be when they caught up to him.
They’d only just finished their meal when the inn’s door opened and blew in another traveler seeking shelter from the storm. The moment the traveler pulled off his cloak and sat at a table, Wesley’s pulse began to race. The man’s back was to them, so Wesley couldn’t see his face. But there was something about the way he moved and held himself. His hair was the right color, although a bit longer than the last time Wesley had seen him, which had been months ago. And his voice, when he spoke to the innkeeper, presumably ordering drink or food, held a familiar timbre, though Wesley couldn’t make out what he said.
He nudged Allend with a boot under the table.
“What?” Allend said, looking annoyed since he’d been half-dozing off, with his chin propped on his hand.
Wesley tipped his head in the direction of the new arrival. “I’m not certain yet, but I think that might be him,” he whispered.
Allend’s fair brows shot up underneath his unruly hair hanging nearly over his eyes. His gaze slid to the man in question.
“Don’t be obvious,” Wesley said.
Al slowly looked back at Wesley, but his eyes, no longer sleepy, were alight with excitement. “Are you sure?”
“No. I just said I’m not sure. But I think it could be. His build and coloring are right. I need to see his face.”
“Well, let’s go over there. And if it’s him, we can grab him.” Allend started to rise.
Wesley snagged his arm and quickly pulled him back onto the bench. “No, Al!” he said in a gritty whisper. “You want to go over there and ‘grab him’ and do what? Drag him out into the blizzard and hope he doesn’t put up a fight? Not to mention, look around you? Any of these people in here could be working for the sorcerer. If we cause a scene and draw attention to ourselves, how long do you think it’d be before we’d have to brawl our way out?”
“So!” Al said with bravado. “You and Wen fought more than a dozen of Byram—”
“Shhh!” Wesley hissed.
“—his soldiers, and you guys demolished them,” Allend finished, but thankfully kept his voice lowered.
“It wasn’t more than a dozen, and it was completely different circumstances. And Wen…” He caught himself before he almost blurted out that Wen had almost died during that encounter.
Thankfully Allend thought he was going to say something else. “Yeah, I know,” he said grudgingly, “Wen’s a better fighter than I am.”
“I wasn’t going to say that.” But Al wasn’t wrong. Wen was a stronger, more experienced fighter, and even with Wen at his back, Wesley wouldn’t have been eager to take on the dozen or so rough-looking patrons in this tavern. “So, listen, we have to approach this with more subtlety.”
“Subtle’s not exactly my strong point, Wesley,” Al said, looking anxious. “I’m not sure how to do that.”
Wesley bit back a smile. “Just follow my lead, okay? First, I need to see if it’s really him. And if it is, I have an idea… But whatever I say, just agree with it. And whatever you do, do not mention anything about the draegan lord or the rebellion.”
Allend sighed. “I’ll do my best.”
Wesley clapped him on the shoulder. “I know you will. The first thing I’m going to do is try to get a good look at him. And see if he recognizes me.”
“Will he recognize you? Because you definitely look different from what you did a few months ago. The beard makes you look older.”
Finally! Someone had finally acknowledged that fact, and Wesley was quite pleased how well and fully his beard had grown in over the past few weeks. “We’ll see. But if he does remember me, just go along with whatever I say and do, all right?”
“Okay, you’re the boss.”
“Stay here for now. I’m going to get us some more to drink.”
Wesley scooped up his and Allend’s wooden mugs and rose. He wended his way around several tables to reach the bar. He set the mugs on the bar top, and when the barkeep asked, “Refill?” Wesley nodded, then casually leaned on his elbow and glanced out of the corner of his eye at the broad-shouldered redhead eating stew at the nearby table. The man had several days’ worth of ginger scruff on his face, and a new scar across his cheek that hadn’t been there before, but there was no mistaking his identity.
A buzz of excitement raced through Wesley the moment he realized the man was, indeed, Caleb. He didn’t know what gods were watching over them this night and had decided to give them this gift, but he wasn’t going to complain or ask for explanations. He was gladly going to take this win with gratitude.
Wesley kept his perusal casual and indirect. But he felt it the moment Caleb noticed him. As soon as he did, Wesley let his own gaze flit away, and directed his attention back to the innkeeper. He didn’t need to be looking at Caleb to feel his emotions, and he sensed that at first Caleb wasn’t certain he knew Wesley, but as he continued to watch him—which Wesley also felt somehow, even though his back was turned—he knew exactly when Caleb decided it was him.
Still pretending like he hadn’t noticed Caleb at all, Wesley thanked the barkeep, slid a coin across the counter, then picked up the mugs and returned to the table where Allend waited.
“Well?” Al asked, eagerness bubbling off him.
“It’s him,” Wesley said quietly. “And it took him a bit, but I’m pretty sure he’s recognized me.”
“So are we going to go get him now?”
“No. We’re going to sit here and drink and ignore him.”
“What?” Now Allend was radiating confused frustration.
“He’ll come to us. Trust me.”
“How do you know?”
“Because he will.” Wesley felt Caleb’s burning curiosity and a fierce desire to take action. “Be patient. Just talk, and laugh, like we’re having a great conversation about something.”
Al gave him a strange look, shook his head, then let out a ridiculously fake-sounding laugh. It was so ridiculous, just the sound of it made Wesley chuckle. And when Allend gave him an annoyed look, it only made Wesley laugh harder. He didn’t know why, except maybe everything had just been so tense for so long, it was nervous energy needing to escape. Or maybe it was that Allend was such a damned bad actor how could you do anything but laugh? Finally, Al gave up on annoyance and snickered for real, and they both ended up guffawing until they were hard put to keep it semi-quiet and not draw an undue amount of attention to themselves.
They were just reining it in and wiping their eyes when Wesley felt a presence behind him. His hand immediately slid to his knife on his belt, out of sight of the newcomer.
“Wesley Brannock, is that you?”
Wesley turned to face the man. “Caleb?” He did his best to sound astonished, and thought he pulled it off. At least he was a better actor than Allend.
A broad smile split Caleb’s face. “I almost didn’t recognize you. Damn, it’s good to see you, son!” He dropped a hand onto Wesley’s shoulder and gave it a squeeze.
“What are you doing here?” Wesley asked, trying to sound equal parts surprised and happy to see him.
“I went back to the settlement a few weeks ago, only to find it burned and abandoned. I was worried, and I’ve been looking for you and the others ever since.”
He sounded sincere, but that was when Wesley first felt the shadowy pockets of hidden emotion within him. He sensed no immediate threat from Caleb, but not being able to fully read him kept him cautious.
“Have a seat if you’d like,” Wesley offered, motioning toward the bench across the table from him and Allend. He let his hand slide away from his knife and into his lap. Close enough he could still easily pull it if need be.
“Thanks.” Caleb sat down and folded his hands atop the table.
Wesley felt certain Caleb kept his hands above the table on purpose, away from the weapons he wore on his belt, as if to show he was no threat. From his training with Wen, Wesley had learned to pay attention to everything in a potentially dangerous situation. And since Caleb could be working for the sorcerer, Wesley considered this situation dangerous, despite the congenial conversation thus far.
“What happened, Wesley? At the settlement? Are your mother and the others all okay?”
“The sorcerer’s soldiers attacked several months ago,” Wesley said, keeping his voice quiet in case, as he’d said to Allend earlier, any of the sorcerer’s men—Caleb excluded—might be here right now. “They burned everything. We all scattered. Mum and I got away, but I’m not sure what happened to the others.”
Next to him, he felt Allend’s surprise because, of course, that wasn’t what really happened at all.
Caleb appeared genuinely concerned. He leaned closer across the table, pitching his own voice low as well. “Why would the sorcerer want to bother any of you? How would he or his troops have even known you were there? The settlement was isolated.”
A good question, and exactly one that Wesley would love to know the answer to, and so would Iann and Lord Rizik.
“I don’t know. They seemed to be looking for someone, but who?” He shrugged. “We never found out for sure. We tried to stand and fight, but there were too many of them and they overwhelmed us. That’s when we ran. But we got separated, and the soldiers burned down half the forest trying to scare us out.” Again, not the truth. It had actually been Lord Hareldson who’d burned through the forest to keep any of the sorcerer’s soldiers from escaping.
“Where have you been since then?”
“Mum went to stay with some old friends, and wanted me to stay there, too. But there wasn’t a lot of room and food was scarce, so I took off on my own so they’d have one less mouth to feed. Met up with Allend here a while back—he was on his own, too—and we’ve been traveling together since then, hunting and trading where we can.”
Caleb eyed Al, and Al, thank the gods, just nodded and didn’t say anything.
“You don’t know what happened to Thomas or Lilia or the old woman, Sele, or the others?”
“It all happened fast and, like I said, we got separated from the others.”
Caleb, again, looked genuinely distressed over the news, but Wesley could read very little of how he was actually feeling. “I hate that I wasn’t there to help, that we don’t know if any of the others even made it.” He shook his head, and leaned even closer. “Sadly, things are getting worse everywhere. The sorcerer’s armies are infiltrating every part of the land. Soon there won’t be any place to hide.”
“We’re just trying to mind our own business,” Wesley said, “and stay out of the soldiers’ way. We’ve been hearing rumors the sorcerer is forcing men to fight in his army. But we don’t want trouble, so we avoid any troops we come across.”
Allend nodded in agreement.
“You lose your family?” Caleb asked Al.
“Been on my own a while now,” Al said, sounding only a little breathless and nervous, which of course he was—Wesley could feel nervous energy practically thrumming off him. But overall, Allend was doing well.
“Well, you two are smart to try to stay out of the fray. I’ve heard the same rumors you have about the sorcerer. And you’re both too young to get involved with the other side either.”
“Involved with the other side?” Wesley asked.
“Involved in the rebellion that’s brewing. Against Byram.” He eyed them both, as if feeling them out. Whether because he suspected them of being “involved” already and he was working for the sorcerer to suss out rebels, or because he, himself, was against the sorcerer Wesley couldn’t tell.
Wesley met his gaze head-on, steeling himself to give nothing away in his expression or body language, while Allend busied himself with drinking from his mug and acting like he wasn’t paying much attention.
“Like I said,” Wesley reiterated, “we mind our own business. Twice now I’ve survived having my home destroyed by the sorcerer and losing people I care about. Same for Allend. We’ve got no interest in getting ‘involved’ with any side. We just want to be left in peace.”
Caleb slowly nodded, then sighed. “I can’t blame you for that. So, are staying the night here, or just getting some food and drink before you move on?”
“We traded for a room for the night. The weather’s awful. Are you staying?”
“Was hoping to, but they’ve already filled the few rooms they have.”
This was going to work out even better than Wesley had hoped. Of course, a part of him—again with that suspicious edge he’d learned from Wen—wondered if this was part of some plan of Caleb’s as well, to get them in close quarters. But he dove in anyway. “You’re welcome to share our room.”
Allend choked on his wine.
Wesley knew, of course, it was from shock at his bold invitation to Caleb, but he made a show of pounding Al on the back. “Bloody hel, learn to swallow it and not try to pour the whole thing down your throat as usual,” he teased, to cover Allend’s gaffe.
Allend coughed, then smiled, red-faced, and said, “Yeah, I know, so you always tell me.”
Shaking his head, Wesley returned his attention to Caleb. “Anyway, you’re welcome to share ours if you want to stay out of the storm for the night. It’s not very big, but I’m sure we can make do with all three of us.”
Caleb studied them a moment, then nodded. “That’s mighty nice of you, boys. I’ll gladly take you up on that if you truly don’t mind. I wasn’t looking forward to heading back out into the snow tonight.”
“Nah, s’fine,” Allend said, though Wesley could read his nerves again.
“All right, I’m very appreciative. Let me go gather my things, and I need to square up with the innkeeper for my meal.”
“We’re the second door down the hall,” Wesley told him, standing and dragging Allend up with him. Allend staggered a bit, which was, surprisingly, a nice touch since Wesley knew Al hadn’t had very much to drink. Maybe that would make Caleb less concerned about them being a threat—if he were even their enemy.
The moment Caleb turned his back on them, and Allend and Wesley headed the opposite direction toward the room, Al whispered, “I’m assuming you have a plan, but what is it?”
It wasn’t a great plan, but it was the best Wesley could do on short notice. “We wait until he’s asleep, we knock him unconscious, tie him up, then as soon as he wakes up, we get him out of here and head for Kellesborne.”
“You think he trusts us enough that he’ll actually go to sleep?”
“Let’s hope so.”
Because if not, Wesley hated the thought he’d have to square off against an awake Caleb. The man was nearly as broad and strong as Lord Rizik, and Wesley had no doubt Caleb had far more experience in a fight than he did.
Gods, please let him sleep and make this easier for all of us.