Knight's Valor
S torm clouds gathered in the night sky above Pembrick Hollow, a settlement in the realm of Prybbia that sat on a fertile and densely populated plain bordered by a low mountain range. The town owed its power and prosperity to those mountains, an abundant source of iron, copper, and other metals that smiths often traveled many miles to purchase. Just south of the town lay the desert stretches known as the Barrens of Darmutt, making Pembrick Hollow something of an oasis. Once a cluster of separate villages, the town was now large and flourishing, its narrow streets twisting and turning from a bustling main artery.
    At the western fringes of the town, in a squat cottage on an arid plot of land, a woman began to stir. She awoke and dressed herself and then began to dress her son. He gave her no help and seemed nearly lifeless, but the woman didn’t complain.
    We’ve got to be on our way now, Quarvik , Seyalinn thought as she pulled a tunic over her son’s head. The weather’s starting to turn, and the rain has held three full months to the hour, which means those men from Aklon will be soaring overhead before long, thirsting for blood—if your latest dreams are to be believed.
    Yes, Mother , Quarvik thought in response, his gray eyes rolled to the back of his head, blind to the world around him. And though he could neither see with his eyes nor hear with his ears, he had no need of either. He had the gift of aka’tii , ancient mindspeak. He could invite whomever he desired to share in his thoughts, but so far he had invited only his mother.
    Quarvik could not move his limbs. Aside from breathing, the most he could manage was an occasional blink, and he had been this way since his birth. But his mother had accepted his fate and cared for him from that day forward. His father had not been so kindhearted. He had taken one look at his new son, who lay still as death amid the wool blankets, barely bigger than his palm, and walked through the door without a word. He had been gone thirteen annos now, but Quarvik knew him well, for he had seen him in his dreams. But then, Quarvik saw everything in his dreams—past, present, and future.
    Seyalinn fastened her son’s breeches and set him down on the bed with his legs dangling over the edge. She grasped one of the leather straps that were sewn into his tunic and turned away from him. She picked up the remaining leather strap in her other hand and pulled both straps, raising Quarvik from the bed. When she felt him against her back, she bent forward and tied the straps in front of her. Quarvik was a mere ninety-five pounds, lighter than many of the dogs that roamed the streets of Pembrick Hollow, and she had no trouble managing him. This was the way they traveled, Seyalinn walking, Quarvik riding on her back like a sack of flour, oblivious to the world, seeing only what he was allowed to see in his dreams. But those dreams offered golden suns and cool breezes, endless meadows covered with red and yellow wildflowers, rabbits and squirrels and deer scampering through fields and forests, sparrows taking flight on tiny wings, and mighty eagles gliding among the clouds. At times he luxuriated in those dream fields and forests, other times he longed to escape them. Most times nowadays, he longed for escape.
    Are we going far? Seyalinn questioned.
    Quarvik never knew how far his mother had dragged him from one place to the next. His deafness and blindness made it difficult for him to sense distance. And even a mile was enough to tire him. Distance could only be measured by what he saw in his mind.
    Yes, it’s far , Quarvik told her with a thought. We’re crossing to the Glyssian Realm. A week out, at most. There we will meet the Dragon Tamer Party .
    She walked to a corner of the room and stooped down to pick up a sack of provisions. How are we to arrive at Glyssia? Were you shown? We cannot afford such a journey.
    A spice trader will be making his way toward

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