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Elide Lochan’s breath scorched her throat with every gasping inhale as she limped up the steep forest hill. Beneath the soggy leaves coating Oakwald’s floor, loose gray stones made the slope treacherous, the towering oaks stretching too high above for her to grip any branches should she tumble down.
Empire of Storms PDF Book by Sarah J. Maas
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Braving the potential fall in favor of speed, Elide scrambled over the lip of the craggy summit, her leg twanging with pain as she slumped to her knees. Forested hills rolled away in every direction, the trees like the bars of a never-ending cage. Three days, she’d been near death with vomiting and fever after gulping down that stagnant pond water.
Three days, she’d shivered so badly she thought her bones would crack apart. Three days, quietly weeping in pitiful despair that she’d die here, alone in this endless forest, and no one would ever know. And through it all, that stone in her breast pocket thrummed and throbbed.
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In her fevered dreams, she could have sworn it whispered to her, sang lullabies in languages that she did not think human tongues could utter. She hadn’t heard it since, but she still wondered. Empire of Storms PDF Book Download Wondered if most humans would have died. Wondered whether she carried a gift or a curse northward.
And if this Celaena Sardothien would know what to do with it. The humming and rustling of the forest went quiet a heartbeat later. Elide scanned the hills, the streambed. The roots of an oak atop the nearest hill jutted from the slope’s grassy side, providing a thatch of wood and moss over the dead stream. Perfect.
She limped for it, ruined leg barking, stones clattering and wrenching at her ankles. She could nearly touch the tips of the roots when the first hollowed-out boom echoed. Lorcan Salvaterre had been running from those gods-damned beasts for two days now. He didn’t blame them.
The witches had been pissed when he’d snuck into their forest camp in the dead of night, slaughtered three of their sentinels without them or their mounts noticing, and dragged a fourth into the trees for questioning. Empire of Storms PDF Book Download It had taken him two hours to get the Yellowlegs witch to break, hidden so deep down the throat of a cave that even her screams had been contained.
The patter of rain trickling through the leaves and low-lying mists of Oakwald Forest nearly drowned out the gurgle of the swollen stream cutting between the bumps and hollows. Crouched beside the brook, empty skins forgotten on the mossy bank, Aelin Ashryver Galathynius extended a scarred hand over the rushing water and let the song of the early-morning storm wash over her.
The groaning of breaking thunderheads and the sear of answering lightning had been a violent, frenzied beat since the hour before dawn—now spreading farther apart, calming their fury, as Aelin soothed her own burning core of magic. She breathed in the chill mists and fresh rain, dragging them deep into her lungs.
Her magic guttered in answer, as if yawning good morning and tumbling back to sleep. Empire of Storms PDF Book Download Indeed, around the camp just within view, her companions still slept, protected from the storm by an invisible shield of Rowan’s making, and warmed from the northern chill that persisted even in the height of summer by a merry ruby flame that she’d kept burning all night.
Aelin was about to head for the camp to spare Evangeline from Rowan’s cooking when she noticed the object atop the boulder across the stream. She cleared the stream in one bound and carefully studied what the faerie had left. Fashioned with twigs, cobwebs, and fish scales, the tiny wyvern was unnervingly accurate, its wings spread wide and thorn-fanged mouth roaring.
Aelin left the wyvern where it was, but her eyes shifted southward, toward the ancient flow of Oakwald, and Morath looming far beyond it. To Erawan reborn, waiting for her with his host of Ironteeth witches and Valg foot soldiers. And Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen, knew the time would soon come to prove just how much she’d bleed for Erilea.
It was useful, Aedion Ashryver thought, to travel with two gifted magicwielders. Empire of Storms PDF Book Especially during piss-poor weather. The rains lingered throughout the day as they prepared for the meeting. Rowan had flown northward twice now to track the progress of the lords, but he hadn’t seen or scented them.
No one braved the notoriously muddy Terrasen roads in this weather. But with Ren Allsbrook in their company, Aedion had little doubt they’d stay hidden until sunset anyway. Unless the weather had delayed them. Which was a good possibility. Thunder boomed, so close that the trees shuddered.
Lightning flashed with little pause for breath, limning the soaked leaves with silver, illuminating the world so brightly that his Fae senses were blinded. But at least he was dry. And warm. A delighted, throaty purr rumbled through their little camp, and Aedion shifted his stare to the subject of his thoughts.
Evangeline was kneeling on her sleeping mat, humming to herself as she gently ran the horse’s brush through Lysandra’s fur. It had taken him days to get used to the ghost leopard form. Empire of Storms PDF Book Years in the Staghorns had drilled the gut-level terror into him. But there was Lysandra, claws retracted, sprawled on her belly as her ward groomed her.
Spy and assassin indeed. A smile tugged on his lips at the pale green eyes heavy-lidded with pleasure. That’d be a fine sight for the lords to see when they arrived. Manon Blackbeak stood at attention by one end of the long, dark bridge into Morath and watched her grandmother’s coven descend from the gray clouds.
Even with the plumes and pillars of smoke from the countless forges, the High Witch of the Blackbeak Witch-Clan’s voluminous obsidian robes were unmistakable. No other dressed as the Matron did. Her coven swept from the heavy cloud cover, keeping a respectful distance from the Matron and the extra rider flanking her massive bull.
Manon, her Thirteen in rank behind her, made no movement as the wyverns and their riders landed on the dark stones of the courtyard across the bridge. Empire of Storms PDF Book Far below, the rushing of a filthy, ruined river roared, vying with the scrape of talons on stone and the rustle of settling wings.
The Thirteen did not speak until they had landed at their personal armory in the army camp below, had not even risked it while saddling their wyverns in the new aerie. Sweeping through the smoke and gloom that always wreathed Morath, the two escort covens Manon had selected—both Blackbeaks—steered for their own armories. Good.
Now standing in the mud of the valley floor outside the cobbled-together labyrinth of forges and tents, Manon said to her assembled Thirteen, “We fly in thirty minutes.” Empire of Storms PDF Behind them, blacksmiths and handlers were already rushing to haul armor onto the chained-down wyverns.
If they were smart, or fast, they wouldn’t wind up between those jaws. Already, Asterin’s sky-blue mare was sizing up the man closest to her. Horrible, yet beautiful. She wondered what he made of the fact that he’d forged this armor for her to wear while ending the lives of his countrymen.
His ruddy face revealed nothing. She stripped off her red cloak and began donning the armor bit by bit. It slid over her like a second skin, flexible and pliant where she needed it to be, unyielding where her life depended on it. When she was done, the blacksmith looked her over and nodded, then reached below his table to place another object on its surface.
For a heartbeat, Manon only stared at the crowned helmet. Empire of Storms PDF Aedion and Rowan did not let Darrow’s messenger go ahead to warn the lords of their arrival. If this was some maneuver to get them on uneven footing, despite all that Murtaugh and Ren had done for them this spring, then they’d gain the advantage whatever way they could.
Aelin supposed that she should have taken the stormy weather as an omen. Or perhaps Murtaugh’s age provided a convenient excuse for Darrow to test her. She leashed her temper at the thought. The tavern was erected at a crossroads just inside the tangle of Oakwald. With the rain and night settling in, it was packed, and they had to pay double to stable their horses.
Aelin was fairly certain that one word from her, one flicker of that telltale fire, would have cleared out not only the stables, but also the tavern itself. Lysandra had padded off half a mile away, and when they arrived, she slunk from the bushes and nodded her fuzzy, drenched head at Aelin. All clear.
Rowan Whitethorn had flown without food or water or rest for two days. Empire of Storms PDF He’d still reached Rifthold too late. The capital was in chaos under the claws of the witches and their wyverns. He’d seen enough cities fall over the centuries to know that this one was done for. Even if the people rallied, it would only be to meet their deaths head-first.
The witches had already brought down Aelin’s glass wall. Another calculated move by Erawan. It had been an effort to leave the innocent to fight on their own, to race hard and fast for the stone castle and the king’s tower. He had one order, given to him by his queen. Two hours, and then she was singing for him.