"We've had word from Annon," said Mythrandril.
Darvinin and Amaranth exchanged a glance. Neither was certain why they'd been summoned to the King's tent, though Darvinin would have gone there within the next three hours to begin his time as bodyguard. "The last of Duke Lamont's forces?" he hazarded.
The True King nodded approvingly. "Your near-sister and her friends lured them out of Annon and into the forest. The gods alone know how they managed it, but it could save us from having to make a bloody siege or battle through the streets of the capital."
Bards, thought Darvinin, who had a pretty good idea of how they'd managed it. "You're gathering troops, then?" he asked. He was still puzzled, though: this should have been a much larger meeting.
"Yes, and we'll have wizards helping us to move them into place. Right now, though, your friends are about a dozen miles south of Annon and Captain Hedrik is coming up on them fast. I want the two of you to get out there, get them out of immediate danger, and then hold tight while we cut them off from Annon."
Amaranth rose. "Please excuse my haste, Majesty," she said. "I'll need to gather a few things before we go." She took three precise steps back, then turned and strode out of the tent.
"Thank you," said Darvinin. "My friends will thank you too."
"Your friends should return to the camp with you," said Mythrandril. "I could use the help of people of such talents."
"I will so inform them, Your Majesty," said Darvinin. Then he rose and departed as well.