Arhys nodded. But his mind shifted to thoughts of Xander, home in Ravenskill. That was his first and best motivation for everything. That and the vow he’d made Evangeline. He had only to invoke the thought of them to steel his blood.

His eyes focused again on his waiting army. “Let’s go.”

They fell into the four formations he’d outlined the night before. Two would wait in the scrub oak on the other side of the Grand Highway, and two would wait in the trees that lined the north side. Not an elaborate plan, but a good one.

An old piece of machinery—an elongated rusting tractor—was dragged over the highway to impede the convoy’s progress. One of the men believed that ages ago, the machine would do the work of a hundred field hands.

The morning drew out, and before long, the transports came into view. The Empire had vehicles with propulsion systems that allowed for low-level flight. But from what Arhys understood, they were costly to make and the fuel wasn’t easy to come by. They were used for war, for show, for demonstrations, not for mundane tasks like goods transportation.

So, these transports came along on heavy tracks and wheels. They could handle poor roads and fallen trees and the like. But a twenty-foot high, sixty-foot long hulk of a tractor? They’d have to stop to move it.

The smell of fumes boiled out of the transports as they came to an idle between Arhys’ four ready brigades.

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