Wounded soldiers return at night to the fortified keep, Wates. But as they approach, all does not seem well. A "wind tower" is a lookout run by gifted children, used for communication and guarding against attacks. Willim and Curt are brothers.
They rode at a brisk pace. Pol whispered constantly in Kara’s ear. She was getting worse again.
Wates took shape against the horizon. Curt kept his eyes on the wind tower, a growing column above the wall. There was no glint from the lens. No whisper from Willim. Get out of there. Get out.
Kara moaned, writhed against Pol so frightfully hard that he finally let go the reins and held her in both arms. She twisted and fought. Words slurred out of her mouth, most were inarticulate syllables.
Pol put an ear to her mouth and listened. “Wind tower,” he repeated. “She said wind tower.” He looked at Curt. “Is there any threat that could harm the tower?”
Cold pricked at Curt’s skin. What could harm the tower?
His eyes widened. “Nothing from outside the walls. But someone inside the city could—”
The wind tower exploded. A gout of flame mushroomed into the night, lighting the rocky slope. The tower tumbled sideways, crushing the wall as it fell. Fire spilled out like a great arterial wound. Curt fell off his mount. He stood, fell again, and got back up, eyes locked on the fiery void where tower and wall had stood.