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Published On: December 1st 2015
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Jacob, a tinker's apprentice and sometime thief, has lived his entire life in the mountain city of Ancora, protected by the city walls. These towering barriers keep the Deadlands creatures at bay, but the monsters move higher into the peaks every year. More and more, they breach the defenses of the Lowlands while the Highlands rest easy.
A swarm overruns the walls and wreaks utter devastation on the Lowlands. Charles, the old tinker, suspects the attack may not be natural. With help from Jacob's closest friend, Alice, and Samuel, one of the city's elite spider knights, Jacob and Charles will uncover a terrible darkness at the heart of their city.
They waited a minute in the wind and silence at the top of the wall. Another gust of wind caught the old man’s beard, and the largest grin Jacob had ever seen on Charles’s face lifted his beard even higher.
Jacob nodded. He put one foot up on the rampart and then stepped backwards, shaking his head. He took a deep breath.
“Go, go, go!” Charles said.
Jacob hopped up onto the ramparts and shouted, “Cock-a-doodle-doo!” He launched himself into the air before he could decide it might not be such a good idea. Jacob tilted forward slightly as the earth fell away beneath him. The cold, solid stone no longer held his weight, and he screamed in pure joy as his heart dropped into his stomach.
“Now!” he heard Charles shout from above him.
Jacob pulled the lever. He felt the backpack shift when the leathery wings snapped out and stretched to their full span. The brackets shook as they locked into place, and a gust of wind caused Jacob to tilt to the north when he meant to go south. He slid his arms up into the loops on the wings and carefully tilted them, changing his flight path over the streets below.
Jacob turned his arms, and the next gust of wind took him higher. He heard his name, only a distant shout. Far below him someone waved, and then the faces on the street all turned up to see what Samuel was yelling at. Jacob laughed and pulled the wings in, diving closer to the astonished crowd below. He spread his arms and twisted, soaring around the chimney of one of the highest roofs in the Highlands as he angled for the gatehouse.
“Come down farther!”
Jacob barely heard the words over the howl of the wind, but he saw Samuel running along the ground beneath him, diving and weaving through the crowds. The switches in Jacob’s wings whirred and clicked as he dropped his altitude low enough that he could touch the roof of every home he soared past. Jacob streaked into the courtyard.
“Clear the way!” Samuel shouted.
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