Ailith's warriors remained hidden behind the opaque shield, which the mages had formed. She mounted Eclipse and nudged the Bayard into the open. Her heart pounded, while she watched the Chinochs pouring from the city. Hundreds of beasts cast red dirt into the air, heading straight toward her. She waited until they were in range. Taking a steadying breath, she drew her sword, holding it high over her head. She stood alone and defiant. Lowering her arm, Elfin and Elyrian archers hiding in the thick shielding loosed their arrows.......... Desperately wanting to join the battle, Ailith controlled her raging impulses, letting her army do their work. By the time the sun had set, the main force of Chinochs had been wounded or killed. She had dealt Baelvien's army a resounding defeat, but she was not foolish enough to celebrate this first victory. The mage's fury would make him a more dangerous foe, and he would be busy drawing more of the creatures from the abyss of Mevilore. Yet she could not resist raising a defiant fist. Her elated warriors roared from behind the shield, shaking the very ground with their stomping feet. Unfurling the blue Gwyr pennant of Beleutheria, Ailith plunged it into the ground. Spinning Eclipse on his hauches, she disappeared into the enveloping shield. The die had been cast, and the challenge given. The battle for Beleutheria had begun.