“I don’t think he would push any harder for Korgum,” said Jackson. “He’d run the risk of overextending himself there, and Dozer isn’t one for gambling.”
Parson had to agree. That old bastard had built his empire upon calculated strikes and measured responses. He wasn’t the type of opponent who could be expected to make any strategic mistakes. A most irritating enemy, to be sure. And against such a foe, even the most carefully laid plans were all but worthless. Parson Miles had spent many years learning that lesson the hard way.
“Perhaps we should accelerate Blacksong,” Parson suggested.
Jackson scowled, and Parson’s coat caught fire. “Oh!”
Parson hurriedly patted himself down, trying not to panic with the knowledge that if he used his own power right now, Jackson’s flames would swallow him whole.
“Sorry,” said Jackson. “But honestly, Blacksong? The project that your Gema Elroy might have leaked to Abolish?”
Parson was still patting. The flames weren’t going out. “Did you soul-empower these?!”
“Well, could you put them out, please?!” Now they were spreading.
“Eh, I’m sure you’ll be fine.”
“Sir, please!” Parson dropped to the floor and started rolling. It made no difference whatsoever. He could feel the searing pain beginning to pierce his passive soul defense.
“Oh, very well.”
And in a blink, the fire extinguished itself, leaving only his smote uniform and smoking flesh behind. No actual damage had been done, as far as Parson could tell, but it was more than enough of a glimpse at the power that this person now possessed. Perhaps that had been the marshal’s intention.
“Project Blacksong has always been a fool’s errand,” Jackson went on. “Now, it has only become more so.”