Notice: Contains adult language and thematic violence. Reader discretion advised. Chapter I The attacks always happened in the open air—the wind in her face, the skies clear and cool, and she a target, a beacon. A fool. She banked left hard, dodging a branch as she made for the cover under the canopy. She flew as hard as her wings could carry her, not daring to risk the time it might cost her just to look over her shoulder, to see how close they were. The forest stretched before her—a maze of shadow and moonlight, flora and rot. She could
Chapter V "Where is she?” the king asked Michael. After sharing the news with his friends and taking a few moments to let them reel, he had asked Michael to call a council meeting so he could meet with the people who helped run this kingdom. To tell them that damning truth, too. “She said she would be here,” Michael responded, standing shoulder to shoulder with Ferryl. The king’s council room buzzed with advisors—lords and dukes from around the kingdom who had been granted lands, powers, and a place on the council in exchange for loyalty to the throne. In
Chapter IV The carriage bumped and jolted down the gravel drive, but Adelaide’s hand rested firmly in her husband’s. The dreary clouds hung low, a blanket of gray over the city of Benalle, casting silvery light through the window and onto Ferryl’s unruly locks. The castle loomed before them, great white stone halls flanked by towering turrets that looked as if they staked the castle to the edge of the cliffs. The black-and-white flag of Navah flew proudly at each corner of the castle, greeting Ferryl’s return. Hailing the return of the king. And the queen they did not know
Chapter III General Titus Melamed made his way down the busy streets of the little village near his home. Cobblestones and dirt combined to make a mess of the roads during the wet, cold winter that had settled in northern Midvar. He passed by the apothecary he had visited frequently in the last few weeks, procuring tonics for his wife’s aches and pains. All part of a normal pregnancy, she had promised. He prayed to the gods every day that it was true. But today was not for a trek to the apothecary. Today, he had a very different but
Chapter II The room was dark. Too dark for the middle of the day. Michael walked gingerly down the small hall that spilled into the sitting room before him. The windows that boasted views of the hazelnut forest beyond the castle were hidden behind thick velvet curtains, allowing not a single ray of sunlight to penetrate the space. Instead, ghostly orbs of candlelight hovered in the room like the souls of the dead. A candle on a table. A single candle by the chair. Hardly enough light to see the next step in front of him. But Michael walked on.
Chapter I The snow bit through his gloves, burning his trembling knuckles as they ground into the white expanse. His breath came in gusts, puffing clouds around his beloved’s face as she lay trembling beneath him. He kept his head low, below the fray, his body covering hers as best he could as arrow after arrow whizzed over them. The last one had been too close for comfort, the dribble of blood on her cheek already drying on her skin. “Through the trees!” “Don’t let them get away!” The Haravellian soldiers shouted their commands as the king and queen of