Enjoy this sample of one title in the Spring Fling science-fiction and fantasy giveaway sweepstakes, the first book in the Khirro’s Journey epic fantasy series
By Bruce Blake
Khirro leaned close to the magic man’s swollen lips, close enough they brushed his ear as the fallen healer whispered nonsensical words. Khirro listened, brow furrowed, attempting to hear the quiet voice, comprehend the words. It took only a few seconds for him to understand why the Shaman had beckoned him.
Khirro pulled away, but the healer grasped him by the back of his neck, pulled him close with strength impossible for a dying man. Unintelligible words flowed from the Shaman’s lips as Khirro struggled to get free and images flashed through his mind: a wizened old man, an ancient stone keep, a ruby dragon, vast forests, uncountable hills, windswept waters, unknown towns, and finally the meadow outside the fortress walls. Vivid and real, it seemed as though he saw them right here, right now. Sweat beaded Khirro’s brow, his hands shook. The Shaman completed the incantation and released him. Khirro fell back.
“What have you done?” Khirro demanded with shaking voice. “What have you done to me?”
The Shaman’s eyes slipped shut. Only his lips moved as he spoke. “He who seeks entrance to the keep must face the keeper alone.”
Khirro shook his head. “What have you done?”
“I’ve shown you the way to Darestat the Necromancer.”
“I won’t go,” he insisted, voice louder. He glanced over his shoulder—Ghaul continued his search of a fallen Kanosee soldier, unaware of the exchange. “I told you I won’t. I’ll find someone else.”
A pinched smile contorted the Shaman’s lips into an ugly purple gash across his face. “You have no choice, Khirro.”
He stared at the magic man, wanting to believe he hadn’t heard his words. He crawled closer to the Shaman again. “What do you mean?”
“You’re bound to save your king.” The Shaman coughed another gout of blood.
“No. This can’t be.”
Breath rattled from the Shaman’s throat, the gurgling in his chest ceased. Khirro looked past the fallen man, his attention drawn away as the shimmering curtain of air surrounding them faded. Meadow sparrows chirped, but, to Khirro’s ears, it wasn’t the happy sound that makes one glad to be alive, not now. Perhaps not ever again.
“Your friends are dead.”
Khirro whirled at the sound of the man’s voice, grabbing for his dirk. Ghaul took a step back, holding his hands up defensively.
“Whoa! Hold on, friend. What’s the matter?”
Khirro’s strength fled and he fell to his side on the grass, hand contacting the warm glass vial. Ghaul rushed to his side.
“Are you all right?”
Against every feeling in his body and thought in his head, Khirro closed his hand around the glass vessel containing the king’s blood. He’d rather have gotten up and run from it, or hurled it as far as he could, but something made him tuck it under his tunic.
“I’m cursed,” he said in a voice so calm it surprised him. “The Shaman has sentenced me to death.”
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About Blood of the King
With a vial of the king’s blood in one hand, and a sword of legend in the other, one soldier sets out on an odyssey that will change his life… or end it.
Forced into the army, Khirro never wanted to fight. And with the monarch dead, any hope for the kingdom’s survival hangs by a slender thread. But when the king’s shaman charges Khirro with a curse, he’s compelled to undertake a journey to the haunted land in search of the outlaw necromancer. And if he fails… the very walls of the fortress itself will fall to the blood-crazed undead.
Can Khirro complete his quest in time to save his realm from a brutal end?
See more on the author’s website.