EaTD

EaTD

Welcome to Tales from Terramyr

Welcome to Tales from Terramyr! Terramyr is the world I created, and where my books and stories come from. Here you may browse upcoming releases, musings of my sporadic and highly distracted mind, or see what I have been up to lately.

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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

DC3 book trailer just came in...

So, The Dragon's Test (#3 in the Dragon's Champion series) has been out for a while, but it's still cool to see things like this roll in. Brightens my day.

Happy Halloween.

That is all.

*leaves computer to go "tax" the candy brought home by the kids*

Saturday, October 28, 2017

The Lost Heir, Episode 2: The Shipwrecked

The Lost Heir

Episode 2:

The Shipwrecked

          Kelden looked at the ocean in front of him, trying to guess how many hundreds of miles he had been transported by the demi-god’s spell. How was he supposed to help his queen from such a remote place? Or was this a trick, a practical joke played upon him by the demi-god? Had she saved his life only to fling him out to the furthest reaches of the known seas and watch him languish helplessly? Her final words to him came back to his mind. She wanted him to solve the cube’s riddle. Kelden looked down to the magic box and sighed. A lot of good solving the riddle would do if he could never return to Queen Dalynn, or if Lisei had killed the queen along with the sorceress who had attacked their ship in Lisei’s name.
          “Icadion will give you your due, Lisei,” Kelden mumbled. He picked himself off the beach and held the cube in his left hand. It was far too large and bulky to put into his pockets. He would have to make a bag for it somehow. He took in a breath and turned to survey the area around himself. The island was large, extending northward for perhaps a mile before rounding toward the east. The coastline to the south was twice as long, and dotted with more rocks along the sand. The interior of the island was harder to survey with a veritable wall of trees blocking his view from the beach. Bumps far behind the tree line indicated possible mountains, and that told him there might be a freshwater stream or pond. Knowing he would need to first find shelter and sustenance, he decided to make his way for what he hoped was a mountain.
          “Well, at least it’s a beautiful prison,” he commented to himself. “I suppose she could have dropped me on a desolate rock covered in gull droppings.”
          Not wanting his boots to chafe and blister his skin, he removed them and tied the laces together so he could hang them over his left shoulder. He left his wool socks on for the small amount of protection they would afford him, and trudged off through the sand toward the trees. As he neared the forest, he heard the songs of birds. Birds were a good sign. If they were here, it was because they had something to eat, and more importantly, something to drink. The first sign of movement Kelden saw was a large, colorful parrot with a beautiful red tail that extended two feet below its purple body. Green markings brightened the wings. It cocked its head and looked at Kelden with one large, dish-shaped eye which was set into a featherless head of white skin. As Kelden neared, the large parrot turned its head to look at him with the other eye.
          If Kelden had a bow, he might have taken the bird as his first prize, but since he had no weapons with him, he decided it would be a futile waste of energy to try and catch such an animal at this point. He pushed through the thickening underbrush, watching for signs of any other animals. There were a few black and yellow birds, about the size of sparrows, and a couple of green birds that resembled hawks peering down and watching him from above.
          “And how many of you are spies for Lisei, hm? Or does she watch me with some sort of crystal ball?” Kelden looked up to the sky, half expecting to see the demi-god floating there observing him.
          He walked through the dense jungle for about an hour, mumbling and grumbling about Lisei occasionally, before he finally came to the base of the mountain he was searching for. Unfortunately, there was no water anywhere to be seen. With a sigh and a hopeful glance up the slope, he decided to ascend the mountain in the hopes of finding something along the way.
          A great clap of thunder rumbled off in the distance as a set of heavy clouds rolled in front of the sun, darkening the forest around Kelden. For a moment, the exiled warrior wondered if his insults over the last hour had finally brought Lisei to him.
          “I’m not in the mood, Lisei,” Kelden muttered as he turned his head skyward. He was only all too relieved when instead of Lisei, rain appeared. Big, heavy drops tore their way through the tree canopy and plopped all around him. He smiled and nodded his thanks. “I’ll take the rain, but I’m still not praying to you,” he said as he quickly went to a nearby tree that sported large, thick green leaves. He plucked off a leaf that was nearly as long as his forearm, and wider than both of his hands put side-by-side. He folded the leaf gently along the center and then tipped up the ends, forming a bowl. He didn’t have any string or twine, or else he would have fashioned several rain catchers from the leaves. Still, even with only the one he was able to gather enough to drink and quench his thirst.
          The rainstorm dissipated soon after, and the clouds rolled away from the sun once more. Kelden continued his hike up the mountain, careful to avoid a rather brightly colored viper hanging from a low branch. He saw three of the snakes along his trek, the third crept up and took one of the black and yellow birds by surprise right before Kelden’s eyes.
          Kelden rubbed his hand where he had once been bitten by a rock-jumper, a small, six inch long viper with a deadly bite. He had no intention of repeating such an experience here and gave each snake he found a wide berth.
          Eventually, he reached the top of the mountain. It was not a pointed peak as he had thought when he first spied the mountain from the beach. Instead, there was a large area that went down again, like a bowl cut out of the mountain, and then a slightly higher ridge off to the far side of the mountain. The entire depression was surrounded by tall trees as lush as the rest of the island, but here there was something that Kelden had not found anywhere else.
          A small lake, fed by a short waterfall running over the edge of the ridge on the far side of the lake.
          Kelden went to the water and looked into its depths, pleased to find that the liquid was clear and clean. “This will make things a bit easier,” he commented. “With fresh water aplenty, I can make a shelter up here and then go out for food.” Deciding first to reward himself for finding the lake, he hiked around the edge of the water until he came to the waterfall. He stuck out his hand and tested a bit of the water. It was fresh, and cool.
          “When are you people going to learn?” a voice called out from above.
          Kelden backed away from the waterfall and looked up. There stood a man, roughly Kelden’s height, though a bit thinner, wearing ragged trousers and holding a sword in his left hand.
          “I will not go back with you! Ever!” the man shouted.
          Kelden put his hands in the air and continued backing away. “You misunderstand, I am shipwrecked,” he explained. “I haven’t come here by design.”
          “This is my island,” the man shouted as he leapt out over the edge and dove into the water. He swam under the surface and came up on the edge of the lake some thirty yards away, still holding his sword. He shook his head and then advanced toward Kelden. “Who are you? What is your name? Where did you come from?”
          “Easy, friend, I mean no harm.” Kelden lifted his tunic to show that he wasn’t hiding any knives. “I am unarmed. I came up here hoping to find fresh water, that’s all. I don’t wish to fight you.”
          “Ah, then you’re a coward eh? Like the last one they sent to take me back.”
          “I really don’t know what you’re talking about,” Kelden said.
          “How did you find my island?” the man pressed.
          Kelden sighed. There was no way this half-crazed hermit was going to believe that Lisei had sent him here. Still, he wasn’t good at making up lies, so he stuck with the half-truth. “I told you, I was shipwrecked.”
          “And where were you headed?” the man said.
          “I was on my way to be exiled in Jibbam,” Kelden said.
          “Jibbam eh?” the man echoed. “Then it is lucky you came here first. Jibbam is not as pleasant, though it does have a fair lot more women there than here.”
          “There are women here?” Kelden asked, surprised to hear that anyone else was on the island.
          “Of course not you dunderhead, what’s the matter, you drown your wit while swimming to shore?”
          Kelden frowned. “Just that you said…” Kelden sighed. “Never mind. It isn’t important.”
          “What’s that in your hand?” the man asked as he came closer, still pointing his sword at Kelden.
          Kelden had almost forgotten about the cube in his hand. “It’s something that may help me return home,” he said. “If I can figure out how to open it.”
          “A magic box?” the man mused. “I have seen one like it before, but not for a long time.”
Kelden held up the cube and opened his fingers so the man could get a better look at it. “If you know how to open it—”
          The islander cut him off. “Nothin doin! I don’t play with magic boxes. That’s what got me stuck out here in the first place. I found a box like that, back in the mountains. Next thing I knew I had assassins and thieves chasing me. No! You take that thing and stuff it up your backside for all I care.”
          Kelden bristled at that, but there wasn’t much he was going to say to a half-crazy man holding a sword on him. He stuffed the cube into one of his boots hanging over his shoulder. “What was inside your box?” he asked.
          The man shook his head. “I never opened it. Threw it out in the sea when I came here.” The man moved in a couple steps closer. “Now, tell me exactly how you got here. I didn’t see a ship. I didn’t see a rowboat. I didn’t even see a raft or a log. I watch the sea every day.” He brought the point of the sword dangerously close to Kelden’s neck.
          Kelden, being no stranger to deadly situations, nodded his head and figured perhaps the man was just crazy enough that he might believe the story about Lisei. However, at the same time, Kelden started to shift his weight and devise a strategy to fight the man. He’d likely get cut if it came to violence, but he was reasonably sure he could overpower and out maneuver the thin islander. “I’m not sure if you know of the two kingdoms, Shausmat and Zinferth, on the main continent to the west, but they were at war. The queen of Zinferth hired me as her agent. When we lost the war, I was sentenced to death, but through a series of fortunate events found myself on board a ship with my queen and a few other trusted comrades. We were headed to Jibbam for exile.” Kelden shifted his weight to his back leg. He wasn’t sure the man was buying his story, and he wanted to be ready to lunge to the side at a moment’s notice if needed. “There was a battle at sea with a powerful sorceress of some sort.”
          “You have seen magic?” the man asked breathlessly. “Are you certain?”
          Kelden nodded. “It turns out the Mage Wars did not, in fact, eradicate all magic users.”
          The man nodded slightly. “Was the sorceress very powerful?”
          “Quite,” Kelden said frankly. “She did such a fine job impersonating Lisei, the demi-god of lightning and storms, that Lisei herself showed up to put an end to her.”
          “And where were you during all of this?” the man asked.
          “I was fighting the sorceress, trying to protect my queen.”
          “Why did she care about the queen?” the man pressed.
          Kelden shrugged. “The sorceress said she wanted something the queen had, but I am not certain that is true.”
          “Why doubt her?”
          “Because Lisei said that this particular sorceress had been terrorizing the seas lately, destroying several ships and their crews. They can’t both be telling the truth.”
          “So you choose to believe the real Lisei?” the man asked.
          Kelden shrugged again. “Lisei pulled me from the ocean after the imposter sent me overboard with a spell. She saved my life. Then, she sent me here, transporting me most of the way through the air on a small cloud. I was dropped in the shallow waters though, so I did have to swim the last bit myself.”
          “And the cube?” the man asked as he looked to the boot dangling from Kelden’s shoulder.
          “She hurled it after me, I suppose. For it landed on the beach right next to me while I was catching my breath.”
          “And you expect me to believe all of that is true?” the man asked.
          Kelden studied the man coolly. The time for violence was almost upon him, and yet, he hesitated. There was something in the man’s voice that told Kelden he wasn’t in as much danger as it seemed. “You asked for the truth; what you believe is up to you, but that is what happened. Now I am here, sharing an island with you and trying to figure out how to leave and get back to my queen.”
          “A man will come who destroys shadows and stands loyal…” The man’s words were soft and he took a half step back.
          “What did you say?” Kelden asked.
          The man shook his head and waved off Kelden's question. “Come, I think there is something you need to see,” the man said. He turned and sheathed his sword. Kelden stood there confused, watching the man scurry back along the shore. After the man realized he wasn’t being followed, he turned and waved his hand frantically. “Well come on,” he said. “Don’t just stand there like an idiot. Move your feet. I want to show you something.”
          “What’s your name?” Kelden asked, trying to gain some sort of control over the conversation.
          “Don’t remember,” the man said quickly. “Besides, no one to talk to out here anyway, so who cares. Now come on. If the tide changes before we get there, I won’t be able to show it to you. Hurry up!”

Introducing a new Fantasy adventure-- Epic Farm Boy!

Really, all you need to know about this wonderful tale is encapsulated by the cover. (Thank you, Bob Kehl for the great work!) We have all read the same kind of story many times. A lonely farm boy with seemingly nothing to offer is found by a great and powerful wizard, teams up with an elf or a dwarf (or both) and goes off to save the world from an uber bad guy who wants to conquer the whole planet/realm/kingdom/universe...

Well, this is exactly like that-- except it's better. Simplin the Wise is the great wizard in this book, and he is on his way to find the Epic Farm Boy prophesied of as the savior of Deltynne. Simplin is the best wizard for the job too, because he got all A's during his training at the College of Spells-n-Stuff. (Well, except for frog-transmutation, but really, who uses that spell anymore right?)

After finding the Epic Farm Boy destined to save the world, there are adventures aplenty as somehow the villain discovers the boy at the same time Simplin the Wise does. They run from giant spiders, fight nasty demons, and do lots of walking through epic landscapes that look great in your head, but probably would look better on screen if filmed in the mountains of New Zealand with a handful of A-list actors and super awesome effects... but I digress.

Throughout the tale you will laugh, and possibly dance on the table like the dwarf on the cover, as you see Simplin the Wise get his gardening advice from a sage by the name of Yew Toob, an accident with giant spiders leads to Shelob's creation, Simplin the Wise gets into an argument with the author about plot details, you witness a fun cameo by Dr. When -- the not-so-famous cousin of another Dr. who uses a blue box instead of a red one... and much, much more!

Click here to grab your pre-order copy today!


Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Lost Heir, Episode 1: Lightning on the Sea

The Lost Heir, Episode 1:
Lightning on the Sea

          Kelden sipped at the cup of fresh water in his hands and watched the sunrise cast its rays over the water. The ship moved gently up and down, cutting through the waves easily and stirring up the smell of salt. They had been at sea for nearly a week, and still the island country of Jibbam was at least another day away.
          The queen seemed in good spirits. She and Karmt, her most trusted advisor, were still working on the puzzle of the cube, some sort of ancient artifact said to hold proof pointing to the rightful heir of King Dailex’s lost empire. Queen Dalynn claimed to be the sole surviving member of that lineage, but neither she nor Karmt knew precisely how to open the cube. Kelden was still surprised that the Shausmatian captain who had overseen the capture and occupation of Kobhir had let them keep it. Kelden could only speculate as to Captain Vald’s motives, but there had been other signs of mercy as well. When Sir Alexander had been taken prisoner in battle defending Kobhir, it was Captain Vald who had personally set him free and allowed him to return to Queen Dalynn’s service. Kelden knew it was likely too much to hope for, but the thought crossed his mind that perhaps Vald sympathized with them, and wanted them to use the cube to restore Queen Dalynn to the throne. It would have been very easy to execute the royal family and all her advisors, but instead, they were only exiled.
          However, if Karmt was correct about the artifact, then the contents inside the cube would prove that Queen Dalynn was not only the rightful ruler of Zinferth, but the true and living heiress to the old empire that had broken apart some five hundred years earlier after the Mage Wars. In the centuries following King Dailex’s death, loyal families and factions persisted in both of the newer kingdoms that up until Kobhir’s conquering had split the continent. If Queen Dalynn could prove herself the rightful heir now, then perhaps those factions would rise up, and even if the old empire was not reformed, then perhaps Zinferth would be able to come out from under Shausmatian occupation.
          Not that Kelden knew what to do with the information even if they could break the magic that sealed the cube. They were on their way to Jibbam, a large island nation several hundred miles away from the coasts of Kelden’s homeland. As far as he knew, there were no sympathizers there. None of the islanders would go out of their way to help a dethroned queen. He doubted a small cube, or anything inside of it, would change that fact. Kelden sighed, wondering if Vald was not only merciful, but also vindictive enough to send them off with the cube, knowing full well that holding it in their hands would serve only to taunt them with what they could never possess.
          Kelden drank the last of his water and pressed away from the rail overlooking the waters just as a great shadow cast itself over the area.
          “Storm moving in!” a sailor shouted in the crow’s nest above.
          “Kelden, you had best go down below and check on your charges,” Kitter said as he moved around the deck.
          “Where’d the storm come from?” Kelden asked. “The skies were clear all morning.”
          Kitter, the ship’s second in command shrugged his shoulder. “I’m not fer knowin’ but you best get below. Vald gave us strict orders to ensure you all made the journey to Jibbam safely and I don’t want to upset the man.”
          Kelden understood. Still, just for a bit of fun, he handed Kitter his empty cup. “Thanks for the drink.”
          “Bah!” Kitter said as he tossed the cup to the deck. “Arrogant dog,” he muttered to Kelden’s back.
          That put a smile on the man’s face. It wasn’t that Kitter was a bad man. In fact, Kitter had been the one to allow Kelden some amount of freedom on the deck rather than confine him to a solitary cell in the hold. Still, Kitter was a Shausmatian sailor, and that made him the enemy, no matter how cordial he might be on this journey. Kelden had ever been a man sworn to duty, and even though his queen sat below deck on her way to exile and his homeland now flew the enemy’s flags, he still had a job to do. He would strike back at Shausmat any way he could, even if it was just by insulting their officers.
          As he made his way toward the door leading below, the ship pitched sharply and he stumbled toward a large crate. He managed to catch himself on the wooden box, but just barely. He then held tight as the ship tilted the other way. A fierce, chilling wind rolled in, bringing clouds as black as night to cover the seas.
          “This is no storm,” Kelden said to himself.
          As if in answer to his words, a great voice rumbled overhead as three flashes of lightning coursed through the black cloud.
          “I am the goddess Lisei, and you have trespassed against me!”
          Kelden looked up as the cloud parted and a chariot of white and gold, pulled by two stallions made of fire, came toward the ship. Kelden screwed up his face and then glanced to the waters. He was not one of Lisei’s followers, but he was familiar enough with the pantheon of demigods which had taken control of Terramyr to know that she was the patron of storms and lightning. It seemed strange to him that she should come so far out to sea. Moreover, how had anyone here trespassed against her?
          “You have taken something that belongs to me!” Lisei bellowed.
          “We have angered her, we must pray for mercy!” one of the sailors shouted. He dropped to his knees and began praying vocally. A few of the others did likewise, but most of the men turned to Kitter for direction.
          A streak of lightning tore through the air and cut the mast just under the crow’s nest. Kelden watched helplessly as the sailor who had been on duty there tumbled to the deck, breaking his neck as he landed on his head and the platform fell on top of him.
          “Battle stations!” Kitter roared.
          Kelden glanced from the chariot to Kitter and then back to the angry Lisei. He had fought many battles wherein the odds had not been in his favor, but this was different. Much different. “Icadion, give me strength,” he prayed quietly. He then turned to Kitter. “Give me a weapon!” he shouted as a torrent of rain fell upon them.
          Kitter dismissed the notion with a wave as other sailors rushed about with large crossbows in their hands. The sailors dropped to their knees to steady their aim and then fired at the goddess. Lisei laughed as the crossbow bolts were consumed by a series of lightning strikes emanating from her hand. A second later, a massive bolt of white lightning tore through three sailors, leaving only their smoldering corpses upon the deck.
          “There is a woman aboard this ship that has something of mine! Give her to me for punishment and I will let you all live.”
          Kelden cocked his head at those words. Could Lisei be after the cube? If she was, then how had a merchant come by such an artifact in the first place? After all, Karmt had purchased the cube from another sailor and sent Kelden after it. Whatever the origin of the cube, Kelden couldn’t let Lisei take Queen Dalynn. So, he did the only thing he knew how to do. He rushed to the nearest fallen sailor and went for the weapons. He seized the crossbow first, finished loading it with a new bolt and spanning it. He then looked up and took aim just as Lisei turned her chariot to the side and knocked several other sailors to the deck with a gust of wind. He fired. The bolt went up and struck Lisei’s left shoulder.
          “You dare fight against a goddess?” Lisei shouted as she turned around once more and fired a bolt of lightning at Kelden.
          The agile warrior rolled out of the way as the sizzling lightning tore through the deck and splintered several boards. “You’re a demi-god,” Kelden snarled. “You’re not a full goddess.” He spanned the crossbow once more and then fired as quickly as he could. This time, an invisible barrier shielded Lisei from the bolt. It ricocheted out toward the sea as the demi-god laughed.
          She leapt from her chariot and pulled a flaming whip.
          “Charge, men!” Kitter shouted.
          “No, wait!” Kelden called out, but no one was listening to him. A streak of lightning snaked through the air with the most deafening crash of thunder Kelden had ever heard. Bodies hit the deck, some split in half, others with a sizeable hole in their chests. Then the flaming whip cracked in the air and Kitter grunted as it wrapped around his neck. Kelden watched as Lisei yanked the man to the deck and strangled him in an instant.
          The door to the lower decks flew open and three men came out ready for a fight. Each of them had their glaive-bow, a hardy contraption that fused a small, but powerful, crossbow onto a glaive, firing the bolt out through a groove that would allow them to fire and charge at the same time. They fired their weapons and moved in. Lisei snapped one of the glaive-bows in half with her whip, blasted one of the other warriors with lightning, and dodged the third by riding an air current toward the port side of the ship. Fortunately, that put her within just a few yards of Kelden’s current position.
          Kelden reached out for a cutlass and ran at Lisei from behind. His feet fell silently and quickly upon the deck. The blade came up and slashed at Lisei’s back. A copious amount of blood flew out over the deck, mingling with the rain water that was pooling there.
          Lisei screamed and wheeled around with her whip. Kelden dodged the weapon, but was struck by an invisible force. He landed on his back and slid across the deck until his body slammed up against the railing in front of the prow. He struggled to his feet as the men with the glaive-bows advanced on Lisei. The demi-god lifted a hand and threw the men fifty yards out to sea without taking her eyes off of Kelden.
          “Pathetic mortal,” she said. “You thought you could beat me?”
          Kelden smiled. “Put down the magic and let’s see how you fare then,” he said.
          Lisei called four bolts of lightning from the sky and gathered them in her right hand. They condensed into a crackling, quaking ball of violent energy as she stepped toward him. “You are going to die slowly,” she said.
          “And yet, the gods will welcome me,” Kelden fired back. “What will they do when your dishonorable existence is finished?”
          Lisei raised her hand to her lips as if blowing a kiss. The ball streaked through the air faster than Kelden could see. There was a burning pain in his chest, followed immediately by a force that launched him out from the ship. He flew through the air so quickly that it seemed as though the rain were falling sideways instead of downward. His body skipped upon the surface twice and then he hit what felt like a wall of liquid that slowly pulled him in, and then down. As the water engulfed him, he tried to summon the strength to stay above the surface, but the spell had sapped him of his vigor, and it was a losing fight.
          Just then, a hand reached down and lifted him from the water.
          Kelden looked up to see a beautiful woman with silver hair and violet eyes staring down at him. At first, he thought it might be Osei, the demi-god of the ocean come to chase Lisei away from his domain, but Osei was a man, not a woman. His next thought was that Lisei had rushed out to keep her word, and save him a few times while torturing him until he was finally too weak to keep alive, but this woman was not the same as the one who had sent him overboard. The curves of her body and the tightness of her skin upon her face spoke of youth, but there was a fire behind those purple eyes that suggested a great amount of wisdom. More than that, there was a crackling, tangible thickness to the air around her. The other woman had power to be sure, but this one seemed to have more. Much, much more.
          “You would stand and fight a demi-god?” she asked in a subtle, yet thunderous voice. Her calm demeanor while holding Kelden so close convinced Kelden that he was right. She was vastly stronger than the other, else she would not be so stoic while holding a potential enemy within striking range.
          Kelden looked down as he continued to rise until he stood upon a thin layer of cloud with the woman. Water ran off of him and a warm wind caressed his body. He looked up to her, but found it hard to match her gaze. “I will not bend the knee to any who have usurped Icadion’s throne. Demi-gods are not gods. They stole power from Terramyr by draining the very essence of the world and stealing it for themselves. Icadion, and he alone, is the rightful ruler of Terramyr.” He spoke reverently, and yet firmly.
          “Usurpers…” the woman smiled faintly and let go of Kelden’s hand. To his amazement, he remained standing on the cloud that was now a few feet above the water. “Yes, I suppose that is as correct a title as demi-god,” she said. She then turned and narrowed her keen eyes on the battle still raging on the ship. “I am not like the others,” she commented. “I did not seek the power for myself. I sought the World Seed as one who might remain as a buffer between those who abuse power, and those who would otherwise be victims.”
          As the woman spoke, Kelden saw the disdain in her eyes while she watched the battle. In that instant, he knew the truth of it all. “You are Lisei,” Kelden said as he watched her. He then looked to the ship. “My queen is on that ship, along with other good men. If you did indeed take power from the World Seed to stand as a buffer, then won’t you help them?”
          “Are you now praying to a demi-god?” Lisei asked as the faintest hint of a smile tugged at the right corner of her mouth.
          “Surely you wouldn’t let an imposter slay innocent people in your name if you use power the way you claim,” Kelden reasoned.
          The rain stopped then, suspended in mid air as the wind ceased its relentless blowing and the whole world stood still. “This particular imposter is more deserving of the title, usurper,” she said. “Only a few days ago, one of the demi-gods was slain by a mortal. Since then, others have risen up to challenge several demi-gods. I prefer to remain close to my home, but it has come to my attention that this woman has terrorized these seas for the last week. In my name she has sunk twenty vessels, and slain numerous sailors.” Lisei turned back to Kelden and put a finger to his chest. “No, I will not let this stand. She has called to me in a way that cannot go unanswered. But as for you, you have another path to travel for now, one that I must help along, lest the fates be damaged beyond repair.” A bright, warm spark transferred from her finger to him and he felt a well of strength fill his body. Lisei’s purple eyes became white as snow, and her hair floated out behind her as the smell of static electricity built up around them. “Perhaps we shall meet again, Kelden Ferryl,” she spoke.
          Before he could ask how she knew his name, the cloud they stood upon broke in two and he was whisked away at a blinding speed. At first he thought he was being sent back to the battle to aid his queen, but as the moments passed and the rain began to fall once again, he realized that he was flying out to the east, toward the vast emptiness of the sea.
          A white flash ripped through the sky and the black storm cloud was rent to pieces. Lightning flurried around the ship. The seas calmed and a massive bolt of lightning came not from the sky, but from the real Lisei. There was an explosion, and the ship was hidden from view by a massive cloud of smoke. Kelden was certain that the imposter who had assaulted the ship had been destroyed, but there was no way of knowing whether Lisei had been careful in exacting her vengeance, or if the ship, and all the remaining survivors upon it, had been consumed by the lightning as well.
          Kelden flew for several minutes over the waters below until a large island came into view on the horizon. At first he saw only a pair of green mountains, but as he hurtled toward it, palm trees and the white sands of the beach came into focus. The cloud slowed somewhat and as he came within fifty yards of the beach, it vanished from beneath him. He fell and crashed into the shallow water, flailing his arms and legs in an attempt to stop himself from churning uncontrollably in the sea. When he finally righted himself, he swam up to the surface and spat out a bit of salt water. He aimed himself for the sand and swam. It took him some time to drag his muscular frame through the water, but with the help of the added strength from Lisei, he made it to the beach. When he reached the sand he rolled onto his back and caught his breath.
          After a few moments, he sat up and stared back out at the sea. What was he to do now? His friend Yeoj, a fellow agent of the queen’s, had freed him from execution for the sole purpose of keeping Queen Dalynn safe, and now he had failed. He knew there wasn’t much he could do against a demi-god, or a sorceress impersonating one for that matter, but he couldn’t shake the sense of failure from his heart.
          A terrible thunder ripped the peaceful air in the west.
          Kelden narrowed his eyes and saw a golden flash in the distance. A great gust of wind churned the surface of the waters toward him, splattering him with sea-spray and then there was a heavy thabump in the sand next to him. He looked down and saw the cube half buried in the sand. He reached out for it and took it into his hand. As he did so, the sand fell from its surface and the metal shone brightly. A warmth came into Kelden’s heart once more, the same as had happened when Lisei had sent that spark into him.
          You have work to do, Kelden. Go and solve the cube’s riddle. Do well, and perhaps we shall meet again.
          The voice wasn’t audible, it was in Kelden’s mind, and still he knew it was Lisei.
          He didn’t much like the idea of working for a demi-god, so he chose to convince himself that she was working with him. He picked himself up from the beach and turned to face the dense forest behind him. He wasn’t sure what he was supposed to do, or how he was ever going to leave this island, but the cube gave him hope. Perhaps Lisei had spared Queen Dalynn after all.