| A letter from a distant land …
(The following is an excerpt from the coming book four in The Arinthian Line series)
The trio watched as their infamy steadily grew in the Herald; as armies continued to amass on the Nodian border; as excitement grew for the coming warlock tournament; and yet there still came no news of Mrs. Stone … until the morning of the tenth day, when a grizzled, mud-splattered courier arrived to hand Mr. Okeke a letter at his cabin.Jengo did not even raise his head from eating his porridge. “Another demand from the Legion for tax moneys, Father?”
Mr. Okeke tipped the courier, thanked him, and closed the door. “Not sure,” he said, breaking the wax seal on the weathered yellow parchment. He began pacing as he read. Suddenly, he froze. “It’s from Mrs. Stone—”
The trio bolted from the table, knocking over dishes, scrambling to gather around the parchment.
Leera was breathless. “What’s it say?”
Mr. Okeke cleared his throat and began reading aloud. His slight Sierran accent gave the words a distant slant. “ ‘My dears, I hope this letter finds you as I am very far away in a strange land I have never been to before, with even stranger people. Regretfully, I lost the pearl somewhere in southern Tiberra in a battle. I had forgotten to enchant it so I could find it again. Alas, my memory is not as it once was.’ ”
Bridget placed a hand over her mouth, eyes welling up. Leera laid her head on Bridget’s shoulder while giving Augum’s hand a tight squeeze. It was a difficult letter to listen to. Augum’s heart squeezed. He missed Nana so much.
Mr. Okeke swallowed and continued reading. “ ‘The spell has been an onerous undertaking under the circumstances, especially as I am already quite old. It is taking its toll. I have developed a bit of a cough, and my spectacles have become inadequate. I have eluded the Legion thus far, but there have been many close calls. The tracking party’s prowess has made it impossible for me to visit you at this time. They have proved to be formidable opponents especially well-equipped to thwart me. My days are spent on the road. My feet and bones hurt and I am always tired. I fear I cannot keep this up for much longer. It seems there is never enough time now, for time has become a most precious thing indeed. It seems eons ago since I have laid eyes upon you. I yearn for the simple things most—clean linens, a quiet fire, a good book, a warm meal, pleasant company, and above all, watching you grow before my eyes.’ ”
Haylee gave a sniffle as she drew Leland close. “Oh, Mrs. Stone,” she whispered.
“ ‘How are your studies coming along? I trust you have been working very hard and pushing yourselves. I trust Mr. Harvus has been a good and thoughtful mentor. Have you discovered anything about the artifact in question yet? Perhaps you will have received this letter before your departure.’ ”
Mr. Okeke took a deep breath before reading the last portion. “ ‘I sign off hoping you are all together, that you are warm, safe, in good health and high spirits. Please know that you are in my thoughts often. As for me, my greatest challenge awaits, and that is mastering this formidable spell, and somehow teaching it to you. I only hope to live long enough to accomplish this last act. Remember, my dears, that you are strongest together, that life is precious and short, and that all things must pass. With love and deep affection for you all, AAS.’ ”
Mr. Okeke stared at the parchment before gently folding it up and handing it to Augum, who held the wrinkled letter close, finger tracing over the broken wax seal. For a long time, nobody spoke.
The above is an excerpt from The Arinthian Line, Book 4 (title, cover and blurb preview to be released soon). Expect the book to be released within the coming three weeks or so. I’m working as hard as I can to get it to you as soon as possible though.
I’m extremely proud of this work. It’s my best writing. Augum, Bridget, Leera and the supporting cast grow a tremendous amount in this book. They face new challenges, not just personally, but physically. It’s also the longest book, clocking in at about 190,000 words, which is about 10% longer than Riven. You’re going to get your money’s worth ;)
A grand adventure awaits, my friends, I really cannot wait for you to read it!
Questions? Comments? Just hit reply and email me back here.
All my best to you and those you love,
P.S. Thank you all so much for your patience. ART team: you’ll hear from me very soon! :)