Legend (The Arinthian Line, book 5)
Imagine a spell that can age you a lifetime in heartbeats, turn loved ones into enemies, and set demons upon your soul…and imagine having to use it to save the kingdom…
Battle-tested Augum, Bridget and Leera prepare for a final confrontation with the increasingly vicious Lord of the Legion. To face him, they must master a hopelessly complex spell they can only learn from their legendary mentor, Anna Atticus Stone. But with a kingdom hurtling toward annihilation, Anna Stone’s health failing, and relationships crumbling under the stress, the trio face the most painful decisions of their lives. For the slim chance of victory, they’ll risk everything on a daring plan—one that, whether it triumphs or fails, will exact a terrible price.
This is it! We are days away from the launch of Legend! It just returned from proofing and has now entered the formatting stage. And to further tickle your imagination, I included a brief excerpt from Chapter 1 below.
Yours in excitement,
A brief excerpt from Chapter 1:
Rather than a rabbit, it was death that had ensnared itself in one of Augum Stone’s traps.
“Well that’s certainly bigger than a raccoon,” Augum muttered, hands resting on the top of his bow. “Second one in a tenday.”
“Third,” Leera Jones corrected.
Right, one had fallen down a pit trap south of town. A hunter found it impaled and writhing on a spike. Walkers were turning up everywhere now, not just near their village. It was a worrying trend.
With cocked heads, the two of them stared at the creature that had begun wildly flailing the moment it had spotted them through the sparse evergreens.
“Looks freshly raised,” Augum noted. The skin hadn’t turned black yet and the clothes weren’t torn to strips.
Leera nodded slowly. “Doesn’t even look like it’s been buried.”
“Think it’s a man?” It was hard to tell. Faces changed after being raised. Some go sallow, some widen, some get a stretched waxy look. And that’s when they’re still fresh, like this one. With every passing day, the rot only hastened … as did the smell.
“It’s wearing a dress, Aug.”
“Could be a robe.”
“And the pink hair ribbon?”
He sighed, adjusting his stance on the spongy moss. “I must be tired.” Unnoticed details could get them killed. He had pushed himself in training that morning and probably should have stopped hunting earlier. Except people were starving from the famine and depended on them, for the villagers could not defend themselves against the walkers like the trio could.
He glanced into the sack at his side. Two rabbits and a possum. Not even enough to feed their own household.
Leera elbowed him. “I think she likes you.”
“Look. Her eyes are saying, ‘Augum, come close so I can munch on your sweet flesh’. I’m actually getting a little jealous.”
Augum stared into the walker’s blood-black eyes, eyes that were hungry and vicious. He gave Leera a skeptical look. “I think you need some sleep too.”
“What, you mean joking about a deadly live corpse isn’t normal?”
He said nothing as the creature furiously swiped at the air, its jaws clacking.
She gave an exasperated sigh that blew strands of hair away from her face. “It’s called gallows humor. You should be used to it by now.”
He was. “Looks about three days old.”
“How can you tell?”
He flicked his fingers idly. “Clothes are soggy from the rain. Lack of bloating. All the hair is there. No bones peeking. And she’s only lost a few teeth so far.”
“Maybe she lost those before she was raised.”
The gaunt walker bared its remaining teeth as it strained against the snare, never ceasing its vicious swipes. Yet the rope around its ankle held firm. Augum wasn’t worried. As fast as the walker was, if the rope snapped, he still had a couple heartbeats to obliterate it into smithereens—one heartbeat to focus the First Offensive, and another to smack his wrists together and cast the spell. Less if he was particularly sharp.
Since they began learning the legendary spell Annocronomus Tempusari—otherwise known as Cron—he measured everything in heartbeats. Not that he had successfully cast Cron yet. None of the trio had, not once in the entire four months since their return from the Antioc Classic warlock tournament. Four months of grueling, disheartening and harrowing training. All of them looked forward to seeing what it would be like to reverse time, even if it was for only a few heartbeats. But once success did come, each heartbeat lost in the confines of the spell would result in their bodies aging, and who knew what other side effects. Exactly how much they aged was the great question.
Hence, details were vital.
Leera ran a hand through unkempt raven hair that hung just past her chin. “Don’t waste an arrow.”
“But I’m good at wasting arrows.” Augum massaged his sore left elbow, its slightly crooked bend a permanent reminder of his narrow escape from the Antioc Classic warlock tournament. No healer had been able to repair it properly, but it was a small price to pay considering they now had the divining rod, an artifact that the Lord of the Legion had specially created to track down the scions. He had used that rod to chase Mrs. Stone around Sithesia … until Augum brazenly stole it at the tournament.
“Maybe if you could learn to move on instead of clinging to the past.” Leera nodded at the bow. “You don’t need that thing anyway. You never will again. You’re a warlock. Embrace it. Besides, Bridget’s an arcane archer now.”
Augum hooked the bow over one shoulder. True, his damaged elbow hardly affected anything else. He could continue to set snares, or if he felt the need for hunting, there was always Telekinesis. Perhaps he was being a little stubborn. And yes, Bridget was turning out to be quite the good shot with her summonable earthen bow.
“Besides, you can’t kill it with just an ordinary arrow.”
“I don’t know …”
She punched his shoulder. “Sarcastic jerk.”
He gave her a crooked smile. “Fair’s fair.”
She returned the smile. “Oh, fair’s fair?”
She sighed and leaned up against him, watching the walker struggle. “Could have been us.”
“Could have …”