Title: Winter Night Falling
Author: Bryan R. South
Series: Ti-aran Chronicles: Rise of the Guardians Book 1, Second Edition
Publisher: Freaky Fiction Writing
Cover Art: Bryan Rainey
The Four Kingdoms are in peril. A demon Lord thought forever imprisoned in limbo has escaped and begins to summon his Horde once again to take his revenge. In his twisted black iron tower he summons a massive wall of darkness that brings the winter storms in the fullest.
Now the Four Kingdoms are proud and full of itself. All the races of the realms must come together and fight the demon lord once again. Magic has been outlawed, and it is up to the reawakened Grand Mage, an eccentric old man, and what is left of the Mage Knights, as well as a budding Guardian to try to keep the peace.
Can the Grand Mage and his friends get the other kingdoms to move in time to stop the Demon Lord? Does the Demon Lord have more than one objective now that he is free? Only time will tell.
Duke of High Points Chambers
Duke Echias turned over in his blankets and looked about the room. Still a little tipsy he thought as he watched the rooms’ features roll in his vision. He shut his eyes briefly, only to snap them back open when he felt the edge of something cold, obviously steel, and an edge against his jugular.
“Good Evening, your Grace. Would you mind telling me where you are keeping my son? Don’t look at me! You look at the old man sitting at the end of your bed. He’s important. He is the Grand Mage, and has a few inquiries for you got it?” whispered J’Lann. Orindyll gave the now terrified man a little wave from the end of his bed as he popped into view.
“Good evening your Grace. I am Orindyll Ravenslock, Earl of Raven’s Bluff. Do you know of me? Good. It saves time. You know what I am capable of doing to you if you do not cooperate?”
The Duke gave a slight nod, stopped by the edge of J’Lann’s dagger drawing a thin line of blood.
“I am sure the Duke is going to cooperate Preceptor, you can put away your toy for a few minutes. Oh don’t worry about trying to call for your guards. I put the whole palace under a sleep enchantment upon entering, so you and I can have a quiet little chat.” said Orindyll casually flipping his hand this way and that. J’Lann tucked his dagger back into its scabbard in his boot and crossed his arms over his chest, foot tapping impatiently.
Orindyll rolled his eyes in mock exasperation. “Alright, alright... first question then, where are you keeping the Preceptor’s son?”
“I don’t know who you mean” said Echias. J’Lann reached over and grabbed Echias by the throat and lifted him into the air with one hand, green eyes blazing.
“Let’s speak plainly. I don’t have time for games. Where are you keeping my Son, Joran Silverhand.” whispered J’Lann with some venom to the edge of his voice.
“He is in a cell just under the wine cellar, first door on the left “stammered Echias. “Did you hear that?” asked J’Lann raising his voice.
Sergeant Gregory appeared out of thin air and nodded. ”Zatch is enroute”
Echias grew pale at the appearance of another Mage in his bed chambers. Greg didn’t help matters by giving the Duke a little finger wave.
”All right. Now how many more of my men are you holding?” asked J’Lann.
“And just who are you.....?” his questions were interrupted by J’Lann’s fist smashing into his face. J’Lann walked over and picked him up once more bringing the Duke’s face into his own. “I told you I don’t have time for games. You know who I am. The Grand Mage told you who I am. Now answer the question before I really begin to lose patience with you.”
“I hold two more of your mage-spawn. They’re in the cells next to your son. They’re really old though.” sneered Echias.
“Are you making a comment about age sonny?” asked Orindyll. “I have you know I am well over a thousand years old. Now pay attention, I have two questions for you, and one official order. Are you ready? You sure J’Lann didn’t thump you too hard? Alright here is my first question then. Why did you disband the Border Guard stationed in the Old Keep at Jalen’s Pass?”
“There is no reason to keep it manned. There has been no threat from the North since the end of the Great War.”
Orindyll shook his head as if disappointed in a child. “What if I told you that there is a serious threat now? What if I told you that the Dark One has escaped his prison and as we speak sits on his Black throne in his Tower?” The Duke’s face drained of all color. “That isn’t possible it was…” he paused as it finally sank into his wine muddled head exactly who was sitting on the end of his bed.
“Me that sealed him away? I am quite aware of this. The threat is genuine. The Barons of Caer Cian and North Watch have already lost men to him and his horde. The Barony of North Watch is begin ran by its steward since the Baron was slain. Until you decided to send that Captain Rancos to Northkeep to arrest Count Evan he was mustering soldiers to man the old keep. The Dwarven king has sent him two hundred of his finest warriors as well. Now on to my second question. Where is Corporal Summers? He wasn’t in the rooms your Chamberlain assigned him.”
Echias scowled and looked over at Orindyll finally regaining some of his composure. “Why do you want that Black Heart for?”
Greg looked from where he was watching the mild interrogation over to J’Lann.
“I don’t think he realizes how much trouble he is in.” he said quietly.
The Duke’s head whipped around to glare at Greg. “How so?”
“You violated a very old High King’s law my friend, by arresting my men you have condemned yourself to a Treasonous act. There are only three who can reprimand my men. The High King, the Grand Mage, and myself. When they swear their oaths they are outside your jurisdiction. In fact we can probably bring you up on several accounts of kidnapping and murder while we are at it.” said J’Lann with an evil grin.
Orindyll watched the Dukes bluster fade once more. “Not having such a chipper night are we? Now for my Order. Sarah show yourself.” Sarah materialized, standing next to her grandfather once again tossing her long black locks over her shoulder. Duke Echias paled again. Four! Four foul magic users in his bedchambers. That was when he knew he was doomed to the gibbet, and let out a sigh.
Orindyll continued.” You are going to send two Full companies of your guard to the Keep in Jalen’s Pass. In fact you are going to write up the order right now and my beautiful granddaughter here is going to deliver it to your general personally.” Echias let out another sigh and reached over towards his writing desk for a pen, when the door to the bedchamber was thrown open with violent force. In the doorway stood a fuming Joran, glowing sword held in shackled hands.
“Where is he?” came his voice with barely contained fury.
J’Lann was a wraith as he crossed the distance between him and the Duke and violently grabbed him and lifted him into the air once more.
“You said nothing about him being roughed up!”
” I am alright Father. I just want Summers’ head so I can stick it on a pig pole and kick it a few hundred times. Grand Mage can you take off these shackles please?”
Orindyll was glaring at Echias, and then waved Joran over. “I thought all of these destroyed. Who made these Echias?”
“I don’t know I purchased a dozen from a cloaked merchant about five years ago.” he said softly. Orindyll barked an incantation, and watched the Glow fade from the shackles and then reached out and pushed in on a series of bolts in a predetermined order and the shackles fell to the floor with a large clang.
“Burn them” said Orindyll.
“Gladly!“ Said Zatch picking them up and tossing them into the hearth and calling fire to the unlit logs there. Orindyll once more was looking at Echias.
“Write your General Echias. And then we will move you to your new quarters down in your own dungeons.”
Bryan R. South was born and Raised in the Pacific Northwest. He graduated Kamiakin High School in 1993. Bryan has had several poems published and has been working on the Rise of the Guardians Series since he was 16, and did his senior year paper on being a fantasy novelist. He has worked as a Line cook, in construction, and other odd jobs. He resides with his wife and fell author, S. Cu'Anam Policar, and their children in the Pacific Northwest still.