Fire King, The
Forced to flee the Fire Kingdom or die, Talon was disconcerted to meet up with a band that had formed to avenge themselves on the Fire King for spewing death and destruction upon them. Upon inspiration, Talon joined forces with them, but it was an uneasy alliance knowing the 'culprit' they were searching for was him, and it only became more complicated when he found himself falling in love with the warrioress leading the vengeful pack, Esa.
Word Count: 30,115
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Rating: Spicy/Carnal-adult situations and language.
Available formats: PDF, RTF, Epub, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc)
© Cover Art by Alex DeShanks, January 2010
New Concepts Publishing
Lake Park, GA 31636
This is a work of fiction. All characters, events, and places are of the author's imagination and not to be confused with fact. Any resemblance to living persons or events is merely coincidence.
First Morning of the Mountain War
There was no foreshadowing of the disaster that was about to befall them. Esa awoke earlier than usual. The sun had not yet risen above the hills to the east of the small cottage where she lived with her grandfather. Dressing quickly, she started her chores, beginning by building the fire up in the hearth and fetching water for the pot used as many times daily as they had meals. If they were lucky, there were at least two meals cooked in the pot a day. On bad days there might only be one or none, but they had done well enough in the past several seasons that it had been a very long time since they had had bad days.
"Grandfather, wake up. I'm making breakfast," she yelled toward his room. She smiled, knowing she had started something.
"Wake up? I've been awake for hours. I was just planning my day, li'l miss smarty," Terran grumbled as he stumbled from his bedroom to the kitchen table.
"What do you have to plan? All you do all day is tell your old fairy tales to anyone who'll listen," she retorted teasingly.
"Fairy Tales! Hrmmph! You didn't mind hearing my stories when you were a yung'n.
She placed a bowl of spiced barley and oats on the table in front of him and kissed him on the forehead. "I was only teasing, grandfather. I still love your stories."
He smiled and looked up at her. "All my stories are real. I just spice them up a bit in places."
"I know. Every time you tell them the knights are braver, the fair maidens more fair, and the dragons more fierce." She smiled back at him. "I'm going up to the lonely hill to collect reagents so it'll be late when I return," she added when she'd settled to eat her own breakfast.
He looked up from his plate frowning. "I don't like you going up there alone. There's no tellin' what manner of creatures are up there. I'm even heard rumors of goblins roaming the countryside."
"You probably started the rumors," she said, teasing him. "Besides, I can take care of myself. Any goblin jumps out at me and it'll get a stone to the forehead or an arrow in its ass."
When she'd finished cleaning up after their meal, Esa went outside to find her lazy old mule Gerda and prepare the wagon. Gerda never strayed far from their little hovel but had to be bribed with carrots to approach the wagon. Esa knew several secret places to find herbs and reagents and went out daily to gather what she could find. The herbalist in town would pay with supplies. The alchemist's merchant from the city of Warren would pay with coin. He came to town once a month to collect potions from the herbalist and reagents from Esa.
It took a while to coax Gerda up so that she could hook up the wagon. She was all ready and climbing up on the wagon when her grandfather came out the door. He was holding his hunting bow and a couple of arrows.
"Wait Esa! Take this with you."
"Grandfather, I don't think I'll be attacked by wildflowers."
"Just take it, lil miss smarty," he said with a smile. His expression grew serious. "There are strange whispers on the wind, Esa. Whispers I've not heard for a long time."
"Oh Grandfather, don't be silly. Today is just another day," she said dismissively, but she couldn't shake the ominous feeling that came over her.
Taking the old bow and the arrows, she placed them behind her in the wagon. As she turned to leave her Grandfather said, "I love you, Esa."
"I love you, too, Grandfather. I'll be back before dark."
She popped Gerda on the rump which was the only thing besides carrots that motivated the stubborn old mule. After a short distance she looked over her shoulder to see her grandfather walking toward town like he did every day. He had been a bow-maker most of his life, but his hands had grown too weak with age for him to craft them anymore. Now he told stories to the town's children under an ancient oak in the middle of town. He always had an audience. She knew his stories were fairy tales, but she still loved to hear them. He would tell of terrible monsters and fanciful creatures, brave knights and fair maidens, and fierce battles that reshaped the world.
Her favorite was the story of the Fire King, an evil warlord that lived in the Great Black Mountain to the north. The Fire King would sleep for centuries then wake to wage war on the whole world. A group of heroes would always gather to defeat the warlord and send him back for another long sleep. She would always ask her grandfather why they did that and he would always answer 'that's what heroes do'.