One half-elf warrior, a tool created by immortal forces, faces the greatest evil to ever walk the world.
Cage Stone and his allies, out-numbered and cornered, prepare for a battle they can’t win against the malicious god-like Ferlon.
Ferlon’s evil influence draws every criminally-minded man to his side. The manic gangs wreck destruction on the countryside distracting the king and his loyal guards as Ferlon gathers power and a hellish army.
Cage accepts that he’s fated to face Ferlon. His lonely chance at victory resides within his unique heritage. But what power has determined the course of his life? And will that power rise to help him and all of Futhark in this most desperate time?
Published: April 2016
Length: Full Novel
Word Count: 99,295
Available formats: PDF, RTF, Epub, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc)
Cage and Jonared joined Darrellon at the edge of the waves. The water darkened from blue to purple as the sun dipped beneath the horizon. The thin, graceful ships glided along parallel paths nearly a quarter of a mile out to sea. They continued east for a good distance, and then in a smooth, perfectly time adjustment to their sails, the three ships turned as one toward the shoreline.
Darrellon exchanged a glance with Cage, reflecting the same confusion. Had there been a mutiny in the Haven community? As they neared, Cage noticed all the elves were of an age with Darrellon. Seven boats with six elves in each one, more than the design of the vessels were intended to carry. Were they the entire younger generation of Haven?
“Stay back,” Cage told Jonared. He and Darrellon waded out into the shallows to meet the boats.
The elves navigated between rocks and swirling currents with the ease of their kind. Two elves jumped out of each vessel and helped Cage and Darrellon drag the boats ashore. The others disembarked, each carrying small satchels of possessions.
Cage directed them toward their small camp, shrugging at the questioning look Jonared sent his way. Many of the elves glanced back over their shoulder as if they could see through the purple twilight all the way to their island.
They settled silently around the fire, some standing in the shadows of the cliffs and a few others folding gracefully to sit cross-legged on the ground. They stared curiously at Jonared and then looked to a dark-haired male member of their people. The elf held something in his hands that appeared to be a collection of leaves. He spoke in the lilting accents of his people. “How did you know we came, Gabriellon?”
“We didn’t.” Cage gestured at Jonared. “This is my brother, King Jonared Otten, ruler of Futhark.”
The elf spokesman looking at Jonared with a searching gaze as if looking for signs of royalty. After a moment, he nodded with stiff formality. “Greetings, King Jonared. I’m Janis.”
“Why did you come here, Janis?” Darrellon asked before Jonared could respond.
Janis looked down at the thing he held so protectively in his hands. His fingers trembled about it.
Cage’s hand inched toward his sword hilt, and his neck tingled in warning. “Tell us what has happened, Janis.”
Janis held the green package out to Cage, eliciting some soft sounds of distress from the elves behind him.
Cage took the leaves in both hands, surprised at the weight of the object. Even before he peeled away the loose greenery covering, he knew what he held. Life throbbed against his palms and tingled along the calluses of his fingers. The outer cover fell away with a crackle of dried vegetation. A few damp leaves clung to the tiny root bulb of the sapling. Leathery bark covered the thin stem and no more than a dozen leaves sprouted from the four twiggy branches of the Memory Tree.
Darrellon cried out and spun away for a moment.
Janis stared at Cage with stark, wet eyes. “Elder Zomelak bade me bring this to you, Gabriellon.”
“I don’t understand.” Dread pounded deep and hard in Cage’s chest.
“The god of darkness came to Haven.”
“Ferlon,” Jonared whispered. As if called by the speaking of the name, a cold gust of air danced across the fire and lifted a shower of sparks.
“Yes.” Janis took a deep breath before continuing. “He came not long after the world shook and trembled. Zomelak warned us to hide, but the god hunted us. Many died the first night he flew into our midst.”
“He flew?” Cage asked. “What is he?”
“He appears in a nearly human shape but taller with wings and no soul behind his burning eyes. Only hate resides in his nature.”
A young female elf came forward and placed her hand on Janis’s shoulder. “Zomelak ordered us to flee so we might save enough of us to seed another Haven. He stayed behind with the remaining elders to distract the god and let us escape.”
“All the others are dead?” Darrellon asked.
Janis switched his gaze to the fire. “They had only sharpened sticks and poles to use against him. We have no metal weapons of war such as men carry on Futhark. They battled a god with sticks!”
Jonared cursed. “How many days ago did you leave?”
“Four risings of the sun. We sailed far out to sea before turning toward Futhark in case he discovered our ploy and searched for us.”
“Will he be able to fly over the waters?” Jonared asked. “Did the sharpened sticks hurt him?”
Cage remembered the look in Witbier’s eyes when they’d trapped him beneath the mountain. The thing hadn’t feared Cage or his sword. It knew itself as invincible against man-made weapons.
Janis looked up from the flames, his sad gaze meeting Cage’s. “Nothing we did stopped him or turned him aside.”
“Cage, we could go and….” Darrellon’s words trailed off. He dropped his head into his hands.
“We came to Futhark with nothing but our bodies to help you fight this thing.” Janis’ voice strengthened. “We will learn the sword and bow. Plant our tree in its mother, Futhark, and keep our memories for any who survive.”
Cage picked up the mug of water Jonared had been drinking from before the arrival of the elves. He poured a small portion of Futhark’s pure nectar on the roots of the tiny tree. It sang with joy and gave him a memory. Long ago, his people, the elves, had known how to fight. They had mastered the sword, and no human could wield a bow with the skill and accuracy of an elf. All they needed was someone to wake those long-buried parts of their nature. They needed a leader to take them into the fight.
Not so long ago, Cage had regretted exposing Darrellon to the violence and sorrow of war. The sapling hummed in his hands and passed to Cage an understanding. His destiny hadn’t been to protect Sabelline and serve the Keepers. The Memory Tree had directed the events necessary to his birth so he might lead his people back to Futhark. Back to their home and also the home of his other people. He was from two worlds and from that came his unique strengths.
Cage pulled a long knife from behind his belt and handed it to Janis. “You will call me Cage.”
The elf took the weapon, staring at the shining blade. His lips pressed together with determination. “Thank you, Cage.”
Cage nodded. “Welcome home.”