The Futhark Chronicles Book Two: Beyond the Gate
Only by accepting his heritage can he battle the demons of his soul and the real ones threatening mankind.
Cage Stone and Sabelline Shelton walk the dark caverns beyond the opening of Kingdom’s Gate, searching for the seals to the demon prison. Sabelline’s magic can reset the seals but it may already be too late to stop the horde of fell beasts invading the kingdom of Futhark. When they find themselves trapped on the wrong side of the seals, they have no choice but to explore beyond where any human has traveled. They make a shocking discovery that will change everything they thought they knew about the demons and their origins.
King Jonared and the other Keepers face the demons that have erupted into Futhark and a human enemy taking advantage of the disruption. Jonared leads a battle on two fronts, both of them hopeless.
The battle for Futhark can only be won if Cage accepts his elven heritage and all the gifts of his mother’s race. All he has to do is sacrifice everything that makes him human, starting with his soul.
Release Date: November 2015
Length: Epic Novel
Word Count: 114,948
Available formats: PDF, RTF, Epub, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc)
Cage watched Sabelline striding toward him with a brave determination in her step. He didn’t plan to tell her he could see her perfectly through the blind. She didn’t need to lose confidence in the magical cloth or know about one more of his strange abilities.
He hated taking her into the tunnel and saw little chance they might survive this. They had both known that at the start, but when they stumbled onto the elven tunnel, he had hoped they might live through their task after all. A fanciful belief based on desire rather than logic, it had only brought them to their destination that much quicker.
Pride flared in him as he watched her. If courage alone slew foes, they would be able to walk unharmed to the seals. But it would take more than that. They needed stealth and luck. When had he last felt lucky?
The night after they fell into the lake. He was tempted to wait here, spend more time beneath the blind with her in his arms and give her a real kiss this time. But what of Sulbreth? What of the Keepers and Marshals who would die trying to stop the mob of hell spawn creeping through the Gate? Could he linger with her while the chorus from hell sang below them?
He slipped under the blind with her. She took his hand between both of hers and gave him a half smile. “What can stop us?”
He wanted to return her sentiment, but reality was too grim for him to pretend levity. “Stay close.”
He pulled out his long sword this time. It was awkward to carry it under the blind, but he preferred to have his elven blade to hand. They weren’t going through that narrow passage unscathed.
They paused at the bottom of the ramp. She was only a gentle touch beside his pack. He could hear her short, fast breaths and smell her fear, but there was no hesitation about her.
A pair of cave boas followed one another out through the tunnel. He couldn’t imagine how the Keepers and Marshals were stopping such a rush, but it was a problem he could do nothing about. The only way to help them was to fix the seals. He waited after the snakes had passed, fearing the boas might discover them by sensing the vibrations of their footsteps on the stone floor. A large gromf, walking in the slow, irregular stride of the corpselike creatures, followed the boas.
The pack of razor rats had grown since last he looked. They scurried about the far end of the cavern still, but some of them ducked in and around the larger demons. As he watched, an accipitor flicked its clawed wing and batted one of the small creatures into the bubbling pool of molten rock.
Screeches bounced off the walls, echoes within echoes. It hurt his ears as other demons raised their hideous voices to join the clamor.
Cage moved as the snarling grew even louder. None of the creatures looked toward the tunnel. He wanted to hurry, but the gromf shambled along somewhere in front of them. Its rank odor hung in the dim air. Again he wondered at the dichotomy of the blind in blocking odors. The smell made his stomach churn, but it also told him how close they were to the beast.
This tunnel had an uneven floor unlike the smooth elven pathway. Gravel littered it, and cracks and sharp breakages scored the walls. It was as if the stone was dead and now fell apart with decay. He wanted to touch the wall and check for life, but he dared not chance lifting the blind.
Sabelline’s grip on his side tightened at they ventured further from the red light. He’d forgotten she wouldn’t be able to see. The odor of the gromf heightened. He slowed down and moved with even more care. They couldn’t help crunching the gravel, but the demon would be making its own careless noise.
The slowly ascending path became a set of stairs. The light was dim and he was fairly certain Sabelline could see nothing. He turned halfway, so he could speak right into her ear. “Stairs.”
She nodded and lightly pinched his side.
They climbed carefully and stopped often to listen. He counted fourteen steps, some so high he had to help Sabell up. He paused so that she might catch her breath. Then he heard it.
Rocks rattled, and a chilling scratching sound accompanied the noise. Claws on raw stone. He listened for a moment longer. More than one. And big. Accipitors. Behind them and gaining.