Exert: Firemaster

So, hello everyone. Today, I’m feeling creative, so I’m sharing a scene from my novel, Firemaster. Now, as you may have noticed, I have changed my two guy character’s names over an over. Well, they’re changing again. Sorry, but I didn’t like their names, so I went back to my original names: Kirin and Jax. You probably haven’t heard Jax’s before, but it’s here now, so remember it. I may or may not set my dragons on you if you don’t.

Anyways, here’s your exert. Please feel free to ask any questions you want in the comments concerning some of the words(such as Firemaster, dragonborn, Shadowfen, Ilithen, and other terms). It’s some of my own novel jargon, so it might be hard to understand if you haven’t read the book(which you haven’t, so why am I saying this).

 

 

The messenger arrived that afternoon, coated in dust and dried sweat and limping slightly. Kirin watched as the man headed toward the governor’s keep, his brown fingers clutching a scroll. The scroll was probably the only thing about him that wasn’t covered in dust.

Kirin turned from the rampart he’d been watching for the messenger on and headed toward the armory to tell Lechen he’d arrived. The Captain would be sour all day if he didn’t receive the news on time, so he broke into a run. Kirin’s legs carried him quickly down the step and across the courtyard to a low stone brick building, the heavy wooden door slightly ajar. He pushed it open and entered, not bothering to wait for his eyes to adjust to the dimness of the building.

Sharp swords and axes hung on the walls, bows and quivers full of arrows alongside them. Kirin stepped over the armorer’s dog where is lay sleeping and headed for the grindstone, where the old Captain stood getting his sword sharpened by Goran.

“Lechen!” Kirin yelled over the scraping of the grindstone.

The Captain turned. “Aye, boy?”

“The messenger from Mirith just arrived. He’s heading to the governor right now.”

Lechen muttered something under his breath, tossed Goran a copper, and shoved his way past Kirin to the door. “That boy’s three days late with the reply. If the Emperor’s man wasn’t a bit more patient than his father, we’d be dead by now. That boy’d better have an explanation.”

Kirin followed him out the door and towards the courtyard, eager to hear the news himself. Not yet a fornight ago, the Emperor had sent thirty warships to their harbor, demanding either surrender or death. Unfortunately, the old governor had just died, and his son was a poor ruler. So he had sent a message to the Steward of Lathirim asking for his advice. But instead of getting a reply on time, the messenger had arrived three days late, and the Emperor’s Captain, Shadow son of Thraeton, the wolf General of Nagaria, was getting impatient.

Now, if the message was not to Shadow’s liking, they were all surely and utterly doomed. Lathirim was one of the last of the free countries from under the Emperor’s rule, but if it came to war, they would sorely loose. The army had been slowly dwindling and trade had been poor due to pirate attacks. Not to mention the plague had cut the population in half.

Kirin sighed and watched as Lechen went in the keep, wishing he could go with him. But unless called for or delivering a message, commoners such a himself were not allowed in the governor’s private court.

Such as himself. Kirin ground his teeth. They would let the other messengers in, because they all came from respectable families in Wren. But not him. Even though he had trained and worked harder than any of then under Lechen’s hard hand, even though he was a better swordsman than half the guards on the castle walls, even though he was faster than any of the other messengers–the only one that could match him was Jax, the one who had just come from Mirith–they still wouldn’t let him in.

All because of a name. And now he had to wait outside with the servants to hear the Steward’s news while Lechen and the other messengers got to here it first hand. Kirin scowled at the smiling face of Edreth, the old healer and wool carder. An understanding look crossed her face. Edreth knew him better than anyone, even Lechen, his adopted father. It was she who’d found him as a child, wandering the beaches, lost without parents or a home. It was she who’d helped raise him till he was old enough to become a runner.

“You wish to go in, lad?”

“Aye. But they won’t let me. If I could just….” Kirin sighed. He’d wished many times in the past years that he could earn a name. But going on quests and fighting wars cost money, and only those with names could get into the army.

“Just get a name, eh? Edreth finished for him. Her long gray hair spilled over her back.

Kirin nodded. “If they’d just give me a chance, they’d see, I could make them see, that I can do it. I’m worth it. If only they’d give me the chance.”

Edreth nodded. She watched as the boy pushed the locks of black hair from his eyes and slumped down onto a bench near the wall. It was not only his lack of a name that kept Archaius from letting him in the court. He looked, walked, and talked like a stranger, like a Northerner. No native of Lathirim used words such as ‘aye’, or had such dark hair and strange eyes. None.

Lechen appeared from the gates of the keep at that moment, a few guards Kirin recognized as Rieker and Dunstan. He jumped up instantly and hurried over to him, Edreth following. “What’s the news, Lechen?”

The captain turned to him, his gray eyes thoughtful. “Not good.” He whispered, leaning near so the servants couldn’t hear. “The Steward won’t surrender. We’re to fight or die.”

Kirin bit back the ire rising on his tongue. “Is he a fool? We’ll surely be defeated, we’ll never stand against those ships! There are wrypr on those ships, Lechen. Wolf-riders. Surely the Steward knows that?”

“Quiet down, we don’t want to cause a riot.” Lechen whispered grimly, a finger to his lips. “Yes, he knows that. But it’s Cadius, he won’t back down to save his life. So now he’s dooming ours and his stewardship. If the Emperor’s forces get past Wren and Elin Dain, we’re through. We’re the gates to the West, Kirin. If we fall, it all falls.”

Kirin shuddered at the darkness in his voice. “Can we hold them?”

Lechen straightened slowly and turned away, seeming to survey the castle around him.

“Lechen, can we hold them?”

He didn’t answer.

“Can we? Answer me, by the flames! Can we hold them?”

Lechen turned back to him, shadows in his eyes. “Not even if we had a thousand warriors.” His voice was barely above a whisper. “Could we hold them at bay.”


 

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