Lord Of The Freeborn (Book 7)

BOOK: Lord Of The Freeborn (Book 7)
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“Something someone said.”

- Someone

Who Did Something

The Saga of the God-Touched Mage includes:

Glamour of the God-Touched

Trail of the Torean

Target of the Orders

Gathering of the God-Touched

Pawn of the Planewalker

Changing of the Guard

Lord of the Freeborn

Lords of Existence

Other Work by Ron Collins:

Five Magics

Picasso’s Cat and Other Stories

See the PEBA on $25 a Day

Chasing the Setting Sun

Four Days in May

Links to these and more of Ron's work

Follow Ron at

www.typosphere.com

or his twitter feed:
@roncollins13

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Copyright Information

Lord of the Freeborn
Saga of the God-Touched Mage, Volume 7

© 2015 Ron Collins

All rights reserved.

 

 

Cover Art by
Rachel J. Carpenter

© 2015 Ron Collins

All rights reserved.

 

Cover Images

© Katalinks | Dreamstime.com - Dangerous Woman Witch With Fire Ball Photo

© Katalinks | Dreamstime.com - Portrait Of Young Beautiful Woman - Fairy Photo

© Algol | Dreamstime.com - Medieval Hilltop Castle Photo

 

 

This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All incidents, dialog, and characters are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.

 

Skyfox Publishing

http://www.skyfoxpublishing.com

For Tim, Mike, Jackie, and Ken. And of course, for Lisa.

Table of Contents

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Epilogue

Appendix

Acknowledgements

About Ron Collins

How You Can Help

Prologue

Darien shoved an undershirt into his travel roll. His sword lay across the foot of his bed, reflecting a silver gleam in the murky light of the day. The city mocked him, sprawling wide and free outside his window as if it were there for his taking. But he knew better.

The people of Dorfort saw his failure.

They pointed and whispered, and they laughed outright to his face. There could be nothing worse than being made a public fool, and he was now known far and wide as the man who had lost his order, and who had lost his city.

Acid burned in his stomach.

He pushed a dagger into the sheath at his belt, and drew a heavy hood over his head. Then he shouldered his pack.

The sword was last.

If he were any man at all, he would leave the blade here. It was a proud weapon, having been worn by his father, and his father’s father before that. Its blade was etched with runes describing his family. Its steel was forged in a magical fire that bore it protections. It deserved a better wielder, but his father was dead now, and Darien couldn’t bring himself to leave it. He slung the weapon over his shoulder and trudged down the silent hallway.

Somewhere, in the distant recesses of the halls, the Torean Freeborn celebrated their new Lord Superior.

The weight of the sword against his back gave further proof that he was no leader.

Proof again, that he was no man.

Chapter 1

Garrick gazed out the window of Lord Ellesadil’s briefing chamber. It was early morning in Dorfort, and frost still covered the rooftops across the whole of the city. It looked like it was going to be a cold, gray day, and there was so much he had to do.

He was here to apologize, here to begin a new relationship between the Freeborn mages and the city of Dorfort, but he couldn’t stop thinking about Darien, his friend, and the man he had thrown to the wolves the night before by taking his order out from under him.

“His” order.

That still felt strange.

Garrick had never truly led anyone before, and despite the powers he so obviously bore, he had trouble understanding how anyone would want to be led by him. Certainly Darien wouldn’t. Not anymore. Not that Garrick could blame him.

The chamber’s sense of isolation, and his memory of Darien combined to make Garrick intimately aware of the state of his life force—the magic, or curse, that Braxidane had planted within him. It was full and brimming over after his time in Existence, restless now, ready to take action. It had taken to responding in ways that were now unnerving and altogether too instinctive for his tastes. For instance, the energy inside him spread over the city on its own.

He felt fires burning on street corners below—fires in pits where people huddled to warm themselves. He sensed a horse moving over a rutted path, smelled the odor of mud and manure frosted with the morning snow underneath the cover of wood smoke. He felt the vibration of the floor beneath his feet as it shook with the fall of the smithy’s hammer in the manor yard outside.

These were sensations so small as to have been unimaginable before Braxidane’s magic, and before being steeped in the power of All Existence, but now he felt them all as if he were there.

He sighed.

The sound of boots against the wooden floor came from behind him.

Garrick turned as Ellesadil entered the chamber.

The lord wore a simple black vest over a white tunic devoid of the usual trappings of his position. His lips were a thin line under the cover of his sparse beard.

“Garrick,” Ellesadil said in simple acknowledgement as he moved to stand behind his desk.

“I apologize for my previous rashness,” Garrick replied, already concerned his voice might be too sharp. “I did not mean to accost you.”

“It’s too late for that,” Ellesadil replied, unconsciously lifting the fingertips of his left hand to his throat, that same throat that Garrick had nearly throttled the day prior.

“I hope you will let—”

“Let’s be clear about something, Garrick. I don’t care if you
are
god-touched. And I don’t care if you
are
the high superior of the Freeborn. Neither you, nor your order, can remain in Dorfort. And, if you persist in standing in my office beyond your time, I’ll call my guards to have you forcibly turned out.”

“Don’t let one thoughtless moment on my part ruin the most important alliance on the plane.”

“One thoughtless moment?” Dorfort’s leader said. “You think you’ve made only one brash error in judgment throughout this entire play?”

Garrick winced. Ellesadil was right.

It was only a matter of time before his life force would drain far enough to be overtaken by the gnawing hunger that lived inside him. It was a dark magic, this thing within him, a dark magic that had destroyed thousands of people. His connection to Braxidane had exposed the plane to things few could imagine, and his actions had put those he loved in constant peril.

All this despite the fact that Garrick now knew that, as long as he could find his way back to Existence, he could replenish himself. He could not, however, always guarantee he could find Existence.

Still, he wanted this to work.

“I can control it, now,” he said, fighting to keep desperation from his tone. “I’m better at it.”

“So wrapping your hands around my throat yesterday morning was something you did on purpose?”

“I’ve said I’m sorry for that.”

“And you think I should forgive it because…?”

“Because I understand now that I need to serve my purpose,” Garrick said. “You need to forgive me because I’ve finally come to lead the Freeborn as I should have earlier. And you need to forgive me because my Freeborn mages will be a force that supports your people. You need to forgive me because it’s in the best interest of your city that the whole of my order remain here.”

“Are you daft, Garrick? Seriously? Are you daft? How can you honestly think that I, being of anything resembling a sound mind, could possibly see that hosting an order of mages led by an unstable, god-touched mage would be in any way serving the best interests of my city?”

Garrick said nothing.

“Mages scare the wool from people as it is. They don’t want you here. They never have. The only reason I haven’t thrown the Freeborn out of Dorfort to date is because Darien gave his word that he would control the lot of you. But now he’s off his horse, and I see no reason to continue this relationship.” Ellesadil paused. “Besides, I’ve learned something you obviously have not.”

BOOK: Lord Of The Freeborn (Book 7)
5.77Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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