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Authors: Tony Shillitoe

Prisoner of Fate

BOOK: Prisoner of Fate
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For everyone who has ever felt that we are not the masters of our destinies, but prisoners of fate.

Table of Contents

Cover Page

Dedication

Maps

Prologue

Part One

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Part Two

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Part Three

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Part Four

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Chapter Thirty

Part Five

Chapter Thirty-One

Chapter Thirty-Two

Chapter Thirty-Three

Chapter Thirty-Four

Chapter Thirty-Five

Chapter Thirty-Six

Chapter Thirty-Seven

Chapter Thirty-Eight

Chapter Thirty-Nine

Chapter Forty

Part Six

Chapter Forty-One

Chapter Forty-Two

Chapter Forty-Three

Chapter Forty-Four

Chapter Forty-Five

Chapter Forty-Six

Chapter Forty-Seven

Chapter Forty-Eight

Chapter Forty-Nine

Part Seven

Chapter Fifty

Chapter Fifty-One

Chapter Fifty-Two

Chapter Fifty-Three

Chapter Fifty-Four

Chapter Fifty-Five

Appendix

Acknowledgments

About The Author

Books by Tony Shillitoe

Copyright

About The Publisher

MAPS

PROLOGUE

A
ball of blue flame erupted before he reached the entrance and only sharp reflexes saved him from immolation. He dived to dodge a shaft of blue lightning, but it singed his right wrist before it exploded against the wall. Stone debris clattered across the floor and a choking cloud of dust enveloped him. Scrambling to his feet, coughing, he charged into the corridor and sprang for the steps, anticipating a fierce jolt of energy searing into his back. It didn’t come. Up the steps into the bright daylight, he bolted onto the plain, but the grey dust grabbed his ankles and with a desperate cry he pitched forward, thrashing his arms and legs like a drowning man, until exhausted, beaten, he stopped struggling and accepted his fate.

He stayed face down for a long time, breathing shallowly to keep the dust from his lungs. His heart thudded against his ribs. Nausea bubbled in his stomach and throat. When the anticipated deathblow did not fall, he lifted his head and rolled onto his side, and listened. The world of Se’Treya was silent and still.

Slowly he got up, the grey dust sliding from his garments, and stared at the opening he’d run from. The dark hole was empty. He scanned the surrounding area
and then the horizon, until he was satisfied the Demon Horsemen were not playing a cruel cat-and-mouse game, before he walked briskly towards a stark white tree. At the tree, he paused, covered his brow with his hand and looked up. The sky was bright blue and cloudless, and in every direction was flat, featureless dust, and scattered dead trees with stark white limbs reaching to pluck at the sky like skeletal fingers. A thousand years ago, he had faced Mareg the Dragonlord in combat on this spot, confident that he was destined to inherit the mantle of Dragonlord, but he underestimated his enemy and overestimated the power of Dylan’s magic sword. Defeated, brutally wounded, Mareg entombed him in a magical prison beneath the surface of this harsh setting. He was lucky to be alive.

He glanced down at his hand and toyed with the stub of the severed finger where he had once worn an Aelendyell Lore-bearer’s ring. Carved from amber, the ring was a tiny piece of the Genesis Stone that, according to Aelendyell and Elvenaar legend, fell from the sky. He had also owned a pendant in the image of the Ranu goddess Fareeka, which also contained a fragment of the Genesis Stone. The ring and the stone were his sources of magical ability. Through all the time and effort that he had committed to increasing his power, he believed he had to learn the five Ki of magic. Everybody believed in the Ki. They were wrong. He was wrong. All he had ever needed was a piece of the amber embedded in his skin. The Genesis Stone amber was the source of magic and he simply had to summon its power through his psychic will. Mareg the Dragonlord knew the secret because he took all of A Ahmud Ki’s amber relics before entrapping him in a glyph beneath the grey dust of Se’Treya. A Ahmud Ki was back in Se’Treya to find his possessions.

An image of the red-haired woman who had saved his life by releasing him from Mareg’s cruel prison formed in his thoughts. He already missed Meg. The decision to leave her in the strange new Andrak world so that he could pursue his power wasn’t easy. He loved her, more than he had ever loved any human, but he had to leave her world—at least until he found his amber relics, restored his magical power and became what he was always destined to become. When he resurrected his true self he would return to her, reveal himself in his glory and together they would be omnipotent rulers.

He wiped tiny beads of sweat from his high forehead and searched the grey dusty plain again for the Demon Horsemen. They had stumbled upon him as he was searching his former tomb and he was fortunate to escape. If Mareg had hidden his ring and pendant in the underground chamber, he was especially clever, because A Ahmud Ki could find no places that might contain his possessions, not even a suggestion of a hidden alcove. It was possible they were locked in a chamber where the Demon Horsemen resided, but when he had searched the corridors out of which the Horsemen habitually came he discovered the corridors ended at blank granite walls. And then he was pursued. And now he was here. He looked up at the sunless blue sky.

Going back into the underground chamber was far too dangerous. He knew the Horsemen wouldn’t pursue him above ground because Se’Treya was designed to nullify magic and they were magical constructs, unable to set foot on the grey dust, but underground, where magic still functioned, they were potent and he was mortal. What he did know was that they came and went from the chamber, somehow. Perhaps they used a portal. Perhaps there were craftily hidden connecting tunnels to other chambers.

He guessed there would be more underground chambers in the bleak, forbidding landscape. Logically, there had to be. Mareg was not the only Dragonlord of his time. He had had brothers—before the coming of their nemesis, the legendary Aian Abreotan. Six brothers. Abreotan slew five in the Dragon Wars two thousand years ago and entombed two—Mareg and Andrakis—whose prisons A Ahmud Ki had found in his personal quest for Dragonlord power. All seven had used Se’Treya as a playground, a place to resolve brotherly differences, according to what Mareg once told A Ahmud Ki, so if one chamber belonged to Mareg there could well be six more. The longer he pondered the concept, the more obvious it seemed. One more time he scanned the landscape. Then he began his search.

He was unbearably thirsty. There was no real sun in the burning blue sky, no heat like that of a desert, but he was sweating heavily and he felt the exhaustion of a lost soul.

BOOK: Prisoner of Fate
6.53Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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