Authors: Daniel Antoniazzi
Imperial Metals, Book One
Within the Hollow Crown
by Daniel Antoniazzi
Cover art by Raymond Minnaar, copyright 2013.
Map by Pheobe Boynton, copyright 2013.
All characters in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. And hilarious.
All events described in this book actually happened. Just not on our world.
Table of Contents
Special Thanks to...
My Mom, Dad, and favorite sister (Irene) for believing in the book nonstop, even when the smart money was pointing the other way.
Irene, again, for finding the title.
Bobby Brimmer, for going first and proving there was nothing to fear. You can find his writing at his
Raymond Minnaar, for the cover art.
Find more of his art at his
Pheobe Boynton, for the map.
Find more of her art and costume design at her
Kristen Eaton, for liking the part with the juggling.
And a Very Special Thanks to...
Paul Loester, Jon Lum, Evan Piccarillo, Kevin Sheldon, and Sloane Yavarkovsky for being inspiring characters.
to my Mom and Dad.
For God’s sake, let us sit upon the ground
nd tell sad stories of the death of kings;
How some have been deposed; some slain in war,
Some haunted by the ghosts they have deposed;
Some poison'd by their wives: some sleeping kill'd;
All murder'd: for within the hollow crown
That rounds the mortal temples of a king
Keeps Death his court and there the antic sits,
Scoffing his state and grinning at his pomp,
Allowing him a breath, a little scene,
To monarchize, be fear'd and kill with looks,
Infusing him with self and vain conceit,
As if this flesh which walls about our life,
Were brass impregnable, and humour'd thus
Comes at the last and with a little pin
Bores through his castle wall, and farewell king!
Prologue: The Unique King
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of the wind in your hair as you fall from the North Tower of the Castle Anuen.
There’s also nothing quite like the abrupt, sickening thud that inevitably follows.
There had been many assassinations in the history of the Kingdom of Rone, but this one differed from all the others in three important ways. First of all, there had never been an attempt on the King’s life. Previous assassinations had targeted Dukes, Counts, Barons, and the occasional Yodeler, but nobody had ever been so ambitious as to off the King.
, none of the assassinations had been the result of defenestration. This particular detail would make the scholars very happy, since they had been forced to learn the meaning of the word “
” but never had an opportunity to use it.
And finally, the motive behind the assassination was unique. In all previous assassinations in the Kingdom, the motive involved moving someone up the line of
. In the case of King Vincent Rone, it was exactly the opposite.
King Vincent was a passable King, but certainly his death would play a bigger part in his legacy than anything he had done in life. Even then, his untimely and unique demise would only amount to a footnote in the history books. Because when the story is all told, it is about another King entirely, and about a sword called the Saintskeep.
But that comes later. To truly understand the scope of this event, we must begin our story three months earlier in the County of Arwall, in the southeast corner of the Kingdom of Rone…