SHARDHELD, The Shardheld Saga #3
Muus’ fateful journey as the Shardheld nears its end. After braving the dangers of the desolate Sea of Rom, he and his friends reach the Empire of the Baljaren. Here, he decides to slip away and travel all alone to lost Falrom. In the dead of night, he leaves the Imperial palace for the fast naval galley that will bring him across the sea to Gaul. From there he plans to cross the Barrier Alps into burning Falrom and seek for the Kalmanir stone he must revitalize.
Neither his friends, nor the Gods, nor even his bitter enemies, agree with his decision. They all hurry after him, to help or hold him and the skyshard he carries.
The last race is on. To Falrom!
Will the Shardheld win, and restore the world’s magic? Or will foul Rev succeed, and bring back the cruel primordial Age of the Gods Before?
Follow Muus’s final journey to its moving completion in this third book of The Shardheld Saga.
Shardheld, The Shardfall Saga, Book 3
Author: Paul E. Horsman
Editor: Emma L. Adams Editorial Services
Illustrator: Jos Weijmer, JW Artstudio
Publisher: Red Rune Books (2014)
Published as: print book, e-book
Pages: ca. 217
Price: $ 16.99 (print), $ 2.99 (e-book)
CHAPTER 3 (excerpt)
Next morning, Ottil woke to the sounds of fighting on deck. He prodded Muus. ‘Something’s wrong.’
As he made to go on deck, Muus pulled him back. ‘Stay here, I’ll go.’
Grumbling, Ottil resheathed his sword, while Muus hastily put on his boots.
‘Be careful,’ said Moira, as the Runemaster stepped out of the cabin.
There was a pitched battle going on, saw Ottil from inside the door. Alongside the ship lay a sleek, black-painted galley, looking as deadly as any Norden dragonship. Avaristos’ fear of pirates had been justified. Under cover of the gray of dawn, they must’ve crept near undetected by the sleepy watch, and boarded while most of the Kassanda’s hands were still below. The captain himself lay face down halfway up the companion ladder, looking for all the world like a slaughtered sucking pig. His men fought with desperation clear on their faces, and, outnumbered three-to-one, were rapidly losing the battle.
'Watch out!’ cried the Prince.
Muus evaded a slashing pike and turned to go inside again, when a wild looking pirate jumped down from the afterdeck and cracked the Runemaster on the skull. As Muus fell, Ottil darted outside, his sword at the ready, but the pirate had disappeared in the fighting. Without hesitation, Ottil gripped Muus’ ankle and dragged him back into the cabin. He slammed the door shut, while Moirra knelt by the unconscious body. Taut-faced, she sought for damage. Finally she sat back on her heels. ‘He lives. The skull is intact, but there’s a large bump. I don’t know how long he’ll be out, but he’ll have a concussion. He...’ Terrible screams from outside made her stop and everyone looked at the door.
The cries broke off as suddenly as they had started, and moments later, the door crashed open. A scarecrow of a man stood in the opening. He was tall and bone-thin, dressed in mismatched clothes that had seen better days, his hair in long rattails. It was the bloodied sword in his hand, though, that drew their eyes.
‘Passengers,’ said the pirate with some satisfaction. ‘I hope you make my efforts here worthwhile after all. Tell me, are you bait or booty?’
‘Bait?’ said Ottil. ‘Explain, please.’
‘Food for the fishes,’ said the pirate calmly. ‘Like the crew. Or else you’re important enough to warrant a ransom.’
‘In that case we’re booty,’ said Ottil. ‘I’m the nephew of the King of Gaul.’