EXCERPT 4 – FROM CHAPTER 16
‘Give up!’ Maud roared, climbing halfway up the quarterdeck ladder. She saw the enemy captain beside the wheel, a tall man in a gleaming breastplate and a plumed helmet. He brandished his sword and shouted endless commands into the melee. Maud fixed him with her eye and bellowed, ‘Give up, you can’t win!’
‘We’ll see about that!’ an unnaturally hollow voice answered, and a hooded figure walked to stand beside the captain. ‘Behold my power!’
He waved his hands and a greenish mist wafted over Maud, chilling her to the bone, and making her gag with its stink of death and spilled blood. It formed a sluggish fluid on the main deck, spreading into all corners of the ship, and every fallen combatant of either side touched by it rose and attacked the Jentakans.
Maud’s forces screamed in horror and turned to flee.
‘Hold!’ Maud cried in her loudest voice. ‘By Kallianura I command you, stay and fight!’
Her warriors obeyed, but their courage was gone and they reacted like automatons.
The hooded figure lifted his arms. ‘Despair! You will all join the dead! I’ll ...’
The one word cut through the bedlam, silencing all.
The hooded figure stiffened. ‘Who dares ...?’
A blinding flash turned all eyes to the redheaded boy with the dragon staff, standing at the foot of the smoke stack amidships. ‘I dare you, child!’
‘Basil!’ Jurgis cried. ‘Watch out!’
The Spellwarden raised his arms over the green and his voice was deep, laden with authority. ‘By the power of the Council, your magic is forbidden! Begone, foul spirits!’
A frightful black light sprang from his staff, spread out and like two spills of wine on a tabletop, it met the enemy’s green. There it stopped.
The hooded figure near the wheel laughed derisively. ‘You want to oppose my might, foolish boy?’
To and fro the green and the black rolled, but neither won a foot’s length. Then Basil lifted his left hand, waving a heavy silver branch as long as his arm, and cried something terrible that defied Maud’s hearing. The black light shooting from his staff turned to purple and so did the substance covering half of the deck. A heady smell of lilies wafted over the ship, a drowsy aroma that filled Maud with lethargy. The sweet purple spread, drinking up the green and returning blessed death to every fallen fighter. Finally, it reached the foot of the quarterdeck ladder and started upward.
With a yell of rage, the hooded figure clapped his hands. ‘This isn’t over!’ He jumped high up in the air, and something caught him. It carried him away from the ship, seaward into the blue sky. His last shout of rage and frustration rent the air. ‘I’ll be baaack!’
Title: Lioness of Kell
Author: Paul E. Horsman
The lioness Maud is at eighteen already a black powerhouse of brawn. When she is ordered to fetch a young thief from a pirate town, she thinks it an easy task. Until she and Jurgis the thief find themselves running for their lives.
Young warlock Basil sees his life threatened by a summons from the Warlockry Council, to prove his beauty. He knows his lame foot will betray him and escapes on the first ship out of town. On board he meets Yarwan, a handsome midshipman, who awakens feelings he never knew existed.
When the four young people meet, Basil learns of a spell that could repair his foot. Only the spell’s creator, the infamous Black Warlock, disappeared nearly a century ago. As the four decide to go looking for him, they start on a path leading to an old war and unsolved mysteries that will change their world. Or kill them.
Paul E. Horsman (1952) is a Dutch and International Fantasy Author. Born in the sleepy garden village of Bussum, The Netherlands, he now lives in Roosendaal, a town on the Dutch/Belgian border.
He has been a soldier, salesman, scoutmaster and from 1995 a teacher of Dutch As A Second Language to refugees from all over the globe.
Since 2012, he is a full-time writer of epic light fantasy adventures for both Y.A. and over. His works have been both trade published in The Netherlands, and self-published internationally.
His available titles are:
* The Shadow of the Revenaunt (Rhidauna, Zihaen, Ordelanden) trilogy
* The Shardheld Saga (Shardfall, Runemaster, Shardheld) series
* Lioness of Kell (standalone)