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Shadow on Concrete Wall

The Four Crowns

This is the fourth book in an eight book fantasy series. The 4th novel is being written. It is expected to be available for presale on Amazon in the summer of 2023.

TFC Description
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Back of book cover

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On a medieval planet, Brodia has just been promoted to journeyman wizard by the Bone Crusher. Now the enemy wizards are ready to open hostilities inside the capital of Kefnu and the Royal Palace itself.

Out-gunned by the enemy, how can the Green Wizard and the Bone Crusher save the fourth kingdom from the powerful first kingdom.

Planned for a

summer release

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TFC Map
Tropical Leaves

The Four Crowns

 

On the planet Vosj, in the fourth kingdom, twelve-year-old Jisana will soon find herself begging on the streets with a blind man.

However, a fortnight before then she was sitting in the pouring rain outside the Green Tower tavern with the overly colorful shingle depicting the green-tinted West Tower. Lightning flashed across the sky while she huddled, waiting for the summer storm to pass away. These things rarely lasted for half a hand.

Her small corner between the tavern’s stone wall and stone steps to the door offered some shelter because the wind came from her back. Still, she scrunched her knees into her chest to keep as warm as possible. In front of her, a few people passed along the cobbled street, with shoulders hunched against the rain. One man came up the tavern’s steps. Jisana didn’t bother to hold out her begging bowl as the normal folk didn’t even see street orphans on days like these.

It left her time to think about the Green Wizard. Jisana was still awestruck about talking to her two days ago. It was the briefest of conversations, but she told Jisana she would come and find her when she was older. Then she met the Bone Crusher himself, who asked her to join his team. She was helping the One-Armed Wizard who treated her like she was normal. No one had done that since her parents died of the fever a year ago.

The time between the lightning flashes and the thunder lengthened as the storm passed. Soon the rain was little more than a drizzle, then it stopped. Still, the storm had washed the streets, leaving them with a freshness that would only linger for a hand. Jisana liked these brief periods of renewal as it took her away from the boredom of begging for her existence.

Two boys were walking along the street, the shorter one was a beggar boy, a grist. He had a limp. The taller one wore ordinary clothes as he walked with a confident stride. Something about them held her attention as they came along the newly washed street.

Jisana quickly realized the grist with a limp was the boy who attacked a few days ago. On that day she managed to cut his leg twice, giving him the limp he still had. She stretched out the muscles in her legs before tucking them under her, ready to jump up. The tall boy looked familiar, though she couldn’t remember where she had seen him before.

When the two boys stopped on the street, twenty feet in front of her, she pulled her knife and stood. This was going to be a fight. A quick glance at the gateway to the King’s Keep revealed two poppy-red guards, neither were as big as the one that helped her the other day. She was alone.

“I’s owes ya, poke,” the grist said, taking out his cubbie. The tall one stood to one side, though it was clear he’d get involved if she got the better of the grist.

“Ya brings yar mama to helps ya then,” she called out to him using her street language.

“I’s gonna tap ya, poke,” limping grist said, though he hadn’t moved toward her.

Stealing another glance at the tall boy, she finally placed where she’d seen him. “I know you,” she said, dropping back into her normal dialect. “You’re the palace servant I saw in the tunnels.” It was a mistake.

“Kill her, Nip,” the palace servant said as he pulled out his cubbie. It was a strange weapon for someone working in the palace.

In that second, Jisana knew this wasn’t a fight over a begging spot. These two meant to kill her. She had stumbled on something secret, so they were going to execute her. Her assailants closed in, trying to trap her in her corner. But she jumped and pulled herself onto the top step that was head height. The dull swack of a cubbie hitting the stonework behind her, helped propel her to greater speed.

After jumping down on the other side, she ran hard along the cobbled street. Hopefully the grist wasn’t so fast with the limp she’d given him. Eschewing the first alley, she ran for the second one and dodged into it. There was no need to glance behind her, she could hear their heavy footfalls as they ran after her.

“Don’t let her get away,” one of them said.

This alley curved to the right before splitting into two directions. It was why she chose it. Taking the left fork, she ran for the steps leading down into an abandoned storeroom. Jisana half ran, half slipped down the steps. The door was open. Inside she took the seconds to close the door and pick it locked. Picking locks was the other skill she practiced to compensate for her small size. She considered herself the best on the streets.

The storeroom was blacker than the darkest night. Feeling her way around the wall, she found the empty barrels that hid the entrance to the tunnels. Jisana already had her picks in the lock when the storeroom entrance opened. There was no helping the sound of the lock clicking, so she moved quickly to open the heavy door and relock it before they could find it behind the barrels.

There was no time to crawl in the darkness to find the stairs, so she ran, trusting her memory. She stopped, knowing the top step was just in front of her. Feeling the edge of the step, she began running down the spiral steps, sliding her left hand along the stair’s inner column. If she could make it into the tunnels, she had a fighting chance. That was all she could hope for.

Jisana had completed three revolutions before she heard the click of the lock come from above her. A faint light permeated down through the utter darkness. The boys had taken the time to light a torch. If the Gods willed it, it should give her the extra time she needed.

She skipped down the stairs in a rhythm, unable to see the steps. A couple of times she almost lost her balance. It was a long way to the tunnels, and she was getting tired. When she reached the bottom she stumbled, banging her knees hard on the stone floor. The end of the steps had surprised her.

With no time to dwell on the pain, she crawled over to the tunnel entrance, feeling for the lock. Again, she worked in blackness, picking the lock, slipping through the door, before relocking the door from the tunnel side. Now she had to find a place to hide.

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