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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 has been fully drafted and is in beta reading. It is scheduled to go on sale on June 13th, 2023.

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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 6/13/2023


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Tropical Leaves

Tunnel Refuge


In Vosj’s fourth kingdom, near the end of King Attim’s reign, twelve-year-old Jisana would be tortured in the afternoon.

However, that morning, she sat in the pouring rain outside the Green Tower tavern with the too-colorful shingle depicting the green-tinted West Tower. With lightning flashing across the sky, she huddled, waiting for the summer storm to pass, which seldom lasted more than thirty minutes.

Her small corner between the tavern’s wall and the stone steps offered shelter because the wind came from behind her. Still, she scrunched her knees into her chest to keep herself warm. A few people passed along the cobbled street with shoulders hunched against the rain. One man climbed the inn’s steps. Jisana didn’t bother with her begging bowl, as the normal wouldn’t see street folk on days like these.

The lag between lightning flash and thunder lengthened as the storm moved away. Soon, the rain was little more than a drizzle, then it stopped. The deluge washed the streets, leaving them fresh for the next hand. Jisana liked these brief renewal periods as they took her away from the boredom of begging for her existence.

Jisana remained awestruck after talking to her hero two days ago. In the briefest of conversations, the Green Wizard told Jisana she would find her when she was older. Later, Jisana met the Bone Crusher himself, who asked her to join his team. Now she was helping Roon, the One-Armed Wizard, who treated her like she was one of the normal. No one had done that since her parents died of the fever last year.

The wizards offered a chance to return to the place she cherished. Jisana grew up in the servant’s quarters in the South Tower of the Keep, less than fifty feet from here, so being inside the Keep’s walls was like going home for her.

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

Jisana realized the grist with a limp was the boy who attacked her a few days ago. On that day, she 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.

When the two boys faced her from the street twenty feet away, she stood, knife in hand. This was turning into a fight. Glancing at the King’s Keep gateway revealed two poppy-red guards. Neither was big like the one who helped her recently. She was alone.

“I’s owes ya, poke,” the grist said, taking out his cubbie. The tall one waited, though she knew he’d get involved if she beat the grist.

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

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

Jisana stole another glance at the tall boy. “I know you,” she said, dropping into her old dialect. “You’re the palace servant I saw in the tunnels yesterday.”

She should have kept quiet.

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

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 so secret that they would execute her. Her assailants closed in, trying to corner her. But she jumped, pulling herself onto the head-height top step. The dull thwack of a cubbie hitting the stonework behind her propelled her to greater speed.

After jumping down on the other side, she sprinted along the cobbled street. Hopefully, the grist wasn’t so fast with the limp she’d given him. Ignoring the first alley, she made for the second one, dodging into it. She heard their heavy footfalls as they ran after her.

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

This alley curved right before splitting, which was why she chose it. After taking the left fork, she raced for the steps leading into an abandoned storeroom. Jisana half ran, half slipped down the steps. The door was open. Inside, she took the few seconds she needed to pick the door locked. Lock-picking was one skill she practiced to compensate for her small size. She considered herself the fastest on the streets.

The cellar was blacker than the darkest night, but by feeling her way, she found the empty barrels hiding the tunnel door. Jisana already had her picks in the lock when the storeroom entrance opened. She couldn’t prevent the lock-clicking sound, so she hastened to open the heavy door and relock it from the other side before they found it behind the barrels.

She ran, trusting her memory instead of crawling in the darkness for the stairs, stopping at the step’s edge. She scampered down the spiral staircase, sliding her left hand around the inner column. If she made it into the bottom tunnels, she had a chance to live.

Jisana completed three revolutions before the lock clanged above her, and a faint light permeated through the utter darkness. The boys had stopped to light a torch, giving her extra time.

She skipped down the stairs in a rhythm, unable to see the steps. Twice, she almost lost her balance. By the time she neared the bottom, she was tired. She stumbled when the end of the stairs surprised her, banging her knees hard on the stone floor.

Unable to dwell on the pain, she crawled to the tunnel entrance, feeling for the lock. Working blind, she picked the lock to slip into the tunnel, relocking the door from the tunnel side. Now, she needed a place to hide.

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