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.
Back of book cover
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
The Four Crowns
In Vosj’s fouth kingdom, at the end of King Attim’s reign, twelve-year-old Jisana would be tortured that afternoon.
However, that morning, she sat 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. These things rarely lasted for half a hand.
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. 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 holding out her begging bowl, as the normal didn’t see street folk on days like these.
It gave her time to ruminate about Brodia, the Green Wizard. Jisana remained awestruck about talking to her hero two days ago. It was the briefest of conversations, but Brodia told Jisana she would find Jisana when she was older. Later, Jisana met the Bone Crusher himself, who asked her to join his team. Now she was helping 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 a year ago.
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. Being inside the Keep’s walls would be going home for her.
The time between the lightning flashes and the thunder lengthened as the storm moved away. 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 they took her away from the boredom of begging for her existence.
Two boys came along the newly washed street; the shorter one was a beggar boy, a grist. He had a limp. The taller one wore ordinary clothes and walked with a confident stride. Something about them held her attention as they approached.
Jisana quickly realized the grist with a limp was the boy who attacked her 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.
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 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 Jisana 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.
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.” 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 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 ran hard along the cobbled street. Hopefully, the grist wasn’t so fast with the limp she’d given him. Ignoring the first alley, she ran for the second one, dodging 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 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. Picking locks was one of the skills 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 hiding 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 from the other side 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 nearby. Feeling the edge of the steps, she began running down the spiral staircase, sliding her left hand around the inner column. She had a fighting chance if she could make it into the tunnels. That was her only hope.
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. A couple of times, she almost lost her balance. It was a long way to the tunnels, and she was tired. She stumbled when the end of the stairs surprised her, banging her knees hard on the stone floor.
With no time to dwell on the pain, she crawled to the tunnel entrance, feeling for the lock. Again, she worked in blackness, picking the lock to slip through the door before relocking the door from the tunnel side. Now she needed a place to hide.