The Fifth Kingdom
This is the second book in an eight book fantasy series. The novel is available on Amazon via kindle, paperback, and hardcover. It's also available for free via Kindle Unlimited.
At the bottom of this page is the first scene of the book as a sample.
Back of book cover
On a medieval planet, Brodia has run away from her Zenii, Grand Wizard Preem. Alone, she strives to learn more magic as she helps the poor and disadvantaged citizens of Otanic. Brodia travels east toward the fifth kingdom, unaware that this now is the hunting ground for the psychotic killer who only wants to see her die.
On the road east, Brodia faces the Brotherhood who seek to burn her as a witch, and the King's Patrol, sent to strip her of her magic. Meanwhile, Wizard Preem remains trapped in the capital at the king's pleasure.
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Defender of Vosj
On the planet Vosj, in the fourth kingdom, Brodia would soon find herself tied over the top of a Brotherhood pyre.
However, a week before that day, she completed her work in a rich farmer’s barn. Wearing her preferred men’s clothes and pear-green beret, she strode across the farmyard as the rain fell in big drops, making small craters in the soft soil. Eleven-year-old Julani ran ahead, giggling as she showed off, trying to dodge the water droplets.
The farmer’s youngest daughter was already in hero-worship love with Brodia despite this being her first day at this farm. She wasn’t sure if she liked this much attention. While the son, Habort, seemed just as infatuated, though she doubted his motivation was hero-worship. The boy was two years younger than Brodia’s best friend, Hirin, who she’d left behind in Widemouth. Habort followed her across the yard as if getting wet meant nothing to him. The air smelled clean, lifting Brodia’s spirits as the rain washed away her concerns over being abandoned by the man she loved.
The farmhouse’s fresh white paint contrasted with the dark green window boxes under the kitchen’s windows. Julani pulled open the kitchen door painted in the same dark green. It afforded Brodia a glimpse of the kitchen as she approached the open door. The flash of pale yellow froze her steps.
Habort bumped into her by accident. “What’s wrong?” he asked.
She ducked, out of the men’s sight. Dressed as she was, it would be death meeting a Daffodil. “I should dress better for dinner,” she replied to Habort.
“I’ll go with you,” he offered. When she suggested he hold her hand while she visited the outhouse, the boy’s face turned red as he mumbled something.
In the barn by herself, Brodia pulled on her dark-blue dress with light-blue trim. It hid the blackened wand she carried in her belt. After stuffing her green beret under the straw, she strode back to the kitchen door. She couldn’t avoid meeting with the Brotherhood, but it still sent chills down her spine. She hated these kidnappers of young girls above all other men.
Inside the farm’s large kitchen, the farmer, Pavel, talked to a member of the Brotherhood Against Wizardry, or Daffodil to those who despised them. With some luck, her blue dress disguise would hold.
This farm was more than a league west of the Longford Road from Big Oak and fifteen leagues from Kefnu. She had hoped she was far from the areas the Brotherhood frequented. She dropped her gaze meekly before shuffling over to help the farmer’s wife at the firepit.
Besides the Daffodils, she also feared the King’s Patrol would arrest her for hurting a man in Kefnu. However, she had eliminated her greatest threat. Two days ago, she watched a barn burn to the ground, taking the life of the tall apprentice who not only killed young girls but also had made it a mission to murder Brodia. Twice they clashed; each time she had survived the encounter, though she’d be a fool to claim she was strong enough to defeat him on equal terms.
Pavel introduced the member of the Brotherhood as Brother Amar, who said he had camped his group in the west pasture. Brodia made a mental note to keep far away from that meadow. If the Brotherhood learned who she was, they would burn her alive.
Soon the evening meal was ready, so Brodia sat at the large kitchen table, where everyone sat according to their rank in the family. The father sat at the head with Habort opposite the Daffodil. Next came the eldest daughter, Klupio, facing her little sister Julani. Last came Brodia, sitting next to Julani. The mother sat at the foot of the table near the firepit. Brodia cared little for the eldest daughter, who already knew everything essential, reminding Brodia of this several times during the day.
Klupio was in a heated exchange with her father about the marriage contract while the Daffodil studied the argument. To Brodia’s surprise, Klupio glanced at her twice as if asking for help in the dispute. Klupio’s left hand rested palm-up on the table; she touched her thumb to the top pad of her little finger. The secret sign of the Fourth Daughters. Brodia was a Defender of Vosj, one of three people in that exclusive group sworn to defend the planet against tyranny. As such, she knew it would also be wrong to belong to the Fourth Daughters, though she agreed with their philosophy that women had the right to choose their husbands.
As she tried to join the conversation, the mother went to the firepit. “Brodia, can you help me with the roasted chicken?” she said over her shoulder. Brodia hurried to help slide the chicken off the spit onto the large metal serving plate. “I think I know who you are,” the mother whispered. “Be careful around Pa. He’s set in his ways. I’ll not see Klupio or Julani whipped because they want a better life.” Brodia nodded before taking the chicken to the table.
She returned to her seat deep in thought over the fourteen-year-old daughter. She was fast approaching marrying age. Brodia sympathized with Klupio’s feelings of helplessness. As father and daughter argued under the watchful eyes of the Daffodil, Brodia decided.
“Klupio, listen to your father,” Brodia said. The Daffodil leaned forward to stare at her, but she continued to give her advice. “Daughters should bring in the marriage contract money; it’s their duty.”
Klupio glared at her, her face a mixture of betrayal and hatred. When the Daffodil turned his attention back to Klupio, Brodia placed her left hand, palm up, on the table, touching her thumb to the tip of her little finger. Klupio’s face changed to bewilderment, then a touch of understanding. She gave the slightest nod before telling her father she would follow the normal tradition of the marriage contract.
Pavel nodded toward Brodia, but Julani’s expression changed to loathing for Brodia. At least she stopped the battle between Klupio and her father for now. Soon she’d sit down with Klupio to help her find a better solution than just butting heads with her pa like two goats.
Brodia changed the subject of the dinnertime discussion. “Brother Amar, I heard rumors that the Western Strangler is dead. Is this true?”
“The story is that a farmer claimed to see him enter their barn during a thunderstorm. When lightning set the barn on fire, it burned the killer to death. A fitting end to a monster,” Brother Amar replied, happy to talk of state matters instead of a small farming family’s internal strife. “However, we still await confirmation from the Palace.”
“Good, riddance” Pavel said. “I had feared for my daughters’ lives.”
Brodia listened to the ensuing discussion with half an ear. Her mind swirled around the idea that the Palace hadn’t confirmed the bastard’s death. The conversation at the table’s head evolved into rumors of Harpin preparing to invade Otanic. She knew these stories were true, but Brother Amar dismissed them as if indifferent, claiming Grand Wizard Preem would destroy them just as Sarn the Sage did once before.
Brodia wanted to scream that Harpin also had a wizard and that Otanic wasn’t ready. She would risk her life defending Otanic, which was much more than he would ever do. But all she said was, “We all trust Wizard Preem will stop them.” However, the realization that people thought Otanic was safe gave her chills. Should I return to Kefnu? But, she left it to Preem if he wanted her or not.