Shadow on Concrete Wall

The Fifth Kingdom

This is the second book in what is intended to be a eight book fantasy series.  The 2nd work of fiction has been through three drafts.  It is now in the tinkering stage as it awaits the fate of the first book.

Marble Surface

Back of book cover

On a medieval planet, Brodia has run away from her Zenii, Grand Wizard Preem. Alone, she strives to learn 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 king's pleasure.

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Tropical Leaves

Defender of Vosj

On the planet Vosj, in the fourth kingdom, Brodia would soon find herself on top of a Brotherhood pyre.

However, a week before then, the seventeen-year-old wizard’s apprentice was working to earn a few coins. Outside the barn where she worked, the summer rain came down in large drops that made tiny craters in the dirt. Brodia heard the drops beating on the roof, but this farm was wealthy, and the barn solidly built to prevent any leaks.

This farm was more than a league south of the East Road from Kefnu. She hoped it was far enough to be safe from the king’s patrols sent to arrest her and away from the areas the Brotherhood usually frequented. If the patrols found her, they would whip her and take her wand. However, if the Brotherhood found her, they would burn her alive.

Brodia studied the stacked pile of straw bales in the stall. It was as high as her head. She would earn a crown if she completed the pile with the twelve straw bales outside the stall. The farmer’s son, Habort, sat on one of those bales, watching her intently. The boy was two years younger than her friend Hirin from her home village of Widemouth.

“Pa used the pitchfork to toss the bales up to me,” he said loudly enough for her to hear him over the constant drumbeat of the rain on the roof. “But you’re not strong enough.”

“There’s more than one way to cook an egg,” she responded. Under her dress, she wore her blackened wand stuffed into the belt of her pants. She could easily lift the bales with magic, but showing her abilities would surely bring the king’s patrol and the Brotherhood to this farm’s door to arrest her. In her hand was the pitchfork, and she needed a way to lift the bale without requiring a man’s strength. Then she remembered a school lesson from several years ago. “Women may not have a man’s strength, but we have other abilities.”

She pushed a bale close to the bars at the stall’s entrance. Into the bale, she stabbed the pitchfork and levered it into the air over the middle bar. Placing her foot on the end of the pitchfork, the bale was now three feet above the floor. She hauled on the shaft in one smooth move to lift the bale into the air. Without the magic lifting hand she used to support the bale’s weight, it would be impossible for her. However, this way meant she could hide her magic. Swinging the bale in a wide arc, she dropped it on top of the pile. She positioned the next bale, ready for the same technique.

“Can I try?” the farmer’s youngest daughter asked. She sat near her big brother on a separate bale of straw. Brodia suspected the farmer had sent the eleven-year-old to spy on her and ensure she did the work.

“If you want, Jaluni, but it must be too heavy for you,” Brodia warned. Jaluni came into the stall and took the pitchfork. Mimicking Brodia exactly, she thrust the tines into the next bale, and laying the shaft over the bar, she pushed down on the end. As expected, the bale didn’t move. “You need a longer lever.” Brodia took over and lifted the bale into its new position at the top of the pile. “You see, Habort. A woman may not have the strength of a man, but we have the brains to make up for it.” Jaluni laughed, and Brodia saw the boy’s anger rise.