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Angelique

With Ali DeGray               “Are you back, Angelique?” He waits in his library, alone, drawing back curtains on memories of love so many years lost. Reports of dead men, bloodless, all eerily similar, tell … Continue reading »

There Be Dragons

Prologue Once upon a time, before the world of man was as old as it is today—but after it was as young as it might have been—there was a beautiful land called Calasia, caught between the new age of logic and the ancient days of magic. It was ruled by the great Duke Fiorelli, and beneath him, in power in their feudal lands, were two renowned warrior counts, the lords of Lendo and Baristo. Calasia, governed by the great Duke Fiorelli, prospered, laws were just, and art and music were loved and enjoyed. But to the south lived the fierce People of the Distant Land, and when they threatened the borders of Calasia, three great warriors, the leaders of the land, went out to meet them. It had been some time since such an enemy had been met, and those who went rode to fight hard indeed, for it was said their enemies had among their ranks a group of great, tall, dreaded wargnomes, beings said to have armored skin, reptilian scales that gave them the ability to defy the swords and arrows of mortal warriors. Hectobar, one of the horrid battle lords who led the enemy forces, was known to have stolen a princess from a nearby realm. Being gallant knights, the noblemen of Calasia would not only protect their borders, but they would not stop until they had freed the beautiful damsel in distress. So they rode, and a great battle ensued. In the midst of the fighting, Alphonso, Count of Lendo, was caught in a tight arena of terrible combat. He could not be reached by his old and dear friend, Fiorelli, and later, the Count of Baristo would claim he was too far from the fighting to go to Alphonso’s aid. And so it was that Nico d’Or, falcon master to the Count, came into the picture. Brave and courageous, he rode forward, fought relentlessly, and smote the enemy to free the Count of Lendo from the evil hordes surrounding him. But alas, the Count of Lendo Prologue Legends Heather Graham 2 had received a mortal blow, and in the arms of his falcon master, he found his last strength and comfort. He commended the keeping of Lendo to Nico d’Or, the falcon master, who had proven his strength and loyalty. As the Count of Lendo placed all he held dear in d’Or’s keeping and sighed his last breath, Nico d’Or rose with a great heartache and a roar of fury, swearing the fine old count would not die in vain. The knights of Calasia joined in his rage, rallied, and rode on with great speed. They came upon the horrid creature Hectobar, who still held the feisty princess. So great was d’Or’s fury, he hopped atop the creature Hectobar, and, with his bare hands, strangled the beast. Read More

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Passion’s Blood

Lord Gareth brought his sword down in a mighty arc, cleaving his assailant’s upraised buckler and hurling him to his death from atop the palisade. He spat a bloody oath as another of the woad-painted savages, eyes as wild as a mad dog’s, clambered over the merlon.

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“Fall back,” Gareth shouted, even as he parried a dagger blow and brought down his blade. There was the snap of bone, and Gareth shouldered the slumping figure over the wall.

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“Fall back,” he roared again. “We’ll be hemmed in.”

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As if in echo to his words, a thunderous crash shook the fortress, and the main gates leading into the yard from the gatehouse cracked, then split from the hinges. The Heldann horde raised a soul-shattering howl of triumph. With a final groan, the gates collapsed and were heaved aside by the tide of Highland warriors.

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The courtyard was drenched with blood as the defenders fell beneath the sheer savagery of the Heldanners, who slew those standing before them with steel, primitive stone, naked hands, and teeth. Gareth tore his gaze from the spectacle and moved along with the few of his men who still lived. As they climbed up the north tower stairs, the enemy poured over the walls behind them. At his side a youth, blood streaming from a gash on his forehead, closed and barred the door. Others piled wood and debris to form what they knew would be but a short-term deterrent.

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“Where did they come from? By God, where did they come from?” the lad babbled, eyes wide. Gareth seized the coil of mail at the youth’s neck and led him down the stone-lined corridor until he and his remaining men burst into the great hall.

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“We’ll make our stand here,” Gareth bellowed with grim determination, his grey beard spotted with foam, mail awash with crimson. He wiped a bloody hand across his brow and gestured toward a group of men near the wall. “You there, barricade the door. The rest of you, clear the center of the hall.”

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