A Reaper of Stone
by Mark Gelineau, Joe King
Release Date: September 15, 2015
Cover (use links below to download)
A Lady is dead. Her noble line ended. And the King’s Reaper has come to reclaim her land and her home. In the marches of Aedaron, only one thing is for certain. All keeps of the old world must fall.
Elinor struggles to find her place in the new world. She once dreamed of great things. Of becoming a hero in the ways of the old world. But now she is a Reaper. And her duty is clear. Destroy the old. Herald the new.
Buy link: amzn.com/B0145JMBDA
Mailing List: www.gelineauandking.com/mailinglist
Amazon Author Pages:
Mark Gelineau: http://www.amazon.com/Mark-Gelineau/e/B00I6TQUCE
Joe King: http://www.amazon.com/Joe-King/e/B01460OK50
Author Bios (Short)
Mark and Joe have been writing and telling stories together for the last 25 years. They share a love for the classic fantasy tales of their childhood. Their Echoes of the Ascended series brings those old epic characters and worlds to new life.
The girl put a hand on his shoulder. Her voice was low. “Whatever happens next, you mustn’t move.”
And then the ground underneath the horse exploded and a pale white form the size of a wagon erupted into the air. The horse let out a scream that turned into a wet gurgle as white writhing tentacles enveloped the animal. The copper tang of blood filled the air and Conbert felt his stomach lurch.
He thought to go for the sword at his side, but he saw the girl’s eyes.
He held himself still as another of the creatures breached the drowning grass. It was a huge mass of rippling white flesh, except at the front, where the mouth opened like an exposed wound. Massive tearing fangs lined the pink maw, and white tentacles writhed from the worm’s throat, seeking the remnants of the thrashing horse. The two monsters tore the horse apart in seconds, powerful tentacles flaying meat from bone with horrific efficiency.
As the rendworms began to slide across the ground in their direction, Con felt a terror urging him to run. He fought against it, trying to focus instead on the perfect stillness of the young girl as the huge worms slid past them.
Then the girl moved.
The young cadet was fast and sure as she darted forward. She struck out with the mace, swinging it with both hands, and smashing it into the rendworm’s side. There was a loud crack, and Con knew that somewhere inside the sinuous horror, a bone had broken under the blow.
What must have been the entire population of the village stood there. Each person held a torch, flames sputtering and hissing in the rain. They stood silently as Elinor and the column passed, but she knew their eyes were only on her.
They were here to witness the officer of the King’s Army, in her somber black and silver, lead the troop of engineers and laborers to the fortified keep that had stood over their homes for generations. The keep where their grandparents and great grandparents had fought and bled for their lord and the land.
The keep that Elinor had been charged with dismantling.
Elinor had seen those faces before. She was used to the looks of sadness and resentment that followed her. They were the same expressions she had found across the kingdom as lords died and their lands were annexed. As she came to destroy a legacy of honor and tradition that she herself admired.
Yet, it had never been like this. Never this procession through the darkness.
It gnawed at her. Pulled at her. Where were the shouts and the curses? Where were the angry threats of violence and retribution? The people had the same look of sadness, but they stood in perfect stillness as she passed.
Before the open gate of the keep, two figures knelt on the stone path. One was an old man in heavy armor, his white hair hanging down lank in the pouring rain. Beside him knelt a young girl, no more than sixteen summers and slight of frame. They wore the blue and gray of the deceased Lady Kian Lliane. Each had a shield placed on the ground before them and their blades were resting across their palms.
Before the girl could respond, a figure entered through the stable door, rain dripping from the dark maroon leather of his coat. He wore an arrogant sneer on his lean, vulpine face, and his cold eyes locked onto hers. Ephed, First Blade to Lord Piersym.
“Showing up the new lord of this land at the moment of his arrival is a display of startling stupidity,” Ephed said. “Even for you.”
Elinor swallowed a retort and ignored him.
“Did you not hear me, Reaper?”
He was baiting her, as he had throughout their trek. She did not rise to it though. She turned pointedly back to Tae. “Would you grab my saddlebags for me, Tae?”
Ephed closed the distance and pushed the girl out of the way, causing her to fall into Elinor’s horse and making the animal rear slightly. Elinor caught Tae’s arm and kept her from falling to the ground.
Elinor rounded on Ephed, the cold blue of her eyes meeting his directly. “I heard you fine, Razor.” She eased Tae away and motioned for her to leave. As Tae disappeared around the corner, Elinor kept her eyes on Ephed. “Your lord was offered an honor. Which he refused. I merely accepted in his stead.”
“You insulted him.” Ephed’s lips shifted into a cold smile. His long, dark hair hung over his eyes. He pulled it back, revealing a V-shaped scar on his throat. The Victory Kiss was a testament to how dangerous he was, but Elinor did not need the mark to know that. She could smell it on him; old blood like beaten copper.