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Dark Monolith Revised Edition Released

After nineteen months of rewrites, the revised edition of Dark Monolith has finally been released! Now that all three books have been revised, I am going to concentrate on book 4. Jackson has already developed a cover for it, which I will reveal here in a couple of weeks. In the interim, here is another excerpt from the new Dark Monolith:

The crowd quieted as the two men slowly circled each other. They cautiously closed the distance between them until they were just a blade’s reach away. Each made a few feints, testing the other, but these were easily parried or avoided. Suddenly, before Lloyd could react, Fafnar closed the gap between them. The knight deftly slipped under his guard and landed two blows into his midriff as he passed! Luckily, his armor took the brunt of the attacks, but he still felt them. Lloyd whirled around with his blades, attempting to catch the knight before he was out of range, but somehow Fafnar avoided the first blow and neatly parried the second one with his axe. Gods, he’s fast, and nimble to boot! The man rivaled Donnie.

The crowd had gone silent—it appeared that no one expected the haughty Sir Fafnar to land the first blow. Lloyd was going to have to be a lot more careful. He readjusted his stance again, shortening his grip on his weapons in preparation for closer combat. As he did, Fafnar spun around and immediately launched himself back toward him. Lloyd was not expecting such a reckless maneuver from the prim and proper noble. Before he knew it, the knight was under his guard again and landed two more blows, one of them nearly penetrating his armor! Lloyd swiftly swung around and set himself for a single swipe at the retreating noble. He brought his right hand around and connected with the knight, the tip of his black blade slicing neatly through the man’s armor and biting into his side. The crowd let out a collective cheer.

Fafnar, recoiling from the blow, took a few steps back, putting some distance between himself and Lloyd. His face reddened as he examined his side. He was bleeding through his armor. It was not a deep or debilitating wound, but it must have stung nonetheless. The Dunwynn knight’s eyes fell on him. “How dare you!” His expression hardened and he fixed Lloyd with an icy cold stare. “Now you shall feel my true wrath.”

Lloyd stood ready for the next attack, but instead the Dunwynn noble just stood there. A look of fierce concentration filled the man’s face, and Lloyd could feel the power building around him from where he stood.

Could it be? Was Fafnar some kind of... spiritblade?

In answer to his silent question, Sir Fafnar’s blade and axe frosted over, seemingly turning to ice in front of him! Lloyd was stunned by this new development. He had never heard of a technique that could turn weapons icy. It was as if they had studied the same arts, only substituting ice for fire. There were murmurs from the crowd around them. They appeared as surprised as Lloyd. Fafnar charged forward again. He moved in quite swiftly, but this time Lloyd was prepared. He parried the knight’s sword with his own, but Fafnar ducked under Lloyd’s left arm. He caught him in the side with his icy hand axe. Lloyd felt the cold right through his armor as Fafnar continued by. A few shocked cries went up around them, one in particular from the royal box.

“Lloyd!” That was Andrella.

Fafnar did not immediately turn and attack again this time. Instead, he kept going until he was well out of the range of Lloyd’s blades. Keeping one eye on his opponent, Lloyd took the opportunity to check his side. Sure enough, there was a slit in his armor and a red slice in his skin beneath it. The wound was covered over neatly with a cold patch of ice!

“Blood for blood!” Fafnar sneered at him from a safe distance.

That was enough! Lloyd felt his anger mount. Almost without thought, his blades lit on fire. Murmurs arose from the crowd and a few voices cried out.

“Go for it, Lloyd!” That was Elladan.

“Now that’s more like it!” That was Donnie.

Lloyd smiled grimly at Fafnar. “Two can play at that game.”

“We shall see, knave!”

Lloyd purposely goaded the arrogant noble, knowing he could not resist responding. While the knight fired back his reply, Lloyd took advantage of the moment and executed a quick spiritblade move. Time slowed as he made the appropriate motion and envisioned the results in his mind. Lloyd reached deep within himself, finding that spark of spirit. It felt as if a floodgate had opened, the energy rushing outward, coursing through his body. The entire process took only a second. While Fafnar’s mouth still hung open, Lloyd leapt ten feet into the air and dove down toward the surprised knight. Gasps went up around them as the young warrior plummeted down toward his intended target.

Yet Fafnar did not try to dodge out of the way. Instead, the knight closed his own eyes and stood perfectly still. Just as Lloyd was about to pounce, Fafnar suddenly shot up into the air! Lloyd was taken completely by surprise. He passed through the space where Fafnar had just been. Luckily, his reflexes kicked in—he neatly curled into a ball as he hit the ground, tumbled forward, and came up in a fighting stance. Lloyd quickly spun around, searching for his opponent.

Fafnar now floated high above him, nearly twenty feet in the air. Lloyd watched in amazement as the knight pointed his sword down at him. A ball of ice formed at the tip and an icy projectile launched itself from the blade, careening downwards at a frightening speed. Lloyd reacted immediately, bringing his two flaming blades up and crossing them in front of him. He felt the impact as the ball of ice hit his blades and broke apart. Ice chunks went flying in all directions, causing Lloyd to duck his head.

Screams of fright sounded all around him. When he opened his eyes a few seconds later, he was unharmed, but now he had a new problem. A thick bank of steam rose high in front of him, hiding the Dunwynn knight from his view. Lloyd knew an attack was imminent. Calming his mind, he tried to anticipate the direction of the next assault. He felt it before he saw the dark form appear in the mist.

Lloyd brought up his black blade to block the impending attack, but as it turned out, the blow was not aimed directly at him. Instead, it struck his blade. Without warning, the weapon was jerked from his hand! The blade went flying across the field and fell to the ground a good dozen feet away.

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