When Heroes Fall
The long wait is over and Princess of Lanfor is now published! It is available on Amazon as an ebook, and should be released in paperback later this month.
Thanks to everyone for all their efforts in pulling this installment together. It has been a labor of love, and many folks have lent a hand. Special thanks again to Sandra, S Pro Designs, and my marvelous co-author, Kathryn.
To celebrate the book's release, here is the excerpt which matches the book cover. I'm sure everyone is dying to know how Donnie and Elladan ended up in this death defying predicament. This should give you some idea of what is going on at the time, but you'll need to pick up the book to get the entire story. Thanks again!
Glolindir peered from the rail of the Wind Hammer in utter confusion. Donnie had reemerged from below decks, but the sandy-haired elf was no longer alone. Beside him stood both Ruka and Ves. A dozen questions passed through the tall elf’s mind, but he never got to voice any of them.
Glo’s thoughts were shattered by the frightened cry. He spun around to see Martan a few yards away, the gaunt archer inexplicably teetering at the rail. The entire scene felt surreal, as Martan lost his balance, then fell backwards, disappearing over the side of the ship.
The archer’s fall was immediately followed by a strangled cry. Across the deck, Ves vaulted in their direction, the expression on her face mirroring Glo’s own sense of horror. Without warning, his arm was seized by a frantic grip.
“Watch out! She pushed Martan!”
Glo nearly jumped out of his skin. Elistra had grabbed onto him, while pointing at the spot from where Martan had just fallen. Though he could see nothing, Glo’s body reacted on its own, his hands instinctively weaving into a familiar pattern.
Lloyd, Alana, and Cyclone responded similarly, the ringing sounds of drawn weapons accompanying the wizard’s spell. Yet before any of them could take a step forward, a huge bronze blur whooshed overhead.
Glo involuntarily flinched, nearly losing his grip on the magic coalescing between his hands.
Beside him, Alana’s voice cried out, “Go after them, Lloyd! We’ve got this.”
Glo did not turn to see his friend launch himself overboard after the others. Instead, the wizard struggled to keep his grasp on the fiery red ball forming between his palms, lest it get away and harm them all. With a herculean effort, Glo wrestled the spell back in line, sending the arcane ball of flame hurtling away.
The spell went off with a bang, just a bit closer than Glo had anticipated. The angry red ball swiftly expanded into a hemisphere of brilliant flame, the fire coming so close that they had to turn away and shield their faces.
At the same moment, Glo felt a large presence whoosh over them. Still shielding his face from the flames, the elven wizard cracked his eyes open. He was just in time to see a winged bronze shape dive over the side of the ship, with two smaller forms desperately clinging to its tail. Glo watched in horror as both figures suddenly lost their grip on the dragon, then plummeted out of sight.
“That was Donnie and Elladan!” came Aksel’s sharp cry.
A moment later, the flaming ball winked out. Glo started for the rail, but a red and black figure inserted itself in front of him. A pair of violet eyes met his, and he suddenly found himself in the midst of a deep, passionate kiss. The kiss ended almost as abruptly as it started, Elistra swiftly pushing him away.
Glo gazed at her dumbfounded, not quite noticing the mist in her eyes. “What was that for?”
Elistra responded with a forced smile. “For luck…”
The seeress’ mouth hung open, her eyes searching his for a brief moment, then she pushed him onward toward the rail. “Quick, after the others!”
Glo hesitated. Something didn’t feel right. There was a strange tenor to Elistra’s voice. Yet his hesitation only made her push him again. “I said go! The others need you!”
Elistra was right. Aksel, Alana, and Cyclone had jumped after the others, and none of them could fly. Glo gave the blonde seeress one last look, then spun around and vaulted over the railing after his friends.
Elladan and Donnie had grasped onto Ruka’s tail just as she went airborne, the bard a few feet behind his agile friend. With a flick of her wings, the trio shot across the deck of the Wind Hammer. Yet before they could clear the rail, a ball of flame exploded directly in their path. They were so close when it went off, that Elladan involuntarily flinched. Unfortunately, it had been at the same moment the dragon swerved sideways.
Elladan’s eyes snapped open to find them past the fire and out into the open air. Sadly, the sudden movement that had saved them from burning also caused him to lose his grip. Ruka’s tail slipped away from the bard, leaving him falling unchecked about two miles above the earth.
Yet, Elladan was not alone. Donnie had lost his grip as well, the wiry elf falling through the air just a few feet below him. Elladan cupped his hands around his mouth and called out, “I think she forgot us!”
Donnie spun his head around, a thin smirk spreading across his face. “Guess we both fell for the wrong woman!”
Elladan half laughed and half groaned. Leave it to Donnie to find humor in a situation like this.
Below them, the bronzed form of Ruka swiftly pulled away, the dragon teen unaware that she had lost her two stowaways. Still, they weren’t completely out of luck.
“Don’t worry, my friend. I can cast feather fall on us!” Elladan cried.
Feather fall was a basic spell that nearly every bard learned. While not as handy as flying, it allowed you to jump from any height and float harmlessly down to the ground like a feather.
Elladan began to weave the spell, but Donnie interrupted him. “No! That’s too slow! We need to catch up with Ruka and Ves!”
Elladan knit his brows together. “Are you crazy?”
Donnie shook his head. “Just cast it before we hit the ground!”
Elladan let out a long sigh. “Okay… it’s your funeral!”
Donnie cast a grin at Elladan, then pulled his arms into his sides, at the same time angling his body downward to speed his descent. Elladan shrugged and pulled out his lute, a half-smile crossing his face as he fell through the air strumming a lively tune.