Today I am lucky enough to be hosting an excerpt of M.A. Ray’s newest book, Steel For The Prince: The High King’s Will. I hope you’ll all take the time to read, and if you enjoy what you see, pop along to Amazon to support this fantastic author!
They found a tiny space filled to bursting with bookshelves, drawers, and dust. A couple of gray, fluffy fairies drifted around, and a book fairy slept on top of a teetering stack. Diamond-shaped cubbies, stuffed with chart tubes of all sizes, covered an entire wall, and Eagle crossed straight there. “I’m going to look at the books,” said Fox, and he nodded and turned back to the tubes. He read peeling labels in Traders’, wanting to take down every last one for a look. Charts of Kuo and Kirun, charts of the world, charts of Long Knife and Windish. His fingers itched for them all, but at last he found a map of Rodansk.
He pulled it out from among the others in the cubby—and pulled it out—and pulled it out. It was much longer than it looked, and he balanced it carefully as he took it to the table nearby. He unscrewed the end and shuffled it free. The chart itself was so big he had to walk around the table to weight it down with stones from a basket sitting on another table. The greens and browns of the land and the blue of the ocean stood out bright on the calfskin. He grinned to see it. Pretty soon he’d be seeing the places on the chart for real, at least some of them. He found Whalehame, a little way in on the south coast, and he took a sheet of paper and a lead pencil from the writing kit on the same table to copy the map, at least as much as he needed, and probably more besides.
He was well into the task when someone came in and surprised him with the pointed ears of the People. “Hi!” said the boy, swallowing, and his smile glowed. He had short, silvery hair, eyes like aquamarines, and a glittery piece of rainbow something in his fist, from which he’d bitten a chunk. He was quite a bit younger than Eagle, maybe Stag’s age, but the same height—and the strange coloring—a High One’s bastard, or Eagle’d eat his own stockings. It happened sometimes. Not often, but sometimes. “I’m Bee. Are you a Squire, too? I didn’t know any of the People were in the Knights.” Bee said all this very fast, and left Eagle blinking.
“I just signed up. I’m so excited! Asra says she’s going to take me to Hayed! We came here on a ship, and we’re going to take another one to get there. Did you come here on a ship, too?”
“Rodansk is an island,” Eagle pointed out, tapping the chart in front of him.
“Oh! Of course you’re right. Want a bit?” He held out the glittery stuff. Eagle shook his head, making a face. It already had a bite in it, and besides, he didn’t know what it was. Bee struggled to tear a piece off with his teeth. “It’s quite good once you’ve chewed it a while,” he assured Eagle.
“What is it?”
“Unicorn poop,” he said, beaming again. Nothing Vercingetorix dropped looked like that. “Not really,” Bee added hastily, at Eagle’s stare. “It’s candy. I’ve got another packet. It comes with these great cards. Look.” He rummaged in his pockets and thrust out a shiny foil packet with a hideous, fat purple unicorn on the front.
“You look,” Eagle said. “I’m trying to—”
“You open it up,” Bee said desperately, demonstrating. A tiny spray of sparkles erupted from the packet. “And see, there’s the candy, and also all the cards, they’re famous adventurers. So ace. Brodnax.” He showed Eagle the card, which pictured a man with a jaw like a rock. “I’ve ten of him, he’s done a thousand things at least. Oh, here’s Mishell Jenhwyfar, I haven’t had her yet, she found the Crystal Cave, and here’s a new one.” He flipped it over to read the back, and Eagle returned to his notes.
I’m a lover of fairy tales, comic books, classic fantasy, and power metal. I keep my meat shell in Wisconsin these days. I won’t tell you where I hide my heart. I’ve got a husband and two kids, and they’re the only reason I leave Rothganar.