Authors: Honor Raconteur
Tags: #drama, #fantasy, #Honor Raconteur, #wizards, #Kingmakers, #arrows of promise, #archery, #young adult, #magic, #ya, #archers, #country building
Published by Raconteur House
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and
incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used
fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business
establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
ARROWS OF PROMISE
Book Two of Kingmakers
A Raconteur House book/ published by arrangement with the
Raconteur House mass-market edition/February 2016
Copyright © 2016 by Honor Raconteur
Cover by Katie Griffin
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or
distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not
participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials in violation
of the author’s rights.
Purchase only authorized editions.
For information address:
3425 Daisy Trail
Antioch, TN, 37013
Other books by Honor Raconteur
Published by Raconteur House
THE ADVENT MAGE CYCLE
Advent Mage Compendium
The Dragon’s Mage
The Lost Mage
Warlords Rising *
Special Forces 01
The Midnight Quest
THE ARTIFACTOR SERIES
The Child Prince
The Dreamer’s Curse
The Scofflaw Magician
Arrows of Change
Arrows of Promise
You gain strength,
courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look
fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this
horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.'
You must do the thing
you think you cannot do.
Mayhap they should have planned this better.
“You can’t put a tannery right here near the shoreline!” a
red-faced man was blustering, arms windmilling in aggravation. “The smell alone,
“I need direct access to the water,” the tanner argued back,
a vein twitching in his forehead. “And there’s only so much cleared land, you
idiot, so where else am I supposed to build it? EH?!”
They really, truly, should have planned this out better.
This wasn’t the only argument near Riana. Her ears picked up bits and pieces of
about five arguments, two calmer discussions, and a great deal of confusion.
She glanced over her shoulder at her wizard-partner.
Ash had one hand cupping his left ear, the other plugging
his right, all in an attempt to hear better. Catching her eye, he twitched his
mouth into a quick frown and gave her a minute shake of the head. So, he
couldn’t reach either Ashlynn or Edvard? Well that wasn’t good.
Clearly, they’d fallen short here. Someone should have
thought this through. They’d been so focused on contacting people, putting in
the contracts, and gathering the supplies that they had failed to plan out how
the new settlement should be built. They had no layout and so people were
jockeying for position. They’d only been on the new land three hours and barely
had anything unloaded from the boats and already there were arguments springing
up all over the place.
Riana turned to Ash and asked, “Be it no’ possible to just
use the layout of the city?”
He blinked at her as if this idea had not even occurred to
him. “We don’t have enough land cleared to be able to mimic it exactly. I only
had time to clear fifty acres. We’d need ten more to pull that off. At least.
Well, no, actually we can’t afford to do that as we still need some of that
acreage for crops.”
She put her hands on her hips and looked at him with a
bemused exasperation. “Coriander take it, man. We do no’ need to do the exact
layout of the city right this second. All we need to do be start the bare bones
Ash looked up the shoreline and then slowly turned, taking
in everything that he had cleared. A contemplative frown furrowed between his
eyes. “There is enough space for that. At least, if we limit it to three streets.
Hopefully we can get the essential buildings in before I have to clear more
land.” He clapped a hand on her shoulder and squeezed before raising his voice
so that the whole crowd could hear him.
“Everyone listen up! We have a plan in place. We will duplicate
the layout of the city here in the settlement. For now, I will mark where the
roads are going to go. As I do that, I will also mark out how much land each
building will get. In the meantime, get everything off the boats, and if you
know what street your business should be on then organize yourselves to where
you were on the correct street. Anyone that doesn’t have a corresponding
location, choose a lot that you like and speak with me. We’ll mark property
down as it’s claimed.”
That stopped all the arguments in their tracks. Some did not
seem very enthused by this idea, but most agreed that it was the only sensible
way to approach the matter. Riana had a notion that people would not be able to
organize themselves quite as well as Ash expected them to. So as he went around
burning lines into the soil and creating magical signs to name the roads, she
tried to organize the people into the right groups. It took a lot of hopping on
her part and shouting the same words over and over, but eventually she was able
to get them more or less sorted.
Edvard’s hopeful estimation that they would be able to start
construction by the second day turned out to be a total miss. By the time that
they got the boats unloaded, the lines of the settlement drawn out, and people
sorted out to where they should go, they were in danger of losing the light
completely. There were just too many supplies that they had to bring over from
Estole. Most of their time was eaten up with unloading the cargo and carting it
to the right spot. People stopped at sunset and set up tents and cook fires and
got ready to make dinner for the night. Riana and Ash were no exception,
although Riana was the one setting up camp for the night as Ash worked on
creating what he called ‘a plan of attack.’
Ash came back to their camp when the light failed him
completely. He flopped down next to her like a puppet with its strings cut.
Even in the dim lighting she could see that he was covered in sweat. Without a
word, she ladled up a bowl of soup and dropped a long piece of flat bread into
it before handing it over. He ate the whole bowl so quickly that it seemed as
if he inhaled it. He handed it back to her for a refill, which she did, but
this time he actually said something to her before eating. “How is it?”
“Everyone be sorted out,” she assured him. “They might
rearrange themselves a little as there was talk when I left about who be best
where. But they all know more or less where they need to be.”
“Thank Macha for that. We really should have come over here
ahead of time and worked everything out before people arrived.”
They truly should have, but even now Riana had no idea when
they would’ve found the time. Ever since she had arrived in Estole, she had
been going hither and thither without more than ten minutes to sit and gather
her peace of mind. And the idea of the settlement itself was so new that they
had not even assigned a provost to it yet. Ash had been deemed the Interim Provost
until one could be officially appointed.
As settlements went, this one was well-funded and well-supplied.
They already had more people here than the entirety of her hometown. They had
tanners, blacksmiths, loggers, carpenters, and at least one innkeeper that had
the sense to get in on the ground floor.
As Ash recuperated, Riana sat there and tried to think
logically through what needed to happen next. Not everyone over here was set to
create a business, of course, as they had at least a hundred contracted workers
who had agreed to do specific things in exchange for land and building
supplies. So they had people on hand to build the city structure itself. With
that in mind… “Ash, I be thinking that the docks should be built first.”
“Considering the trouble that people had today unloading, I
think that a splendid notion. I suppose I should be the one overseeing that.”
“I’ve no notion on how to build docks,” she said dryly, “so
aye, that be best. While ye be focused on that, I think I will stay on top of
people and mediate any arguments.”
“Someone will need to,” he agreed. “That, too, was clear
today.” Lifting his head, he looked at her. “After the docks, I think we need
to focus on specific buildings. The question is, which ones to build first? We
need a lumber mill, a blacksmith, a carpentry, and a marketplace all set up at
basically the same time.”
Riana gave him a level look. “Ash. Do ye like to eat?”
“Of course. Who doesn’t?”
“Then mayhap ye should put the inn in the top part of yer
priorities. For the kitchen, if nothing else.”
He opened his mouth, closed it, and hummed thoughtfully.
“You do have a point. If we can have the kitchen up and running, then they can
feed the whole camp and let us focus on the work. Do we have enough supplies to
get at least the main level of the inn built?”
“Near enough to make no nevermind.”
Ash nodded, decided. “Inn first. Well, actually, we have
enough help up here that I should be able to set some people to building the
inn while others build the…lumber mill? Blacksmith?”
“Smithy be faster to build, I think,” she mused. “Most of
what the man needs is a kiln, a hearth, and work benches. Bulk of his equipment
he brought in with him.”
“I think he might need a few more things than that,” Ash
demurred. “But it will be faster setting him up than getting the mill in.”
Taking a rumpled piece of paper from his pocket, he grabbed the pencil that was
balanced behind his ear and started scratching things out and re-ordering them.
“I’ll get the foundations in for each of the buildings tomorrow, it’s faster if
I do it, and then I will focus on the docks. Can you get the work crews in
place and make sure people know which buildings to focus on?”
“Leave it to me,” she assured him.
Ash folded the paper back up and pocketed it before resuming
his dinner. “Was this what you expected? I know at first you weren’t keen on the
idea of coming up here.”
“This be a far cry from Cloud’s Rest.” She snorted, amused
at her own fears. “In fact, it do no’ have a thing in common with it.”
“I agree. Actually, a strange thought just occurred. When we
spoke of this before, you said that eventually the settlement would grow to be
a city in its own right and would probably get close to Cloud’s Rest, right?”
Wondering where he was going with this, she agreed, “Right....”
“But wouldn’t that mean that Cloud’s Rest would meld into
Her eyes crossed as she realized what he meant. “Ye think
they will be part of Estole?”
“Why wouldn’t they be?” he challenged. “Think about it. Iysh
claims that territory, but they don’t govern it or have any real contact with
it. The village runs itself. If another kingdom came within a stone’s throw of
its borders, then….”
He was right. It was very possible that in the future
Cloud’s Rest would be folded into Estole. The thought boggled her mind. “But
that would mean…?”
“Yes, it would.” Ash seemed to be able to read her mind in
that moment. “That you would eventually be a Councilwoman over your former
hometown.” He slapped a hand against his knee in open amusement. “I’m actually
looking forward to this. The expression on their faces is going to be classic.”
Aye, it would be at that. Actually, now she was looking
forward to it herself. How did that saying go…? Something about revenge being
best served cold. She had to wonder if it was the same for comeuppance. Shaking
the fancy away, she focused more on the here and now. “After the docks, what be
best to do next?”
“Hmm,” he hummed as he thought it through. “I think it would
be best to put in the sewer system under the streets after that. Best get that
in there before they build too far into the road. After that, I guess we will
see what needs to be in the most?”
“Would it no’ be best to put in wells at the same time ye
put in the roads? The channel be no’ freshwater after all.”
“That is a very good point. I will focus on doing that at
the same time then. Why does it feel like everything needs to be done at the
That last bit had come out as more of a complaint. But then,
the man had the right to complain. It had been a hard few months. “Because it
“Not reassuring,” he sighed. Rolling over onto his side he
heaved himself to his feet and staggered for the open tent. “Do not wake me
before sunrise. Not unless something is on fire.”
“Aye, that I will do.” Lifting the dishes, she headed for
the channel. If the man had to do his own washing up, he would’ve thought of
the wells, but she never asked him to do any of it as he was always so drained
and tired at the end of the day. It was just as well, as she did not think that
Ash had been trained in how to do chores to begin with.
She finished what needed to be finished and put things away
before taking off her boots and coat and sliding into her own bedroll. By the
time that her head hit the pillow, she was fast asleep.
Day three dawned as warm as the previous days. Riana sat on
Ash long enough to get breakfast down him before he went off to work on the
lumber mill. Because of the dedicated efforts of the workers, the docks were
now finished, the main frame of the inn was up, and the blacksmith had a
makeshift space to work in as well.
Things were actually going well apace. Riana had assigned
ten women to cook for the camp. People brought them ingredients in the morning
and then came back at lunch and dinner to pick up something warm and tasty. It
was a good system that would pull them through the makeshift camp until they
had proper walls around them.
Edvard sent over supplies regularly, which they were
grateful for, as they didn’t have the structures up yet that would let them
make anything themselves. Riana met the shipment as it came in, checking off a
list of inventory and making sure that everything that they needed had come in.
She did fine up until she reached the barrels that were marked ‘paint’ on the
outside. It was a mite early to be thinking of painting things, wasn’t it? They
didn’t even have walls up on anything yet, the frames still being put together.
Curious, she borrowed a pry bar and cracked open one of the
Strange color. What were the rest? She went from one to the
next, opening every lid.
yellow. Riana stared at the open
barrels, sputtering in flabbergasted disbelief. Eighteen barrels, and not one
of them was a different color. Or even a primer. Or a stain. Just yellow paint.
It wasn’t even a pretty color of yellow, either! Someone likely had ordered a
‘custard’ sort of color but it was off, becoming more of a burnt yellow that