The Trees And The Night (Book 3)

BOOK: The Trees And The Night (Book 3)
7.68Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

 

THE SERAPHINIUM

BOOK III

THE TREES AND THE NIGHT

BY DANIEL FRANCIS MCHUGH

Copyright
@
2012

Daniel Francis McHugh

 

http://www.seraphinium.net

 

All rights are reserved. No part of this book may be

used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without

written permission from the author.

McHugh, Daniel F. (2012).

The Trees and the Night

(The Seraphinium Series, Book 3)

DEDICATION

This book is dedicated to my siblings:

Ellen Douville, William McHugh, John McHugh, Tim McHugh,

Chris McHugh & Laura McHugh.

"
I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
"

-Bilbo Baggins

 

THE NEARING WORLD

 

 

Table of Contents

SYNOPSIS: BOOK II OF THE SERAPHINIUM............................. 7

CHAPTER 1: PURSUIT BY NOBODY.................................... 11

CHAPTER 2: THE CROSSROADS....................................... 29

CHAPTER 3: A FIRE STRUCK........................................ 50

CHAPTER 4: THE SHABBY MAN....................................... 61

CHAPTER 5: THE FRENZY OF THE KILL............................... 69

CHAPTER 6: THE STONE BARRIER.................................... 93

CHAPTER 7: THE FLOATING PALACE................................. 119

CHAPTER 8: FAITH REWARDED...................................... 143

CHAPTER 9: SMOKE OR FIRE?...................................... 149

CHAPTER 10: STEEL RAIN......................................... 162

CHAPTER 11: CRIES OF MERCY..................................... 184

CHAPTER 12: THE SNARE.......................................... 204

CHAPTER 13: THE FOREST OF STEEL................................ 223

CHAPTER 14: BLUE SKIES......................................... 251

CHAPTER 15: SMOKE IN THE DISTANCE.............................. 262

CHAPTER 16:  JERGSON’S WAY..................................... 278

CHAPTER 17: THE TREES AND THE NIGHT............................ 302

CHAPTER 18: A GOOD OMEN FOR A BAD DAY.......................... 324

CHAPTER 19: GREEB THE ONE EYE.................................. 356

CHAPTER 20: ULTIMATUM.......................................... 368

CHAPTER 21: FEINT AND PARRY.................................... 388

CHAPTER 22: THE FOREST’S EDGE.................................. 415

CHAPTER 23: THE HORN........................................... 439

CHAPTER 24: WAR CIRCLE......................................... 452

CHAPTER 25: THE PRECIPICE...................................... 470

CHAPTER 26: INVITATION ACCEPTED................................ 499

CHAPTER 27: CAPTURE............................................ 525

CHAPTER 28: THE VALLEY BELOW................................... 533

GLOSSARY OF CHARACTERS AND LOCATIONS........................... 543

GLOSSARY BY LAND OR RACE....................................... 552

GLOSSARY OF MAPS............................................... 558

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS: BOOK II OF THE SERAPHINIUM

Kael and his compatriots reach the military barracks of the capital city of Zodra. The boy is reunited with his father and they share grief over the death of Aemmon. Brelg has resumed his duties as an instructor in the Hold and others in Kael’s group find roles within the military build-up of the Zodrian Guard.

Kael’s first encounter with his grandfather, King Macin, is a tense one. The treacherous Colonel Udas is exposed to the king by the manipulations of Ader and the Sprite girl called Lilywynn. Udas and his supply corps are removed from their positions of power and replaced by militia recruits from the South.

An attempt to kill Kael occurs shortly after his arrival in Zodra. Granu thwarts the attempt but is nearly killed in the confusion. Cefiz almost catches the Borz assassin before it flees the Hold by flying from the rooftop.

Ader offers to help Kael discover more about his abilities and possible purpose in this world. Teeg undertakes his own tutelage of Kael by teaching the boy the secrets of the Master of Spies. After weeks in the capital, Kael overhears Ader and Lilywynn making plans to assess the strength of the Ulrog Horde. The boy determines to accompany them north and into danger. Granu and Cefiz, who have proclaimed themselves Kael’s protectors, guess the plan and join the group as they ride from Zodra.

Eidyn has fallen in love with Lilywynn and follows her North after he discovers her missing from Zodra. Teeg accompanies his prince.

On the road North the group come across a mysterious figure, Nostr the Ulrog. Nostr is the head of an order of scribes charged with keeping a written record of all that occurs in the world. The order also has shown the ability to see into the future. Ader does not trust the Delvin Scribes and certainly does not trust Nostr their Prelate. Ader believes the scribes have alerted Amird to crucial information and he is unsure of their motives.

Manfir remains in Zodra outfitting his newly formed army of Southern militiamen. Brelg and Flair remain with him and begin to mold the new army into a fighting unit.

Kael and his group camp beside a butte with a pool near its base, the Pedestal. The Borz assassin makes another attempt on Kael’s life and is stopped by the vigilance of Cefiz.

Vieri Shan of the Borz is nothing if not persistent. Her discovery of Lilywynn and Sprig of the Sprites shocks her, but she devises a plan to remove Lilywynn from the equation in hopes that Kael will become more vulnerable.

Manfir is alerted to the news of the Keltaran Anvil on the march. Granu’s brother Fenrel leads the army of giants on an attack of Zodra. Flair proposes a newly outfitted militia army rush toward the attackers and confront them at a line of hills known as the Bear’s Knuckles. No better plan can be devised and Manfir agrees.

Vieri Shan lays a trap for Lilywynn and the Sprite girl is quickly captured by the Ulrog and dragged into the Scythtar Mountains. Vieri trails the beasts with the intent to double back and kill Kael as his group camps near the Frizgard River. Cefiz ponders his group’s choice of campsite and guesses Vieri’s intent. He scales the Scythtar cliffs and lays in wait for the assassin.

Cefiz confronts Vieri on the cliffs. She is trapped but begs for death when the Ulrog stumble upon the confrontation. Cefiz realizes the woman and her people have been manipulated in some way. He offers her freedom in exchange for Kael’s life. She puts a hold on Kael’s death sentence and flees, only to return and save Cefiz from the stone men.

On the riverbank of the Frizgard revelations are made. The Borz have been manipulated and Lilywynn is being taken to Kel Izgra. The group decides to break apart. Teeg is sent south to warn of the Borz threat. Vieri joins Cefiz and Granu on a trek into the Scyhthtar to save Lilywynn. Eidyn, Kael, Ader and Sprig are sent across the Northern plains to attempt to cut off Lilywynn’s captors at the Valley of Mnim.

 

 

BOOK III OF THE SERAPHINIUM

THE TREES AND THE NIGHT

CHAPTER 1: PURSUIT BY NOBODY

 

Ader drooped on the back of the giant gray stallion as he navigated the breaks and cuts of the Northern Eru grasslands. Further south the plains flattened into a wide expanse of flowing prairie, but this close to the Scythtar, the mountain’s winds and weather shaped the land. It had been nearly a full day of running. The group attempted to rest several times, but a warning signal from Sprig cut each attempt short. The Ulrog behind did not slow.

The Seraph turned and looked over his shoulder. Kael trailed by a few yards aboard his sturdy chestnut. The boy’s face betrayed his deep concern for the Seraph. Ader smiled at Kael to allay those fears.

“I am simply weary, Kael,” said Ader. “I used much of my energy on the lead priest. I will regain my strength within the next few days.”

Kael nodded in reply to his mentor, but his expression remained unchanged. Within moments the rapid pounding of hooves announced the arrival of Eidyn. The Elf prince appeared from behind a low hill charging hard to catch his comrades. As Eidyn slid alongside the Seraph, Sprig darted from beneath the nearby grasses and leapt onto the back of Tarader. Ader scowled at the Elf.

“Prince Eidyn, you will remain with the group,” demanded Ader. “We need to put distance between ourselves and the Ulrog, not bait them forward.”

“I attempt to buy us some time by harassing the beasts,” frowned Eidyn. “Each time I encounter them, they slow.”

“You exasperate me. Why can’t you simply accept an order without question?” said the old man shaking his head. “Very well. You do not know the Ulrog as I do. Your attempts to slow them will have little effect. You waste the energy of your mount by sprinting back and forth. Energy the animal will need if we are to stay alive.

“Eventually your horse will tire, but the Ulrog will not.  The Hackles will dog us until we can find allies or we are dead. It matters not if you thin their numbers by two or three. The remainder will press on without stopping. Our only escape lies in finding the roving Erutre camp or heading south to the Zodrian lines.”

“But if we head south...” protested Eidyn.

“We leave Lilywynn to a desperate fate,” interrupted Ader, “and so you see why our only option is to outrun the Ulrog, and with luck discover the Eru encampment?”

 

Hnarg rumbled forward crushing the tall grasses beneath his stony feet. The Ulrog priest held out hope. The occasional appearance of the Elven archer fed that hope. It confirmed that his quarry toiled not too far ahead, not out of reach. His gamble to chase the Seraph might yet succeed. If it did not, Woil or even Sulgor himself would tear the priest apart.

The Elf’s ambushes rarely succeeded. Several Hackles fell, but often the archer’s arrows halted within the stony hides of Hnarg’s brethren. The Hackles howled in pain then simply ripped the steel tipped darts from their flesh and charged on.

BOOK: The Trees And The Night (Book 3)
7.68Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

The Bloodbound by Erin Lindsey
Jade Lady Burning by Martin Limón
The Glass Bird Girl by Esme Kerr
No Time Left by David Baldacci
Wife in the Shadows by Sara Craven
The Shifting Price of Prey by McLeod, Suzanne
Mist Revealed by Nancy Corrigan
Twisted Winter by Catherine Butler
The Devil’s Pawn by Elizabeth Finn