“I am Reglan,” said the captain. “No Matter, know this…
Your flesh will not be wasted.”
Mattoby the Gat takes his motley crew on a quest to uncover the secret of the Lumenstones and the evil forces unleashing them. On their journey, they encounter the disturbing Goblin Haunts, battle a group of witches and struggle to survive hostile terrain and each other’s tempers.
Their path takes an unexpected turn when Anditor, the young son of Vidor, describes his encounter with Reglan, the Lord of the Werewolves, and the chest of stones aboard his pirate ship…
…a story that will lead the nine into peril.
Chapter 1 – THE THEFT
A small snake slithered out of the stream of warm liquid and landed on the boy’s foot, causing him to fall on his bare bottom and land in the forest ferns. The motion of his foot hurled the snake through the air. It dropped a few feet away. Trindon glanced over his shoulder, thankful his two older brothers were not in sight. He stood, brushed the loose foliage off his butt and pulled his trousers up, securing the oversized pants with the leather belt his father had made for him.
He brushed his pants, removing any evidence of his misadventure, the only event that had caused his heart to beat quickly all day. The three older sons of Vidor had been hunting since early morning deep in the Trividian Forest. It was nearly evening, and all they had spotted were small birds and a few squirrels chasing each other through the trees. He was hungry, thirsty and tired, and he longed to return home to a hot meal. If he mentioned that to Mennu, the 15-year-old would hit him and poke fun at him. If he mentioned that to 17-year-old Kivandor, he would be banned from coming along on future hunts.
Kivandor was nearly as large as his father but not nearly as patient. Whining was something for “girls” and “girly boys”. Kivandor had warned Trindon sharply on his first hunt that, if he whined at all, he would be abandoned in the woods and be required to find his way home in the dark by himself. Worse, he would never be taken out again. The warning had resonated. Trindon, now eleven, had not uttered a single complaint, no matter how tired he had become, hungry he had grown, sore his arms were from carrying his bow or how many blisters he had on his feet. He was proud of the fact that he was still allowed on the hunt.
Mennu had once complained about a large sliver of wood that had pierced his palm while resting by a tree during a hunt. Kivandor left him in the forest. It took Mennu until the next morning to find his way home. The oldest son refused to take him on another hunt for an entire year. Vidor allowed it. He had important work to tend to as leader of their village. Vidor trusted Kivandor to teach the other boys the lessons he passed down. Whining was never allowed. Naked-bottom critter scares? Trindon blushed at the thought of what his brothers would say if they discovered that tidbit.
The snake rested on the ground a few feet away, drops of urine sparkling on its skin. Trindon took a step toward the snake, then another. It watched him, motionless. He slowly moved, until his foot was close enough to strike.
“Look at what I have!”
Trindon glanced to his right. Thirty paces away, his youngest brother stood holding the bow and arrow that he had left behind. Anditor laughed and waved the bow in the air. He strapped the quiver of arrows on his back and retreated several steps.
“Serves you right for not letting me come! There were nine deer in the woods! You have missed them all day!”
“Anditor! You little fleabag! Put my bow down!”
Anditor turned and ran, yelling over his shoulder, “They have headed toward the river! I will shoot one! I will show you! I will show you all!”
“Anditor! I will kill you!”
Trindon stomped his foot, squishing the snake beneath his boot. He ran after Anditor, cursing at the top of his lungs. Mennu ran up alongside him and pointed toward the ridge that led down to the river bank. They could just see Anditor darting ahead between the trees. They followed in pursuit, Trindon shouting every curse he could think of between gasps of breath. Anditor disappeared over the ridge. Mennu grabbed hold of Trindon’s shirt and stopped him. They were both gasping for air.
“Where…does he think…he is going?” Mennu asked.
“He said…there were deer…heading toward the river…that we missed them.”
“We should have brought him. He has the keenest eyes of us all.”
“Not gonna bring him anywhere…gonna kill him!”
The two boys ran toward the ridge. They hadn’t gone far when they were stopped in their tracks by strong hands which grabbed each of them from behind.
“Leave him!” scolded Kivandor.
“He stole my bow and arrows!”
The protest was met with a quick swat to the head from Kivandor. Trindon winced and rubbed his head.
“That little fleabag stole your bow and arrows, because you were careless and left them sitting by a tree while you went off to pee. It is your own fault,” Kivandor said.
“I saw your stupid, naked ass fall into the ferns!”
Mennu laughed out loud. Trindon turned a deep crimson and fought back the tears which he was certain would bring a swift death. Kivandor whacked Mennu across the head.
“Shut up, Mennu!” Kivandor warned. “I didn’t see Anditor until he picked up your weapon. That little brat is sneaky.”
“He said there were deer heading toward the river,” Trindon stated with as much dignity as he could gather.
“Had we taken him with us in the first place…,” Mennu suggested.
“Leave him!” Kivandor interrupted. “Deer, or no, he was told he could not come along, and he did not listen. We are going home. He found his way here. He can find his way home. If he isn’t eaten by some beast on the way, you can kill him when he returns.” He whacked both boys across the head again. “Let’s go!”
Mennu and Trindon both rubbed their heads and followed their brother, but not before Trindon yelled several more death threats in the direction of the ridge.
“Why did you fall on your naked ass?” Mennu asked.
Book 2, “Nine”, is available now in all eBook formats at Smashwords
and available in eBook and softcover at Amazon:
Book 1, “The Lightbearer”, is available as a FREE eBook at Smashwords.
All material Copyright ©2017 Tanya Cliff