Enjoy this additional preview scene of The Crown of Sight, the new novella in the Eternal Dream Legends sequence, releasing on March 22.
Prince Darathel leaned over the table. His sword, made for his father’s hands, banged against the ancient wood and he moved it behind him nervously. Covering the table was an immense map drawn on canvas. Ghostly glowing points and clouds hovered over the surface, indicating where the enemy was camped and where its soldiers moved. The lamp above, filled with the ethereal light of the prim, flickered out for a few moments, dimming the relief of the castle and outer walls, leaving the blue-white of the enemy army on the map as the sole source of light in the room… or nearly so. Before the lamp sprang back to life , Darathel caught the gaze of Ared, a dark elf and long-time advisor to his father in the ways of war and magic. Alone of the figures in the room, his eyes glowed with inner light.
“We will need scouts soon,” Ared said, his eyes fading back to a natural hue of blue as the lamp filled the space once again with warm light. “The enchantment on this map will fade like the rest without eyes that can see our enemy.”
“I don’t know if we can afford those eyes,” Darathel said. “We’ve lost so many, just keeping the Draesenith where they are.”
“Whether we can afford them or not, we will be blind soon,” Ared said.
“Blindness to the enemy’s movements should not be our primary concern,” Faedra, the high mage of the court, said in her characteristic even and soft tone. “Our empty larders will soon no longer be hidden from the people.”
“Could we forage for food in the Fay Lands?” said Mardrel, the head of the guard.
“Not unless you are willing to chance many hands to bring back…” Faedra’s voice faded away. She smoothed her long hair and sighed, “probably nothing.”
“I could go,” Ared said. “But I might not return with enough food… or in any sort of time that we need.”
“How long?” Darathel said. “And how much food could you bring back?”
“How much,” Darathel repeated.
“You lack the understanding of your father or Faedra,” Ared said.
“He might return in months, or years, or moments,” Faedra said. “He might forget why he went.”
“I don’t forget,” Ared said. “But it’s easy to get sidetracked in there.”
“If we could create food in any other way, we would have,” Faedra said. “Conjuring something that complex requires direct access to the Prim, not just a vague understanding of a few concepts.”
“Yes, but the balance has shifted,” Darathel said. “My father is clearly losing control.” He flicked the lamp. The light within grew slightly. “The magic of the fay isn’t responding anymore.”
“We’ll need to evacuate, then,” Mardrel said.
“And leave the Crown of Sight for Katach?” Darathel said.
“I didn’t say that,” Mardrel said.
Faedra shook her head. “If it leaves the city, all that we have built will-”
“Nevermind that. Where could we evacuate to?” Darathel said. “The Draesenith have us totally hemmed in.” He ran his hand through the blue lights on the map. “It would be suicide.”
“Suicide would be better than handing over the crown,” Faedra said. “I suppose we could still evacuate into the Fay Lands. The Draesenith dare not follow us there.”
“You make the Fay sound like suicide,” Darathel said. “Or worse.”
“It can be worse,” Ared said. “If you die, you can return, yes? Even for the Draesenith, this is true. But if you are changed into something other than you are…” Ared shrugged. “Well, it may be the last option, either way.”
“We can’t take the crown in there,” Darathel said.
“We could,” Faedra said. “Though its power here in the world-that-is would be extinguished. But seeing as we are evacuating, that-”
“My father still bears it, and he will refuse to take it there,” Darathel interrupted, holding up his hand.
Mardrel gritted his teeth and rubbed at his face. “Or we could negotiate surrender.”
“I won’t enslave our maidens to the grey skins,” Darathel said. “Forget about surrender.”
Mardrel took a steady breath. “Will that be for you to decide, my prince? If we throw open the portals to the east and tell our people to charge into the ever-shifting dream, do they not deserve the choice to be a slave?”
Darathel frowned. “I won’t entertain it. We’ll have to think of something different.” The lamplight flickered, but remained on. He stared at it a moment. “I will go check on my father. The rest of you, start thinking.”
“Thinking or not, I will have to lead a skirmish soon, lest we be blinded,” Ared said.
“I’ll do it,” Mardrel said. “I now know the paths through the edge of the fay from our secret entrance as well as you do. Besides, I have a feeling your council will be needed here.”
“Fine,” Darathel said, turning to the door. “Do it, captain.”
“I will join you, my prince,” Faedra said.
Darathel nodded to her and left the room with the high mage following close behind.
If you enjoyed this, and the previous scene, consider pre-ordering the book!