Title: Brothers of Blood
Author: James Fuller
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Release Date: “middle” of June
Tour Organizer: B3
Synopsis: Everything changes when Meath finds himself in the magically veiled village of Salvas. News of the death of his friends leaves him teetering on the verge of emotional ruin and bitter loathing. Yet an enthralling new life connected to his past presents itself within the quintessence that is Salvas.
The true nature of the false prince is revealed, bringing on a whole new light to the devastation Draco Kingdom faces. Meath sets himself to the task of avenging his broken life the only way he can, kill Astaroth…
Captured Zehava, Dahak, Nicolette and Shania struggle to stay alive when they find themselves now slaves. Zehava and Dahak are thrown into the Pit where blood and coin come at the forfeit of life. In a desperate attempt to keep their group together they must turn off their humanity to keep the identity of Draco’s heir hidden and safe while they plot a daunting escape.
Fall Of A King
Brothers of Blood
The afternoon sun burned brightly along the northern coast of the Misty Sea, keeping the normally haze-covered waters clear and visible for miles. It was not often that the fishermen of Belta were blessed with such a day, and every fishing boat within the small town’s harbor was out in deeper waters, throwing their nets in hopes of a bountiful catch before the weather turned again. The Misty Sea had been given its name for good reason - the majority of the time it was embraced by a dense, unrelenting fog, hindering the fishing vessels from being able to drop their nets into deeper, more abundant waters. Instead they were forced to hug the coastline. Every year, Belta lost at least one of their dear friends to the mist, the sea and whatever dwelled within it.
Thane wiped the trickle of sweat that cascaded down his brow with his the dusty sleeve of his worn brown tunic, before it stung his eyes. He looked over to the large pile of wood he had chopped already and grinned with satisfaction, then his gaze lingered over to the pile that still awaited his axe blade and his grin turned into a grimace. He rolled his shoulders, working some of the tension out from the long morning. Setting his heavy axe aside, he went to the clay water pitcher that waited for him in the shade of a mangrove tree along with a large chunk of goat’s cheese and several sweet fruits his wife had left for him, before she had gone to tend to some things in town.
Thane drank deeply from the pitcher, rapidly filling the tin cup beside it several times. Much of the water did not find his throat – instead, it trickled down his neck and chest, soaking into the wool fabric of his tunic, cooling him down slightly as it mixed with his sweat. Setting the jug aside, he picked up one of the sweet fruits and inspected it for blemishes that might give signs to a parasitic worm that sometimes found their way into such jungle fruits. It passed his scrutiny and he bit into the juicy, yellow fruit and was surprised to find he was hungrier then he first realized, so he quickly inspected another.
“Thane! Thane!” A thick accented, bearded man cried out as he rounded the corner to the back of Thane’s cabin. “Oh by the Creators will, there you are!”
Thane smiled at his large, eccentric friend, knowing that whatever his hurry was that, it would be over-dramatized, as usual. “Ottis my good man, calm yourself before all the town believes you have been possessed by the spirits.” Thane laughed, reaching for the water again.
“It is your boy, Thane!” Ottis bellowed out nearly inaudible, his eyes glistening with tears. “He... he has been killed...”
The clay pitcher slipped from Thane’s hand and shattered on the hard-packed earth beneath him, as Ottis’s words hung in the air. “What did you say?”
“He must have gone near the caves again….” Ottis began.
Thane’s face went ashen. “One of the winged beasts?”
Ottis swallowed back his own grief. “I am sorry my friend, it was too late when I arrived… I…I couldn’t do anything.”
Thane’s legs nearly buckled beneath him as he fought back overwhelming emotions which nearly claimed his senses. “Take— take me to his body.” He whispered, his voice cracking with inner turmoil.
Ottis’s face twisted with sympathy as his eyes averted from Thane’s. “I...I... could not retrieve his body, before...”
Thane’s legs finally gave out and he slumped to the ground not even registering the clay shards that now cut into his shins. “Why was he near the caves... he knew the peril... why... why would he risk such a thing...” he sobbed to himself, no longer fighting the tears that streaked his dirt stained face.
Ottis went to his lifelong friend and knelt in front of him, “I...” he paused trying to find the words to comfort his friend, but he knew there was none. “I just...”
“No Ottis, no words of consolation.” Thane replied sternly looking up at Ottis, his eyes were cold and filled with a silent, dangerous rage. “Does she know yet?”
Ottis shook his head, “I came straight to you Thane, she does not know.”
Thane pushed himself to his feet, his face hard and lethal as he walked passed Ottis.
“Where are you going my friend?”
“To avenge my son.”
Ottis followed Thane into the small log cabin. “This is madness Thane! You are besieged by grief and not thinking rationally.”
If Thane was listening he did not show it. He threw open the large wooden trunk in the corner of the simple decorated room and retrieved a large, long bundle of wrapped leather. He pulled the dagger from his belt and sliced the leather cords holding the bundle together. The covering fell away to the floor and his hands tightened around the smooth haft of his war axe. Several years had passed since he had held the vicious weapon, yet instantaneously, its familiarity in his hands returned. The decorative silver and gold inlay within the redwood haft warmed beneath his angered grip almost as if something within the weapon was awakening by its master’s touch after years of dark slumber. The polished iron blade gleamed proudly, even in the low light of the room as if to prove its prowess still remained. Thane placed the weapon down on the table and returned to the truck to retrieve his spiked, iron-banded shield.
“Thane, think about what you are thinking of doing!” Ottis pleaded, his eyes lingering on the long - retired weapon.
Thane turned on his friend, the rage in his eyes a match of what was about to escape his lips, yet within a heartbeat, the uncontrollable fury vanished and agony replaced it and his eyes looked beyond Ottis.
“And what does my husband plan on doing that requires so much thought?” Zada asked coming into the cabin, a woven basket full of fresh foods from the town’s small market place in hand.
“Zada... Sorin is...” Thane started to say but his voice disappeared with grief.
Zada placed the basket on the counter and turned to her husband at once, hearing the barely-controlled disorder within his voice. “What is it my love…? What happened?” She asked her voice growing with concern, her eyes catching the glint of the war axe’s polished blade and the shield Thane held by his side. “What is the meaning of all this? Sorin is what? Where is my son!”
“Sorin is... dead.” Thane replied, tears breaking through once again.
“What?” Zada cried out. “No... no this cannot be... we saw him this morning, he was going hunting... no, I do not believe it! I will not!”
Thane went to his wife, pulling her close to him and she buried her head into his broad chest, muffling her sobbing. For a long while the cabin was filled with only the stifled cries of a grieving mother.
Finally, she pushed herself back, trying to regain a thread of her composure for the sake of her dignity in front of Ottis. “How did it happen?”
“The beasts,” Ottis replied, his voice full of remorse.
The words nearly broke her again, but she stifled her emotions as best she could. “What are you planning on doing Thane?” She looked to the war axe lying across the table.
Thane’s jaw firmed, “I am going to slay the beast who took Sorin from us.”
“I have been trying to talk him out of it Zada, I swear to you.” Ottis cut in. “But he will not see reason. Maybe he will listen to you.”
“So you would risk leaving me childless and a widow?”
Thane licked his lips. “I must avenge him Zada... I must.”
“Listen to your wife Thane you cannot...” Ottis stopped short, as Zada raised her hand to silence him.
“No one has ever returned from what you intend.” Her voice was flat.
“Of this I know.”
Zada nodded her head slowly, biting on her bottom lip, as tears streaked down her face. She forced her trembling body to stiffen. “Bring me the heart of this beast or do not return at all!” She replied sternly.
“What?” Ottis stammered out. “Zada, you cannot be serious! This is utter madness!”
“Blood demands blood!” Zada replied coldly, reciting an ancient saying of their people.
Thane grabbed his blade from the table and retrieved his shield from the floor, before stopping in the doorway and turning to his wife. His eyes said everything his voice could not.
I may never look into her beautiful green eyes again, run my hand through her sleek long brown hair or taste her silken soft lips upon my own. Yet any words that he would have uttered would have weakened his resolve - his pride demanded this of him. The door banged behind him as he left the cabin.
“Keeper’s balls!” Ottis muttered looking hard at Zada. “You just sent him to his death woman!”
Zada swallowed hard as she forced herself to look her dear friend. “What would you have had me do?” She cried out, her control all but gone now. “His pride demanded revenge, had I denied him he would have been a broken shell of a man from this day until his last. I honoured his pride at the stake of my own, what more could a wife do?”
“The minds of lovers are worse than the minds of fools!” Ottis muttered as he went for the door.
“Where are you going?”
Ottis turned back to her. “To make sure your husband returns to you in one piece.”
Thane marched with grim determination down the dirt path that he knew would take him close to the cliff-side caves. Had his steps not been full of anguish and rage he might have absorbed the beautiful, vivid colors of the jungle around him.
“Turn back, Ottis.” Thane called out behind him, his tone void of much emotion. “You will not dissuade me from my course.”
“I no longer intend to,” came Ottis’ replied, catching up to his smaller friend.
“What are you about man?” Thane asked see the hunting bow, quiver and long sword strapped across Ottis’s wide back.
Ottis grinned solemnly. “You did not think I would really let you die alone, did you?”
“This is not your battle, my friend.”
“Is it not?” Ottis countered, drawing a confused look. “Have we not been kinsmen since we both suckled at our mother’s tit? Have we not stood side by side in battle time and time again? You are more a brother to me then my own blood whelp of a brother. No, you are wrong my friend, this is where I belong.”
Thane smiled at his friend’s favourable words for he knew if the roles were reversed that he would not be doing the same. “We are both unlikely to return from this.”
Ottis snorted and spat. “Bleh, I know it, and do not be telling me again, least I change my mind about the whole damned thing.”
Silently, the two warriors crept through the dense growth, towards the rocky cliffs where several of the great, scaled and winged beasts resided. In the distance, they could hear the loud, distinctive call of the beasts that their people had spent centuries avoiding.
As the two neared the edge of growth, before it broke into open rocky ground they could see the dark coopery scaled beast perched on a ledge near the mouth of a large cave opening. The beast stretched its massive, crimson, leathery wings. Its maw opened incredibly wide and it let out a deafening bellow of dominance and several of the beasts that circled in the sky shrieking their understanding and distanced themselves from the larger Sire.
“Keeper’s balls, he is big!” Ottis muttered, a hint of fear in his tone. “Has to be nearly two scores bigger than my largest plough horse!”
Thane slid his banded iron shield from his back and strapped it in place on his left arm. He gripped the haft of his war axe tightly as he watched the beast use its dagger-sized claws to cut into the rock face, stripping head-sized piece out with ease as it sharpened its talons.
“What is the plan then?” Ottis asked, his bone hunting bow in hand now, as he fumbled around for an arrow.
Thane demeanour hardened at the sight of part of his son’s torn leggings rested beneath the ledge the great coopery beast stood on. “We kill it!” Thane hissed, stepping out from his shadowy hiding spot and into the open gravel pit below the cliff. The giant reptilian head snapped to awareness at the sudden movement, its slitted eyes glaring down at the creature who stalked so boldly into its domain.
Thane matched the beast’s glare with one more violent and determined than the monster in front of him. “I am here to slay you, cursed beast!” Thane screamed at the top of his lungs as he slapped the flat of his axe blade across his shield in defiance.
The monster reared up on its muscular hind legs, its massive wing span darkening the earth below the cliff as it let out a blood-curtailing shriek in acceptance of the small creature’s foolish challenge. The beast’s tone altered suddenly, no longer as proud and fearless – it echoed with a hint of pain as it went down on all fours again.
Thane noticed the small arrow shaft embedded into the side of the huge creature’s neck and turned to see Ottis pulling back once more on his powerful war bow. The next arrow grazed off the beast’s scaled right shoulder and if it even noticed it did not show. All that showed now within the beast’s eyes was hatred.
The beast launched itself from the cliff’s edge, its wings thrown wide, catching the air currents slowing its descend only a little before its huge weighted frame slammed into the rocky floor below. The sheer force of the creature’s mass shook the very earth and nearly caused Thane to lose his balance…and his nerve. But the beast gave him no opportunity to consider retreat. Its giant maw snapped forward with frightening speed for a creature of its size.
Thane had no time to react further than putting his large iron shield between him and the beast. The impact threw Thane back more than a dozen yards and into the hard gravel. When he finally realized he had stopped, he was shocked to find his shield and axe still in hand. Before he could even think to rise to his feet the creature was upon him, its vicious head looming above him. Its reptilian eyes staring down with loathing as it opened it jagged fanged mouth, the beast’s breath was rank with rot and gore as it bore down on him. The shaft of an arrow plunged into the beast’s eye. It roared in agony and thrashed its head back and forth, trying to dislodge the wicked barb.
“Get up!” Thane heard Ottis cry out. Thane rolled to the side, barely avoiding being crushed by the beast’s massive taloned feet. But the beast also heard Ottis and now turned its attention towards the creature that had wounded it, forgetting all about Thane.
Thane charged after, wasting no time questioning his luck. His war axe sank deeply into the scaled armour of one of its hind legs. With near impossible speed, he pulled the blade out and struck again, hoping to hamstring the massive beast. The creature howled in fury and tried to use its long, thick, barbed tail to swat its attacker aside, while another arrow found its way through the beast’s scales and into its chest. Thane had anticipated the attack and launched himself over the muscular tail as it came for him. He rolled to his feet, surprised that after all these years that his fighting prowess had remained mostly intact. The beast’s neck and chest was riddle with arrow shafts now and dark crimson blood oozed from the many wounds. A large flap of meaty flesh hung torn and slick with gore from Thane’s axe strike and the beast clearly was favouring its other leg.
Thane was about to attack the beast’s other hind leg when he heard Ottis’s deep battle cry, and knew his friend had used all of his arrows, and would now be charging in with his massive two-handed sword. Thane grinned to himself - they might very well slay the monster yet, but that thought was quickly quenched. The beast opened its jaws and a violent, fiery inferno erupted from its gaping maw. Ottis had no time to react before the beast’s flames were upon him. His screams were sickening, as the intense flames blistered and melted his flesh nearly from his bones in the span of heartbeats.
Thane watch in stunned horror as his lifelong friend’s charred and blackened body crumpled to the rocky earth. He had not even realized that he was screaming a battle cry of rage and agony, his legs propelled him forward without thought. Thane’s war axe arched across with unfathomable strength, lacerating through the beast’s thick, scaly hide and deep into its flesh chipping into bone. The beast growled in anger and its head snapped back towards him, its jaws open wide, ready to end the painful threat.
Thane’s blade slashed up catching the beasts jaw, shattering bone and continuing through severing the lower jaw nearly clean off. The creature howled in anguish and withdrew its head away from the wicked blade; its body thrashed slamming into Thane and throwing him to the ground.
Thane looked up to see the beast’s giant tail looming down on him and instinct alone saved him as his shield found its way above him. The powerful tail smashed down upon the metal shield, Thane’s impressive strength was no match for that of the creature’s and the shield slammed down into him, breaking his arm in innumerable places. The pain of his shattered arm dragged him close to unconsciousness but he gritted his teeth and forced himself to rise. His left arm hung limp at his side, his large dented iron shield laid useless on the ground, yet he still held his bloodied war axe tightly in his right hand. He looked up to see the beast still thrashing madly, shaking its head wildly, trying to rid itself of the torment from its ruined maw.
“I bet it hurts.” Thane taunted the beast as he started limping towards it, the creature turned to regard him almost forgetting about the distress it felt. It’s good eye focusing on him with hatred unmatched. “Bet it does not hurt as much as the loss of a child!” He hissed, his pace quickening - he was going to die here of that he was sure, but he would ride this demon into the afterlife with him. The beast moved towards him - clearly the damage to both its hind legs slowing it dramatically. “Let us finish this you bastard!” Thane barked out, doing his best to charge over the uneven ground in his battered state.
The beast reared up threateningly, but its wounded legs could not hold its massive weight any longer. It stumbled and fell forward, crashing hard into the packed rocky earth. Thane sensed his opportunity and lunged forward and before the beast had a chance to recuperate, his war axe slashed down deep into the armour hide of the beast’s neck. Thick, blood sprayed across Thane’s faces from the deep wound- he had severed a main artery.
The beast thrashed about, trying to get its legs underneath it again so it could rise and defend itself, but the damage done was too much and the effort only weakened it more. Realizing its fate was sealed the beast turned its eye on Thane, smoke began fuming from its nostrils as it began drawing in a deep breath through its mangle jaw.
Thane knew what was coming next, yet his eyes were transfixed by the glowing orb forming within the beast’s open mouth. It was like nothing he had ever witnessed before, a raw power that had been unknown, until that moment. The flames hissed from the beast’s mouth and Thane stumbled back, the bitter flames tasting only his left side as he fell back against the rocky earth. He held his eyes shut tightly, fighting against the searing pain erupting throughout his left side of his body. He would have screamed had the flames not consumed all the air around him.
He did not know if it had been mere moments or even days, but finally the cruel blistering heat of the beasts’ inferno ceased, his lungs cried out to him to draw breath, and when he did the sensation nearly sent him into unconsciousness. He laid there staring up at the late afternoon sky, his body numb to everything, for that he knew he should be thankful. He could smell the acidic stench of burnt flesh and knew it was his own. He licked his dry lips, working up the courage to look down at his body and tasted blood, but it was not his, it was the beasts. It was thicker than a man’s and its taste more potent in its unique flavour.
Thane titled his head up and looked down at his mangled form - nearly his entire left side was blackened and blistered from the beast’s firestorm. He laid his head back down upon the rocks, he would not survive. He chuckled softly to himself, he had not thought it truly possible to slay the beast that had killed his son but he had. He smiled to the warmth of the sky. He had avenged his son, he had done the impossible, he could die now with no shame and no dishonour. He closed his eyes knowing it would be forever...
...Thane’s eyes opened, the only light emanating was from the small stars that littered the black heavens above him. His head felt like it had taken a blow from a barbarian’s war hammer. He pushed himself up to his feet, his body ached everywhere, his eyes slowly focused with the little light he had and rested upon the massive, dead beast in front of him. His memories flooded back to him he shuffle backwards and fell to the ground again and scrambled a safe distance away from the dead creature. He looked down to his left side and was overwhelmed with relief to find his body no longer ravished by the beast’s flames. “Impossible...” He whispered.
James Fuller has enjoyed the fine art of writing for many years now, he‘s been busy with many on the go book projects lately as he‘s extended his writing from fantasy fiction to also writing a short story anthology as well as an up and coming zombie apocalypse. His popularity has grown not only locally but online through Facebook where he runs his author’s page which is constantly growing as he hosts contests and give-aways daily.
James has an absolute passion for his characters and unique twisted plots with his detailed writing skills that really brings his books to life and makes his characters and their journeys so favorable. As an author he also goes above and beyond when it comes to writing battle scenes, the intricate design and explanations of fighting, not only in swordplay but also in tactics is one of James incredible expertise in which he delights in.
When James isn't on his computer writing the third installment of the Fall Of A King series “The Bastard King: Birthright“, he enjoys recreational activities such a camping, fishing, hiking, and archery. Along with being an adventurous outdoors man James also spends many of his hours in a day as a devoted husband and father.
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An epic journey of deceit, betrayal, magic and a treasonous love sets sail as Meath, a young apprentice to the formidable wizard, Ursa, escapes certain death while a freshly united Kingdom is held captive by a false Prince. In hope of relaying the truth of the usurper who now threatens the throne, Meath embarks on a dangerous journey with the true heiress, Nicolette, in an attempt to reach her Uncle before they too are entangled in the lie that has wound itself deep into the lands. Amidst the soldiers dispatched to return the princess and capture Meath and his friends, they must avoid the barbarian clans who have begun a savage war on the Kingdom of Draco; evading what seems like fate has become a perilous game they may not be able to win…