EXCERPT 2 – FROM CHAPTER 4
On the high tide, the Willowdrake left Winsproke harbor. Basil stood in a quiet corner of the deck and stared at the town of his birth growing smaller. For the first time in his seventeen years, he was leaving the security of his father’s tower. The thought laid frozen knots in his stomach. Basil didn’t see himself as an adventurous type. Experimenting with magical spells was exciting enough, and not without danger. The outside world he would gladly leave to daredevils like Darquine. His eyes teared up. Those fools on the Council with their humiliating summons! They had forced him from his nice rooms. Curse you, Volaut, with your tricks, he thought. And to the hells with you, impostor guy with your ten toes. In impotent fury, he slapped the railing.
Behind him, someone gave a polite cough. Basil turned with a start and stared at a Chorwaynie of his own age, wearing the uniform of a ship’s officer. Basil felt hot blood rushing to his face, and he snapped, ‘Yes?’
The young man saluted. ‘Excuse me, Spellwarden, sir, but might I ask you to move two paces to the left? I must make my daily sightings.’ He lifted a copper contraption that Basil didn’t recognize.
‘Your sightings?’ He stepped aside, and the other took his place. ‘What are these?’
‘I am checking the position of the ship, sir.’ The young man put the copper object to one eye. After a few minutes, he jotted down some numbers on a slate.
‘Explain, please.’ Basil considered himself an experimentalist, and he liked to tinker with things, combining apparatuses with spells and seeing what came from it. ‘What is that thing you’re using?’
‘It’s a sextant, sir, a most modern instrument. I use it to measure the angle between the sun and the horizon.’ He stopped.
‘Go on,’ Basil said impatiently.
‘It will be rather technical, sir,’ the young man said. ‘I don’t know ....’
‘I love technical things. Tell me.’
Obediently, the young man began to explain the intricacies of celestial navigation. When he noticed his listener’s interest wasn’t feigned, he warmed up and after a while the two talked away as if they’d known each other for years.
‘Now you’re using the sun,’ Basil said. ‘But what about when it’s dark?’
The young man smiled. ‘We use certain stars instead. I can show you tonight, after sundown, if you want to see it.’
‘Of course I want to.’ It was a new field of discovery and Basil felt excited at the thought of delving into it.
‘I will be back at two bells of the first watch. That’s at nine tonight, sir.’
‘I’ll be here. What’s your name?’
‘Apprentice Yarwan, sir; of Towne-Harbor.’
Basil nodded. ‘Right, then; two bells it is.’ That sounded nicely nautical to his ears. He touched Yarwan’s hand and saw the young man lower his eyes. Unusually pleased, the Spellwarden walked away.
Title: Lioness of Kell
Author: Paul E. Horsman
The lioness Maud is at eighteen already a black powerhouse of brawn. When she is ordered to fetch a young thief from a pirate town, she thinks it an easy task. Until she and Jurgis the thief find themselves running for their lives.
Young warlock Basil sees his life threatened by a summons from the Warlockry Council, to prove his beauty. He knows his lame foot will betray him and escapes on the first ship out of town. On board he meets Yarwan, a handsome midshipman, who awakens feelings he never knew existed.
When the four young people meet, Basil learns of a spell that could repair his foot. Only the spell’s creator, the infamous Black Warlock, disappeared nearly a century ago. As the four decide to go looking for him, they start on a path leading to an old war and unsolved mysteries that will change their world. Or kill them.
Paul E. Horsman (1952) is a Dutch and International Fantasy Author. Born in the sleepy garden village of Bussum, The Netherlands, he now lives in Roosendaal, a town on the Dutch/Belgian border.
He has been a soldier, salesman, scoutmaster and from 1995 a teacher of Dutch As A Second Language to refugees from all over the globe.
Since 2012, he is a full-time writer of epic light fantasy adventures for both Y.A. and over. His works have been both trade published in The Netherlands, and self-published internationally.
His available titles are:
* The Shadow of the Revenaunt (Rhidauna, Zihaen, Ordelanden) trilogy
* The Shardheld Saga (Shardfall, Runemaster, Shardheld) series
* Lioness of Kell (standalone)