Severin pulled his hood closer around him despite the stifling heat. He
must keep himself disguised at all costs. Oscians did not take kindly to
strangers, and his icy blue eyes and silvery hair marked him a foreigner
among the swarthy-skinned, dark-haired native population. Severin turned
to his companion, a grey-haired man carrying the staff of a wizard.
"Ildar, do we have enough gold?"
Ildar clucked his tongue. "It's a bit late to be worrying about that now,
isn't it? You've already entered into the contract. Yes, we have enough,
but only just. What's your father going to say when you bring home a
Severin smiled at his former tutor who was now one of his most trusted
advisors. "Do you know me so little, Ildar?"
"You mean to set him free?"
"Of course. You know slavery is illegal in Arcathia. It's a pity we can't
afford to free them all." Severin's eyes swept over the dais set up in the
middle of the square where slaves of all ages stood or lay curled in their
chains. Some were shackled to wooden stakes while others were bound to
each other or had chains binding their arms and legs together so they
could hardly move. Their tunics were stained, ill-fitting, and ragged
around the hems, their arms and legs bare. Some held their heads high, yet
others looked so despairing that Severin's heart lurched for them. He
couldn't save them all, no matter how much he wanted to. Almost all of
them were bruised and scarred in some way, testifying to abuse from
previous owners or perhaps from the slave trader himself.
The slaver was a burly man with biceps the size of hams and thighs so
thick they almost looked like tree trunks. He was bulging out of his
leather jerkin and trousers. Sweat dripped down his face while he
continued with the auction. Severin cringed. None of the scrawny slaves
would have stood a chance against him if he decided to lay into them.
Severin looked at Ildar, raising his eyebrow in question. The two of them
had known each other for so long that sometimes they didn't need words.
Ildar nodded and cast a notice-me-not spell. It would shield them from
prying eyes—there was no reason to make it easy for pickpockets. Once the
shield was in place, Ildar counted out the requisite gold coins. He sighed
every time he dropped a piece into Severin's open palm. "I hope we have
enough left for lodgings for the night," said Ildar, his reluctance
"We could always camp out," said Severin. Ildar shuddered. For a wizard,
he had a terrible aversion to nature and loved his home comforts. "Perhaps
you should just conjure more gold pieces?"
Ildar gave a long-suffering sigh. "You see, this is why you were so
hopeless at studying the Magical Arts. You can't conjure something from
nothing. Magic is all about balance. It can only be used to assist nature.
If you have a fire, you can make it warmer, but you can't conjure fire
from thin air."
"I've heard the Aldari can do that and more."
"The Aldari? Well, if it's fairy tales you're after rather than reality,
yes they can. But the Aldari have long since died out, and most of what is
said about them is complete myth. They don't exist."
Title: The Chosen
Author: Annette Gisby
Genre: M/M Fantasy Romance
The neighbouring kingdoms of Oscia and Arcathia have been at a tentative peace for three years after centuries of warfare. Prince Severin of Arcathia has been brought up to put duty before all else and as the only son of the King and Queen, it is his duty to marry and produce an heir. His parents want him to marry an Oscian princess to cement that tentative peace. Unfortunately Severin isn’t interested in princesses. Now, if he had his pick of princes that would be another matter.
Havyn has been a slave all his life. When his aptitude for wizardry is discovered, he finds himself purchased and freed by Prince Severin and apprenticed to the royal wizard, Ildar. His duty is to stay chaste to keep his powers strong, but his feelings for Severin sorely test his resolve.
With kingdoms at war, the throne hanging in the balance, magic in the air, and outside forces trying to keep them apart, can the two men find happiness together, or is duty more important than love?
Buy Links: Allromance | Amazon | Amazon UK | Smashwords | BN
Annette Gisby grew up in a small town in Northern Ireland moving to London when she was seventeen. Being a very small town there were no bookshops and a small library. When she’d devoured every book she could get her hands on in the library, she started writing her own stories so she would always have something to read later.
When not writing she enjoys reading, cinema, theatre, walks along deserted beaches or wandering around ruined castles (great places for inspiration!) She loves travelling to distant places to see different cultures first hand, even though she gets travel sick on most forms of transport.
She currently lives in Hamsphire with her husband, a collection of porcelain dolls, cuddly toys and enough books to fill a library.