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Book 5 of The Narrative of Riven the Heretic
Part 1 of The Arcanian Chronicles


By Toni V. Sweeney

With the death of their parents in the Genocide Wars, the orphaned sons of Riven kan Ingan and his beloved Barbara flee to separate countries to escape the margrave's injustice.

Eldest son Val rides north to Ghermia, his mother’s country, where he’s taken in by a band of barbarian marauders as ruthless as he.

Ilke the Priest and nine-year-old Merigan turn their horses’ south, seeking sanctuary among the tribes in the Assamedean desert.

Twins Hroric and Shael go to the far eastern kingdom of Chalêit, where their reckless natures enable them to become accomplished thieves.

All agree to return and help Val avenge their parents, but none believe that will happen. Until it does… adventure, danger, death, and love await Riven’s five sons as they grow to adulthood and gain the strength to exact their revenge upon the insane margrave of Francovia.

Genre: Fantasy

Sensuality rating: 4

Cover Art by James Robinson

This book is available in the following formats:
PDF / ePUB / MobiPocket / POD print
Price:
$14.99
Author: Toni V. Sweeney
Description

Chapter 1

Wheeling, Val fended away the sword of his attacker.

For weeks now, they’d followed him.

He’d seen the three figures in the distance. Though they never came close enough for him to identify the crimson gauntlet upon their black tabards marking them as Black Shields, he knew who they were. Like hounds on the scent of a fox, Morling’s hunters had tracked him this far, staying with him, never losing sight of their prey.

It was expected they’d follow him. He was the eldest son, the heir. They might not think his brother the priest or his father’s younger sons worth killing, but he… Hadn’t he lost his inheritance and his title? Wouldn’t he want revenge for his parents’ deaths?

Of course he had to die…

…but not here. Not on this grassy, hot, and treeless plain…so different from the frozen death he’d left behind…offering little protection from either the sun or the men following him.

Behind him, the mountains were a hazy blur in the distance. Before him, stretched the level prairie and nothing else.

For days now, he’d rationed his water supply, going without so his horse could have more to drink, until the animal faltered and fell under the blaze of the sun, its mouth open and dry. Holding his hand under the horse’s muzzle, Val poured the remaining water onto the animal’s tongue. As it coughed and swallowed, heaving itself shakily to its feet, he brushed his damp palm across his own dry, cracking lips, skin gratefully absorbing what little moisture was left.

He wrapped the reins around his hand. He and the animal trudged on.

That was what they had waited for. The fox was run to ground and the hounds attacked.

He barely had time to draw his sword and brace himself before they were upon him.

~ * ~

“Allfather, help him.” The spindle fell from Weaver’s fingers, sending her scrambling to the floor after it.

It tumbled through the clouds, landing at Ildred’s feet. Weaver followed, on her knees before the Father of the Gods.

“It’s not the time, Weaver.” Allfather’s voice was calm, making her plea all the more frantic.

“There are three against one. The odds are too unfair,” she protested, seizing the spindle and crawling back to her seat before the loom.

“He’s not an untried stripling, Weaver. Though young, he’s already fought beside his father, and survived.”

“Aye, and you let the father die,” she accused, her fear making her reckless to speak back to the Father of the Gods. “You promised the man peace and a long life, yet you let him be killed in that needless war.”

     “For this day and time, he did have a long life,” Ildred answered. “The war was necessary to force his sons into manhood, to mark the beginning of the prophecy. Yon boy fought and survived and he’ll survive this, too…without my help.”

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