An Emerging Threat
The Seeker’s Burden
Mark E. Lein
Genre: High Fantasy/ Epic Fantasy
Number of pages: 176
Word Count: 33,000
Cover Artist: Glen Wilkinson
An evil stirs, casting a shadow across the Islands. Two men begin quests to find the source of the darkness. One is a young scholar, given no choice but to follow the path ahead. Tragedy shapes him, nearly driving him to despair; an inner struggle pervades his journey.
The other is a warrior forced to the task through a sense of responsibility. His royal blood and his knighthood drive his course. Their searches, though separate, have the same goal: to find whatever or whoever may be responsible for the darkening of their world.
This book tells the story of their journey and the creatures, both friend and foe, that they meet along the way.
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Ethan suddenly found himself before the giant creature and barely had time to throw himself to the side as the mace thudded into the ground beside him. Rolling, he fought his way to his feet and turned to face the reptilian monstrosity.
The thing wrenched its mace from the ground and fluidly turned towards Ethan, a toothy grin stretching its black skin. Its size belied its grace, its movements were easy and quick and eyes constantly roved, taking in the battlefield. It swung the mace to rest on its shoulder and took a step towards him. It suddenly jerked in surprise as iron bolts sprouted from its side.
Captain Rekin stood fifty feet away with a line of crossbowmen, directing their fire into the attackers. Within seconds the towering creature stood alone. Blash, finding himself free of other opponents, charged towards the giant’s back, swinging his hammer in wide arcs to gain momentum. The creature noticed the charging man and lashed out with its spiked tail. His old joints restricting quick movements, Blash had no choice but to brace for the impact. In mid-swing the tail suddenly burst into crimson flame, withered, and fell away!
Screaming in pain and anger, the creature swung towards the robed figure of Altameaus standing mere feet away and funneling a stream of red flame from a ruby stone held in his fist. The distraction gave Blash the seconds needed to swing his great hammer into the thing’s back, scales snapping, bone crunching and giving way. Another wave of bolts embedded themselves into the creature’s upper torso, sparks flying from the impact.
Falling under the impact of the weapons, the creature launched itself sideways and onto Altameaus. The Seeker had just enough time to throw up a protective shield before the massive weight of the creature crashed down on him. The shield’s light held for a moment, flared, and went out. Rolling away, the giant lurched to its feet again, leaving the body of Altameaus in the small crater its impact had created.
Screaming in rage, Ethan threw himself at the creature, swinging his sword two-handed again and again until the blade shattered against its armored hide. Throwing the shards aside, Ethan drew his long knives and kept at the frenzied attack, steadily pounding until gaps and cracks allowed the blades to brings gushes of blood. Unable to shake the frenzied human, the creature beat at him with clawed hands, blows becoming weaker and weaker until its body sagged and it sank to its knees.
Blash pulled Ethan off of the creature and aimed a heavy blow at its head, landing it with a wet crunch. The giant’s clawed hands scrabbled at the torn earth and then went still.
Blood, his and the beast’s, soaked Ethan’s tunic and dented armor. Gasping for breath with tears running down his grime covered face he dropped his weapons and crawled to where Altameaus lay.
About the Author:
Mark grew up in small towns across the country, spending most of his childhood in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains of Northwestern Arkansas.
Throughout his life, his favorite books have been sci-fi and fantasy, anything Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Terry Brooks and a little Isaac Azimov.
Graduating from college in 2004, he became an Army Infantry and Intelligence Officer and continues to serve to this day. While deployed to Iraq for 14 months back in 2007-09, he began writing with this book in mind. His civilian work includes Intelligence Analysis and providing expertise with military training programs.
He now lives in Tampa, Florida with his wife of 9 years, Emily, and his three children, Oliver, Lucy, and Alexander.