It’s your lovable host, Ran, son of Sarn with an announcement! We have a new cover for Curse Breaker: Faceted! We didn’t think the old one did justice to the story, so our scribe rendered us a new one. Here it is:
The new cover is showing in some ebook stores. If you already have a copy, your book will automatically update to the much better cover soon.
If you don’t have a copy, now’s a great time to grab one. Faceted is on sale now everywhere ebooks are sold. We will update the paperback versions as soon as the Newsletter-Dragon gives us the final file.
She flew off in a huff with it because she’s not on the cover. She’s not even in this book, so I don’t know what put her in such a snit. This is my story, not hers. I don’t share Papa, his magic or his adventures with anyone.
More on that next week. I want to gush about Faceted since it’s my first real foray into sidekick-dom. I did help out in Enchanted, but the Rangers kept Papa so busy, I couldn’t participate in the boss fight at the end.
In Faceted, Papa and I do some spying, and we get caught up in a plot to release a monster. Fun times.
Well, it was for me. There was that cake scene, and it’s one of my favorites.
Bear made his debut in Faceted, and he does magic. A lot of magic. He might even help us a time or two. Might. With Bear, (Ghost Bear not my stuffed bear), you never really know.
Curse Breaker: Faceted is a father-son outing I won’t ever forget. Neither will you.
Because I’m so excited about the new cover, I thought I’d include part of the first chapter for you.
Don’t worry. We’re still trying to find out whether Google has an ebook-turtle or an elderly ebook-dragon. But we need our Newsletter-Dragon’s help for that, and she’s not cooperating.
But I have a plan. It might involve a sleigh and a jolly old man in a red suit. I just need to convince Papa to go along with it. 😉 While I get permission for that, I hope you enjoy Curse Breaker: Faceted.
Witches and Woe, the spy knows—
life’s shadows, mirrors, and lost troves.
—Old Shayarin Proverb
“This is not a fun ad-ven-ture.” Ran poked Sarn in the ribs.
“I know, and I’m sorry.” Sarn peered around the stack of crates screening them from view and fought the urge to punch something. Dirk and his four cronies rounded a bend and vanished from sight. How could they still be at liberty? He’d reported them to Jerlo and Nolo four weeks ago. Why hadn’t they informed the Guards?
What did he have to do—catch these fools red-handed? He had back in May, but no arrests had been made. Granted, policing fell outside the purview of the Rangers, but Jerlo should have reported my findings to the Guard Captain. Sarn gnashed his teeth in frustration. Crouching low, he checked out their situation on his head map.
Ran poked him again interrupting his speculation. “You promised a nice ad-ven-ture.”
“Shh, we don’t want them to hear us. They’re bad people, remember?”
“They are?” Ran clamped one hand on Sarn’s shoulder and stood on tiptoe to peer over the crates. “I don’t see anyone.”
“They entered a storeroom.”
Well, their icons had. What were they doing in there—something illegal? Sarn’s hopes rose. Maybe he could summon the Guards and let them tidy up the last piece of the nightmare marring his best friend’s death.
“Can we go? You can’t see them.”
Ran tugged Sarn’s arm intent on towing him if necessary. The sight of his four-year-old son trying to budge him startled a laugh out of Sarn. It was so unexpected. He met his son’s determined green eyes, and reality smothered his mirth.
If he summoned a Guard, what would happen to Ran? Few knew the boy existed. Sarn chewed the inside of his cheek as he checked his head map again but other than show the positions of all five men, it gave him no further insight. And why should it? Since when was his magic ever helpful?
An image overtook his sight. In it, a terrified Ran plummeted toward an endless spiral of stairs. Sarn closed his eyes unable to forget the magic tearing out of him to catch his son. Point taken, you are helpful sometimes.
The memory crumpled into a ball then a tongue of emerald flame consumed it as his magic resumed its sulk. It wasn’t a fan of the whole surveillance thing either.
“I want to go out now. This is boring.” Ran kicked a crate.
“Yeah, it is, but I have to do this.” Sarn sighed and ran a hand through his hair dislodging his hood. Maybe his son was right. The longer they stayed here, the more likely they would be discovered.
Besides, four weeks of on and off surveillance had turned up nothing—not a single box of Angel’s Dust beyond the one he’d reported a month ago. But those creeps had to be involved in the murderous mess back in May, and they’d pay for their part. If he could just convince someone in a position of authority of their wrongdoing, Dirk and his friends would be arrested before his secret could come out. And his son would be safe.
“Why do you have to do this?”
How to explain to a four-year-old about drugs, murder, and demons? “You remember Shade, right?” At his son’s nod, Sarn continued. “Well it’s partly their fault he’s dead.”
And partly Shade’s fault too. Sarn glanced over the waist-high stack of crates. He should entertain his son instead of endangering the boy. What the hell was he doing here? Ran’s unblinking gaze asked the same question.
Jerlo’s words repeated like heartburn, and Sarn cringed. Who died and made you lead investigator?
Maybe I should move along and find something more constructive to do. But Dirk and company had to be part of the illegal aliel trade.
Grief tightened Sarn’s chest and closed his throat. The drug had addled his demon-ridden friend and contributed to Shade’s death and thirteen others. More innocent lives would become entangled in that same hallucinogenic web if someone didn’t stop this.
“Papa?” Ran poked him.
Sarn put an arm around his son. At four years old, Ran was a real pip and precocious too. Judging by his furrowed brow, Ran was thinking hard about something, never a good sign.
“Why’re we here?”
“Because I know they’re up to something bad.” And their victims deserved justice. Sarn rubbed his chest, but the pain remained. He would speak for them, the drugged out, their shattered families and the dead. Because no one else would. His fist tightened securing that promise.
As if cued, Sarn’s sixth sense fired off a warning. He skulked behind a full pallet, his mystified son at his side.
Ran kneaded the sacks shielding them from view. “How do you know that?”
For a second, Sarn had no idea what his son was talking about. His mind had drifted back to the dead and their loved ones.
Ran shot him an annoyed look, which he deserved. “That they’re up to something bad.”
Trust his son to ask the hard questions.
“I just know. Now hush, something’s happening.”
Before Ran could ask what, Sarn covered his son’s mouth. Five icons on his head map headed in this direction–Dirk and his compatriots. Panic rose, but Sarn fought it with cold logic. They were hidden in the middle of a recent shipment of goods. No one saw us arrive, so no one knows we’re here. Sarn told himself, but he didn’t believe it. Dirk was a canny bastard.
And the shipment itself raised questions. Where did the shippers find so much non-ensorcelled wood? Not in Shayari, her forests were ninety percent enchanted and intelligent enough to kill ax-wielding men. Yet he was surrounded by wood of the non-enchanted variety despite the impossibility of it. Where had it come from? Could it be illegal?
The bells of Mount Eredren rang thirteen times. Ran’s fingers twitched as he counted the peels. Standing on tiptoe again, Ran whispered, “thirteen,” in Sarn’s good ear followed by, “I’m hungry.”
Of course, he was. Ran was always hungry. Sarn nodded, and his stomach gurgled a request for lunch. Maybe he should stop for now and come back later.
Sarn consulted his map again. Where were these jokers going? Not toward him and his son. I should follow and find out.
“I’m hungry.” Ran poked Sarn again.
And maybe I should fetch my son some lunch. Sarn sighed. Why was nothing ever easy? Because he was a twenty-year-old single parent and his orphaned upbringing did him no favors.
“We’ll go in a few minutes. I just want to see what they’re up to.”
Ran scowled. “You promise?”
Thanks to the magic in his blood, promises were binding. So instead of answering, Sarn crept down the cluttered tunnel, sliding between stacks of numbered crates. He paused at each one long enough to commit its numerical sequence to the hundred already in his memory. They might be important.
As the additions settled into their slots, Sarn froze. A pattern had been building since his first visit back in May, and it was now iron clad. He glanced at the new containers and identified each one’s contents except one. Sarn approached the box whose number diverged from the pattern. He had to open it, but he had nothing to open it with except magic, and that could get complicated.
Voices stopped Sarn. Dropping into a crouch, he pulled his son close to his body, quieting the unhappy boy. Miles of naked stone bounced every word Dirk and his cronies uttered turning their conversation into a jumble of meaningless sounds. Sarn cursed his ill-luck. Partial deafness in one ear did him no favors.
There was one other way to glean information, but should he risk it? Sarn mulled the idea over while his son fidgeted. Not seeing any other choice, he gritted his teeth and touched the stone floor. Magic surged out of his hand and green fire raced down the tunnel. Information threatened to wash his consciousness away in its sparkling cascade. The glow of his green eyes increased giving away his position until he squeezed his eyes closed.
“Let go, Papa. I want to play with the magic.” Ran squirmed but to no avail.
Controlling the magic took all his concentration, so Sarn shook his head. He fought to keep the magic from crawling over the crates and up the walls. The damn thing wanted to investigate every rock and crevice. But he kept steering it toward the sixth man-shapes lighting up his map. His magic had already identified five of the men present—Dirk, Ragnes, Crisso, Gorfen, and Villar. Who was the sixth?
His magic walked up the newcomer’s legs investigating his—no—her body for clues, but it sent none back. Something about her made his magic recoil. Other than her gender and presence, Sarn received nothing more about her. So, he pulled on the magic forcing it to return, but it fought him and strained to delve deeper on its own mission.
The Litherians—his magic whispered in an eerie repeat of last month’s mental tussle.
They’re dead and dusted. But Sarn’s magic refused to listen to him. And why should it? What was he but its untrained bearer? After he dealt with Dirk and company, he had to make time to fix that.
‘You need to play with the magic,’ Ran had said last month, and his son was right.
But the idea chilled Sarn, so for now, he imagined the magic as a radiant green cloth furled inside him. And shock of shocks, after one more assay, his magic receded.
Sarn exhaled the breath he’d been holding. How long before his magic won the contest of wills? He rubbed his aching forehead. Not long judging by the pain pounding in his skull. Maybe if I slept more, I’d have less difficulty.
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Until next time, dear reader
This is Ran, son of Sarn, “Poker of Heroic Dads,” wishing you a great week! 😉
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