Friday 29 April 2016

Kindlescout Campaign - Leifdom by Jesse Teller

Author: Jesse Teller

Book Description:
A fiery fairy battles for purpose.

Liefdom is the story of Gentry Mandrake. Born with natural weapons in a race known for pacifism, he is cast out and hated for his differences. He hunts for a place among his people, while fighting to defend the human child bound to him. His violent nature makes him wonder at the purity of his soul, while the dark creatures he must face seem too great to defeat. Can he overcome such terrible foes to defend those he loves?

What Is A Kindlescout Campaign?
Kindle Scout is reader-powered publishing for new, never-before-published books. It’s a place where readers help decide if a book gets published. Selected books will be published by Kindle Press and receive 5-year renewable terms, a $1,500 advance, 50% eBook royalty rate, easy rights reversions and featured Amazon marketing.




The Birth of Thomas Nardoc

The court wizard stood impatiently outside the queen’s chambers. He beat his fist hard against the door again, as another thready scream wafted through the closed door and stumbled down the immense hall.

King Phomax shouted from many rooms away, “Come back and drink with me, Ivoryfist. If she dies, they will cut the child from her belly. The heir will be born, no matter how she fares.” Rayph let his forehead drop against the door. His fist clenched itself and he fought for control.

“That had better be a boy you’re whelping in there, woman!” Phomax yelled.

Rayph felt his aura expanding, pulling magic from the castle around him. He could easily extend his will down the hall and pop the skull of his callous disappointment of a king. Rayph drank a deep breath and calmed himself. He beat his hand against the door again. The same priestess slid the bolt free, cracking the door open enough for Rayph to see her face and nothing more.

“Let me in. I can help her with the pains. I can save her life,” he pleaded. His aura pulsed with strength and the maddening urge to rip the heavy door from its hinges.

“It is forbidden by the Church. The Blood Mother would curse the child should a man be present at the birth.”

The pleas of the queen rose from the birthing chair, “Stop it, please. You have to make it stop. It is killing him. It is killing my baby. Please cut him loose! Cut me open or he will die!”

Rayph growled and shot a dangerous look at the priestess. “What is the Blood Mother doing for her now?” Rayph demanded. He pressed his hand against the door and the foot of the priestess stopped it.

“Do not question the Mother of Mothers. The queen lives or dies at Her behest.” Rayph saw a flicker of dark emotion cross the priestess’s face. His aura begged for release. He opened his third eye—the eye that marked him a member of the Trimerian race. The priestess looked into it with dread and fascination.

Rayph looked through the door, through the priestess barring his passage, and across the room to the birthing chair, where the queen wrestled for her life and the life of her child. Her eyes begging, her hands grasped the arms of the chair. Her face flaxen, slashed through with horrid lines of agony, her mouth opened in a wide O, then collapsed in as she struggled to push. She fell back against the chair, gasping, begging again for the midwife to cut her open and take the child.

“She is in the hands of the Blood Mother, Rayph Ivoryfist. She is about the business of a woman. Leave her presence before you taint the child’s future.” The priestess struggled to shove the door closed, and Rayph began to let her. But at the mention of Rayph’s name, the queen’s head rolled weakly to the side. She looked longingly at the door. Rayph saw her face crumple like a sheet of parchment, and then smoothen again as the door slammed shut in his face.

“Rayph, please,” the weak and desperate queen called out, “please save me.”

Rayph released his aura. The large, ornate door exploded in a shower of splinters. They hung suspended in the air like a wooden cloud, and he moved through them. He walked around the priestess, who threw her arms up over her face in an effort to shield herself from the shrapnel. The door reformed and slammed shut behind him, the priestess dropping to her knees, uttering a prayer.

Rayph gathered his aura and laid it over the queen as he stormed across the room. Her eyes closed slowly. Her body went slack, her head lobbing forward weakly. The midwife stared at her wide-eyed, her mouth dropping in despair.

Rayph looked at the queen with his third eye, seeing her life-force weak and passing. He looked to her belly, seeing the child’s life-force strong and throbbing. The eyes of the queen swung to him. She blinked. “Is he dying, Rayph?”

“He is fine, your majesty. He is strong. You will be fine as well.” He stepped in front of the queen and looked down at her groin. His stomach twisted and his mouth turned down in a grimace. He pulled control back over his face and looked to the midwife.

“What happened?” He shook his head. “Not important. Step aside. I’m sure you did your best.”

The aura around him began to whine under the burden of the queen’s pain, and Rayph pulled yet more magic from the castle. He stood over the queen and gently laid his hands upon her stomach. His aura wrapped around her, holding her in an embrace and closing deadly hands around himself. Her heart pulsed in his throat, light and pattering, beating in a syncopating rhythm that scared him.

He whispered to himself. “My oath was to whatever end. The safety of the royal family and the nation—before my own.” He clenched his hands tight and yanked her aura with his own. The pain was shocking, dropping him to his knees before the birthing chair. The skin under his robe shred as a wound gaped open and hers slowly began to close. His face quivered and he saw his wife, wings spread open wide, soaring over his head. She laughed in the air above him. His love for her filled his pain-wracked body. The image hit him so hard that he smiled through the gnawing pain. Would he see her again this year?

He pushed thoughts of his Archialore from his mind and grit his teeth. He exhaled through his teeth, spittle spraying in a fine mist. He jerked more of her aura toward himself. The wound under his robe ripped audibly and the midwife behind him gasped. The queen was reforming before his eyes, as the warm puddle of his blood began to widen in a quietly expanding pool of gore.

Rayph whimpered, his hands trembling. The queen leaned forward now, her face the pale white of porcelain it had always been, her eyes alive and wide with horror as she watched him die. She may be able to do it now. She could perhaps resume the labor, maybe bring into this world the child their nation so desperately needed. He grit his teeth, feeling as though they may chip and shatter in his mouth. The edges of his aura vibrated on the verge of losing control. One more. He could give her one more. He tugged her aura over him
one more time. It fell on him like a bladed blanket, slicing his gut to ribbons. Rayph dropped back. Blood coursed between his legs, lining his back and widening the puddle around him.

The midwife grunted and stepped over him, returning to the birthing. She spoke in words that slurred and ran together. All sound began blending together, making a myriad of no discernable sense. He could hear one sound rising and falling with his breath, which came in long draws. It rose after his inhale and lasted through to his exhale. He listened, mesmerized by the sound, trying hard to figure it out. He was getting cold, but the sound seemed more important.

He realized he was screaming.

His screams parted like grain in the wind as a new sound lifted above it. A clean cry sliced the room in two, and Rayph knew the baby survived.

“I am fine. See to him,” the voice of his queen shined beautiful and clean. He always said she was the type of queen to inspire a nation to greatness, a face her nation would go to war for. He heard his robe being ripped open, and had time to worry that his queen would see him in his loincloth before the women above him gasped. The midwife licked a thread and pushed the end of it through the eye of the needle. An expression of grim determination stamped itself on her face, and she began the grisly work of saving his life.

He was speaking. Rayph listened to hear what would come out of his own mouth. “Is the child okay?”

“The child is fine, Ivoryfist. He is fine,” she grunted and shook her head, whispering to herself as she sewed.

“The queen?” Rayph asked. Someone squeezed his hand and he looked to his left. There she knelt, pushing back his sweat-damp hair and smiling down at him through teary eyes.

“I am good, Rayph. I’m good. Please, Rayph, save your breath.”

“There were omens,” he heard said above him. He pushed the terrible, mind-numbing pain away and focused on the words being spoken.

“What omens?” That voice belonged to the king.

He looked to the midwife still sewing, her face a mask of stubbornness. She was not talking. It had to be the priestess. “He was born clinging to the cord. He held a chunk of tissue in his little fist. These are bad omens, my king. Horrible omens.”

“I will not hear your nonsense, woman. Leave me to my child. See to the woman, as is your business.”

The midwife leaned back. “He is closed, your majesty. I will not say if he will live or die, but his wound is closed,” she uttered, wiping wild strands of hair from her face. Rayph watched as she smeared his blood across her forehead and cheeks. The queen gently kissed his closed third eye.

“Thank you, Rayph. Thank you so much.” She was crying now, nearing hysterics. He began to slip into darkness. The world was closing around him. He held his head above the black, struggling to remain conscious.

“The omens say he will die young and in violence. The wizard’s presence has cursed this child. His death will be on the head of Rayph Ivoryfist,” the priestess said. The sharp crack of the queen’s hand broke across the cheek of the priestess.

“Leave this castle and never return. The door is closed to you and anyone else who would speak ill of this man!” the queen shouted.

That was hasty, Rayph tried to say. But the darkness had all but engulfed him now. The child would die young and in violence—not if Rayph could stop it.

He let the black take him, his mind conjuring a picture of his wife flying in the air around him. The gentle flap of her wings brought him peace. Rayph passed out.

About the Author
Jesse Teller lives in Missouri. He hasn’t always, but like storytelling, it snuck into his bones. He lives with his wonderful, supportive wife and two inspiring kids. When he is not pounding too hard on his poor keyboard, you can find him bumping into walls and mumbling to himself.

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1 comment:

  1. LIEFDOM is now available on Amazon!