Excerpt from Gatehouse: The Door to Canellin
“That’ll be far enough, friend,” said a deep voice as
Gideon entered the main room of the hut. “I’ll ask you to stand fast. This doesn’t need to get rough.”
Four burly men stood near the entrance, two with crossbows trained on
Gideon. The third man had his arm around Mindalee’s neck from behind, a beefy hand clamped tightly over her mouth, and the fourth, the one who had spoken, stood directly in front of the door with his arms crossed.
“What’s the meaning of this?” said
Gideon, moving back a step with the thought of gaining some room to maneuver.
“Simmer down, friend, and don’t try anything foolish. I assume the boy’s in the back room?” The man stepped forward, gesturing toward the door
Gideon had just come through. Gideon tensed, reaching for his dagger.
“I warned you,” said the man almost sadly. “Take him down, boys.”
Gideon barely heard the twang of the crossbow before a blunted bolt struck him squarely in the temple, and he dropped like a puppet with its strings cut.
“Oh, good,” said a sarcastic voice from somewhere slightly above him. “The hero’s awake.”
Wes?” he said softly. “Is that you?” Gideon felt with his hands and found a wall in front of him. He levered himself into a sitting position, his back against it, and looked up to see Wes sitting on the small room’s only cot, the dim light of the moon through a tiny window the only illumination. “What happened? Who were they?”
“The long arm of the law,” said
Wes bitterly. “The local constable.”
“Oh, no. Word of the theft moved faster than we did, then.”
“I don't think it's about the stone. Apparently, we waylaid some guy on the road, killed four people, and stole a rare and valuable black stallion.”
Wes leaned forward and glared at Gideon. “They’re going to hang us for murder,” he spat. “I told you that guy was shady, but you wouldn’t listen. They found the stallion right outside the old woman’s hut, and they told me that whoever it was said we were the ones who attacked him.”
“But that’s not true,” said
Gideon. “We never waylaid anyone! If anything, that peasant is the one who robbed the man!”
“He probably never saw who did it,” said
Wes. “He just saw that we were the ones with his horse and decided we were guilty. It doesn’t really matter, it’s our word against his.”
The sound of a heavy latch being lifted interrupted their conversation. The door swung open silently on well-oiled hinges, allowing blinding light into the room, and
Gideon shielded his eyes.
“Ah, good, you’re awake,” said the constable. “Come along, friend, we need to have a chat.”
Gideon felt rough hands lift him, and he was shoved out of the cell. He was held by two rough guards as the constable led the way down a short hall.
“So, friend,” said the constable as they entered another small stone room, “it’s time we talked.” The two men shoved
Gideon into a hard wooden chair, and the constable frowned. “That’ll be all, boys,” he said almost irritably. “See to your duties.” The two men shot Gideon dagger-filled glances as they strode from the room, cracking their knuckles. “And leave the boy alone,” called the constable after them. “I’ll not have him mistreated!” When they were gone, the man took the seat across from Gideon. “My guards can get a little carried away sometimes,” he said apologetically. “I’m Constable , and I assume from my conversation with the boy that you’re Willis Gideon. Care to share your story?”
“I’m not sure I have a story,” said
Gideon slowly. “I don’t really understand what’s going on here.”
“It’s quite simple. You’re accused of robbing the
in Karsenon, murdering four men in the employ of Tower of Lore Lord , and running off with a horse that’s worth more gold than the entire village sees in a year. Jog your memory any?” Joachim
“That’s not what happened,” said
Gideon firmly. “I bought that horse off a peasant about two days’ ride north of here.” He began to relate the story of the scruffy peasant and his dead traveler. Willis listened attentively, nodding here and there, and when the story was done, he sat back in his chair with a sigh.
“And the tower?”
“Ah...well, as to that...”
Gideon struggled for a story.
“Don't bother. Thievery in Karsenon is no business of mine. For the rest, it’s much the same story the boy told,” said the constable wearily. “I must say, it’s quite a tale. And your description of the peasant, well, it certainly doesn’t sound like your accuser.” He pursed his lips thoughtfully. “I’m sorry to say, I believe you, and I believe the boy.”
“You do?” said
Gideon, incredulous. “But that’s good!”
“Afraid it’s not so simple,” said
Willis. “ Lord is fairly well liked and respected around these parts, though I've never much trusted him. But he does a great deal of business here, and has the ear of the merchants. He and his men rode off for the High Judge’s manor right after we brought you in, so as to bring him here to try you. Jasper’s a good man, but he idolizes Joachim Lord . I’m to meet them before dawn at the village inn, and I’m afraid it’s very likely you and the boy will hang shortly thereafter.” Joachim
Excerpt from The Door to Justice, book 2 of the Gatehouse series
An Enforcer with huge bat wings lifted off from the ground and flew at
Ryan, blasting fire from his hands as he went. Ryan dodged past the flames and flew around the winged man with blinding speed, grabbing him from behind. He then flew toward the ground, the Enforcer firmly in his grasp, and dropped him, pulling up at the last minute. The Enforcer smashed into the ground with tremendous force, struggled to get back up, and then collapsed. Ryan resumed his position in the sky above the battle, every so often flying down to choose an opponent or answer an attack. The rebels rallied around him, tearing into the Enforcers with renewed vigor.
“Is it really him?”
“It can’t be him! He’s dead!”
“It has to be him! Look at him up there, no one can touch him!”
At least that part of the plan’s going right, thought
Wes grimly when he heard these comments, and others. He directed his gaze upward toward his father again, and so happened to be looking up when the black streak collided with Ryan, knocking him to the ground hard enough to shake the entire battlefield.
The rescue wasn’t going according to plan, but it was still going well. The plan had been to flee as soon as the prisoners were freed, but
Ryan had seen as soon as he left the building that things had gone badly outside the walls. The addition of the rebel prisoners had turned the tide, though, and his own presence high above seemed to be having the desired effect.
With no warning,
Ryan was struck so hard that he slammed into the ground, digging a long furrow into the earth outside the camp. He sat up, shaking his head to clear it, and looked above him. A black shape hurtled from the sky, and there were suddenly hands around his neck.
“Who are you?” growled the man who attacked him. “Where did you come from?”
“I won’t let you get away with this,” said the man. “You won’t carry out this charade!”
“I’m the Protector,” he said as calmly as he was able. “I’ve come to make things right. Who are you?”
“I am Overlord,” said the man. “And you are most certainly not the Protector.” The man launched himself at
Ryan with a snarl.