I’ve decided to post chapters for this story on Monday and Friday mornings, so look for them then. :)
Find Chapter One here.
Louise of Kangraff stood at a window set in the cold grey walls of the castle. Her arms, crossed tightly over her chest, served two purposes: They added warmth against the cold in the air and inside her, and they gave physical demonstration to her deep frustration.
Short, sharp footsteps behind her gave notice of her husband’s presence. She did not turn around to address him. “Tell me you have good news, Maxwell.” It was half an order, half a plea.
“I do…in a way,” his oily voice replied. She hated his voice. It made her involuntarily shudder in disgust.
“Then say it.” She had no patience for his usual manner of drawing everything out. Why could he not just be concise and stop wasting words, filling the air with his putrid breath?
He huffed out a sniff of displeasure. “If my mother ever spoke to my father the way you speak to me,” he threatened, “he would have killed her.”
She turned slowly, pinching her cheeks and mouth into an expression of pure loathing. “If you even tried, I would slit your throat faster than you could blink.”
Maxwell’s slender fingers gripped the air at his side. She knew he was fantasizing about strangling her. “And that, dear wife, is the only reason you are still alive,” he returned with mock sweetness.
Louise uncrossed her arms and set her hands on her hips. “The news, Max.”
“I know where he is.”
It took a few attempts before she was able to speak. “Him?” she gasped. “Bill?”
Maxwell nodded, but his mirthless smile told her that all was not well. She did not give into his games; she waited.
When it was clear she would not satisfy him by inquiring, he added, “Oh, yes, I know where the boy is. He’s in Ferngold.”
“Ferngold?” Louise choked on the name. That wretched land? What was their son doing in a kingdom known for love, kindness, peace, and health? Despite Poldar’s greatness, she knew it was no match for Ferngold. Even if they could somehow prove stronger, Ferngold’s alliance with the fearsome Clachan made their defeat inevitable. They would never get Bill back.
“But do not despair,” the king continued. “I also found a sorcerer. He has a plan, a very good plan.”
She rolled her eyes at his stupidity. “When has a partnership with one of the race of mages ever gone well for us since the evil Kangraff? This won’t end well, dear.” Never had a term of endearment sounded less endearing.
He waved off her objection. “That’s because they were all either good or too weak and feable. This sorcerer is even wickeder than I, and not only is he incredibly strong already, he knows how to get stronger. This will not be a repeat of the evil Kangraff’s foe or of Ivan the magician. Trust me. Ferngold has no chance of withstanding us. Bill will be back in our grasp within a week.”