Read an Excerpt
In one particular pocket of darkness between the planes of existence, sorcerer 'Sin Garu slid a pale, long-fingered hand through his hair and wondered, not for the first time, how he'd allowed one measly Storm Lord, the Prince of Fire, and his affai to escape.
The Storm Lords, four brothers, identical in appearance, similar in elemental magic with a smattering of psychic ability and not a one of them a match for his own dark magic. Yet here he sat, while Darius, Prince of Fire, fucked his bride like a rutting bull in the heavenly splendour of Tanselm.
'Sin Garu had been close to decimating the Storm Lord line for good, his effort to regain his rightful place as overking of Tanselm almost within reach. Yet instead of sitting atop the gilded throne in the heart of his homeland, he wasted his time in the shadows. Always in the shadows.
Instead of a council of Dark Lords, of elders and liaison rogues at his disposal, he had to make use of the reviled, the denigrated and most pathetic monsters of the dark. My distinguished Netharat army, he thought with bitter amusement.
Glancing over his shoulder at a quivering mass of bloodied wraith, he shook his head. "How foolish of me to trust you to get it right for once." He stared in disdain at Mirego, his once most-valued wraith, and waved a hand in the air while muttering a small spell under his breath. Burning Mirego to ash hadn't cured him of his rage, but revitalising the wraith to endure more torture was doing the trick.
The wraith's white eyes streaked with red, then putrid green. Its lumpy yellow skull turned both black and grey with bruises, and its waxy flesh was reduced to pits of skin covering hollows of pain and bloodied engorgement. Mirego tried to scream around the internal dark fire created by 'Sin Garu's sorcery, but couldn't. The sorcerer's unbridled power sapped the last fetid breath the wraith would ever give.
'Sin Garu gazed dispassionately at the rotting creature he'd spent so much time training and cursed Darius Storm and his chosen bride to everlasting torture in the black realms of hell.
"My lord?" a hesitant voice echoed.
The wraith hobbled clumsily into the stone-walled room and bowed low, not meeting his gaze.
"My lord, the others are waiting for further instruction. The River Prince has had no apparent contact with Arim as of yet, and the woman is at it again, this time with fire."
'Sin Garu's mind filled with curiosity, dismissing Darius Storm and his bitch, Samantha. Instead his thoughts turned to brother number two—Marcus, the River Prince, and the odd woman who seemed to possess all manner of magic in an otherwise mundane world.
"Tell me her name again," he ordered, pleased when the wraith kept his bow low, his eyes firmly trained on the ground.
"Tessa Sheridan. I've placed a scrying bowl on the table, my lord." The wraith pointed a shaky talon in the direction of the bowl.
"Very well." 'Sin Garu strode to the table, working to contain his excitement. He might have failed with the first royal prince, but there were three more royals, three more brothers providing him potential to destroy the Storm Lords and their incestuous Tetrarch.
Why men should be deemed fit to rule due to a chance of birth astounded him. When the Dark Lords had ruled Tanselm, leadership fell to those who would win it by battle and then only through the death rite.
The Storm Lords, however, believed in an incredible hand of destiny, that one of a quadruplet of royals could birth the next Tetrarch, or Royal Four, providing a continual line of rule by one family.
No chances to overthrow the system, no way to win the kingship by means of war or trickery. Only by obliterating the entire kingdom of Tanselm, its four territories and its defending spellcasters, could 'Sin Garu wrest control of his homeland.
He only needed to kill one Storm Lord to confuse and disrupt the others. A hole in Tanselm's defences would truly serve to open the way. But it would be even better to kill one of the Royal Four affai. Destroying a man's heart and hope was imminently more satisfying than simply killing him.
The sorcerer smiled, pleased that this time he'd been more thorough with his enemy. "Well done, dark one," he addressed his prostrate messenger. "Now go before I forget my mood and bring some light into this place."
He chuckled at the look of horror on the wraith's face and leaned over the scrying bowl, intent on seeing her again.
Reaching into his pocket for a strand of her dark red hair, he dropped it into the shallow bowl and stirred it with one elongated nail.
An image of Tessa Sheridan shimmered on the dark water. A wide smile, a straight, haughty nose and sparkling, light blue eyes stared through him at something pleasing her in her magicless little world.</block>