Alexander Of Teagos

Alexander Of Teagos

by Paula Porter

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781426924392
Publisher: Trafford Publishing
Publication date: 03/24/2010
Pages: 524
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.05(d)

About the Author

An avid reader since age four, Paula
Porter earned a Bachelor of Arts with an emphasis on
English Literature before becoming a Critical Care
Registered Nurse. She resides in Wichita, Kansas, where she enjoys cake decorating, crocheting, and being the proud aunt at many football, soccer, baseball, and basketball games.

Read an Excerpt

ALEXANDER OF TEAGOS


By PAULA PORTER

Trafford Publishing

Copyright © 2010 Paula Porter
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4269-2439-2


Chapter One

Darkness crept in through the thickening fog. He trudged along weighted by his own fatigue and hunger. The deep foliage and boggy forest floor pulled at his weary, heavy muscular legs. He continuously searched for a clearing worthy of resting his head. He silently cursed the Gods as he was forced to pause and retrieve his boot claimed by the deepening boggy forest floor. The fog swirled around his knees and hampered his vision as he worked to free his boot and leg.

Mica watched the big man from the trees. He startled as the hiss of the man's sword cut through the air with a lightening speed. The man's swordsmanship was impressive as the air filled with blood and gore. The big man was merciless as he hacked at the swarm of attorcroppe that attacked. Mica ducked himself to avoid the flying heads, tendrils and snakelike bodies. Attorcroppe were highly poisonous and incredibly deadly. The man was skilled with the sword, but oblivious to the forest. His attackers rarely swarmed unless their lairs were breached or they were sent under the spell of attack. Marked by the blood red passion vine that flourished on their venomous waste, the lairs were visible to the knowing eye. Once breached, however, the swarms were deadly and vicious. They would fight to their death and to the last member of the swarm.

Alexander swung his sword and pulled his feet out of the boggy land while working feverously to keep his feet and legs out of the reach of the snake-like fangs that hissed and struck out at him. They were fleet of foot and seemed to be able to either slither or run at their target or from his attacking sword. He concentrated on his situation trying not to be distracted by his own fury at his lack of attentiveness moving through this unfamiliar terrain. The creature's constant screeching and hissing increased his anger ten fold. He growled and swung the sword with a renewed intensity.

Mica's hand unconsciously rested on his own sword as he fought within himself in an attempt to decide whether or not to step in and help the traveler. Trust was not something he was familiar with. He traveled and lived alone as had always been his habit. The real problem was in being subjected to the questions and interrogation he would face if he did step in. He truly had to consider the measure of this man.

Alexander continued to fight with the tenacity worthy of a Queen's Champion. He had traveled too far to be beaten by a few vile snake-walkers. Finally, exhausted, he sliced the final attacker separating its head from its body. He roared in victory and shook the remnants of blood and gore from his hair and armor. He sheathed his battle sword and moved to a newly fallen tree. He sat on a branch resting his back and head against the trunk. While attempting to catch his breath, he dozed off.

Mica smiled as the battle ended. He turned to move on but heard an eerie and familiar rustle the caused the hair on his arms to stand on end. Glancing back at the man his fears were realized. He gasped in horror as he watched the green tendrils wind their way around the sleeping man's limbs and sword. The Ghillie Dhu were out and claiming a new target. It was unfortunate that the swordsman had chosen a fallen birch tree favored by the tree spirits upon which to rest his head. They roamed the forest at night looking for men to enslave in service to the forest guardian. Once they had him encased he would be theirs. Mica knew he had no choice now but to help. He leapt to the fallen tree while drawing his own sword.

Alexander struggled to free himself. As he reached for his own sword he found it bound as well. Beginning to sweat, he realized his circumstance. Instinctively Alexander ducked at the sound of a sword slicing through the air near his face. Fear permeated from the very pores of his skin. He turned his now freed head and after a quick evaluation he determined the sword to belong to friend not foe. He held as still as possible allowing the man more control as he worked to free him.

Mica's arms burned as he feverously hacked at the ferocious tendrils of the Ghillie Dhu. The green sticky sap permeated the air in every direction. Fortunately it was not poisonous. Mica cursed as he thought of all the remedies and potions this volume of the Dhu's lifeblood could produce. Its magical chemistry was a valuable healing tool. Unfortunately he was too busy to try and collect it before it evaporated. He would gather whatever tendrils he could after he was finished freeing the stranger and milk them for their magic, if he was successful in finishing.

Alexander's arms were loosening with each hiss of the attacking sword. He worked to free his arms so he could help free his legs. Their numbness was beginning to concern him. He vowed to himself that once freed he would run, not walk, as far from this rat trap of a weed filled, dank and stinking varmint infested maze as he possibly could. Were it not for his vow of honor, he would give up this quest entirely. He was certain he could find many more interesting and enjoyable ways to spend a midsummer's eve. Drowning in a filthy crock filled moat would even beat this one.

Mica grunted in thanksgiving as the big man's arms freed and he began working at his legs. He wasn't quite so ignorant after all. Finally the man jumped up and to freedom growling in anger as the tendrils of the Ghillie Dhu shrank away pulling its separated pieces with it. Mica gasped and immediately began gathering the fallen tendrils and stuffing them in his shirtfront. The big man stared at him in disbelief, and then began to assist him in his forage. When none remained Mica looked up and found himself face to face with the big man.

Alexander stared at his rescuer and silently handed him his collection of tendrils and moved towards his fellow traveler to introduce himself. Alexander was astounded to feel himself viciously attacked from behind by what was the last remaining remnant of the Attorcroppe swarm he had recently defeated. He grabbed his sword arm in pain. Anger overtook him as he grasped the creature and ripped him apart by hand limb by limb. Throwing the remnants aside he once more moved towards his savior but found that suddenly his own legs would not hold him. His vision began to blur and he fell to his knees. Then just as suddenly, darkness overcame his sensibility.

Mica moved quickly. The venom of the Attorcroppe was vile and deadly. He pierced both the wound with his knife and the end of a Dhu tendril. He began to rub the fluid from the tendril into the wound and searched through his pouch for a piece of wild grape root to shave into the wound. He then covered the area with mud created from the ground and the Dhu blood spill and bound it tightly with cloth and twine from his pouch. He closed his eyes and called for his brothers. With any luck his mind would not fail him and they would come. It was the big man's only chance.

Mica moved just as swiftly around his dwelling. He ground, stirred, steeped and brewed. Though he had seen this work only once, he would give it a try. Just for good measure he added a thimble full of Dhu blood. A little magic couldn't hurt at this point. He placed the hollow reed down into the big man's throat and poured the brew into it. The man growled, choked, and swallowed out of reflex. Mica jumped back to avoid his flailing limbs. Even unconscious the man showed incredible strength. The man quieted long enough for Mica to redress his wound with a poultice made of mug wart mixed with the remedy brew he had prepared. He sat back and finally gave way to the stench that permeated the entire dwelling. It was unbelievable. A mixture of attorcroppe blood, flesh and venom combined with Dhu Life fluid and the big man's own fear was more than his sensitive sense of smell could take. He worked to remove the armor, clothing and traveling gear from the man. It took hours to bathe the warrior, but the result was worth it. Once the stench and grime and gore had been removed, the man's features screamed nobility with hair that shone like spun gold. Mica wasn't sure who he was, but he knew he would be thankful and appropriately so he hoped. Mica had been taught to never turn away good fortune. He turned and spied the long-toothed comb on the table. He called to it with his thoughts. The comb rose in the air and moved toward him. Suddenly it began to waiver and flew across the room and into the pot of stew on the hearth. Mica sighed. Someday he would get it right but today was obviously not the day. Some days were worse than others. He missed and cursed his friend and mentor Andmort. Andmort had struggled daily and showed nothing but great patience as he worked to groom young Mica. Mica smiled as he temporarily allowed his mind to creep backwards in time. From the day Andmort had found him abandoned in the woods to the day the ancient was escorted to the heavens, he never gave up trying. Andmort a stumbling, bumbling, minor wizard himself knew what it was like to posses a talent as clumsy and uncontrollable as Mica's. When Mica stopped and thought of all the times the two of them had laughed together over his attempts at levitation, shape shifting, and telepathic transportation he realized that his schooling had been more like entertainment than learning. Andmort had exhausted every form of practical magic he had available to him until one day he had stumbled onto the one mighty talent Mica possessed. Mica was half elf. He knew the forest better than anyone else alive. His wealth of knowledge was amazing. He knew every leaf, every tree, every flower, every vine, every creature, and every breeze of the forest. Every forest inhabitant sought after his poultices and potions and his reputation for healing was unmatched. As for his spells, well, sometimes they worked forwards and sometimes they worked backwards. No matter how hard he practiced, their outcomes were unpredictable. He made a horrible wizard. He had no hawk, no eagle, and no big black cat to assist him. His only familiar was Peat of the Balley Bog clan. The little ball of mud made the perfect familiar to this half-ling wizard want to be. He couldn't talk, but he did do a lot of slobbering while trying. He was a happy sort whose favorite past time involved the leading of poor unsuspecting travelers to various unknown locations in the forest and just leaving them there. His one true value was he was loyal to Mica and showed it by assisting him in discerning the worth of the people he met. Mica found this an invaluable sort of compensation for his own inability to trust strangers. They were a good pair. Mica turned to check on his charge. Heat emanated from the stranger and sweat rolled down his face and limbs soaking through his clothing. Mica's concerns grew as he searched his memory for a way to overcome the man's fever. He turned to peat and expressed his wishes. Peat grunted and rolled out the door and into the boggy forest. Mica began to bathe the face and body of the man with cool, wet cloths. He then moved to the table, began grinding willow leaves and steeped them into a potion that he once more forced down the man's throat with his hollow reed trick. He had used this for fevers before and for the thinning of a man's thickened blood. He wasn't sure if it would work for this man's hearth hot body. If it didn't, the man would soon start to flail and shake uncontrollably. This would certainly lead to his immortal walk. Mica felt a chill at his back as he heard a light tapping at his door. He pulled the door ajar and smiled at what appeared to be nothing but the outside air. He heard their musical laughter and smiled. Sam and Grandee had answered his call.

Peat looked up at Mica with questioning eyes. Mica led the Folletti to the stranger's bedside. They shrieked and pulled away from the heat emanating from his body. Mica made his request and the Folletti returned to the free air of the outdoors. The pair chanted and danced as they wove their spell. The air turned cool and its color turned an eerie shade of green. The Folletti turned to Mica and warned him to take cover. Suddenly the sky burst open and the air filed with balls of frozen rain. The Folletti laughed and screamed in delight tearing around through the storm. Then as suddenly as it began, it ceased. Mica grabbed his water barrel and started gathering the green apple sized balls of frozen rain. He ran into the dwelling and poured the balls onto the stranger and repeated this activity until he was covered. The man did not even stir at the temperature of the rain balls. Mica sighed heavily as he presented Sam and Grandee with two pieces of gold coin. The two squealed in delight and raced back out into the forest. Mica returned to the bedside of the stranger and waited. It was up to the man himself and the Gods above now. He had done all he knew to do.

Alexander walked among the shadows that separated his world from death. He moved through time returning to the Palace where he had grown up as a boy. A companion to William himself, Alexander had been granted the ability to attend instruction. He had been taught to read and cipher, smile, frown, bow, and use a knife and fork so as not to disgust the diners around him. He dressed and dined as his friend did in the finest. The boys were as close as kin. They ran and played and trained to fight side by side. He had been there to watch William fall in love and marry his Queen. He had witnessed the naming ceremony of his son. William's death brought both great sorrow and responsibility to Alexander. He worked and trained doubly hard and proved his worth in many battles and games. He had earned the right to stand at the Queen's right side as her Champion and protector. He saw her before him now. Her Raven Black hair, smooth pale pink skin, sea water eyes and cherry red full lips were beyond beauty. She was beauty incarnate in his eyes and he had pledged his life and sword to her service. His heart lurched as their last encounter played itself before his eyes. Her desperation made him uncomfortable. She had always been a strong leader, calm in a crisis and levelheaded when chaos erupted. He cringed as he was forced to see this side of her again. The last time he had seen her so vulnerable was when William's body had arrived at the castle broken, torn apart and lifeless. Even then she had only allowed him to witness her sorrow. Only he had seen her tears as the two of them worked to prepare his body for public viewing. He remembered her words, her fear and her pain. He watched himself vow to bring her son and his future King home or return himself an empty shell. His second vow of silence was an easy one. In the entire month he had been traveling he had found no being with even half a wit to converse with. In fact, he seldom graced those he had met on his journey with more than a mere grunt or two. He was an educated man. This entire ruckus about changelings and baby switching confused the facts. All he needed were the locket around his neck with the miniature portrait of the Prince and his sword. It was as simple as that. The vision before him skewed and blurred. As it cleared he found himself looking into the courtyard of his youth. Sir Barnett stood firm and tall barking orders at the three boys before him. Alexander smiled as he heard steel on steel as the three boys practiced their newly acquired moves. William's poise and grace stood head and shoulders above the other two. His own sheer strength and brawn proved beneficial in overpowering his counterparts before him. But the third boy's tactical skill created a visible nightmare for Alexander and William. His patience and planning put the adolescent tempers of the other two on edge. This young man laughed at their torment and spent way too much time playing and toying with their emotions. He currently had William swinging blindly with his sword while he turned and parried his way to the safe line all the while laughing at his foe. Alexander saw his own image reaching for William and holding on to him till he calmed down enough to see through the red. Sir Barnet roared at the three to cease and began a lengthy lecture regarding emotional involvement and swordsmanship in battle. All three boys sighed audibly and dropped their heavy swords. A strong deep voice interrupted the lecture from behind the boys begging Sir Barnett's pardon and requesting the opportunity to spar with the smirking young soldier. Sir Barnet lowered his head and bowed as he gave permission with honor to allow his own son Vance to spar with his ruler King Albert. Alexander grinned as he watched the sword play between the King and his friend young Vance. The King skillfully outwitted young Vance with practically every turn and parry. The Royal effectively disarmed the youngster with each and every advance. Finally young Vance laid down his sword red faced and bowed to the King thus immediately receiving his own tongue-lashing regarding over estimating his own abilities and being over confident. The King then dismissed the boys and promised to return for the next day's lesson. Alexander watched the King and his Master of the Guards begin sparing themselves as the trio scattered. Smiling, Alexander allowed his mind to peacefully fall into darkness.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from ALEXANDER OF TEAGOS by PAULA PORTER Copyright © 2010 by Paula Porter. Excerpted by permission.
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