The official companion novel to the videogame Fable® Legends
Deep in Albion’s darkest age, long before once upon a time . . . Heroes are thought to be gone from the land. So why have the bards begun singing of them once more? For Fable newcomers and dedicated fans alike, Blood of Heroes delves into a never-before-glimpsed era, telling the tale of a band of adventurers who come together to defend a kingdom in desperate need.
The city of Brightlodge is awash with Heroes from every corner of Albion, all eager for their next quest. When someone tries to burn down the Cock and Bard inn, four Heroes find themselves hastily thrown together, chasing outlaws through sewers, storming a riverboat full of smugglers, and placing their trust in a most unlikely ally. As the beginnings of a deadly plot are revealed, it becomes clear that Heroes have truly arrived—and so have villains.
What connects the recent events in Brightlodge to rumors about a malicious ghost and a spate of unsolved deaths in the nearby mining town of Grayrock? Unless Albion’s bravest Heroes can find the answer, the dawn of a new age could be extinguished before it even begins.
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|Publisher:||Random House Worlds|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
Jim C. Hines made his professional debut in 1998 with “Blade of the Bunny,” an award-winning story that appeared in Writers of the Future XV. Since then, his short fiction has been featured in more than fifty magazines and anthologies. He’s written ten books, including Libriomancer, The Stepsister Scheme, and the humorous Goblin Quest series. He promises that no chickens were harmed in the making of this book.
Read an Excerpt
The new king, Cadwallader Wendleglass, son of the recently deceased King Arthur Brutus Cadwallader Wendleglass, reminded Inga of a blind puppy: clumsy, enthusiastic, and likely to charge headfirst into a wall if you let him run loose. As if stepping into his father’s shoes wasn’t enough, he had to do it with his dead father occasionally popping in to look over his shoulder.
Young King Wendleglass peered over a table with a map of Albion on it and beamed at the Heroes gathered in Wendleglass Hall. He took a deep breath, straightened his spine, and said, “I’ve spoken with Beckett the Seer, and I’m delighted to announce the imminent doom of Brightlodge.”
Wendleglass blinked and reviewed the half sheet of crumpled parchment clutched in his hands. “Right. Um . . . sorry. Delighted, I mean to say, that we have Heroes to prevent our imminent doom.”
That was better. Inga glanced at her fellow Heroes. Some had come from as far north as the Deadlands. She’d never imagined meeting so many others who shared her determination to protect the people. Growing up, she hadn’t even known Heroes existed. To discover what she was, and that she wasn’t alone had made her as happy as a four-year-old in a field of mud puddles, as Old Mother Twostraps would say.
“Nimble John and his band of smugglers infest Brightlodge’s tunnels,” said Wendleglass. “A redcap sets our buildings ablaze in the night. Thankfully, we . . . I mean, the Heroes—”
“There were no redcap arsonists while I was alive!”
That last came from the spectral form of Brightlodge’s recently deceased ex-king. The ghost of Arthur Wendleglass had been popping up throughout Brightlodge since his death, moaning and wailing and making a right nuisance of himself, if truth be told.
Old King Wendleglass drifted forwards to slam his glowing fist onto the table. Onto and through. The ghost stared at the table, head cocked to one side. He was still getting used to being dead. “Nor smugglers,” he added. “In my day, I’d have outlawed doom, whether it be imminent, impending, or any other flavour!”
When nobody responded, his shoulders slumped and he retreated to the corner to glower.
“Yes. Well.” Young Wendleglass glanced at his notes. “Beckett says to take heed of his portents. Find the criminals who roam our streets, and they shall lead you . . . um . . . to the greater scourge!”
“Where’s Beckett run off to?” Inga called out. “What else can he tell us about this scourge?”
“He told me you’d ask.” The young king nodded. “Like myself, Beckett is utterly confident that the newly gathered Heroes of Brightlodge will defeat this threat. He reassured me that his decision to take a vacation far from Brightlodge, well out of range of any potential doom, was a complete coincidence. To that end . . . that is, as your king, I ask that you, um . . .” He bit his lip and looked around.
“Perhaps we ought to start by poking around the pub where that fire broke out?” Inga said. “Asking about to find out if anyone saw where that redcap ran off to?”
“Excellent suggestion, thank you, yes!” Young King Wendleglass pointed at three other Heroes, seemingly at random: Leech, a healer in cloak and mask; Rook, the Stranger from the north; and a bull-sized brawler named Jeremiah Tipple. “Perhaps these others can join you to assist with your poking and asking, and ensuring the safety of my . . . um, of our town.”
“Right,” said Tipple. “We’ll find the bastard who tried to burn my third favourite pub in Brightlodge.”
Leech’s birdlike plague mask tilted to one side. “Brightlodge only has three pubs.”
“Exactly.” Tipple’s grin was as boisterous as the slap he planted on Leech’s back. “And if Winter hadn’t shown up last night with her magic to help put out the flames, we’d be down to two. Can’t have that, can we?”
Old King Wendleglass followed them out the door. “Four Heroes? You’re kinging all wrong, son. I was never so overcautious. I’d have sent a single Hero to vanquish these minor villains.”
Young Wendleglass sighed and rubbed his brow. “Good luck, Heroes!”
Inga was still getting used to the sights and sounds of the big town, so different from the hills where she had grown up. Wendleglass Hall stretched out over the edge of the falls, as if it might take flight and soar among the clouds. Old stone pillars supported the bridge to the main isle, where the broad, stone-paved streets were decorated with brightly coloured signs and flags.
“Hello there.” She waved to a fellow selling pies in the shade of a Hightown barbershop. “My name’s Inga. Have you seen any smugglers about?”
The man shook his head and shoved a chicken potpie at the Heroes. “Fresh-baked this morning. Guaranteed beak-free!”
Someone screamed in the distance. The man jumped, nearly losing his pies.
Inga was already running, her armour and sword clanking with each step. Long before she discovered she was a Hero, Inga had learned to run towards the screams. She had grown up fighting the bullies who preyed on the weak, and as she grew older and stronger, fighting the monsters that preyed on . . . well, pretty much anyone they got their teeth and claws into.
Turning the corner brought her face-to-face with a runaway pig charging down the street. Men and women threw themselves out of the animal’s path. The ghostly king drifted into the street, pointed at the pig, and cried, “Stop, foul swine!”
The pig ignored the former regent.
It wasn’t as exciting a foe as Nimble John and his band of outlaws, but Inga knew damn well the damage a full-grown pig could do once it worked itself into a fit.
“I’ve got him,” said Rook, raising his crossbow.
“First off, that’s a she.” Inga stepped between the grizzled veteran and the charging sow. “Second, the poor thing’s obviously scared to death. You don’t have to shoot everything that looks at you funny, you know.”
“I don’t have to, no.” But he lowered his weapon and nodded at her to proceed.
Inga grabbed an apple from the fruit cart on the side of the road and hurled it up the street. The sow skidded to a halt. After a cautious sniff, she snatched it up and gulped half of the fruit in one bite.
Inga moved towards the animal, trying to minimise the noise of her armour. She hardly noticed the weight these days, any more than she did the enormous wood-and-brass shield strapped to her arm, but to a poor, frightened animal, she must be a terrifying sight.
“Where are you running to in such a hurry?” she asked. “Poor girl. You must be starving after all that fussing about.”
The pig snorted and lowered her head. Saliva bubbled from her mouth, and she made a popping sound with her jaw. Whatever had sent her racing through the streets of Brightlodge, she was riled up and ready to trample anything that got in her way. The sow was fully grown and probably weighed as much as Inga did.
“Rook, circle around behind her right flank,” said Inga. “Walk slowly towards her. Try to herd her my way.”
Rook’s snort sounded a lot like the sow’s, but he did as she instructed. He kept his crossbow ready as he approached.
“Everyone stay calm,” Inga called. “Tipple, find us some rope. Leech, take the left flank.”
The pig finished scarfing down the apple. Inga smiled and made an encouraging clicking noise with her tongue. The sow’s filthy black hoofs clopped against the street as it stepped closer, snuffling and sniffing.
“There you are!” A furious-looking man roughly the same size, build, and cleanliness as the sow stomped up the road, a heavy stick clutched in one hand. The pig emitted an ear-stabbing squeal and fled . . . directly towards Inga.
“What did you have to do that for?” Inga lowered her stance and met the sow head-on with her shield. It was like an ogre had flung a boulder at her, but Inga was the girl who had once knocked out a pain-maddened cow back home to stop it from trampling some village children. She could handle this.
Her boots skidded along the street. The sow pushed her into the fruit cart, which toppled over backwards. Inga shifted her angle and used her shield to shove the sow sideways, then lunged to grab one of the rear legs.
The squeals grew louder. The sow kicked and struggled to break free of her grip. They crashed onto the fruit cart, crushing its spilled contents into jelly, but Inga held tight. “Easy, girl. I won’t let anyone hurt you.”