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I'm in the middle of the editorial revisions on BLADE OF EMPIRE, and as always, there are bits and pieces that end up on the cutting room floor, as it were. I thought you might enjoy seeing this one, since it doesn't involve spoilers.

The destruction of Farcarinon, and Prince Serenthon Farcarinon’s bid for the High Kingship, had been the greatest campaign young Prince Runacarendalur of Caerthalien had as yet been a part of, though he was a blooded knight with command of his own meisne. The Long Peace that followed the glories of that last wild campaign and its magnificent conclusion had grated on his nerves, and he’d sought diversion anywhere he could find it. He’d been hunting in Rimroheth Flower Forest—its trees were sacrosanct, not the animals who lived there—when he’d discovered one of his father’s secrets: Gunedwaen Swordmaster, Gunedwaen of Farcarinon, was alive.

Oh, he was bent and broken and maimed, but he lived. Runacar had thought himself very clever to return to Caerthalien Great Keep, dress himself in forester’s garb, and return to Rimroheth, presenting himself to Gunedwaen as Caren, a forester of Caerthalien. He’d been delighted when the old man fell for the deception—though as Runacar discovered later, Gunedwaen hadn’t been deceived for a moment—and returned to visit several times, always on the pretext of “seeking out good hunting for my lord of Caerthalien”. Farcarinon’s Swordmaster had been bitter and grieving, and hardly good company, though it had given Runacar an illicit thrill to meddle in one of his father’s secrets.

Until the day he had ridden into the clearing, and Gunedwaen had spoken before he even had a chance to dismount.

“Heir-Prince Runacarendalur of Caerthalien, do you truly believe Bolecthindial to be this much of a fool? He could not have brought Lord Serenthon down to death were that so.”

Runacar had frozen in place, unable to think of a word to say.

Gunedwaen had smiled in a way that had chilled Runacar’s hot blood. “Perhaps you can evade your father’s men if you leave now. Run, little rabbit. Run.”

Runacar had touched spurs to his palfrey’s flanks, and she had sprung into flight. He evaded the men his father had sent after him, but he did not evade his father’s punishment thereafter.


He never saw Gunedwaen again, not even when Caerthalien went to war against Vieliessar Farcarinon, and did not know now whether the aged Swordmaster had lived or died.



The next book in the "Dragon Prophecy" series is Blade of Empire. It will be published by Tor Books on October 24, 2017.

October 2017


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