The Freemen and the Stone

Status: 1st Draft

The Freemen and the Stone

Status: 1st Draft

The Freemen and the Stone

Book by: R. M. Keegan

Details

Genre: Fantasy

Content Summary


This is the third book in the Crystal Scepter series. It finishes the story of Evaughnlynn and sets up another series of three books involving a young boy. It is very rough, having been written
during a series of illnesses from which I have finally, I think, emerged. Please feel free to tear it apart. R.M.

 

 

Content Summary


This is the third book in the Crystal Scepter series. It finishes the story of Evaughnlynn and sets up another series of three books involving a young boy. It is very rough, having been written
during a series of illnesses from which I have finally, I think, emerged. Please feel free to tear it apart. R.M.

Chapter Content - ver.0

Submitted: July 05, 2020

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.0

Submitted: July 05, 2020

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Chapter Thirty-one

 

Roselyn looked seaward over the railing of the lighthouse as she waited for dawn and her cousin to arrive.  She could sense Beowyn, where he sat on a small barrel watching her.  She smiled.  “I hope you’re not thinking thoughts like you are now when Evon gets here.”

“Which thoughts?  That I love my wife, and long to hold her?”  He stood and stepped behind her.  “Or that I am the luckiest man alive?”  He put both arms around her waist.

The feel of his breath on her ear as he spoke almost covered the sensation of air moving as her cousin appeared next to her.  Roselyn felt herself go bright red.  The emotions which Beowyn evoked when holding her were not what she wanted Evon to be greeted by on this day of all days.

Evon put her hand on Roselyn’s shoulder.  “Seeing you two together makes my heart dance.  Don’t worry, we’ll win.”

Roselyn looked closely at her cousin’s image and saw no sign of tiredness. “All goes well in Bar Dor?”

Evon smiled.  “Yes.  I don’t expect an attack for two more days and the relief troops are only hours away.”  She turned to look out to sea.  “But darkness is moving toward us from Jutland.  The invasion fleet will be in sight with the sun.  We must push our ability to raise a storm.  Our efforts yesterday were good, but today we must do better.”

Roselyn was confused.  “But yesterday, we only tried for wind and rain.  I’m sure we can do better than that.”

“We need to raise a storm that will flounder the Dark Ones’ ships at sea.  We want lightning that will set fire to their masts.  But at all cost, we must force their ships away from the city and the river mouth.”

“I remember the storm over Tower Farm.  It was the strongest storm to hit that area in years.”  Roselyn smiled.  “I think we can do better that that.”

Beowyn, still standing with his arms around her, asked, “Is there anything I can do to help?”

Evon smiled.  “Keep holding and loving her like you are right now.  That will help her better than anything else.”

He smiled and tightened his grip around her waist.  “That’ll be easy.”

Roselyn knew most of the energy they would use would come from Evon.  “How about you?  Who’s going to help you?”

Evon smiled.  “Faolan is holding my hand and Neima is sitting with us.”  She looked down at her hand.  “I can feel his fingers holding mine even though I’m here.”  She looked up.  "The dawn comes.  We must start.”

Roselyn nodded.  She took a deep breath, then began to chant:

“Come cloud, come rain, come storm and thunder,

Come fire to tear the sky asunder.”

Evon began to echo her:

“Come cloud, come rain, come storm and thunder,

Come fire to tear the sky asunder.”

After the second chant Beowyn added his deep voice:

“Come cloud, come rain, come storm and thunder,

Come fire to tear the sky asunder.”

Wind whipped through her hair which began to tingle.  She saw Evon hold her wand out toward the sea and began to move the end in a circle.

“Come cloud, come rain, come storm and thunder,

Come fire to tear the sky asunder.”

It began to rain lightly.  Clouds began to form over the bay and she could see the edges of the sun light the horizon.

“Come cloud, come rain, come storm and thunder,

Come fire to tear the sky asunder.”

The sun rose higher, light flooded the eastern sky, rain poured down, and the wind seemed to swirl over the bay.  Sails appeared with the sun.  A lot of ships.  At least fifty long boats like the ones the raiders used when they attacked Tower Farm.  Scattered among them were over a dozen large cargo ships.  They filled the sea and all of them were moving toward the harbor.

Evon pointed her wand at them and the wind began to blow from on shore.  Roselyn continued to repeat the chant with Beowyn.  She could barely hear the words from Evon due to the roar of the wind.  The sky grew darker even though the sun continued to rise behind the clouds, which rolled off the shore to fill the sky over the sea.

Suddenly, from one of the large ships a flash of light came directly at them.  Evon snapped both arms out in front of her with her palms together and her fingers pointed directly at the bolt of lightning.  The air around them went brilliant as the fire split to go around them for a moment before it vanished.

Roselyn concentrated on the storm and repeating the chant with her cousin Evaughnlynn:

“Come cloud, come rain, come storm and thunder,

Come fire to tear the sky asunder.”

Suddenly, from another of the big cargo ships a spear of light shot into the sky and the clouds at the top began to swirl around it.  Mauve whispered, “The wizard is creating his own storm to blow shoreward.”

Roselyn had no idea what she had expected to happen, but she pointed her wand at the spot where the spear of light entered the dark, swirling clouds and commanded, “Flamma!”

A bolt of lightning flew from her wand to that point.  There was an explosion and a ball of fire streaked down the spear of light to the ship and burst into flames in the rigging.  The entire mainsail was quickly aflame.  The spear of light vanished and the swirling clouds above the ship began to disappear.

The sun was now high enough to backlight the sea in front of the harbor.  Roselyn could see the whitecaps caused by the storm winds twisting and rolling like a boiling cauldron.  The smaller ships were rolling with the waves.  Off to the north she noted a small fishing boat in the lee of a small island where the water was still calm.  She wondered why they weren’t making for land.  The boat was small enough to beach.  Yet one of the three men aboard stood in the bow watching the battle of the storms.

Near the rear of the fleet a dark column of dull black began to rise from the deck of a cargo ship.  It quickly took the form of a gigantic figure of a man in a hooded robe as tall as the ship’s mast.  The storm began to swirl around him like a tornado, growing bigger by the second.  The wind shifted onshore and began to blow harder.  They were losing.

 

****

 

Shachar watched Lambert asleep in the bow of the small boat as they sailed south along the coast.  It would soon be light, and they were approaching the harbor at Bar Chof.  Agam sat next to the mast in the center of the small ship.  He seemed relaxed despite knowing that an invasion fleet was approaching the city.  But his cousin’s confidence in Lambert was no help.  Despite Agam’s explanation for his past conduct, years of believing his cousin was an irresponsible thief and wastrel didn’t just vanish.  Suspicion kept his mind looking at every possible outcome.

Suddenly, Lambert sat up and looked around.  “Anchor in the lee of that island.”  He pointed ahead to a small rocky island directly in front of them.

Shachar looked at the island and then back at Lambert.  “Why?  What can we do to help from there?”

Lambert stood up and looked at the island.  “We can wait.”

“Wait?  For what?”

“For the tide to turn.”  Lambert turned around and sat down again.  “Until then we wait while Evaughnlynn and her cousin hold off the ships.”

When they reached the lee of the island, Shachar said, “Lower the sail.”  While Agam and Lambert did so, he dropped the anchor.  The ship swung around so that the bow was pointed almost directly at the sea in front of the harbor of Bar Chof.

Within minutes the eastern sky began to lighten and Shachar got his first glimpse of the numerous sails on the horizon.  His heart sank.  He looked toward the city to see if the alarm had sounded.  Nothing but darkness lay over the land.  But in the dawn’s light he saw three figures standing on the lighthouse gallery.  Two were dressed as dru and the third was in armor.

As he watched one dru pointed toward the fleet and moved her arm in rotating motion.  Very quickly, clouds began to form in the brightening sky and a minute later it began to rain.  The wind grew stronger and the rain began to pour down.

Lightning flashed from one of the cargo ships toward the lighthouse, startling Shachar.  But a moment later the lighting split in two and went around the lighthouse to vanish in the sky.

Clouds appeared, grew, and rolled above.  The rain fell diagonally in the intense wind.  The ships began to buck as their sails whipped back and forth.  A spear of light shot into the sky from a cargo ship and the clouds above began to swirl.  The wind began to drop.

A bolt of lightning flashed from the lighthouse to the top of the light spear and exploded in a ball of flame which flashed down the spear and set fire to the sail and ship.  The whitecaps caused by the storm winds twisted and rolled the fleet, which was being forced to the north.

A black column rose slowly from a cargo ship at the rear of the fleet and assumed the shape of a man with his arms outstretched.  When the figure was as tall as the mast, the wind turned inland and grew stronger by the moment.  The ships began to close on the harbor.

Shachar yelled, “Do something Lambert!  You’re a wizard, do something!”

Lambert stood up.  “The tide has turned.”

 

****

 

The Dark Lord was in a near rage at Brother Fulradt when he materialized on the stern of his fleet’s flagship.  Shachar’s earlier escape had angered him, but the fact the witch was in Bar Chof instead of Bar Dor was more than he could tolerate.  Both were matters he had placed in Fulradt’s hands.

One of his sorcerers on another ship cast lightning at the lighthouse where the witch stood on the gallery.  It didn’t surprise him the curse failed, but the presence of three people did.  Another sorcerer attempted to disperse the witch’s storm with a counter storm.  His curse, in the form of a spear of light, began to spin the wind in the opposite direct.  Then a lightning curse flashed from the lighthouse into the apex of the storm spell, exploded into a ball of flame and flashed down the spear of light to set the ship aflame.

The Dark Lord realized there were two stones of power confronting them.  Erispoe’s brat is here!  Exaltation filled him.  I’ll have them both!  Now, I’ll show him real power!

He mentally chanted the spell which would make his image grow until it was as taller as the mast of the ship.  As he grew, he called wind to rush toward the shore.  He could feel the push of the air and see the banners on the lighthouse standing out stiffly, vibrating in the wind.

It’s working, it’s working.  The storm will proceed us to the city!  What is that racket?

He looked around.  His sailors were staring to the south and screaming in fear.  He looked.  A wall of water taller than the masts of his ships was rushing at the fleet.  How?  This is not possible!  No sorcerer can so command the sea!  He had no choice.  He returned to his tower before he was engulfed with the rest of his fleet.

 

****

Shachar watched as Lambert stood in the bow and chanted in a strange language.  Nothing seemed to happen for so long Shachar began to despair.  Then to the south far out in the channel a wave began to rise and rush toward the fleet.  The closer it got, the taller it got until it towered over the ships.  He had heard tales of rogue waves but had never seen one.  Few sailors survived them.  But he knew they were real.  Several of the ships tried to turn into it, but it was futile.  The wave hit and the ships rolled under.

He took a deep breath and looked for ways to escape before the wave reached them.  But the water in the lee of the island was calm, undisturbed by the storm.  The wave broke and the sea was clear of ships.

“Now you see why I said we had to stay in the lee of the island.”

Shachar looked from Lambert to Agam, who smiled and shrugged, and then back at Lambert.  “I’ve heard tales of sorcerers raising storms.  It’s one of the reasons sailors fear them.  But I never thought a sorcerer could conjure a rogue wave, at least not like that one.”

Lambert sat down in the bow.  “You thought correctly.  No sorcerer could.”  That’s why we had to wait until the tide turned.”

Shachar sat down, holding the rudder loosely in his grip.  “The tide?”

Lambert motioned toward the harbor.  “We may as well go in.  We’re done here, and I’m sure your father wants to see you.  He doesn’t know you’re alive.”

Agam stood and began raising the sail.  Lambert got up and helped.  When it was up, and the boat began to move, he walked over and sat beside Shachar.  “Simply put, and ignoring the competing storms, which did most of the work, at this time of year the river runs high and today the tide was very high.  So, when the tide turned, a great deal more than normal water was pushing east.  It ran into a storm blowing west, which caused unusually tall waves.  I but held the wave back for a few moments.  That was enough.”


© Copyright 2020 R. M. Keegan. All rights reserved.

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