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: August 01, 2020

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Chapter Content - ver.0

Submitted: August 01, 2020

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Chapter Thirty-two

 

Princess Evaughnlynn had watched the dark figure grow and the storm winds shift despite her best efforts.  Then the wave had risen and roared toward the invasion fleet, rolling the ships over and swallowing them.  She has simultaneously felt the use of power off to the north, but it had not been a large usage.  She didn’t understand how anything other than a massive amount of power could raise such a wave.

She looked toward the source of the power and saw a small boat like those the fishermen used in Hawkland.  There were three men in it.  Two of them had pulled the sail up and the boat had begun to move toward the harbor.  She pointed at it.  “We most go meet the men in that boat, they saved the day with that wave.”

Roselyn looked at her, then at the boat.  “Who are they, do you think?”

Evaughnlynn shook her head.  “I have no idea, but one of them is a sorcerer.  I felt power flow when the wave destroyed the fleet.”

By the time they got to the area of the harbor it appeared that everyone in Bar Chof was there.  People were dancing in the streets and shouting.  Soldiers were trying to force a path through the crowds from the dock to the town center, a large park.

There was no way through the crowd, so Beowyn helped Evaughnlynn down from behind him on his horse and then dismounted and lifted Roselyn off her side saddle.  The three of them walked over to the crowd in front of the park.  Beowyn tapped a young man standing next to him on the shoulder.  “What’s happening.

The excited youth replied, “We’re waiting for a chance to see the Elect’s son.”

Beowyn looked at the young boy with his head cocked to one side.  “Captain Tamir is coming here?  That’s what all the fuss is about?”

The boy looked at Beowyn like he wanted to run.  “No, sir.  Captain Shachar has returned with the storm.  We thought he was lost at sea!”

Evaughnlynn put her hand on the boy’s shoulder.  “Thank you.  Do you know where they’re taking him?”

The noise in the street increased and Evaughnlynn turned to see that Captain Tamir and Lady Morrigan had emerged from the opening in the crowd supporting a stranger between them who looked a great dear like Captain Tamir except years older.  When the trio reached the park they headed directly for Evaughnlynn and her cousins.

Evaughnlynn was surprised that the return of a presumed dead son had completely replaced the sinking of the invasion fleet in the minds of the Freeman.

“Freemen are very family orientated,” Sorcha said.  “As a people they are always under threat and they accept that.  So they are very close knit.  They have not forgotten the fact they were just saved from invasion, but this return of one thought lost is personal to all of them.”

Captain Tamir released his brother from his grip but did not completely let him go when he turned to Evaughnlynn.  “Would you please examine my brother.  He’s been a prisoner and badly treated for years.”

“Of course.  Rose and I will be happy to treat him.”

Tamir looked around and then pointed at the building behind Evaughnlynn.  “Please, come with us.  You can examine him there.  After that, he can eat and rest.”

The room the public servants led them to at the back of the first floor was large enough for several tables and chairs to be set around.  Tamir led his brother to a chair.

“I’m weaker than I thought,” Shachar said when seated.

Evaughnlynn touched his shoulder.  “You need rest and food.  Rose will prepare a potion for you to help you regain your strength.”

He nodded.  “Ingal told me my strength would fade after I left the boat—that I’d need a lot of rest.”  He looked back and forth between Evaughnlynn and Roselyn.  One of you two must be Princess Evaughnlynn.  I have a message for you from Ingal.”

Evaughnlynn smiled.  “I’m Evaughnlynn, but I don’t know anyone named Ingal.”

Shachar nodded.  “Yes.  I forgot.  He’s told me he’s had many names.  I knew him as Ingal when he helped me recover and escape.”  He paused to breath a few times.  “I think you know him as Lares of Hawkland.”

“I do know a Lares from my land.  A tall, slender, gray-haired warrior who had once been a sorcerer in Jutland.”

Shachar nodded several times.  “He’s a sorcerer for true now, I can tell you.”  He looked over at his brother.  “He raised the rogue wave that sank the enemy fleet.”  He looked back and forth between Evaughnlynn and Roselyn for a moment.  “You do look alike.”  He smiled.  “He said to tell you that the Dark Lord will not realize it was Beowyn with you and not Faolan.”

He looked at Beowyn.  “It is Beowyn, isn’t it?  I remembered it aright?”

Beowyn smiled.  “You remembered it aright.”

Shachar nodded.  “Good.”  He breathed deeply and slowly.  “He said to tell you that the dark sorcerers think Faolan is a sorcerer and carries a stone of great power and has been protecting you from the beginning.”

Evaughnlynn was startled.  “Why would they think that?”

“He said to tell you it was because of him and what he had done years ago and which you saw the reason for in the vision.”  His eyes narrowed and he breathed in slowly.  “Did I remember it aright?  Do you understand?”

The memory of what she had seen as Lares when he had shown her how to do the translocation spell flashed through her mind.  The vision had ended when he fled the fortress in a rage bent on killing and being killed.  He had slain all who confronted him with both sword and stone.  That was why he had buried his stone of power when he had buried his family.  She nodded.  “I understand.”

Shachar nodded.  “Good.  I’m about done.”  He again took several breaths.  “He said to tell you that the dark ones think little of your abilities and are convinced he and Faolan are protecting you.  But they don’t want you in Anglia to interfere in their plans, even as a widow.  They’ll kill you if you go there.”

Tamir put his hand on his brother’s shoulder.  “Enough for now.  You need rest.”

Shachar looked up at him.  “Just one more thing, then I’ll rest.”  He looked at Evaughnlynn with his head tilted to one side and she felt a strong sense of sorrow coming from him.  “He said to tell you that before you decide how to respond, you should be guided by what is best for the child.”  He nodded several times and then looked at her for several seconds before turning to his father.  “Now I’ll eat and then I’ll rest.”

Evaughnlynn smiled at Shachar.  “Thank you.”  She turned to Roselyn.  “You know what to give him.  I must return to Bar Dor now and tell Faolan what’s happened here.  He’ll be happy to hear his uncle is alive and well.”

She turned to Captain Tamir.  “I must leave now.  I expected an attack at Bar Dor in conjunction with the invasion.  But considering what happened to their fleet, it may not occur.  Still, it may go forward, perhaps as revenge for this defeat.”

He nodded.  “The war is not yet over.”

She did not want to just vanish in front of the people in the room, so she turned and left.  The hallway outside had half a dozen people who were crowded in front of the door.  She walked down the hall toward the front of the building.  Before opening the door to the lobby, she looked back.  The people were still looking into the room.  She returned to Bar Dor.

 

  • ****

 

The moment she sat up Faolan squeezed her hand.  “I know.  I was with you the whole time.”

Evaughnlynn looked at him.  “So you know they think you’re a sorcerer?”

He laughed.  “I do.”  He stood up and shook his head.  “But I’m not responsible for their mistakes.  I’m a warrior—nothing more.”

She smiled.  “And my friend?”

His head went back.  “Of course.”  He looked at her closely.  “What is it you want me to do?”

She shook her head.  “I’m not sure yet.  I’ll let you know shortly.”  She turned to Neima who sat on the chair next to the bed.  Gunther stood beside the chair with his hand on Neima’s shoulder.  Badger lay at her feet.  The image was perfect in some way she didn’t understand for a moment.  Then she realized it was not the linking of the three now, but in the future, that was perfect.  All three would stay together.  Badger would no longer be Faolan’s shadow.

In her mind she heard Shachar say, “You should be guided by what is best for the child.”

“You’re tired now.  You need to rest before you look further than the moment.”

“Sorcha, I already know what I have to do.  What Lares said just confirms my conclusions.  The child is the future.  Besides, Poor Prince Thrall may already be dead.  I felt something during the storm that came from that dark shadow.  Thrall’s death would take Anglia out of the picture long enough for the dark forces to consolidate their intended victory here.  Once set in motion, it may go forward on its own momentum, like the attack on Bar Dor.  The dark always sees death as the best solution.”

“What are you going to do?”

“What’s necessary.”

 

****

 

Brother Fulradt was seated in his tent listening to Brother Drogo’s report on the catapults when darkness gathered into the form of the Master.  He was not prepared for the pain that took him to the floor as if his whole body was being crushed under tons of weight.

“Fool.  You’ve failed me again.”

Fulradt cried, “Master, how have I failed you?”

“First, I put that pig Shachar in your custody.  He was supposed to be at Bar Chof with the fleet, but he escaped with the man you put in charge of him.”

The pressure increased and Fulradt screamed.

“I told you to keep the witch in Bar Dor.  And yet, she was in Bar Chof to sink my fleet!”

Brother Fulradt felt the bones in his chest began to give way.  He couldn’t even scream.

Brother Drogo had gone to one knee when the Master appeared.  “But, my lord, the witch is in Bar Dor.  Brother Knobu is watching her.  She can’t possibly have traveled to Bar Chof.”

Brother Drogo screamed, but the pressure on Brother Fulradt lessened.  “Do you think I didn’t check Bar Dor first?  Brother Knobu is dead—or he’s found a new way to hide from me.  I’ve dispatched agents to see what became of him.”

Brother Fulradt looked up at the Master.  “Each day since we arrived one of my men has left Bar Dor and reported to me.  The agent who reported yesterday said the reinforcements had not yet arrived and that the royal party from Hawkland was still in the fortress.  If the Hawklanders had left right after my agent, they would not yet be at Bar Chof.”

“You fools!  She was in Bar Chof!  I saw her and her sorcerer protector when they destroyed my fleet!”

The pressure on Brother Fulradt vanished.  He remained on the floor.

Brother Drogo’s voice shook as he asked, “Could she have mastered the translocation spell?”

“A girl with a mere dru stone?  Of course not!”  The master’s image turned to Drogo on the floor, but he was not cursed, as Fulradt had expected.  Instead the Dark Lord stood looking down at him for several seconds.  “But could the warrior have mastered the spell?  There was that sense that power came from…”

The Dark Lord turned to Fulradt.  “The invasion is off.  Wait for word from me.”  He was gone.

Brother Fulradt slowly got to his feet and looked around.  Drogo still lay on the ground with his eyes open, staring vacantly.  For a moment Fulradt thought he was dead.  Then he noted the slight movement of Drogo’s chest as he breathed.  “Are you going to lie there all day?”

Brother Drogo’s eyes looked up at him and then the young man slowly got to his feet.  “No one has ever done that before.  No wonder the Master is frightened.”

“Done what?”  Fulradt dropped into his chair again, and then instinctively looked around the tent, half expecting the Master to appear again.

Drogo stretched his back, then twisted at the waist.  “That’s the first time a sorcerer has translocated someone other than himself.”  He looked at his superior.  “I didn’t know it could be done.”

Fulradt looked at him with his head back.  “What are you talking about?”

Drogo stared back.  “The warrior sorcerer was also in Bar Dor.  For both to be in Bar Chof, he had to translocate them both.”

Fulradt nodded.  “I see.”  He looked down at the ground in front of him.  “She does hold a stone, so she could help.  Even so, it would take a very powerful sorcerer…”  He looked up.  “There are only a handful of sorcerers who have translocated.  I thought the Master was the last who knew how—or held a stone strong enough to do it.  Since Prince Lambert reappeared rumors say that he had done it once.”

Brother Fulradt folded his hands on his lap and looked down at them.  “Your conclusion isn’t right.  No sorcerer has ever translocated someone else.  Even though the witch holds a stone of power, the strongest sorcerer couldn’t have translocated her.”  He looked up.  “But then there’s the escape of Captain Shachar.  That wasn’t possible either.”

He stood up only to sense power and turned to see the dark shadow of the Master appear.  He immediately went to one knee.

The moment the shadow had coalesced into the Master, he said, “I have concluded that the witch is still in Bar Dor.  I was tricked by that foul traitor Lambert.  He was the only sorcerer who could create such a storm and wave.  It was he and his nephew, Phylon, who sank the fleet.  Both Lady Roselyn and Lady Morrigan are in Bar Chof.  It had to be their images standing with Phylon on the lighthouse to draw my attention from where Lambert hid on an island with Captain Shachar.  That was how they sank my fleet.”

He turned to the two sorcerers done on one knee in front of him.  “Don’t worry, I’m not going to send you against these warrior sorcerers.”  He chuckled several times.  “You’ll be going against the witch they’ve been protecting.”


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

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