The future of all men relies on the Guardian of Maarihk. Can he make amends after choosing happiness over duty?
Despite the Guardian of Maarihk being condemned as anathema, and his very existence relegated to legend, Natharr resumes his ancient responsibilities as Mankind’s protector. He joins with a mysterious Firstborn companion, Ellis the Elder, to journey into the snowy reaches of Biraald, where his Sight promises he will find those who secretly adhere to the ways of the Olde Gods.
Although Biraaldi bloodlines show their Firstborn heritage more clearly than even in Maarihk itself, the two nations have never enjoyed peace. It has been far worse since the rise of Brandt the Usurper to Maarihk’s throne. Natharr and Ellis must navigate threats not only against the Firstborn, but the Maarihkish, as they seek out the sympathizers he Saw who are brave enough to resist Maarihk’s tyranny. Only then can the damage be repaired from when Natharr chose personal happiness with Darshelle and the young crown prince over his weighty responsibilities as Guardian of Maarihk.
Emerald eyes bored into the shadows, grim and intent as a hundred possibilities played themselves out for the benefit of his Sight alone. He sat just as he had for what seemed hours, chin resting in his palm, elbow propped on the crumb-strewn table. His callused palms were dry, despite the adrenaline flooding his frame as certain of those possibilities spelt out inescapable damnation, despite the years he had spent planning and backup planning, raising the boy who would return to become king of a shattered nation and restore some semblance of balance. If Natharr’s efforts failed, then all Mankind would suffer even more than they had already.
His eyes lidded over sticky, emerald irises. Even that motion was broken, as if his eyelids shuddered as they moistened his pained eyes.
He had not blinked for a seeming lifetime, unwilling to chance missing some scant detail, despite knowing full well that everything he Saw was in his mind, channelled by his gift. Of course, there were times when Sight seized him so fiercely that he would not have been able to blink, regardless of his wants or needs. He rolled his eyes gently beneath his lids, feeling tears well at their edges, washing away the stickiness. As an afterthought, he rubbed his eyes with thumb and forefinger, helping the process along.
For some time, he had not moved from his seat, a plain wooden chair at a corner table in a smoky ale house attached to the inn where he had spent the past two nights, trapped by a snowy maelstrom, unlike anything he had ever seen. His seat was as worn and battered as the table, although its legs were even, unlike the table, which rocked every time he or his companion moved. Natharr finally opened his emerald eyes and frowned at the big man across from him. Ellis was the only man Natharr had ever met who was taller than him, a good four fingers taller, with hair and a neatly trimmed beard of white like the snow erasing the rest of the world outside. It made the man look older than the true vitality of his body although, if what the other claimed was true, Ellis the Elder was older than any creature still walking among the living.
Ellis grinned, showing his broad teeth, then sipped at his heavy pewter mug of dark ale. When he lowered it, his white moustache was fringed with brown foam. His pink tongue appeared for a moment to lick it clean. “I was about to take action, my friend,” he said, deep voice low, lips hidden behind the mug. Natharr blinked at that, both surprised and appreciative that the old man knew the tactic, hiding his words from those who might know the secrets of reading them to know what he said. The man kept proving, time and again, that he had knowledge and experiences that were as varied as they were unpredictable. “I was beginning to worry that people would notice that you did not move, did not blink.”
Thank you, W.D. Kilpack III and Love Books Tours
About the Author
W.D. Kilpack III is an award-winning and critically acclaimed internationally published writer, with works appearing in print, online, radio and television, starting with his first publication credit at the age of nine, when he wrote an award-winning poem. As an adult, he received special recognition from L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Contest. He has been editor and/or publisher of 19 news and literary publications, both online and in print, with circulations as high as 770,000. He is an accomplished cook and has two claims he thinks few can match: cooking nearly every type of food on a grill; and nearly being knocked flat when his grill exploded.
He received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Westminster College of Salt Lake City. As an undergrad, he double-majored in communication and philosophy, while completing the Honors Program. As a graduate student, he earned a master of professional communication with a writing emphasis. He was also a high-performing athlete, qualifying for international competition in Greco-Roman wrestling.
He is a communication professor and a nationally recognized wrestling coach. He is happily married to his high-school sweetheart and is father to five children, as well as helping to raise five step-children. He was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he continues to live, coach and teach.