*Please refer to this post for Treasure Hunt Giveaway details.
Genres: Fantasy/Adventure/Short Story
Number of Prizes Available: 3
Meet Garvin Desh, a long time assassin for hire whose thirst for gold and glory is quenched by honor. Desh leads a rebellion against Thurstan the Mighty, King of Lorencia, so that the king might answer for his crimes. Though righteousness has forced Desh to have a change or heart, his past is not far behind him, waiting to ensnare him in its powerful clutches.
Will Desh save the people of Lorencia from hunger and death?
Will his deeds make right the wrong he’s done?
The answers can only be found through sword and shield.
If they couldn’t see it, Desh could see that each of them wore the eyes of men who had nothing to lose. The eyes of a man hanging off a cliff by one hand with his only choices being to fall to a rocky grave a hundred feet below, or to hang on long enough to pull himself over the edge. Even the hardest of men didn’t wear those eyes, save for a few deadly moments, swinging a sword against a foe willing to drink his blood. Desh knew it well. He had worn those eyes many times. You couldn’t pay for those eyes in a soldier with all the gold in the king’s treasury. Desh knew that more than half the king’s men were mercenaries. They weren’t there for justice, honor, or glory, but for gold. Gold, it had a funny way with a man’s heart.
Sitting atop his steed just a few paces from the men who he had fought alongside for forty-moons, Desh spoke. His silvery voice echoed in strict defiance of a king he now deemed a tyrant. A man once counted among his allies, though mostly an employer.
‘Thurstan would have you starve. He would see your children eat scraps and your wives cleave to slain men weeping on the shores of Red Stalk Bay. He’d have you cold in the winters praying for reprieve while he sits in his pampered rooms behind his high walls; suckling wine and fondling women to his guilty pleasure.’ The men were roused, pounding sword and fist against shields, roaring like savage animals hungry for blood. ‘Our noble king won’t give you his love, his protection, or the animals he’d slaughter for supper. He won’t share of his feast or his soldiers. He thinks of you as nothing more than brigands and peasants, fit only to serve his whims and to surrender your land and tax. What do you say to that?’ Desh roared the question. With pleasure he watched the tumult rise. ‘Will you bow the knee to this king?’ He raised his sword and pounded his armor with his fist. ‘I will not!’
The men screamed their displeasure, their voices howling into the open air. Thunder boomed as the rain continued to drench them. Lightning cracked across the sky and then more thunder rolled. Desh waited for the men to quiet and then spoke again.
‘Then have your say in the matter. Take your bounty from the king or have comfort in death.’ Desh turned and raised his blood-soaked sword high in the air again.
‘Take what’s owed!’ A man screamed. Then another screamed the words, and another, until it became a chant. Desh could hear the ground trembling under his horse.
Like a swarm the men were on the move, sprinting with unbridled aggression, careless and full of fury. Those on horses charged between the lines, quickly leading the rebels toward the king’s seemingly impenetrable army. Blind courage had replaced caution and swept away their fears.
What prized possession had a “funny way with a man’s heart”?
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A.S. Washington (1983-) was born on the 19th day of September in 1983. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Economics, and lives in New Jersey where he works with at-risk teenagers. As a boy he fell in love with books and began writing his own stories. In December of 2011, his debut novel The Virgin Surgeon was published.