A special report today from the world of Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud, an upcoming YA fantasy by Eric Price. I’ll be posting my 5-star Goodreads review of this a little closer to the November release date, but enjoy this sneak peek in the meantime.
The Innes Times
KING KENDRICK STRICKEN, POSSIBLY BY MAGIC; OWEN MISSING
by Raphael Goren
Anti-magic protestors line the streets of Innes Village, and their numbers continue to grow. The first protestors organized late last night, shortly after the banquet at Innes Castle came to an abrupt halt.
Mary Steigel, 46, the first witness to return to Innes Village from the banquet, informed the evening strollers of what took place.
“It’s King Kendrick,” Stiegel said. “Something’s happened to him. He’s sick or something. I thought for sure he was dead.”
In her frantic attempt to inform the villagers of the tragedy, Miss Stiegel revealed Owen had fled the castle with the magician, Cedric; and Queen Andrea, visiting from the Northern Domain, had assumed control of Innes Castle.
Confusion settled on the crowd until a second witness returned to Innes Village shortly thereafter. He informed the gathering multitude of King Kendrick’s announcement of his engagement to Queen Andrea just before he fell ill. This news seemed to settle the mass’ nerves about Queen Andrea taking control, but the well known anti-magic advocate, Charles Zelter, began inciting the crowd to blame magic for the king’s illness.
“Only magic could have felled King Kendrick,” Zelter said. “And I bet that Wizard always lurking at the castle, what’s his name, Cedric, led the attack. I don’t know why the king permitted him around anyway. If I were King Kendrick, I would have made the practice of magic illegal in the Central Domain three years ago, when the Wizard Rebellion attacked.”
His motley crowd of supporters cheered and patted him on the back before he continued. “And I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if Cedric hadn’t chased Owen out of the castle. I bet the poor boy’s on the run, scared for his life from a vial Wizard.”
More cheers and shouts accompanied this exertion before they continued their march down the street carrying signs saying, “ALL WIZARDS MUST GO” and “WIZARDS = DEATH”.
A young girl who identified herself as Yara, the seventeen year old daughter of the town blacksmith, listened to his rant before walking away.
When asked for her opinion of the situation, she shook her head in disgust. “Mr. Zelter’s as crazy as they come. He’s been trying to get father to join his anti-magic cause ever since my brother, Brahma, lost his life in the attack by the Wizard Rebellion.”
She adjusted the bow slung over her shoulder and pulled her braided ponytail free of the collar of her tunic. “He’s full of dragon excrement if he thinks Cedric chased Owen out of Innes Castle. I’ve been friends with Owen my whole life, and he would never back down from a battle, especially with his father’s life in danger.” Her grimace could have petrified a ghost. “I don’t know where they went, or what they’re doing, but I intend to find them.” She stalked away without answering another question.
Keep your eyes on The Innes Times in the coming days as more of this story unfolds.
Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud blurb:
As the only son to King Kendrick, Owen despises the idea of being king one day. Magician may be the only career he’d like less. He has dreaded the days leading up to his fifteenth birthday, when his father will certainly declare Owen heir to the throne. But at the birthday celebration, his father falls ill. The only person in the kingdom that may be able to save him is a magician–the very same magician Owen holds responsible for the death of his mother.
Owen and his companions will have to travel the continent of Wittatun in search of the cure for King Kendrick. On the journey, they will battle strange beasts and harsh climates, befriend extraordinary magicians, and meet a dragon before returning to Innes Castle–where much has happened in the days since he departed.
The cool night air blew in Cedric’s face. His new beard, now reaching the neck of his cloak, ruffled in the breeze. He hoped the sound of rustling leaves and tree branches would help mask his own sounds as he sneaked behind Argnam’s cabin.
Cedric took his staff and drew the outline of a door on the back wall. He stepped away and the line started glowing faint chartreuse. Within the outline, the wall almost vaporized to dust. It piled on the ground as quiet as a phantom; the chirping crickets didn’t even break from their merry song.
Creeping through the makeshift doorway, Cedric saw the figures of a man and a woman lying in bed. The moonlight cast enough of a glow for him to recognize the man as Argnam. He couldn’t identify the woman; her long blond hair obscured her face.
As he approached the side of the bed, he raised the dagger he brought for the assassination. He took a deep breath before plunging it into Argnam’s chest.
The woman’s leg flashed out of the covers, striking him in the chest and knocking the wind out of him. She sprang from the bed. Her feet met his face in a rapid succession of kicks, topping the skill of a master fighter.
Gasping for breath and unable to stand, Cedric fell to his hands and knees and looked up at the approaching woman. The moon silhouetted her female form. Light reflected on her face, and Cedric recognized Necrose before she raised her leg over her head, and slammed the heel of her foot into his face. Total darkness enveloped him.
Eric grew up in central Illinois. He now lives in northwest Iowa with his wife and two sons. He began publishing in 2008 when he started writing a quarterly column for a local newspaper. His first short story, “Ghost Bed and Ghoul Breakfast,” a spooky children’s tale about a haunted bed and breakfast, came out later the same year. He has published more than 30 nonfiction articles/columns, four short stories, and a poem. Three of his short stories have won honorable mention in the CrossTIME Annual Science Fiction contest. This is his first novel. For more about Eric check his his website, Facebook page, or Twitter account (@AuthorEricPrice).