The Sword that Binds (Book of Worlds 1)

BOOK: The Sword that Binds (Book of Worlds 1)
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Copyright

Copyright © 2015 by David Taran

All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof

may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever

without the express written permission of the publisher

except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

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Table of Contents

Copyright Page

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

About the Author

Chapter One

S
arena walked along the path through the gardens, deep in thought about the summons she had received from her father earlier that morning. She knew it wouldn’t end well, but couldn’t help being excited regardless. He had had nothing but contempt for her since she was born. Her mother had died shortly after and he had decided that it was Sarena’s fault. For sixteen years she had put up with the man making her life miserable, and she doubted that was going to change just because today was her birthday. Every year his treatment of her degraded, and she knew it was because she favored her mother more and more every year. Or so her grandfather told her at least.

Both of them had dark green eyes, long brown hair, and were of average height. Sarena tied her hair back into a braid that went just past her shoulders like all women in her family line. She wore a plain brown tunic and trousers, something that would be considered scandalous anywhere else besides Garland Keep. Her bloodline was that of warriors, and all of those born to their family were trained for battle from a young age. Dresses were saved for formal occasions only, and while long hair might interfere in battle, it was still considered bad luck for her to cut it shorter than shoulder length.

Even with such a long history of tradition in their family, Sarena knew that her father would have seen her thrown out and abandoned if it wasn’t for her grandfather constantly reminding him of his duty to the family line. Regardless of how he felt about Sarena, her father had to maintain the minimum requirements for continuing the Garland legacy. Which is why Sarena was both concerned and excited for the meeting today. While on one hand she knew he was going to make it as difficult for her as he could, she also knew that today was the day that she came to her majority. And tradition for the Garland line said that on the day the family heir reached their sixteenth birthday, the family’s greatest treasure would be passed down to them. The enchanted sword, Heartseeker.

Just one more day to get through, Sarena. After today he won’t be able to do anything. I’ll be an adult, and if he wants anything he had better ask nicely, or he’ll see the sharp end of my sword!
She smiled, trying to convince herself it was the truth. It took every ounce of willpower she had to not break into a run. Her anticipation had made her lie awake until the sunlight was creeping through the shutters. There would be dark bags under her eyes all day, but she couldn’t bring herself to care.

While Sarena was torn between dreading the upcoming meeting or rejoicing for what it would bring, she came to the doorway of the private training room much sooner than she would have liked. She didn’t know why her father had chosen this place for the occasion, but she knew there was no way out of him giving up the sword. Sarena opened the heavy wooden door and stepped inside.

The room itself was simple, with plain stone walls and a wooden floor. Most of the keep had stone flooring, but falling on to hard stone during training was almost as dangerous as getting hit. Aside from a rack of weapons and several benches the room was empty. Two tall windows let light into the room during the day, while torches along the wall were used to cast a dim light at all other times.

Her father was standing in the middle of the room, wearing solid black trousers and a matching tunic with golden trim. A black leather shoulder harness held the weapon he planned to replace Heartseeker with. He stood straight with his arms crossed in front of his chest, and was giving her the most imposing stare that he could. If she hadn’t seen him looking at her in the exact same way her entire life she might have even been intimidated.

She walked up to her father, Lord Adralin Garland, and stopped an arm’s length away. Looking up at him and staring him right in his clear blue eyes, she spoke only one word.

“Father.”

Adralin’s eye twitched for a moment, just as it always did when she called him that. Sarena saw him glance to the side and realized for the first time that they weren’t alone in the room. Her grandfather sat on a bench set on the side of the wall, watching the two with a placid look on his face. His hair had turned to white years ago, but he was just as spry as he had been when Sarena was a child. Always quick to defend her, he had even personally trained her with the sword ever since her father had refused to even be in the same room as her when she held a weapon. If it hadn’t been for him she would never have been able to survive as long as she had. The stern expression on her face softened for a moment when she met his eyes, but she forced it back on as she looked back to her father.

“Your grandfather has told me that today is your sixteenth birthday. And as much as I would rather not, I have to agree that he is right. Sixteen years ago today you murdered my wife right in front of me. And every year you have the gall to remind me of the anniversary of that day and try to celebrate it instead of mourn,” Adralin said to her, his eyes seeming to take on a hint of madness as he spoke. “Here is the sword that I know you have so desperately wanted.”

He pulled the scabbard and blade from his waist and held it out to her as if it were nothing more than a common sword. Sarena was barely able to mask her surprise in time. She hadn’t expected him to be willing to part with it so easily. The fact that they were in the training room made her think that he would demand she fight him for it. As good as she was with a sword, nobody could match Adralin Garland when he was wielding Heartseeker. Relief flooded through her as she reached out for the weapon. Her hand grasped the sword and her father let it go immediately, obviously hoping she would drop it. It was just the kind of petty act he would do to show his disdain for her. Luckily she had been expecting something and made sure to hold it firmly, but what she hadn’t been expecting was the rush of warmth that shot up her arm the second she touched it.

Her eyes widened as she tried to let go in surprise, but her arm didn’t feel like her own anymore, and almost mechanically brought the sword to her waist and slid it through the loop on her belt.
What just happened? Is it supposed to do that? Grandfather never mentioned anything like that before.
She clamped down on the muscles in her arm to stop the trembling that had started as soon as she lost control.

“You still must draw the blade,” Adralin said. “It proves that you have reached your majority and are of the Garland bloodline. If the blade does not glow red then you are not worthy to wield it.”

Sarena was still trying to recover from the heat that had surged through her arm. She looked up from the sword and made sure to lock her eyes to his. She wanted to see his face for this. The moment when he had no choice but to admit that she was his daughter and not some demon hiding in her flesh. Taking a step back, she slowly drew Heartseeker with her right hand. The warmth began to surge through not just her arm but her entire body now, making her face flush. As the sword finally cleared the scabbard, she saw her father’s face turn to a look of surprise, then confusion. He stared at the sword as if he could see right through it. Sarena finally looked down at the blade in her hand and felt her jaw drop.

Heartseeker was a standard long sword, three feet long and double-edged, with no adornments on the hilt or pommel. The cross guard was just as simple as the rest of the blade. The only unusual feature was the runic script running down the length of the blade. She knew it was a lost language used for enchanting millennia ago, but nobody could decipher any of it anymore. The art of enchanting had long been lost the ages, along with all the mages of old. Now, there were barely a handful of enchanted items in the entire kingdom, and each one was owned by a powerful noble family. They were all priceless, and each family jealously guarded their own. More than one war had been fought for the possession of such an item, and it was only with the power of Heartseeker that the Garland line had managed to maintain their own power this long. That and the fact that Heartseeker’s power would only work for those who had Garland blood in their veins.

In the hands of a Garland warrior it made them near indestructible on the battlefield. Almost limitless stamina, unmatched speed, an edge that could cleave through even solid plate mail, and even if the wielder was unskilled with a blade they would always seem to strike right where they wanted. The king himself owed his throne several times over to the Garland line.

The problem for Sarena was that Heartseeker was currently glowing a deep blue all along the blade. It was common knowledge that when in the hands of a Garland, Heartseeker would glow. But it had always glowed red. Always red, never blue. A spark of nervousness appeared in her heart. She knew immediately her father would try to use this against her to keep the blade. It was too perfect of an excuse. Not only that, he could use it to say that she wasn’t of Garland blood and claim she was an impostor. She glanced at her grandfather hoping, for a sign that everything would be alright, but he wore the same look of confusion as her father.

“I knew it!” Adralin exploded, “I knew that you couldn’t possibly be my daughter! No one of Garland blood would take the life of a family member! You truly are a demon!” He reached over his shoulder for the hilt of his blade.

Sarena’s mouth opened and closed. She knew what he said was a lie, but how was she supposed to prove it? The proof she had been depending on had betrayed her, and she couldn’t see any way out of this.

“Stop this Adralin!” Her grandfather shouted as he stood from his bench. “Just because it glows blue does not mean she is not your daughter. Even when my own father drew it for the first time it glowed blue for a time. It is time for you to admit that Sarena is your daughter. Stop looking to blame where no fault exists. Yvette’s death was not Sarena’s fault, it was the will of the gods. I will see you dead myself before I watch you doom our family line like this!”

Adralin glared at her grandfather, but didn’t sheath his sword. “I refuse to believe that she is truly able to wield the sword. Regardless of the color it glows, if she can’t even use it correctly then what is the point?” He turned back to Sarena and took his stance. “If you really want to keep Heartseeker, you’ll have to fight me first. I was willing to make an effort to change my opinion of you if it had glowed red, but all you’ve done is confirm how right I have been all these years.”

The heat that had been rushing through Sarena had finally started to die down. Even though it had only lasted a minute at most, she felt as if an eternity had passed. When it ended she could tell something was different. Heartseeker felt
right
in her hand, and when she looked at her father she could see countless openings for her to attack. Heartseeker thrummed as she lunged forward, her past resentment boiling up and taking control. Sarena dipped to her right, swinging Heartseeker towards his shoulder. She marveled at how Heartseeker flowed with her thoughts. Adralin could barely react in time, frantically bringing his sword up to block the attack.

“You can’t deny this!”

She watched his face change to shock as she surged forward, Heartseeker slicing through his sword effortlessly. Settling back into her stance, Sarena saw the blood dripping from his shoulder. He had bent backwards in time to avoid a fatal blow, but Heartseeker had managed to cut a shallow line in his shoulder before he was away from it.

“That’s enough!” Sarena’s concentration was broken by her grandfather’s shout. He stepped forward and stood between the two of them, glaring at Adralin and Sarena in turn. “I think Sarena has more than proved that she is capable of wielding Heartseeker. And you, Adralin, have proven that training your entire life still isn’t equal to the enchantments on the sword. As well as how much of a fool you are. Sarena is your daughter, and with the skill she just displayed that is something you should be more than proud of.”

BOOK: The Sword that Binds (Book of Worlds 1)
10.83Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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