Read Where Serpents Strike (Children of the Falls Vol. 1) Online

Authors: CW Thomas

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Where Serpents Strike (Children of the Falls Vol. 1)

BOOK: Where Serpents Strike (Children of the Falls Vol. 1)
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Copyright

 

Dedication

 

Acknowledgments

 

CHAPTER 1

 

CHAPTER 2

 

CHAPTER 3

 

CHAPTER 4

 

CHAPTER 5

 

CHAPTER 6

 

CHAPTER 7

 

CHAPTER 8

 

CHAPTER 9

 

CHAPTER 10

 

CHAPTER 11

 

CHAPTER 12

 

CHAPTER 13

 

CHAPTER 14

 

CHAPTER 15

 

CHAPTER 16

 

CHAPTER 17

 

CHAPTER 18

 

CHAPTER 19

 

CHAPTER 20

 

CHAPTER 21

 

CHAPTER 22

 

CHAPTER 23

 

CHAPTER 24

 

CHAPTER 25

 

CHAPTER 26

 

CHAPTER 27

 

CHAPTER 28

 

CHAPTER 29

 

CHAPTER 30

 

CHAPTER 31

 

CHAPTER 32

 

CHAPTER 33

 

CHAPTER 34

 

CHAPTER 35

 

CHAPTER 36

 

CHAPTER 37

 

Author’s Note

 

About the Author

 

More Great Indie Fiction

 

 

Children of the Falls Vol. 1: Where Serpents
Strike

Smashwords edition

 

Copyright © 2016 by C.W. Thomas

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may
be reproduced or utilized in any way or by any means, electronic or
mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information
storage or retrieval system without permission in writing from the
author.

 

Published in the United States by Lame Poet
Books.

 

ISBN 978-1-5301479-1-5

 

Cover and book design by J.L.G. Designs

 

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

 

Smashwords Edition, License Notes

Thank you for downloading this ebook. This book
remains the copyrighted property of the author, and may not be
redistributed to others for commercial or non-commercial purposes.
If you enjoyed this book, please encourage your friends to download
their own copy from their favorite authorized retailer. Thank you
for your support.

 

 

To that college professor

who
wrote me nasty letters

criticizing my writing

while I worked for that newspaper.

You’re in this book.

And you die very, very badly.

 

 

Acknowledgments

Ridiculous and dumb. Those are the two words
I would’ve used to describe this novel had it not been for the
encouragement, praise, feedback, and support of a handful of
individuals.

A tremendous thanks goes out to Tanya Sousa,
writer and illustrator extraordinaire, and my biggest cheerleader.
I couldn’t ask for a better friend to encourage my creative
endeavors. It always feels like you do so much for me and that the
favors I give in return are like pittance from a peasant.

Thanks also to fellow indie author and Jedi
Master John L. Monk. Were it not for his outstanding work, advice,
and camaraderie I may never have found the inspiration to launch
this series. You’re a class act, bro!

I’d like to thank an awesome team of
readers, including: sister-in-arms Jenny Allen; my photography pal
Benita Clark; fellow medieval fantasy enthusiast Brennan Kidder;
Marla Miller (is it wrong for me to be thankful that you were able
to read my book because you were on crutches?); Peter Murray
(thanks for being a totally “into it” fan); and J.C. Stockli whose
writing never fails to inspire me. You are all awesome!

To my beautiful wife Danielle I’d like to
say a deep and sincere thanks. I know this writing thing takes up a
lot of time, but without it I’d probably go nuts and become even
more difficult to live with than I already am. Thank you for
allowing me the time to pursue this silly little hobby. I love
you.

And thanks be to God for the abundance of
blessings he provides.

Even though this book may still be
considered ridiculous and dumb by some people it’s finally
something that I’m a wee bit proud of thanks to the support and
input of all of you.

 

—Craig

 

 

 

Click here to view a larger version of this map
(requires internet).

 

 

 

Click here to view a larger version of this map
(requires internet).

 

 

MEREK

Darkness enveloped Merek Viator as he crept
into the throne room. Something unsettling ruptured in his heart,
an ominous feeling that he hoped he wouldn’t regret ignoring.

Crouched on one of the bulky rafters high
above the marble floor he took his time scanning the shadows below.
He had never seen the inside of Perth’s castle, but as a frequent
purveyor of the rich pockets in Edhen’s capital he had always
longed to.

Merek sat hunched on the rafters for quite
some time listening to the whistle of the warm wind outside and
letting his eyes adjust to the dark. Before long the shadows
opened, revealing a massive room long and narrow and empty. Its
gray walls sequenced with carved granite pillars stretched up into
a vaulted ceiling of dark timber beams and golden trim. He frowned
at the crimson tapestries hanging on the walls bearing the golden
viper emblem of High King Orkrash Mahl.

Much to Merek’s dismay the faint scent of
rot hung in the air. He wondered if a table of food had been left
unattended for too long in one of the dark corners.

Now to find the gold.

With perfect balance the master thief moved
along the rafters toward the throne. In his mind he raked through
the memory of the note he had received, searching for clues as to
the whereabouts of the loot. The note had guaranteed a reward of
gold if he could successfully sneak into the throne room, but more
interesting than that was the promise of a greater opportunity.

Normally he would’ve ignored such a note. In
fact, he figured he probably should have, but unlike the man he
used to be just a few short years ago Merek Viator was now a
desperate man.

He paused atop the rafters when he heard
footsteps in the hallway.

The footsteps grew louder, a pair of them,
until two men stepped into the room. One of them, lean with oily
black hair and a bony face, moved with the grace of a cat under a
long velvet coat. He carried a torch and took his time lighting the
ancient sconces that adorned the columns, filling the room with
light and shadow.

His companion looked about in awe. “The
throne of the high king,” he said. “You honor me, Ustus.” He ran a
hand over his bald scalp, the open sleeve of his tunic trailing
after his arm. Merek admired the way the gold stitching on his long
green robe glittered in the torchlight. He wondered how many
starving mouths could be fed for the cost of sparkly gold
stitching.

“You
should
feel honored,” said
Ustus. His voice carried with it a disarming charm, smooth and
sweet. “High King Mahl invites few into his throne room these days.
His majesty considers this a deeply personal space. He does not
wish it marred by the tiresome ramblings of commoners.”

“I hear his army is on the march for
Aberdour.”

“Indeed. Four years of war and finally all
the kingdoms will be under one rule.”

“About time, too. Those forested halfwits
have caused this country enough undo stress. I trust The Raven
leads the charge?”

“His majesty would have no other.”

Merek felt a twinge of pain in his heart.
Aberdour, the last free kingdom on Edhen, was about to fall prey to
the Black King’s tyranny. They would make a mighty stand, he knew,
one worthy of their Aberdourian reputation.

“And will the high king be here soon?” asked
the bald man, whose robe and long belted sash gave him the look of
a wizard.

“His majesty will arrive when he is
ready.”

The wizard wandered into the center of the
room. He sniffed a few times and wrinkled his nose, clearly as
disgusted as Merek by the foul odor that hung in the air.

“Don’t keep me waiting, Ustus,” the wizard
said. “I have many important things that demand my—”

“Other men have been killed for displaying
such arrogance in the throne room of the high king,” said Ustus.
“Your important matters are of no consequence. You will give him
your respect. When he enters you will—”

“The high king has none of my respect,” the
wizard shot back as calmly as though he were debating the weather.
“He is a selfish brute of a king whose only pleasure, it seems, is
to waste other people’s valuable time.”

BOOK: Where Serpents Strike (Children of the Falls Vol. 1)
3.71Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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