Well, here we are in 2016. I hope everyone had a Happy New Year and, although it’s the first Monday of the new year, let’s be positive. 2015 was not the best year. Between terrorism, political intrigue, riots in Ferguson and Baltimore, email scandals, mass shootings and unexpected deaths, it’s definitely not in my top 10. The positive things I can say about 2015 was Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the return of Bloom County on Facebook, Doctor Who season 9, great comic book TV shows and the positive reviews I received for my second novel, The Dark Tides. More bad than good, but still, just an okay year.
As I look ahead to 2016, I am happy to report that the third book in the Forever Avalon series, The Outlander War, is nearly finished. So I thought what better way to kick off 2016 than with a preview of the next chapter in my medieval fantasy/adventures series. Here is the prologue from The Outlander War!
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The field was strewn with the dead; warriors felled by sword and axe, spear and shaft. Blood flowed across the ground, but there were no winners here … Only death triumphed this day. Camlann sat near the southern coast of England in Wales. This was the last stand by Mordred and forces loyal to his sorceress mother, Morgana le Fay, against the King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.
The Battle of Camlann was the final conflict between King Arthur and Mordred. The two combatants laid side-by-side on the ground, both men mortally wounded by the other.
As Sir Percival ran to his monarch’s aid, Mordred crawled away, not wanting to wait for the last of the Knights of the Round Table to finish him off.
Percival dropped his sword and lifted Arthur’s head on his lap. “My liege,” he cried. “I am here Your Majesty.”
“Percival … Listen to me,” King Arthur groaned. “Take Excalibur to the Lady of the Lake; it must not fall into the wrong hands!” He handed his sword to Percival, placing the hilt firmly in his hands. “You must do this for me.”
Percival nodded his head as tears began to roll down his face. “I will sire! I will” he assured his King. Arthur smiled, his mind at ease. He coughed violently, blood spewing from his lips.
“Find Mordred, Percival,” he choked out. “He must not be allowed to take the throne of Camelot. You must …” King Arthur coughed again as he gasped for each breath. Percival did his best to comfort the dying monarch.
“Do not fear, milord. As long as there is breath in my body, he will never sit on the throne. This I swear!”
King Arthur took one last breath before his body went rigid, his eyes stared into the stars above. His arms went limp as the King fell back and died. Percival cried as he closed the King’s eyes and set him gently down on the ground.
He looked over to Excalibur and knew he had a promise to keep. He reached for the sword but it was quickly scooped up by the hands of Merlin the Magician. The sorcerer and advisor to King Arthur took the sword without a word to Sir Percival, walking up toward the top of the hill.
“Merlin, what are you doing?” Percival screamed as he leaped to his feet. “I must return Excalibur to the Lady of the Lake. It was the King’s final command.”
Merlin said nothing. He quickened his pace to the reach the top of the hill. He walked past the bodies of the dead knights, laying where they fell in battle. Percival became irritated at the wizard. He ran up and grabbed him by the arm.
“Dammit Merlin, answer me!” he commanded. Merlin pointed his staff at Percival to ward him off. The twisted shaft of Wych Elm had three branches at the top, looking like a trident, with crystals of rose, smoky and white quartz embedded in those branches. The crystals glowed, as magical energy hovered between them, threatening the knight to stay away.
“We don’t have time Sir Percival,” Merlin exclaimed. “I must act quickly to save us all.”
Merlin turned away to continue climbing up the hill. Percival was confused by Merlin’s statement. “Time for what? Merlin, what do you mean?” he shouted as he chased after the wizard.
“The age of magic is coming to an end, and so is our world,” he explained. “With Arthur’s death, the magic that fills our realm is already starting to fade. I must act quickly if I am to stem the tide.”
“But how?” Percival asked. “How can you do that?”
“There is a spell, one of the first ever written,” Merlin began to explain. “If I focus that spell through Excalibur, it will bring all magic together in one place.”
“Where Merlin? Where are you sending it?”
Merlin stopped as he reached the summit. “To Avalon, my boy! To Avalon! There, I will summon all the magic, magical creatures and beings into one place, hidden from the rest of the world.”
The wizard rammed his staff into the ground in front of him. He took Excalibur and placed the hilt between the branches, allowing the sword to hang down from the staff. Merlin stood behind them and started chanting. It was an ancient language, unknown to this day and age. He repeated the spell until he got into a rhythm, chanting as magic began to erupt from the ground around him.
Percival stood back as watched the ritual unfold before him. The energy around Merlin grew brighter and brighter as the spell reached its zenith.
“No!” shouted a voice from behind. Percival drew his sword as he turned to see who was shouting at them.
Mordred, bloodied and wounded from his fight with King Arthur, charged up the hill. His blonde hair was dirty and matted, but his golden armor—a gift from his mother to protect him from harm—still shined brightly in the glow of the magic that surrounded Merlin.
“I will have Excalibur,” he shouted. “By birthright, I am now King!”
Percival stepped between Mordred and Merlin. “You will never be King, Mordred. My descendants and I will always stand between you and the throne.”
“You will not stop me Percival,” Mordred chastised as he drew his sword. “No matter where you go, I will take Excalibur in my hands, I will sit on Arthur’s throne … I will be King!”
Percival leaped at Mordred, bringing his sword down at him as Mordred raised his to counter his attack. As steel clashed together, the magic around Merlin exploded in brilliant flash of light. In an instant, they were all gone. Across England and around the world, anything and everything touched by magic just disappeared; faded into myth and legend, never to be seen again, or so they thought.
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In case you want to catch up on the first two books, Forever Avalon is available for purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The Dark Tides is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iUniverse.