A Prince Among Killers - By J. B. Redmond

INTRODUCTION

In a time before written history, humans conquered Earth’s magical societies. The Fae fled in defeat, taking with them a handful of loyal human servants. Using ancient understanding of the stars and universal energies, they migrated to a new world of blue-white sunlight and nights bathed in the glow of two moons—but they could not escape their fractious past. Vast dynasts rose and fell. The Fae strove for greater magic through genetic experiments until they devastated their own society. Fae bloodlines mingled with human, old magic began to fade, and for a time, the world of Eyrie knew war and darkness. Centuries later, Eyrie remains troubled, barely governed by a Circle representing the surviving dynasts, and two powerful guilds sworn to abstain from the battles between noble families. There is little hope for unity, and less hope that the old magic and glory of the Fae can be recaptured. Until now.

Aron Brailing has been Harvested by the Stone Guild and forced to become an assassin. When his family is murdered by their own dynast lord, Aron throws himself into his training, intent on learning the art of killing to avenge the deaths of his loved ones. Though his guild master is kind and supportive, Aron finds cold welcome at Stone’s castle of Triune. He’s tormented by fellow apprentices, dreams, and seemingly by Eyrie’s old gods themselves. In punishment for a fight, he’s sent on an impossible mission with an enemy, and he’s about to face the full measure of horrors Eyrie can offer.

Darielle Ross, survivor of a powerful magical race thought extinct, has entangled herself in the affairs of the Fae in order to locate her unstable twin sister, Kate. Dari has been searching the countryside, but finding only a confusing array of feelings for the Stone Brothers assisting her. Time is running out for Dari. If she can’t locate her sister, the king of her race will—and Kate will be killed to protect the secrets of Dari’s people.

Nicandro Mab, the last remaining heir to the highest throne of Eyrie, has been thrown from a castle turret and left for dead. Mysteriously recovered from lethal injuries, he’s traveling slowly toward Triune with a vicious yet intriguing Stone Sister who is more than aware of his identity. She’s determined that he regain his strength and claim his birthright. Nic has no intention of surrendering his chance to live a life free of his insane mother and the madness of ruling a kingdom that seems intent on tearing itself apart.

As war devastates Eyrie’s dynasts and the remnants of Fae magic, the destinies of Aron, Dari, and Nic intertwine. In their hands, minds, and hearts lies the fate of their people—and the fate of their world.

PART IV

Eltagh

FATE CHOOSES

CHAPTER THIRTY-FOUR

ARON

A blast of Stormbreaker’s lightning crackled overhead, giving Aron a surge of courage as mist struck him in the face. The unnatural gray fog of the Deadfall immediately obscured his vision, and it smelled of old graves and bones left to mildew in caves. Aron decided to breathe through his mouth, at least until he grew accustomed to the odor. His eyes watered in the wet air, but he kept his gaze on the gray folds of Galvin’s tunic.

Whispering met his ears, not human, not intelligible, and somewhere nearby, a rock cat howled. Something moaned, setting Aron’s teeth on edge.

Then something screamed. Up ahead. Not far away at all.

A sly, grinding sound came from behind Aron, like creatures sidling and slithering across the same rocky ground he had just crunched beneath his boots.

“I’m an assassin’s apprentice,” he said to himself to drive down the rolling gallop of his heart. He closed one hand on the hilt of his short sword and the other on the metal grip of a dagger.

From in front of him, Galvin Herder grunted, and Aron saw the mist swirl as the older boy drew his long sword and held it at the ready.

“I’m an assassin’s apprentice!” Aron yelled, taking strength from the words as he drew his own blades.

He could only hope the creatures flying, crawling, creeping, and charging to meet them would know him for what he was, and fear him as much as he feared them.

Aron Weylyn kept his fists tight on the hilts of his blades and Galvin Herder’s faint image in view even though the older boy was using his height and longer stride to move quickly through the fog.

This journey across the worst eight miles in Eyrie was supposed to settle the dispute between Aron and Galvin,

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