Sword of Darkness - By Kinley MacGregor

Prologue

Long ago in a land that was lost in anarchy, there was an enchanted sword that had been forged by the hands of the fey. Imbued with their power and nurtured by the soul of the goddess Britannia, the sword was said to grant immortality and superhuman strength to any who wielded it. Even the scabbard that protected the sword was special. So long as a man wore it strapped to his hips, he would never bleed.

It was a sword that could not be broken. Nor could it be defeated.

But as with all things of great power, there were those who feared it. Those who sought to destroy this sword, only to learn that nothing forged by the fey could be destroyed by mere mortal hands. Fearful of who would one day command its magic, its owner sent it out into the world with a sole guardian who imbedded it deep into a boulder. For years it lay fallow in the heart of the darkest forest of Britannia, unseen and unknown, and protected by a spell that would allow only one person of special birth to draw it forth from its resting place.

They hid it well, hoping that it would be lost to the world of man forever.

And so it was until the day when a young man happened upon it.

Born to a peasant mother who was known to despise and resent him, he was nothing remarkable. He was just a lad in the height of his youth, trying to survive the harshness of his life. One in need of a sword to protect himself from those out to harm him, and lo and behold, there in the deep, dark, overgrown forest was a sword he might use.

Grasping the rusted hilt of it, he gave a yank, praying with all his heart that it would come free so that he could fight those who sought him.

The sword refused to move.

He could hear the thundering hooves crashing through the brush as his enemies came closer and closer still. They would be upon him at any moment, and he would be beaten or worse.

They would kill him.

Terrified, the sweaty, breathless boy, dressed only in filthy rags, wrapped both of his grimy hands around the rough hilt and heaved with all his might. Suddenly a surge of painful power went through him. It felt as if his hands were now melded and forged to the rusted hilt that turned to gold underneath his hands. The sword's power crept through his body, invading him, hurting him.

The gold on the pommel parted slowly to reveal a red dragon's eye. It stared at him for a full heartbeat as if measuring his worthlessness.

Then with a resounding scrape of metal that echoed through the dark, cursed forest, the sword came free. The boy cried out as the bittersweet pain seized his heart.

The blade of the sword glowed red, then turned to fire. It cast its fey light on those in pursuit of the boy, striking them down instantly where they stood. Men before the light touched them, they became nothing more than smoldering piles of ash.

The fire vanished from the blade that still glowed as if it were a living creature. With its red light shining brightly in the dim foliage, the sword seemed to sing like a dragon cooing to its young. The boy held the sword aloft in his sweaty palm as he felt the power of it running through him like hot wine. It was warm and heady and intoxicating. Seductive. Consuming.

And he knew he would never be the same again.

"You are the one…" the breezy, haunting voice whispered ominously through the trees, scaring the boy even more than the light had.

But this is not the tale of King Arthur.

And this is not the sword Excalibur.

This is the story of the Kerrigan, the champion of all things evil.

Like the Arthur of legend, his destiny was to rule over Camelot, only his Camelot was unlike any you have ever seen or heard before…

Chapter 1

Seren stood before the aged guild masters with all her hopes showing brightly on her face as they examined the workmanship of her precious scarlet cloth. They reminded her of a group of crows, swathed in black, gathered over their latest victim. But not even that thought could dampen her hopes that they each held in their gnarled hands.

For the whole of the last year, she had worked diligently on the scarlet cloth they examined, using every spare coin, every spare moment to

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