To Darkness Fled by Jill Williamson (Sample)

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ENTER DARKNESS...They have no choice. Chased by an evil prince, Achan, Vrell, and the Kingsguard knights ee into Darkness. They head north, for Tsaftown and Ice Island, where they must free an army that can help them fight for Er’Rets.Darkness sickens Vrell. How long can she keep her secret without being caught? Achan already suspects her of lying. If she is not careful, he will suspect her of treason as well. She hopes he will let his suspicions go until they reach her home.Achan wanted freedom, but this new journey has bound him more than ever. Sir Gavin’s claims are so far fetched. First, that there might only be one God, and second, that this God chose Achan to push back Darkness, the magnificent curse of Er’Rets. Him. Achan. Barely a man himself.Each setback Darkness brings seems minor compared to the one choice only Achan can make. What will he choose?To Darkness Fled is book 2 in the Blood of Kings series.

Text of To Darkness Fled by Jill Williamson (Sample)

To Darkness Fled by Jill Williamson Published by Marcher Lord Press 8345 Pepperridge Drive Colorado Springs, CO 80920 www.marcherlordpress.com This book or parts thereof may not be reproduced in any form, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any meanselectronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or otherwisewithout prior written permission of the publisher, except as provided by United States of America copyright law. MARCHER LORD PRESS and the MARCHER LORD PRESS logo are trademarks of Marcher Lord Press. Absence of TM in connection with marks of Marcher Lord Press or other parties does not indicate an absence of trademark protection of those marks. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the authors imagination or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to actual people, organizations, and/or events is purely coincidental. Cover Designer: Kirk DouPonce, Dog-Eared Design, www.dogeareddesign.com Cover Photo By: Kirk DouPonce Creative Team: Jeff Gerke, Dawn Shelton Copyright 2010 by Jill Williamson All rights reserved Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data An application to register this book for cataloging has been filed with the Library of Congress. International Standard Book Number: 978-0-9825987-0-2

To my little knight, Luke McKinley And my little princess, Kaitlyn Noel. Momma loves you.

Advance Praise for To Darkness FledWilliamson pens an action-packed, imaginative second installment in the Blood of Kings trilogy. All the familiar epic elements and emotions are freshly rendered, with Vrell and Achan especially memorable as they grow during their journey. The pace gallops along, leaving readers hungry for the concluding book.Publishers Weekly

Praise for By Darkness HidThis thoroughly entertaining and smart tale will appeal to fans of Donita K. Paul and J.R.R. Tolkien. Highly recommended for CF and fantasy collections.Library Journal

Kings, politics, orphans (called strays), knights, squires, bloodvoicing (mind reading), darkness, and light. This book is packed full of everything you could possibly ask for. USA Today Faith & Reason Book Club Blog

Wonderfully written with a superb plot, this book is a surefire hit with almost any reader. An adventure tale with a touch of romance and enough intrigue to keep the pages turning practically by themselves. Voice of Youth Advocates It is rare to come across a book in the fantasy genre that has such an organic feel.Once in awhile there comes along an author who takes classic fantasy plot contrivances and breathes new life into them. Church Libraries, Fall 2009 By Darkness Hid is the kind of fantasy that should be on Christian bookstore shelves everywhere. Fascinating and complete. If you like fantasy novels at all, you owe it to yourself to get hold of this one. I cant wait to explore it further. Highly recommended. Christian Fiction Review I highly recommend it to fans of fantasy, and even to someone who is unfamiliar with fantasy and needs a good place to start. Title Trakk.com I love a good fantasy, and By Darkness Hid more than fills the bill. With an unpredictable plot, twists of supernatural ability, and finely crafted tension between the forces of good and evil, Jill Williamsons book had me captivated. I jumped into the skin of the heroine and enjoyed her journey as if it were my own. Donita K. Paul, author of the Dragon Keeper Chronicles

Jill Williamson is a major arrival. She presents characters full of mystery and leaves room for plenty of further exploration. By Darkness Hid is a fast-paced addition to the world of swords and sorcery, using a backdrop of political and spiritual intrigue to heighten the tension. When readers begin lining up for the sequel, youll find me at the front of the line. Eric Wilson, author of Field of Blood and Haunt of Jackals

What readers are saying about By Darkness HidI love the fantasy genre, and your novel was an enthralling masterpiece. Eric Soo, 13 By Darkness Hid had me arguing with my mom as I wanted to stay up all night to read it. Now anytime I think about knights, Jills book comes to mind. I enjoyed reading it so much, and I cannot wait to read the next one! Keegan Pearson, age 13 No! That cant be it! Youd better make a sequel. I was so into it. I loved it all! I didnt think you could just end it right there. Please write more! This was a great read. Querida, age 16

By Darkness Hid is not fineits great! I loved it. And notonce did it bore me. Its full of adventure and romance, with unique characters you sympathize for. It makes you wish you could go back in time and live through a culture full of danger and mysteries. I just wanted to keep reading more and more. Cosette Luque, age 17 I finished your book, and my sister read it too. You kept both of us up late reading it. I LOVED IT! Its so cool! I really like Jax. Vrell and Achan are amazing! Rachel Aldrich, 17

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A Dark Journey

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What do you mean shes gone? Vrell Sparrow smiled at Esek Nathaks sharp tone. Shed been hoping to intrude upon this moment. She twisted the false princes silk sleeve in her hands and held her breath, thankful shed kept the scrap of fabric. Personal items made it easier to look in on someones mind like this, as did her tar-black surroundings. Though she floated with four men in a small wooden boat gliding west across Arok Lakeand Darknessshe nevertheless looked through Eseks eyes. The former heir to ErRets reclined on a cushioned chaise lounge in his solar in the Mahanaim stronghold. The blazing fire from Eseks hearth warmed Vrells . . . Eseks right side. Her hands trembled with the fury coursing through his body. She forced herself to ignore it, knowing it was Eseks anger and not her own.1

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It galled Vrell that she had to share this mans mind. The man she had once thought to be Prince Gidon Hadar. The man who had demanded to marry her, putting so much pressure on her mother that Vrell had gone into hiding disguised as a stray boy. A disguise she still wore six months later. Esek rose from the chaise lounge and circled his steward like a prowling dog. How can this be, Chora? Did you not tell me yourself Sir Kenton posted three guards at her door? Chora, a short, dark-haired man in brown robes, seemed to shrink whenever Esek addressed him. His b-best men, Your Highness. He swears no man left his post. But the chamber is empty. She must have escaped another way. Yet Lord Levy assures me that is impossible. F-forgive me, my king, Chora croaked out. The lady must be a mage. First taking on the appearance of a boy, now v-vanishing altogether. Esek threw back his head and groaned. I am surrounded by fools. Shes no mage, you nitwit. Both my prisoners have gone missing in the same hour, and only I can see the truth: the stray helped her. He means to steal my lifemy crown and my bride. Find them! Of course, Your Majesty. Right away. Chora scurried to the door but paused. Esek fell back on his chaise lounge and crossed his ankles. He snatched a handful of grapes from a tray. Why are you still here? The steward turned, trembling. F-Forgive me, Your Highness. Its only . . . the guards have s-searched the stronghold already. Th-Theres no sign of them. I d-dont The door burst open. Sir Kenton, the Shield, personal bodyguard to Esek, strode into the chamber. A chill draft swept in2

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behind him, followed by a group of New Kingsguard soldiers dragging two of their ownbound and gaggedbetween them. Whats this? Esek sat up, swinging his feet to the floor. Sir Kenton shook his curtain of black hair at the guards, who yanked the prisoners to their feet. These are two of the men who escorted the stray to the dungeons. They were found in the privy on the north wing, bound to one another. Esek stood and strode to the prisoners. He waved a finger at the gag on the taller man. Sir Kenton withdrew a dagger from his belt and cut through the cloth. Well? Esek said. What have you to say? Report. It was Trizo Akbar, Your Highness. The prisoner took a deep breath, as if winded. Hes turned traitor. Maybe always has been. Sir Rigil and his squire too. Trizo led the prisoner away while Sir Rigil and his squire bound us and stuffed us into the privy. Eseks temperature rose. How is it a mere stray has garnered every competent servant in ErRets? Has not the Council voted me king? Take these fools to the dungeons, Sir Kenton. The rest of you, find the stray, find the boy called Vrell Sparrow, find Sir Rigil and his rosy squire, and bring them to me. Now! The chamber fell out of focus. Vrells head tingled, her body tipped forward. She gasped, and musty, rotten-smelling air filled her lungs. She gritted her teeth and concentrated, putting a hand on the bow of the boat for support. Using her bloodvoicing gift for long periods of time always weakened her. If she could only stay connected long enough to learn Eseks plan. She concentrated on his face and pressed the wrinkled silk sleeve to her cheek. The chamber came back into view. A door slammed. Esek and Chora were alone.3

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Issue a decree. Any traitor will stand before me to be judged. Then a bounty. Five golds for information on the Mrad, Sir Rigil, or his squires whereabouts. Twenty golds for the man who brings me Achan Cham alive. Ten if its only his head. Fifty golds for Vrell Sparrow, unharmed. F-fifty, Your Majesty? Have you written it down? Yes, Your Majesty. Chora lowered his voice. But why not disclose that the boy is really Lady Averella Amal? Because it would work to the strays advantage. Should the people discover Averella travels with him, they might think the duchess supports his claim to my throne. No. Let them keep their secrets. The money will be enough to bring them both to me. The sooner the better. I am loath to marry