The Laughing Gods
The Zilar invades Alexio’s kingdom. He is forced to take his wife, new friends, and trusted companions and go on a dangerous mission to seek aid from an unreliable ally.
Book Two in the Forest of Allund Trilogy Available now on Kindle.
Life becomes more complicated for Alexio in this sequel to The Forest of Allund.
Life becomes more complicated for Alexio in this sequel to The Forest of Allund. The Zilar are still there and even more powerful, his leaders are even less trusting, and spies watch his every move. The sudden appearance of a potential new ally against the Zilar brings some hope, but can they be trusted. More conflicts occur, not only with the barbarians but with his ethnarch. An attempt is made to kill him, but it is ordered by whom? This forces Alexio to take great care in his movements.
Meanwhile the Zilar invade his kingdom placing them all under imminent threat. He is forced to take his wife, new friends, and trusted companions and go on a dangerous mission to seek aid from an unreliable ally. After a perilous journey, he arrives at his destination and rather than aid, he finds treason and betrayal. Forced now to run for their lives, he leads a daring escape to get himself, and members of his own brotherhood to safety. In this effort, he makes even more friends and enemies from those around him. Once back home, he must now devise a plan to defeat the Zilar and make his kingdom safe again. Before he can do this, a great betrayal by his own brotherhood causes him a great loss. Finally, he manages to push back the Zilar making his county more secure. He is rewarded and finally recognized as the true master of magik that he is. These accolades fade quickly as another bold plot by the Zilar puts everyone in all three kingdoms at risk of conquest and slavery.
Cover Art by Keith Draws: www.keithdraws.wordpress.com
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The Assassins Attack
An Excerpt from The Laughing Gods
I waited for some time. All three hundred forty-two stars were well-lit in the late summer sky when I saw movement in front of me. Then there was more. Ghostly shadows appeared around my house.
I could not see well, but I did notice movements near the settling pond and my storage shack. The shadows were quiet. They moved deliberately, as if well trained. I saw a total of twelve men, and I did feel the presence of a mage in the group. Aetos must have missed the others. The mage knew I was around, but I did not think he knew exactly where I was. The men searched my smokehouse and outside storeroom for a while before they all gathered back in front of the main gate.
“We are going in,” I heard in my head.
“Antinos!” someone called out powerfully in my mind. “He can hear you. Go in now before he can prepare.”
That mental voice came from somewhere else and close. The men in black pushed open my gate and charged in.
Immediately the night filled with screams of terror. The ten men who entered my courtyard did not find me there. They did find two enormous wolves and boars. All four were hungry.
“Monsters!” someone screamed.
“Help… Help me —” another voice shrieked before being cut off abruptly.
I noticed three figures running from my front gate. They fled in a panic toward the road where two large shadows leaped out of the forest. One huge shadow dropped his head covered with massive horns and charged straight into the fleeing men.
“BAAAAAAAAA” I heard someone there scream before two were gored on the antlers and went flying into the trees.
The other slightly smaller shadow ran into the last man, knocking him to the ground and then stomping on him with her front hoofs. She did this five times and stopped. It did not take long before things were quiet again. I got up and walked toward the house. I was still looking for the source of that powerful mental call in my head. I heard or felt nothing.
I walked over to my house and looked in the front gate. I saw the two wolves feeding on two bodies while the two boars were sharing one. I could not see clearly in the dark what happened to those who broke into my house. In this case, I was glad the night covered the remains from view. Lycos howled out, calling the rest of his pack to the feast. This was something I did not wish to see. I went over to look at the other three. I saw enough to know the only report they would be making would be to Hades.
I stood out in the middle of my open space and looked. I saw nothing. Soon Lycos, Lykina, Kypos, Kapria, Alkos, and Alkina joined me.
“One of them was a mage,” Lykina said. “I could feel him as I bit him.”
“There is another mage present,” I said out loud. “I heard him.”
“Alex, there is a strange scent nearby,” Kerina said with alarm. “It is like the one I smelled before.”
Alkos and Alkina turned suddenly and looked into the woods. “Someone is out there, I heard them,” Alkos said, and he and Alkina started running toward the apple orchard. Both moved quickly to the edge of the clearing and disappeared into the trees.
“I see two of them,” Alkos said excitedly.
I yelled out, “Stop!” at the same moment I heard “Pyra”.
A fireball came out of the woods and struck where Alkos and Alkina had charged forward. There was a flash of light. I heard a loud mental scream in my head and then nothing.
About the Author
Wilbur Arron is the pseudonym of a retired professional engineer and project manager. After over 40 years of technical work, he has taken up writing as a second career. He has published many short stories in several web sites of fiction and fan fiction. The Forest of Allund is his first novel.