Published by Richard C. Rogers at Smashwords
Copyright 2011 Richard C. Rogers
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you're reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
Cover images copyright Roman Krochuk | Dreamstime.com, and Klara Viskova | Dreamstime.com.
After a great deal of excess, the king of Burkanta slouched on his cushioned chair, his belly full and his eyes bleary. Outside, sleet shrieked past the tree-city, the dark of midwinter unrelieved by the merest glimmer of light or warmth from the Eye. Many dinas—days, with or without daylight—remained before the sun's return. But in the court, horns and timpani heralded the passing of the old year, the moment when the Eye started its long journey back.
The king smiled, greeting year 1097 of the Fifth Age. When the warriors entered the Great Hall, he felt a slight curiosity as to the reason. When he heard shouting in the gallery and exterior corridors, he sat up a little straighter. But when a warrior drew his sword and took off the head of a lord, Kralius Gedvinas staggered to his feet, knocking over the chair behind him.