Today is release day for The Last Great Wizard of Yden! Available at Astraea Press, Amazon & BN.com. Here is an excerpt:
“Where did you get that Dragon Clan ring, boy?” Warlord Mandral demanded.
“None of your business.”
The congregants gasped, and Jon’s reply earned him a smack on the head from the nearest cygard. Mandral, however, acted as if he hadn’t heard him. He beckoned to the man with the scroll. “Minister Tyrg, what is the charge against this prisoner?”
“Theft,” Tyrg said. His voice sounded almost like the hiss of a snake. “Merchant Moala has filed a claim for the cuff.”
Stig pulled up Jon’s sleeve to reveal the transporter cuff.
“Moala is an accomplished liar. His claim is denied,” Mandral said.
Jon sighed with relief, but his deliverance was short-lived.
“Take the ring and the cuff,” the warlord said. “Then whip the boy for his insolence.”
Ophelia’s eyes remained dull, and Jon was beginning to panic.
Stig caressed his ax. “The ring and cuff cannot be removed.”
Mandral exchanged a sharp glance with Tyrg. “Is this the ancient magic of inseparability?”
Tyrg shook his head in confusion. “A wizard becomes one with his clan ring and transporter cuff, yes. But there are few wizards left, and none of them have apprentices.”
The warlord studied Jon’s features. He tugged Ophelia to confirm the ring would not leave Jon’s finger. “Who are you?”
“No one in particular. I’m not from around here,” Jon replied.
With practiced speed and agility, Mandral unsheathed a thin dagger strapped to his thigh and pointed it at the hollow of Jon’s throat. “That’s not what I asked.”
Jon felt the razor-sharp tip pierce his skin. He had no doubt the blade had meted out its share of death. He gulped. “Jon. Jon Hansen.”
A sudden commotion distracted Mandral from slitting Jon’s throat. A struggle had erupted between a newly arrived prisoner and the cygard holding him captive. Half a dozen cygards descended, but Mandral forbade them from intervention. The prisoner, covered from head to toe in a green hooded cape, was besting his captor. The cygard staggered up the chamber from a well-placed sidekick to his ribs. Then, the prisoner twisted in the air to slam a nimble hook kick to the cygard’s head. The cygard’s helmet flew off, revealing his ugly face. Audibly disgusted, the onlookers averted their eyes until the fallen cygard managed to get his now-dented helmet back on.
Mandral laughed in delight. He directed the hovering cygards to subdue the prisoner and tie his tether on the ring next to Jon’s. The dented cygard yanked off the prisoner’s cape and stepped back. The crowd murmured.
The newcomer was female, and a stunning one at that. Her full, waist-length hair was a wavy chestnut with red highlights. Her eyes were a violet color, and her skin was a golden tan. Despite his own predicament, Jon flushed. He couldn’t help but stare. From the expressions of the other men in the room, he knew he wasn’t the only one.