A vast chessboard spread out on the lawn next to the castle gardens. The king sipped a glass of chilled white wine as he finished his move.
“Ponder that, my dear Lord Survill,” he crowed.
“My word, Your Majesty, you’ve got me on the run,” Survill exclaimed.
Various young pages stood on the checkered lawn, in chess piece costumes. Although a shady canopy had been set up for the king and his opponent so they could play their game in comfort, the pages waited in the fierce sunlight. As sweat dripped from underneath their hot and heavy paper-maché headdresses, the boys struggled to stand at attention.
Minister Uspy hastened from the castle toward the chessboard.
“Please forgive the interruption, Your Majesty, but I have news.”
King Chance’s brow creased in annoyance. “Has Jovander or that wretched girl been located? Hester, wasn’t it?”
“Heather is the name. They both have vanished, Your Majesty. And I’m afraid that Lord Embrue has not returned from Jagged Peaks, nor the soldiers that accompanied him,” Uspy said.
King Chance waved his fingers, dismissively. “No doubt they have fallen into a game of cards or a bit of debauchery somewhere. Embrue’s success at Merrymouth may have gone to his head.”
“That’s entirely possible, Your Majesty; however Embrue’s steed was found wandering the countryside yesterday. Several mounts from the king’s army have turned up as well,” Uspy said.
“Send Lord Tether with the cavalry to question the villagers about Embrue. If you get no answers, burn Jagged Peaks down.”
“And if the villagers cooperate?”
“Burn it anyway. The commoners must understand I am in charge.”
Uspy left. King Chance returned his attention toward the chessboard, where his bishop had just keeled over from sunstroke. “I’m going to need a new bishop. Drag that boy to the dungeon and beat him for having spoiled the game.”
If Heather wins the Tournament of Chance, she’ll be the first commoner to earn a place at court. Instead of a glorious victory, however, she’s arrested and marked for execution. After a daring escape, she joins the Dragon Rebels, who seek to overthrow the despotic monarchy and restore the former kingdom of Ormaria. Amongst the rebels are three shape-shifting wizards who claim to be rulers from the past. On a perilous quest to free the wizards’ magic, Heather battles wild dragons, vicious predators, angry trolls, and unexpected traitors. When a horrendous accident sends her back in time to fulfill a mysterious prophecy, she must rely on her warrior skills, wits, and endurance to survive.
Tournament of Chance: Dragon Rebel is available for the Kindle HERE