Fantasy. Duke Edward Solaris learns of his father’s death and rushes home from patrol, only to encounter a family friend having mysterious powers: Alain Harper the Undying Singer. With fellow Triond author Jack Shepherd.
When he was ready, Edward came out of his tent, fully dressed and carrying his helmet. The tall, athletic, blond young man looked serious, yet calm; his eyes were sharp and green, and many thought him a handsome fellow. Yet Edward at twenty-four was known for his battlefield strategy, not for his ability to deal well with people.
Some time back, Edward had been sent away from his palace home in Lumina, the landlocked central kingdom of Sept-Ternia, the world of the Seven Kingdoms. This was no surprise to anyone who had even casual knowledge of the situation. Edward’s lack of diplomatic skills had offended many of the lords who served his father, Duke William Solaris. To put the offenses to rest, the Duke sent Edward to patrol the borders of Lumina. And so he was here and now, far from the intrigues of courtly life, and for him that was just as well.
Edward approached Sir Martin, who by then was looking off into the distance. Sir Martin Kemptfield was a tall, large and muscular white man with brown hair.
“Sire,” he acknowledged as his lord stood by him. “A messenger is approaching, bearing the banner of House Solaris.”
“A messenger from my father the Duke, no doubt.”
Far away still, over the dew-covered fields of wheat which Edward and his men had been patrolling, there was a man riding at top speed towards their camp. His horse carried a white banner bearing a yellow sun with four rays and fluttering in the breeze of its own passing. He rode by the soldiers on watch unchallenged, reined his mount to a halt, and dismounted quickly. His brown clothes identified him as a man of some means, yet not wealthy.
“Eric Solomon? What are you doing out here?” Sir Martin asked.
“I have an urgent message for Lord Edward,” the man replied as he knelt before Edward on his left knee.
“What is it, man? What could be so urgent?”
“Your father Duke William is dead. Your sister requests that you return with me.”
Edward froze. His father was only fifty-one. Had Duke William’s bad habit of smoking finally caught up with him, or had something else?
“How did he die?” Edward sounded angry, not sad. This surprised Sir Martin.
“The doctors said he died in his sleep. I have ridden two days without stopping to reach you.”
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