EXCERPT 3 – FROM CHAPTER 10
‘Now!’ Jurgis said, pulling at her elbow. ‘Shoot him now!’
‘Wait.’ Maud felt a great calm. This was what she had trained for. ‘Go below.’ She turned and shoved Jurgis into the safety of the hold. The ship’s officers had no eyes for her, as she crouched on the ladder and pointed her gun at the captain. Felrich stood transfixed, his face a mask of fear and hate as he stared at the approaching boat. He dyes his hair, Maud thought inconsequently and pressed the trigger.
For a split second, nothing happened. Then, the bullet blew away part of the captain’s head, scattering blood and bits around, and his pudgy body collapsed to the deck. Maud stared open-mouthed at the unexpectedly violent result. Then she jumped up, hooked the pistol on her belt and drew her sword. The mate and the bos’n stood frozen in shock, staring at their dead captain, until Maud’s battle cry made them start.
Desperately, the mate went for his weapon. He was too slow while Maud swung her massive sword, and blood spurted as his head took leave of his neck.
‘That’s two!’ Maud shouted. ‘For Kell and the Brannoe Queen!’ She turned and saw how Jurgis jumped over Felrich’s body toward the bos’n at the companion ladder.
Maud growled at Jurgis’ exaltation as he avoided the woman’s dirk and rammed Hala’s short spear into her side. With a single cry, the bos’n tumbled from the ladder, knocking two sailors into a heap.
Then Maud heard the sound of the ship’s boat scraping against the hull. Still screaming madly, its people boarded and engaged the crew.
The boy she’d seen before proved a slim brown girl, pigtail swinging in time with her rapier as she went for a club-bearing sailor.
‘Lay down your weapons!’ A wiry young merchant officer in a blue uniform shouted a long string of incomprehensible words. Maud saw the Chorwaynies hesitate. One of them cried something that sounded like a question. The officer answered, and as one man, the islanders dropped their weapons.
Jurgis had jumped from the ladder and attacked one of the Garthans the bos’n had bowled over in her fall.
Maud recognized him; it was Nasal Voice, the boy-loving helmsman.
Then another sailor joined the fight and for a moment it looked bad for the thief. With a shout, Maud vaulted over the railing onto the main deck, knocking over the second man. Jurgis waved his spear and then his knife flashed in his other hand, cutting Nasal’s throat.
‘Soft and beautiful was I?’ He kicked the gurgling helmsman in the crotch and turned. ‘He’ll not want me again, I think,’ he said, and the smile he gave Maud wasn’t funny at all.
She gripped his shoulder and shook him softly. ‘He sure won’t.’ Then she looked up at the mast and the Daisee’s flag waving on the breeze. With a nonchalant swipe, her sword cut through the halyard, and the colors came rushing down.
A cry from the other side drew their attention.
‘She lowered her flag! The ship is ours!’ It was the strange girl dancing a little jig amid the dead.
About The Book
Author: Paul E. Horsman
The lioness Maud is at eighteen already a black powerhouse of brawn. When she is ordered to fetch a young thief from a pirate town, she thinks it an easy task. Until she and Jurgis the thief find themselves running for their lives.
Young warlock Basil sees his life threatened by a summons from the Warlockry Council, to prove his beauty. He knows his lame foot will betray him and escapes on the first ship out of town. On board he meets Yarwan, a handsome midshipman, who awakens feelings he never knew existed.
When the four young people meet, Basil learns of a spell that could repair his foot. Only the spell’s creator, the infamous Black Warlock, disappeared nearly a century ago. As the four decide to go looking for him, they start on a path leading to an old war and unsolved mysteries that will change their world. Or kill them.
He has been a soldier, salesman, scoutmaster and from 1995 a teacher of Dutch As A Second Language to refugees from all over the globe.
Since 2012, he is a full-time writer of epic light fantasy adventures for both Y.A. and over. His works have been both trade published in The Netherlands, and self-published internationally.
His available titles are:
* The Shadow of the Revenaunt (Rhidauna, Zihaen, Ordelanden) trilogy
* The Shardheld Saga (Shardfall, Runemaster, Shardheld) series
* Lioness of Kell (standalone)