Title: The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles
Author: A. L. Butcher
Genre: Dark Fantasy
In a dark world where magic is illegal, and elves are enslaved a young elven sorceress runs for her life from the house of her evil Keeper. Pursued by his men and the corrupt Order of Witch-Hunters she must find sanctuary. As the slavers roll across the lands stealing elves from what remains of their ancestral home the Witch-Hunters turn a blind eye to the tragedy and a story of power, love and a terrible revenge unfolds.
Olek stayed in shadow and walked in silence, forever gaining upon his prey. As Petrus stepped towards the door, he was suddenly grabbed with a gloved hand across his mouth. He saw the edge of a crossbow bolt in the sleeve attached to the hand now gripping his hair as he tried to turn his head and was dragged back behind the house. As he struggled, a voice said close to his ear, “At this range I reckon I can hit the door yonder. Your brain will merely impede the speed it hits. Struggle, lad, and I will test my theory.”
The young man was forced into a small empty courtyard with no windows overlooking it, as it was full of rubbish and refuse. The voice in his ear said, “How nice privacy…”
The hand was removed from his mouth and Petrus blustered, “Who do you think you are, common thief? I will see you flogged through the streets then hanged. My father is an important man! Unhand me.”
Petrus found himself with a sharp blade pressed against his groin, the deadly edge close to his privates. He could feel the weight of the blade pressing into him. The shadows played around him and the voice in his ear softly replied, “Unhand me? Please, could you not think of less of a cliché? Move or scream and your balls will be rolling in the gutter before the cry is finished.” The young man tried to turn and felt the edge of the blade press against him again and the voice hissed, “The city guard would never find me, for I am the shadows. Now, who would this illustrious father be that I am to be so afraid of?”
Trying to look down and as he moved, the swift edge of the blade split the silk of Petrus’ breeches. “My father's men will hunt you down,” he managed, now feeling distinctly less brave.
Olek yawned loudly. “By all means, call his men. They will be hunting a shadow, a ghost. Much expense will be used, to no avail. How much is your life worth to him, do you think? Not only do you deem it suitable to rape young women and brag about your prowess to your friends, but really, you are extremely dull in conversation. If you answer my questions, you might yet live. Believe me when I say I could take you to a man who would not be as…merciful as I, for what you have done and said. A man who could no doubt keep you alive for some while, although I doubt you would be in much of a state to enjoy that life. Now, who are you? This young lady whom you found so…enjoyable, where is she?”
With the blade against his skin, Petrus’ courage failed him. His voice trembled as he whispered, “I am Petrus, son of Lord Renfrew. The girl, the little virgin whore, she is in the Mermaid. She was just an elf. I paid the price thus she was mine.”
There was a hiss from behind him and the blade moved yet closer to his balls. Suddenly there was a sharp pain as the edge scratched him, not quite breaking the skin. He whimpered and tried to back up. The voice continued, “There was mention of an elven girl called Dii. How do you know her? The other fellows, who were they?”
Petrus swallowed and whispered, “Just a little slut…er…I mean, girl that I had a while ago, a Kept of Lord Tremayne, used to share her around. Little witch warmed his bed too when that human witch bored him. Just an elf Kept, no one of importance, just some fun for the menfolk…the others…oh…er…fellows I just met.”
“Oh, now, lad, you were doing so well… You seemed too intimate to be mere acquaintances.” Olek smiled beneath his cloak.
Petrus felt the blade against him and with a whimper and a squeak, he felt the skin break and a thin trickle of blood begin to flow, soon joined by wetter warmth as he pissed his breeches. Suddenly the only focus was the blade against him, and he squeaked, “Just a little Kept whore, I swear, merely Tremayne’s girl. The others, oh, just Janik of Argen; Edwaen, son of the House of Andert; and Reflin, son of the House of Sardak, the merchant.”
Olek twisted his wrist and drew his blade deep into the man's private parts and as he fell screaming, drew the sword across his throat, cutting off the scream to a gurgle. Crouching, letting the blood flow away from him, he hissed, “Women are not yours to use, elf or not. I do not like a man who betrays his friends. This information will be most useful.”
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Alex is an award-winning author of dark fantasy, historical fantasy, short stories and poetry. With a background in classics, mythology, politics and creative writing her eclectic affinities bring an alchemical flair to her work. Based in the South West UK she enjoys her garden, nature, literature and losing herself in a myriad world of words.
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