Orphan (The Key to Magic Book 1)
H. Jonas Rhynedahll
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Mar was a thief. Not a cutpurse – or, at least, not often – but a true outlaw denizen of the rooftops. He stole from the rich, and sometimes from the not so rich, and, if truth were to be told, even from the poor if he was hungry enough.
He had grown up on the streets of Khalar, the last city of the Glorious Empire of the North, and thievery was simply the life that he had been dealt.
He took considerable pride in the fact that he was a good thief -- he still had his head.
But when an ill-advised theft went horribly wrong and the whole city rose up to crucify him, he had no choice but to flee into the Great Waste with an insane scrapper. There he spent his days, baking in the merciless sun as he dug for bits of metal in an ancient sundered city.
And then he found a door.
And, being a thief, he unlocked it.
Orphan is an epic fantasy novel of 99,180 words.
The epic fantasy series, The Key to Magic:
Rhwalkahn as a prophet and his pylon as a holy place -- distance, pretending curiosity. The inscription had long since weathered away, but a children’s rhyming song had preserved Rhwalck’s vow, and any resident of Khalar could quote the bloodthirsty stanzas in pentameter. Mar could do better than that. He could quote word for word the original inscription -- which did not rhyme -- as recorded by the Emperor Rhwalkahn’s personal historian. He knew that the legions sent to construct Khalar had
and broke one of her hands free. Spinning, she struck at Mar with the back of her fist. Reflexively, the he blocked the blow with his forearm, and followed with a hard punch to the girl’s short ribs. The air driven from her lungs, the girl collapsed backwards onto the floor, gasping hoarsely. He yanked the girl to her feet to face him. Though her disarranged hair mostly hid her features, her intense eyes locked with his challengingly. "Do you want me to carry you?” Mar demanded. "I want you
Red Ice Bridge, Telriy shed the imposture but did not drop his hand. They wove their path together through the lounging bargemen, haggling merchants, and cargo lots to reach the barge quay. The old man was not in sight. The crew was aboard and the bondsmen rowers seated at their oars. The crates and barrels that had crowded the temporarily fenced stowage were now secured and tarped in high stacks amidships. The mate stood at the head of the gangway, making ready to heave the cleated ramp with
the coming night's shelter. The weathered stub of a fountain and its large reflecting pool commanded the center of the court. Thirsty, Mar stretched his legs and started toward the pool. Expecting perhaps stagnant rainwater, and pondering what benefit magic might avail to the cleansing of such, he was pleasantly surprised to discover that clear, untainted water bubbled slowly from a crack in the base of the fountain. The water rolled down a deep worn channel into the pool, also free of scum and
surely doomed. His legionnaires had no defense against the mysterious Mhajhkaeirii’n attacks from the sky and could not retreat with the 3rd Legion blocking the way. He turned stiffly to face Dralkor once more. “My prince, have I your leave to return to my men?” Prince Dralkor opened his mouth to speak, but said nothing, flicking his eyes to Traeleon. “Pray tarry but a moment until Lhevatr rejoins us, Commander,” the Archdeacon requested amiably. “We will face the magic of the Mhajhkaeirii