Armies of the Silver Mage by Christian Warren Freed Book Tour and Giveaway :)
Armies of the Silver Mage
Half of the Goblins were dead before the rest knew what was happening. They scrambled for cover, spitting a futile volley back in return. Only three Goblins were alive by the time the Gnaal burst from cover. The elm stand exploded in a hail of fire and splinters. A terrible roar shook the ground as the decaying monster stormed into the thick of the battle. Fennic saw death searching him out. Phaelor screamed to be drawn. To exact revenge and finish the job already begun. Dead bodies were flung recklessly aside and crushed under the Gnaal’s advance. Blaron did exactly as he was told. His eight men withdrew as fast as they could before the great beast spotted them. Hallis wasn’t so fortunate. The Gnaal’s rotting head turned his way and those vile eyes locked on the sergeant. The Gnaal smiled and started towards the ridge. The recruits broke and ran in fear. Some stood petrified. Hallis wished he could find a place to hide for this was the most horrific experience of his life. This went beyond the decadence and horrors on the plains of Gren. This was pure and malevolent hatred. He shakily reached back and drew another arrow. “Save it,” Norgen growled. The Gnaal was coming closer. Axe in hand, the Dwarf said, “Take your people and flee. Look after these two for me.” “Where are you going?” Norgen smiled grimly. “I’m tired of running from this bastard.” He started to march out to meet the monster. Too many times he’d been forced to run, each time believing he was free. The Gnaal kept coming. Each knew the only way to be free was for one of them to die. Fennic watched in shock. Norgen was committing suicide to buy them time. Phaelor in hand, the youth rushed off to stand with his friend. Delin pulled him back just in time. “Wait! I’ve got a better idea,” he yelled. The Gnaal’s heavy club missed Norgen’s head and smashed through a tree. Delin took one his Goblin arrows and touched it to Phaelor’s glowing blade. “What are you doing?” Fennic asked. He still wasn’t sure. “Just watch.” Norgen slashed and his axe bit deep into the Gnaal’s kneecap. They knew he couldn’t last long like this. Norgen needed help. Fennic stared at the arrow as it started to glow. Hallis joined the fight then, moving halfway down the slope and firing off the rest of his quiver. They were all dead if Delin’s idea didn’t work. Delin aimed his arrow carefully and prayed to every god he knew. He didn’t want to die. Then the Gnaal saw them. Saw the one thing it hated more than life itself. The sword! The golden light was an insult to all Gren. It was an aberration to his master. The Gnaal remembered the pain it caused and knew what to do. Roaring, it forgot its attackers and made for the two boys on the hill. The arrow flew towards it. Seconds slowed so that every action was deliberate and purposeful. Norgen hacked at the back of its leg. Chunks of muscle and flesh flew away. Dark blood splashed around him and the Gnaal roared on. The wielder had to die. Hallis slipped and fell in the ichors. Phaelor glowed bright enough to rival the sun. And then the arrow struck. The enchanted missile struck the Gnaal in the eye with a fleshy smack and plunged deep into its fever maddened mind. Golden light spread like a virus, seeping from every wound and pore. The Gnaal tossed back its head and screamed before crashing to the ground. There it lay; Hallis swore under his breath. The Gnaal lay unmoving, not breathing. Norgen stared wide eyed. “You did it,” Fennic whispered in disbelief. Delin would have smiled if his heart wasn’t in his throat threatening to explode. “We....we need to make sure it’s dead.” Trembling, they helped each other down to the corpse. “Stay back,” Norgen warned. He knew full well how the Gnaal liked to play dead. Too many friends died that way and he wasn’t willing to let these two follow suit. Fennic stared into the monster’s lifeless eyes, expecting to learn the true nature of horror. The feeling of dread was gone. His thoughts were clear and concise again. The Gnaal was dead. “It’s all right,” he reassured them. Holding Phaelor high, Fennic plunged the blade down through the dark heart of the beast. A quiet hiss escaped the body. Together they watched the body melt away, folding in itself until nothing but a putrid scar remained on the ground. A small piece of evil had left the world.
Christian W. Freed was born in Buffalo, N.Y. more years ago than he would like to remember. After spending more than 20 years in the active duty US Army he has turned his talents to writing. Since retiring, he has gone on to publish 17 military fantasy and science fiction novels, as well as his memoirs from his time in Iraq and Afghanistan. His first published book (Hammers in the Wind) has been the #1 free book on Kindle 4 times and he holds a fancy certificate from the L Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest.