Book Tour - The Wizard's Bones, by Author Luke Ahearn - Excerpts - Giveaways




The Wizard’s Bones
Dark Deeds and Black Magic Series Book 1
by Luke Ahearn
Genre: Fantasy, Sword and Sorcery
66 pages




In the tradition of Fritz Leiber and Robert Howard this is a gritty tale of traditional sword and sorcery.

A dark twisted youth and his voluptuous lover tackle the one thing they sought to avoid, responsibility. In the dangerous streets of Kingspoint they play at thievery, love making, and adventure seeking.




Excerpt

“Tell me your price? And, yes, tell me of any traps or hexes about the bones. Be

there a fancy lock with poisoned needle? A spike-filled pit before it? A wall of blades or

darts? I wish to be on with my life, so I beg thee, start spitting grizzle, metaphorically of

course.”

A long slow inhale made Xanthus wonder if the old man drew breath or simply

found petty ways to make him wait longer. He was tempted to walk away but decided

not to as he feared to discover that he was, in truth, incapable of doing so.

“There are no traps, magical or otherwise--”

“A beast then?”

“Are you not able to stop your lips from flapping?” The old man hissed. He

seemed to compose himself under the thick robes. “The dangers are those that come

with the pursuit of great wealth.”

“More crone’s warnings? Spare me that and name your fee.”

“I am to have the Eye of Hestermortes.” He hissed in glee.

“Eye of…what did you say?” Xanthus purposely derailed the old man’s attempt

at theater by feigning ignorance of what he spoke. The eye was common knowledge in

the city.

“Heard you not of the Eye? The single red gem that sets atop the Tower of the

Eight Serpents? A gem so bright it can be seen on the darkest night no matter the

thickness of the fogs and mists and smokes?”

The ancient voice sounded confounded, as the old man indeed was. He

wondered if this lad was so dense as to miss the eye in the night sky. Had he not heard it

mentioned in conversation? Did he somehow not know of its existence?

“Oh, that.” Xanthus said nonchalantly. He debated another mouth covering

yawn, yet decided it would be too much and would weaken the effect of his own

counter-theatrics.

“Yes, that!” the old man snapped.

“And you are to have it by my hand?”

“That is the price.”

Xanthus smirked, a haughty look upon his face. “Well then, I’ll just walk right

over and snatch it up for you. Back in a jiff.”

“Ah,” the old man was once again gleeful in voice. “It is that easy, it is and I know

it. For he who knows the way up the tower it is as easy as climbing a ladder.”

“And you know the location of the Wizard’s Bones—no riddles or warnings now.

A yes or no will do.”

“Yes.”

“And you will tell me the location of these bones, bedecked and inlaid with the

most precious of gems, if I fetch the eye for you?”

“I will.”

“And the method for ladder-climbing the Tower of the Eight Serpents?”

“A simple trick really. Once over the wall in the shadow of a tree, across a maze

garden carrying silver blades with thee, find the serpent with scales set free, and with

those climb upward to fetch thou the fee. Remember this, only the scales etched with

the sigil of the serpent god will allow safe passage.”

The old voice seemed on the verge of a giggle. “So we have mutual clarification

of purpose I must ask, are you in fact giving me your word, binding yourself to this

quest?”

“I am.” Xanthus spoke with no hesitation.

“Then there is one more thing you must contend with. Once you have snatched

up the eye from the eight slender prongs of gold upon which it is perched, you will have

mere seconds to make your getaway.”

“Seconds?”

“Yes, and with that I cannot help you. My influence does not extend into that

accursed place.”

Xanthus nodded. He took a gamble and stood, thrilled he was able to do so. He

spun on his heel to leave. He heard from behind the voice rasping at him like feral claws

down his spine. It had a drifting quality to it and seemed to come from all points above

and below.

“Then this you must know before you go. Once you leave this place you will find

yourself triply hexed and demon dogged if you delay in the fulfillment of your promise.

Thrice shall you think of me in days come.”

He spoke in a singsong, “You will think of me first when death comes to you as

you hang on a strand. Second, when death comes to another by your own hand.”

The old man paused and Xanthus almost chided him for his lack of a third entry

and for his feeble rhymes. But the old man let billow a thick cloud of smoke.

“And third, after five are lain down, thou shall be from the heavens crowned.”

Xanthus stood mute; in truth he was shaken by the old man’s predictions. But

then the voice went back to its previous timbre, and he felt a sense of release from the

old man and the gloomy inn.

“Now go, young fool, silly knot brain, take your leave of me. Forget not the

demon dogs I set on you. Not true demons to be sure, nor are they dogs, but close

enough for they will dog your steps. They will watch you with keen eyes from the dark

as they skitter stealthily ahead, behind, above, and below. You will never lay eye upon

them until I wish it, but you will know of their presence. You must know that my minions

take much glee at the nerve on edge, the furtive glance, and woe to he who denies

them their fun. Now go fool and tarry not lest the triple hexes befall you?”

The screechy chuckle set Xanthus’ nerves on edge. Demon dogged , he tried to

scoff at the notion, but knew all too well the chance he took when he turned and left.



Excerpt

“I imagine a woman in your situation, forced to don tawdry disguises and follow

a mime into a life of thievery, hasn’t much been treated like a lady.” Xanthus sat her at a

finely polished table of dark hardwood. It was carved in the most detailed fashion with

roses and cherubs all about it. He set a glass before her and poured her a dark liquid

from a crystal decanter.

“Fancy you wines from the East? Expert vintners the eastern folk, do you agree?”

She took a long sip, and her eyes closed as she put her head back.

“I don’t know vintners from stray dogs, but by gods that’s delicious. I feel it in my

toes.” And she cracked a luscious smile. “And every point in between.”

“Pray, you sit alone but for a moment.” And Xanthus went to the next room.

Harlequin cracked an eye and listened intently for the telltale scuff of a eunuch’s

barefoot, or the hiss of a blade being drawn, but she only saw the handsome princeling

returning with a cloth-covered board.

“Tis but a light assortment of cheese and meat. Please.” He pulled the cloth

aside, and she chose a light colored cheese to nibble on.

“So, here we are. Victim and victimizer, how cozy.” He sat across from her and

sipped from his own glass.

She giggled. “I should think you’d be fetching the guard to apprehend me, or

tossing me to the stones less a finger or two.”

Xanthus regarded her for a long while as she sipped and nibbled. She likewise

studied him. Their eyes were locked on the other’s as both pondered the familiarity they

each felt. Dangerous mind play they each, in their own fashion, thought, to be so

transfixed, so unguarded. He knowing that Pulcinella could be right that moment

sneaking up behind him with garrote or killing dagger. And she, likewise knowing that

such a large house could easily hide a felt-slippered eunuch behind secret panels. She

was on his turf, and any number of preplanned dooms awaited the likes of her.

And each was curious as to their own behavior, for Xanthus was not one to be

taken in by female charms, and she was immune to the smooth, charming gent. In fact,

warning bells clanged in the head of each when in the past such tactics were used upon

them. Yet here they sat, taken in and charmed to distraction.

She had yet to remove her mask, and he wondered what may lie beneath.

Perhaps her face was a monstrosity or cursed with some hideous malformation, he

thought, but knowing in advance that it was beautiful.





About the Author

Luke Ahearn was born in New Orleans, LA and now lives in Central California. He's written several award winning fiction and nonfiction books.

Luke has over 20 years of professional game development experience in lead positions; designer, producer, and art director.

He’s also authored several best selling nonfiction books on computer game development.

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