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The Ruling: Sample Chapter

Carly Davis

CHAPTER ONE   Kalia had no choice but to be a good actor. Her eyes were distant and unfocused, her face lined with tiredness as if her only interest was finishing her duties and collapsing into bed.   Nothing could have been further from the truth.   Underneath her indifferent mask her mind worked overtime. Her ears strained to catch every word spoken by the five men in the pale-green Protectorate uniforms.   The soldiers had hardly even noticed the slender, ragged servant girl in her grey dress when they first entered the Cockatrice Inn. They did not notice her now. Their voices were hushed, to keep the other diners in the room from overhearing, but Kalia, hovering near their table on catlike, silent feet, was invisible. She seemed deaf to their conversation, but she was listening.   What she heard was a name, a name that had recently been falling off Protectorate lips like water. It was a soft name, a feminine name.   Adina.   The soldiers had always whispered it, partly with scorn and partly with wonder. Tonight they told her why.   "Lord Treadnight won't be pleased that we lost her trail." The soldier seemed reluctant to say it, but his companions' heads were nodding in agreement.   Kalia edged closer to the table, on the pretense of refilling the oldest man's bowl of soup. Instinct told her the importance of the soldier's words. Anyone whom the Lord Protector was personally concerned about was someone she wanted to remember.   "It wasn't our fault." Another soldier took a sip from his mug and continued in a grumbling tone. "How were we supposed to track her up Mount Dakan? That mountain isn't a safe place!"   "We're Protectorate soldiers!" A third soldier, a young man with a sandy ponytail, slapped the table to gain his comrades' attention. "Who cares if a place is safe or not? You spineless cowards let Malcera's most wanted rebel escape because you were afraid of a mountain. If you can't face a hunk of rock, how do you expect to face Adina herself?"   "I didn't see you rushing up the mountain with your sword drawn, Derrick." The fourth soldier's eyes narrowed.   Taken aback, Derrick fumbled for his response. "Of course not. I applaud bravery, but it should be tempered with caution. It'd be madness to face Adina Thycaris alone."   "It'd be madness to face Adina Thycaris with an entire contingent of men." The fifth soldier shook his head. "You know what a fighter she is. And it's uncanny, the way she fades into those mountain mists like that. One minute she's there and the next she's gone, like a ghost at sunrise."   "Exactly." The second soldier spread his hands in a smoothing-over gesture. "Lord Treadnight's not unreasonable. He knows how Adina uses that mountain."   "She uses it to hide like a rabbit." Derrick grunted derisively. "She's afraid of a fair fight, just like all of Anzora's traitorous dogs."   Kalia's head jerked up in spite of her best efforts. Anzora was the surname of Malcera's last king, a commoner who had taken the crown simply by his prowess in battle. It was he whom Sir Alton had overthrown to set up his Protectorate. Now, held a prisoner by Lord Treadnight, King Anzora was rarely mentioned these days. Any reference to him was an unexpected occurrence, and she could never quite hide her reaction.   Luckily, the Protectorate soldiers were too amused by Derrick's quip to notice her odd response. A loud peal of laughter greeted the sarcastic comment. Derrick grinned widely, obviously relieved that the focus of his companions was off his reluctance to challenge the woman warrior.   "We'll find her yet." The response from his comrades had apparently bolstered the young soldier's confidence. "We'll become foxes, ready to come down as soon as our rabbit stumbles on a brier. And she will stumble, mark my words. Rebels always do."   The laughter rang out again, the soldiers only belatedly remembering that they were discussing confidential matters. Derrick, seemingly much encouraged by the success of his jokes, opened his mouth to make another.   It never left his tongue.....   - Continued in The Malcera Chronicles, Book One: The Ruling


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Author's Notes

Hello viewers! If you've read a lot of my articles, then you know that this one differs widely from what I usually do. I have, in fact, finished all the informative articles up to the start of the first book, and plan to continue this world through stories like this one. What you've just read is the opening of the first novel set in Malcera, The Ruling. This book hasn't been published yet, but my goal is to have it published very, very soon.   That said, since I do intend to publish this book, I ask that you do not tweet or share this article without my permission (which I will give in most cases.) This will make sure that my first chapter doesn't get out into too much of the real world before I'm ready to release the book.   If you enjoyed the beginning of Malcera's story, let me know! Favorites are lovely, but comments are nicer, and if you'd like to revisit the world of Malcera, I intend to post several short stories very soon. These stories take place outside of the three novels I have planned and will ONLY be posted on this website. That's right, you have access to exclusive content! Please give me your feedback, likes, dislikes, and ideas! Hearing from people fills my little writerly heart with warm fuzzies. :)   I have not used the mention system within this story. This is a choice I've decided to make with all my stories, so that it will be easier for readers to get through the whole thing. However, I have published articles about most, if not all, of the characters, locations and cultures you'll find within the stories, so check those out if you have questions!   One last word: As writers, we have to stick together. I deeply appreciate everyone who viewed my articles, and especially read through this long-winded ramble. I would absolutely love to bless someone besides myself through my presence on this amazing website. If there is any way I can help you with your own projects, whether it be through brainstorming, reading an article, or anything else you need, please don't hesitate to let me know. I'm always open.   In Jesus' Name,   Carly Davis, The Peacock Feather Pen


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