|Golden Lighthouse Medallion|
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'k, now... *drum roll*... the excerpt...
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Book 1 of The Lost Gods
Nine gods ruled the world, until the ultimate betrayal resulted in their destruction. Now, the world is dying and only by restoring the Lost Gods can it be saved.
Nine hundred years ago, the Dragons of the Three Storms, gods of chaos, tried to destroy their land of Kundou. Only by rising up and slaying the Dragons and stealing their power was Kundou saved. Now, that power resides in the royal family and grants them the right to rule.
But that power comes at a terrible price, and Prince Nankyokukai is determined that he will be the last to pay it—even if it means surrendering his chance with the man he has waited for his entire life.
"So I hear you suffered an inordinate number of attacks."
Kin grimaced, folding his arms across his chest. "They're getting worse, yes. I'm still handling it, but unfortunately I think it would be best if the Kumiko stayed in port for an extended time."
"Not an option. We leave again in two days. Make certain she's ready for a journey to Pozhar, and from Pozhar we will be going to Sanhoshi."
"I'm not certain what part of that statement makes me want to punch you most," Kin said, barely unclenching his teeth enough to get the words out. "We just got back, Raiden! Even at the busiest times of year you give me five days home before I am gone again! And what do you mean by 'we'? You do not travel with your ships, not ever. I do not want you on mine. Why in the name of the Dragons' are we going to that storm-forsaken island?"
Raiden nodded his head toward the warehouse. "You're going to want a drink before I tell you."
"The moment we are out to sea, I am throwing you overboard," Kin snapped and ignored the warehouse in favor of stomping off down the street toward his favorite pub.
Sighing, Raiden decided he'd better give Kin time enough for a couple of beers before he broke the news that they were going to be escorting a royal prince and had agreed to more or less obey his every wish. Turning to the crew unloading his goods, he chatted with them about their recent voyage in detail, the troubles they encountered with the sellers and buyers abroad, tucking every little scrap of information away. "I have new buyers coming tomorrow for the Pozhar wools, so make certain they don't store those too far back."
"Of course, Master Raiden."
Raiden left them to it and finally went to go find Kin. He slipped into the pub, ignoring the momentary hush that always fell in his wake. He pushed his way through the crowded pub to the corner that was Kin's usual seat. Kin, as ever, was equal parts beautiful and dangerous looking. A hush might have fallen when Raiden stepped into the room, but it was to Kin everyone gave a wide berth. In a room full of people with dusky and sun-gold skin, and hair ranging from pale blue to deepest violet with nearly every ocean shade in between, Kin had white skin, white hair, and stormy eyes. Dressed in all black with only a gray sash to cut the severity …
Well, no one ever picked fights with the two of them. Those who knew them well left them to pick fights with each other. Raiden thanked the woman who brought him a bottle of his favorite cheap wine and a cup. He poured out a small amount, sipping it slowly for a moment before he finally said, "I am sorry we must leave again so soon. I was hoping we would have more down time, but circumstances changed as of this morning, and a bargain struck is exactly that."
"I don't want to know," Kin groused, finishing off what was likely his second beer and signaling for a third that was almost immediately brought. "Tell me."
Raiden pitched his voice low enough that Kin would still hear him, but no one else. "We have been hired by Prince Nankyokukai to take him wherever he wants to go, and where he wants to go is Sanhoshi."
"He has not said, and I do not ask questions when I think I will not like the answer," Raiden said, finishing his wine and pouring a new glass. "I received a missive from him this morning saying that we must go within two days, so that is what we shall do."
Kin scrubbed at his face, and Raiden noted the fresh scratches on his hands and arms, sadness washing over him as he compared the hardened sailor with the boy who had snuck aboard one of his ships so many years ago. Kin scowled when he caught Raiden looking. "What? No man dressed like an advertisement for the city brothels should look that somber."
"I find it amusing that your malign my attire when you look like you belong to the Brotherhood of the Black Rose."
Gesturing crudely, Kin finished his third beer and called for a fourth. "So, I barely have time to rest before I must—why in the name of the Dragons' are you pressing me and the Kumiko into service for this? The Fuujin would be a much better choice for a journey of that nature. It would also be safer, given that I just told you the attacks are getting worse and I should stay on land for a bit."
"Even if you attract the danger in the first place, no one is better than you at warding it off," Raiden said. "We're going to attract it whether you are there or not, after all."
Kin grunted. "True. I still don't think it's a good idea to have me and a royal prince aboard; we are likely to draw thrice as many mermaids into a fight, and it's a long haul to Sanhoshi, especially when the storms keep getting worse as well."
Raiden shrugged. "We do what we must do."