From the Ashes of Ruin Series
by Matthew D. Ryan
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We vampires do not make easy prey. Our weaknesses are few, our strengths many. Fear is something we do not know, and death but a distant memory. So tread softly, pray to your god, and gird yourself with silver when the moons arise and night’s dark prince awakens. We fear not the wizard, nor the warrior, neither rogue, nor priest; our strength is timeless, drawn from darkness and we know no master save the hot lust of our unending hunger. We long for blood, your blood and no blade, nor spell, nor clever artifice, can keep us long from our prize. Feel our teeth at your throat, your life ebb from you, and know as darkness comes to claim you that the price of your folly is your everlasting soul.
Excerpt from The Sceptre of Morgulan
“It was an accident!” Gaelan pleaded. But he knew it was useless. His father was in a particularly dark mood, a mood that wouldn’t relent until he’d beaten his son bloody. Gaelan wanted to crawl away and hide, but there was nothing he could do; both his hands were bound to the post. He could kick with his feet, but his father was bigger and stronger than he was; it would be a feeble gesture at best.
“Accident or no, it makes no difference,” his father said. “You’ve got to be better than that, son. You’re worthless and you’ll never amount to anything unless you straighten up.” He swung the strap again; it struck him across his shoulder blades garnering two new welts and a bloody line of damaged flesh. “I won’t have myself a worthless son.”
Again, the strap came down. Gaelan fell to his knees. The tears flowed freely now; he couldn’t stop them. He felt small and helpless, too weak to defend himself, a victim of pitiful circumstance. People often spoke of the gods, but where were they now? How could such injustice be permitted? Either the gods did not exist, or they did not care. Either way, thought of their so-called mercies did not help him. Mardikkar. Auraria. Neither one was there to stop the pain. He struggled to his feet.
Weak. Helpless. Weak. Helpless. The words formed a grim incantation in his mind. Something to focus on. Something to fight against.
I will not remain a victim, he thought. Not forever. He looked back over his shoulder and saw his father holding the leather strap, preparing to strike yet again. And though his knees quaked and his body bled, he felt a burning anger in his chest. Someday, father, he thought, I will hold the whip, and it will be you begging for mercy. And when that day comes, I will remember this moment and I will give you exactly what you deserve.
His father struck again.
Gaelan awoke …
Matthew D. Ryan lives in northeastern New York on the shores of Lake Champlain. He has been deeply involved in the fantasy genre for most of his life as a reader, writer, and game designer. His writing has been featured at Aphelion.com and YesteryearFiction.com. He is the operator of the web-site matthewdryan.com which features his blog, “A Toast to Dragons,” (http://matthewdryan.com/a-toast-to-dragons-the-blog/) a blog dedicated to fantasy literature, and, to a lesser extent, sci-fi. He is the author of the dark fantasy novels “Drasmyr,” “The Children of Lubrochius,” and “The Sceptre of Morgulan,” as well as a growing number of fantasy short stories including: “Haladryn and the Minotaur,” “The River’s Eye,” and “Escape.”
The Children of Lubrochius
The Sceptre of Morgulan
Matthew D. Ryan will be awarding a $15 Amazon/B&N gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.