Suspense R .  Mac Wheeler Multi - Genre Author SCI FI
T he   king   called   him   a   visionary,   named   him   his   heir,   but those   who   expected   to   rule   threaten   rebellion.   If   Justen avoids   the   assassins   and   civil   war,   he   faces   a   looming destiny   that   will   require   remolding   the   world’s   beliefs,   or clans    will    continue    to    perish.    He’s    only    beginning    to discover   his   arcane   power,   what   many   consider   taboo. Not   wielding   it,   his   success   is   less   likely.   Though   he   can’t alienate those who would follow him.
Urban Fantasy
Chapter 1 ~ J usten jerked awake from Gryphon’s mental  tug. “What of the warriors’ mounts?” He   more   sensed   the   vibration   of   the   gryphon’s   laugh   through   the   frame   of   his cot   than   he   heard   it.   Perhaps   part   of   the   sensation   was   the   beast’s   scales   grinding against each other like armored plates. “Am I nothing more than your messenger?” “I   ask   you   because   you   know   more   than   any   of   my   two-legged   friends.”   He swung   his   legs   out   from   under   his   sleeping   fur   and   shivered.   Shaika   pressed   her cold   nose   against   his   leg,   and   Justen   hurried   to   give   the   hound   a   morning   chest scratch. “I didn’t think you had it in you to confess my superior intelligence.” “I   only   confess   to   your   nosey   demeanor.”   He   slipped   his   legs   into   the   cold leather   of   his   pants.   “Marching   south,   I’m   not   surprised   to   find   you   around,   ready for the warmth of the desert. So, have they arrived?” “The manor lords have never delivered this many horses at once.” Adel   rounded   the   corner   of   the   anteroom.   Naked   as   a   blade.   Would   the   woman ever   develop   any   modesty?   Justen   hurried   to   turn   away   and   button   up.   Barefoot   on the   freezing   stone,   Adel   padded   to   the   gryphon   and   grabbed   his   massive   head   in   a hug. The   reverberation   of   Gryphon’s   sigh   of   contentment   raised   the   hair   on   Justen’s arms. Shaika circled the two, whining, eager for her own attention. “Adel!” She   ignored   him   for   a   five-count   as   she   snuggled   with   the   four-meter-long gryphon. “She will never understand your distaste for women’s flesh.” “You know that isn’t it,” Justen rasped. Shanen   entered   and   draped   a   blouse   over   his   mate’s   back.   She   stood   erect   and turned   to   Justen   as   she   pushed   her   arms   into   the   sleeves.   In   truth   it   was   so   dark   in the   room   it   didn’t   matter   whether   she   was   dressed,   except   in   his   mind.   He   hated how beautiful he found his squire. It wasn’t right. “Stoke the fire, my Lord?” Shanen asked. “No.”   Justen   hurried   into   his   own   shirt   and   leather   vest.   “As   soon   as   I’m   in   my boots we’re off for the commons. Did they arrive or not?” he snapped at Gryphon. “My   lord.”   Adel   broadened   her   stance   and   pressed   her   fists   into   her   hips.   The outline   of   her   legs,   silhouetted   against   the   remaining   glow   of   the   hearth   behind   her, generated that tightness in his groin. She’s your equestrian squire. Don’t even look, you fool. “You’ll lose an arm talking to him like that,” Adel concluded her admonishment. Shanen   laughed   a   triple   note,   that   filtered   into   a   giggle.   Certainly   didn’t   sound like   an   aged   warrior.   The   man   struck   a   flint   to   a   wall   sconce.   Justen   blinked   at   the unexpected flare, and pulled on a sock. “When did I lose control?” “You once had control?”  Gryphon asked. Shanad—Shanen and Adel, snorted a laugh in symphony. “Not funny.” He grabbed one of his knee-high boots. “So they are here?” Shanen   busied   himself   tying   Justen’s   Dyfydian-blue   scarf   over   his   shoulder, and threaded the gold chain around it. “Settled   into   the   valley   of   wheat   five   kilometers   southwest,   where   they   were caught by First Pass.” Justen muttered, “That field won’t be worth reaping next month.” Adel   finished   another   caress   of   Gryphon’s   throat,   snuggled   with   Shaika   quickly, and   headed   for   the   antechamber.   Hopefully   to   dress.   Justen   stood   into   his   other boot and Shanen latched the buckles. Anticipation   for   seeing   the   brigade   astride   the   new   bay   mounts   eased   a   bit   of his   frustration   for   their   delayed   delivery.   To   say   he   was   eager   to   look   over   his shoulder    and    see    a    hundred-twenty    warriors    on    matching    mares    and    geldings didn’t approach reality. Driving   the   herd   within   the   castle   walls   would   delay   them.   He   hurried   to   the windows   and   drew   open   the   shutters.   Only   one   with   a   good   imagination   could believe the sun tinted the east. He turned and almost strode over Shanen. “Ach.” “Sor—” The man held the other accoutrements of Justen’s caste. “Why   did   I   ever   agree   to   wear   this?”   he   mumbled.   “I   don’t   expect   an   answer. Give   it   to   me.   I   can   manage,   with   luck.   Run   and   get   riders   to   help   marshal   the herd.” “Aye, my Lord.” The   man   jogged   away,   thrumped   the   door   closed   with   authority   as   he   left. Justen   hefted   the   miscellany   of   rank.   There   was   no   way   he   was   going   to   wear   all that.   He   threw   the   silks   and   chains   onto   his   bed.   The   only   jewelry   he   needed besides    his    signet,    he    wore    around    his    neck.    The    ancient    icon    thrummed.    He grabbed his foil, cold fingers struggling to buckle it. Adel entered, strapping on her sword. “You promised.” Justen   paused   to   take   her   in.   She   no   longer   looked   as   though   a   sword   belonged on   her   hip.   She   had   changed   so   much   since   losing   her   brother,   and   transitioning from   brawny   warrior,   a   cygnet   flourishing.   Gone,   the   abrupt   warrior   cut.   Her   hair, once   as   dark   as   a   thoroughbred’s,   now   golden   with   red   highlights,   reached   well below   her   shoulders.   It   was   tied   back   for   riding,   half-hidden   in   Dyfydian-blue   silk. Her    eyes    glinted    amber    in    the    lazy    flutter    of    the    sconce.    Her    thinned    face highlighted   a   grace   he   had   never   noticed   before.   She   stood   tall,   shoulders   back.   Her riding vest, instead of hiding her femininity, thrust her breasts into a dare. “I’m sorry. What did you say?” “You promised.” About what? She pointed to the regalia. “I   lied.   If   they   can’t   figure   out   I’m   no   peasant,   I’m   not   going   to   bash   anyone about the head with pageantry.” “At least leading the brigade, you’ll no longer look like a commoner.” Justen grinned. “I’ve never looked common.” “True, my Lord.” She   bent   to   gather   up   the   saddlebags   lined   against   the   wall.   She   grunted   against the   load.   Four   months   ago,   before   she   lost   twenty   kilograms   of   muscle,   she   could have heaved an ox over a horse and its rider. “Give me a couple,” he said. She   opened   her   mouth   to   argue,   but   clamped   it   closed   with   a   twinge   of   a   smile, and   handed   him   his   own   pair.   He   grimaced   first   over   the   weight,   then   the   new tailoring   she’d   snuck   in.   Gold   piping   and   studs.   Why   did   she   insist   on   flaunting who he was? He   slung   the   heavily   laden   bags,   one   over   each   shoulder,   and   strode   to   the   door. The   guards   outside   snapped   their   heels   together,   but   shot   him   grins.   The   four Kryslylians   had   their   bags   with   them   already.   So   the   brigade   was   as   ready   to   ride   as he was. Their    boots    echoed    softly    within    the    granite    corridor.    Soft    voices    threaded through   the   air.   The   high   caste   side   of   the   castle   usually   remained   dead-silent   until well after sunrise. Why did it stir? At   the   wishbone   stairway,   more   noise   met   them.   A   quarter-kilometer   away,   the commons already filled hungry gullets. “Good morning, Lord Regent.” Justen   jerked   from   his   thoughts   and   turned   to   face   the   duchy’s   lords   exiting their chambers. “What are you doing up so early?” Gyrael gave him one of her sulky smiles. “As though we wouldn’t see you off.” “No need—” “That,    and    complain.    I    heard    late    last    night    you’re    leaving    us    with    over    a hundred mounts to find homes for.” “Are your paddocks overflowing?” She   and   her   brother   reached   him   on   the   stairs.   The   Krystylians   backed   up politely. Adel bowed. “‘Morning, my Lords.” “I’m glad to see your lordling is willing to give you a hand.” Adel grinned. Heat    welled    under    Justen’s    vest.    He    almost    reached    out    to    grab    another saddlebag   from   Adel.   The   irony,   Gyrael   intended   the   dig   for   stepping   out   of   his rank. Most First Caste would be empty handed, have a trailing retinue. They’ll never understand me. The   echoing   of   eight   pairs   of   heels   on   the   polished   steps   made   them   hold   their tongues until they reached the foyer below. “So you weren’t going to tell us, eh?” Gyrael took up the old topic. “I   assumed   your   stable   master   was   competent   enough   to   manage   it   without burdening you.” “Liar.” Gyrael shot him a smirk. “It slipped your mind, eh?” “Now you’re questioning my wits?” “Aye.” Her   brother   snorted   back   a   laugh.   Justen   tried   to   give   Gyren   a   dirty   look,   but his own grin got in the way. “Where’s   that   cute   tradergirl   you   spend   so   much   time   with?”   Gyrael   asked.   She was definitely warmed up to grate on him. Keeping him unsteady for Clarisa. “Not breaking fast together. I’ll be a little busy getting the brigade—” “Or did that slip your mind too?” Justen exhaled. “Any new thoughts about what you’ll do with your mother?” “Ach. It isn’t like I’m going to hang her.” Gyrael hummed. “She’s my liege lord. I have a right to be interested.” “She   is   for   the   moment.   I’ll   send   her   brother   here   to   help   you   manage   the place.” “No. We don’t need—” The   laugh   erupted   from   deep   within   Justen’s   gut.   Gyrael   tinted   red.   The   hue from the sconces made it almost purple. “I deserved that,” she said. Though his shields were up, Justen still overheard her brother’s,  “Yes, you did.” They   entered   the   commons   and   the   roar   of   a   hundred-fifty   warriors   lurching   to attention, swords banging hips and heels slamming granite shocked the nerves. “Good   morning,   Lord   Regent,”   boomed,   echoed   ten-fold   across   the   enormous chamber. Gyrael pressed her hands to her ears. Justen   searched   the   front   rows   for   the   likely   inciters.   There   couldn’t   be   anyone still   asleep   anywhere   in   the   castle.   He   caught   Kyl’s   grins,   which   didn’t   carry   the pride   of   a   guilty   party.   Troy?   They   both   pressed   their   chins   in   the   air,   always   proud for   the   energy   within   the   brigade.   But   the   stoic   pair—weren’t   ones   for   such   things. So who? Justen turned and pressed a glare on Adel. “Don’t look at me. I say your head’s too swollen as it is.” True . At least Gryphon was nowhere in sight, adding his thunderous roar to it.   © R. Mac Wheeler 2017
Fantasy Dystopian
R .  Mac Wheeler Multi - Genre Author
King’s Legacy Chapter 1 ~ J usten     jerked     awake     from     Gryphon’s mental  tug. “What of the warriors’ mounts?” He   more   sensed   the   vibration   of   the gryphon’s   laugh   through   the   frame   of   his cot   than   he   heard   it.   Perhaps   part   of   the sensation   was   the   beast’s   scales   grinding against each other like armored plates. “Am     I     nothing     more     than     your messenger?” “I    ask    you    because    you    know    more than   any   of   my   two-legged   friends.”   He swung     his     legs     out     from     under     his sleeping   fur   and   shivered.   Shaika   pressed her   cold   nose   against   his   leg,   and   Justen hurried    to    give    the    hound    a    morning chest scratch. “I    didn’t    think    you    had    it    in    you    to confess my superior intelligence.” “I      only      confess      to      your      nosey demeanor.”   He   slipped   his   legs   into   the cold     leather     of     his     pants.     “Marching south,    I’m    not    surprised    to    find    you around,    ready    for    the    warmth    of    the desert. So, have they arrived?” “The       manor       lords       have       never delivered this many horses at once.” Adel      rounded      the      corner      of      the anteroom.   Naked   as   a   blade.   Would   the woman      ever      develop      any      modesty? Justen   hurried   to   turn   away   and   button up.   Barefoot   on   the   freezing   stone,   Adel padded   to   the   gryphon   and   grabbed   his massive head in a hug. The   reverberation   of   Gryphon’s   sigh   of contentment   raised   the   hair   on   Justen’s arms.    Shaika    circled    the    two,    whining, eager for her own attention. “Adel!” She   ignored   him   for   a   five-count   as   she snuggled       with       the       four-meter-long gryphon. “She     will     never     understand     your distaste for women’s flesh.” “You know that isn’t it,” Justen rasped. Shanen   entered   and   draped   a   blouse over   his   mate’s   back.   She   stood   erect   and turned   to   Justen   as   she   pushed   her   arms into   the   sleeves.   In   truth   it   was   so   dark   in the    room    it    didn’t    matter    whether    she was   dressed,   except   in   his   mind.   He   hated how    beautiful    he    found    his    squire.    It wasn’t right. “Stoke    the    fire,    my    Lord?”    Shanen asked. “No.”   Justen   hurried   into   his   own   shirt and   leather   vest.   “As   soon   as   I’m   in   my boots   we’re   off   for   the   commons.   Did   they arrive or not?” he snapped at Gryphon. “My   lord.”   Adel   broadened   her   stance and   pressed   her   fists   into   her   hips.   The outline   of   her   legs,   silhouetted   against   the remaining   glow   of   the   hearth   behind   her, generated that tightness in his groin. She’s    your    equestrian    squire.    Don’t even look, you fool. “You’ll   lose   an   arm   talking   to   him   like that,” Adel concluded her admonishment. Shanen    laughed    a    triple    note,    that filtered    into    a    giggle.    Certainly    didn’t sound    like    an    aged    warrior.    The    man struck    a    flint    to    a    wall    sconce.    Justen blinked     at     the     unexpected     flare,     and pulled     on     a     sock.     “When     did     I     lose control?” “You     once     had     control?”      Gryphon asked. Shanad—Shanen   and   Adel,   snorted   a laugh in symphony. “Not    funny.”    He    grabbed    one    of    his knee-high boots. “So they are here?” Shanen   busied   himself   tying   Justen’s Dyfydian-blue    scarf    over    his    shoulder, and threaded the gold chain around it. “Settled   into   the   valley   of   wheat   five kilometers    southwest,    where    they    were caught by First Pass.” Justen   muttered,   “That   field   won’t   be worth reaping next month.” Adel      finished      another      caress      of Gryphon’s    throat,    snuggled    with    Shaika quickly,   and   headed   for   the   antechamber. Hopefully   to   dress.   Justen   stood   into   his other     boot     and     Shanen     latched     the buckles. Anticipation    for    seeing    the    brigade astride   the   new   bay   mounts   eased   a   bit   of his   frustration   for   their   delayed   delivery. To    say    he    was    eager    to    look    over    his shoulder     and     see     a     hundred-twenty warriors   on   matching   mares   and   geldings didn’t approach reality. Driving    the    herd    within    the    castle walls   would   delay   them.   He   hurried   to   the windows    and    drew    open    the    shutters. Only   one   with   a   good   imagination   could believe   the   sun   tinted   the   east.   He   turned and almost strode over Shanen. “Ach.” “Sor—” The   man   held   the   other   accoutrements of Justen’s caste. “Why   did   I   ever   agree   to   wear   this?”   he mumbled.   “I   don’t   expect   an   answer.   Give it   to   me.   I   can   manage,   with   luck.   Run and get riders to help marshal the herd.” “Aye, my Lord.” The   man   jogged   away,   thrumped   the door    closed    with    authority    as    he    left. Justen    hefted    the    miscellany    of    rank. There   was   no   way   he   was   going   to   wear all    that.    He    threw    the    silks    and    chains onto   his   bed.   The   only   jewelry   he   needed besides    his    signet,    he    wore    around    his neck.    The    ancient    icon    thrummed.    He grabbed   his   foil,   cold   fingers   struggling   to buckle it. Adel   entered,   strapping   on   her   sword. “You promised.” Justen   paused   to   take   her   in.   She   no longer      looked      as      though      a      sword belonged   on   her   hip.   She   had   changed   so much     since     losing     her     brother,     and transitioning     from     brawny     warrior,     a cygnet     flourishing.     Gone,     the     abrupt warrior   cut.   Her   hair,   once   as   dark   as   a thoroughbred’s,     now     golden     with     red highlights,      reached      well      below      her shoulders.    It    was    tied    back    for    riding, half-hidden    in    Dyfydian-blue    silk.    Her eyes   glinted   amber   in   the   lazy   flutter   of the   sconce.   Her   thinned   face   highlighted a   grace   he   had   never   noticed   before.   She stood    tall,    shoulders    back.    Her    riding vest,    instead    of    hiding    her    femininity, thrust her breasts into a dare. “I’m sorry. What did you say?” “You promised.” About what? She pointed to the regalia. “I   lied.   If   they   can’t   figure   out   I’m   no peasant,    I’m    not    going    to    bash    anyone about the head with pageantry.” “At   least   leading   the   brigade,   you’ll   no longer look like a commoner.” Justen     grinned.     “I’ve     never     looked common.” “True, my Lord.” She   bent   to   gather   up   the   saddlebags lined     against     the     wall.     She     grunted against   the   load.   Four   months   ago,   before she   lost   twenty   kilograms   of   muscle,   she could   have   heaved   an   ox   over   a   horse   and its rider. “Give me a couple,” he said. She   opened   her   mouth   to   argue,   but clamped    it    closed    with    a    twinge    of    a smile,   and   handed   him   his   own   pair.   He grimaced   first   over   the   weight,   then   the new   tailoring   she’d   snuck   in.   Gold   piping and     studs.     Why     did     she     insist     on flaunting who he was? He   slung   the   heavily   laden   bags,   one over    each    shoulder,    and    strode    to    the door.   The   guards   outside   snapped   their heels    together,    but    shot    him    grins.    The four   Kryslylians   had   their   bags   with   them already.   So   the   brigade   was   as   ready   to ride as he was. Their    boots    echoed    softly    within    the granite     corridor.     Soft     voices     threaded through   the   air.   The   high   caste   side   of   the castle   usually   remained   dead-silent   until well after sunrise. Why did it stir? At   the   wishbone   stairway,   more   noise met   them.   A   quarter-kilometer   away,   the commons already filled hungry gullets. “Good morning, Lord Regent.” Justen   jerked   from   his   thoughts   and turned   to   face   the   duchy’s   lords   exiting their chambers. “What are you doing up so early?” Gyrael    gave    him    one    of    her    sulky smiles.   “As   though   we   wouldn’t   see   you off.” “No need—” “That,   and   complain.   I   heard   late   last night     you’re     leaving     us     with     over     a hundred mounts to find homes for.” “Are your paddocks overflowing?” She   and   her   brother   reached   him   on the    stairs.    The    Krystylians    backed    up politely. Adel bowed. “‘Morning, my Lords.” “I’m   glad   to   see   your   lordling   is   willing to give you a hand.” Adel grinned. Heat    welled    under    Justen’s    vest.    He almost     reached     out     to     grab     another saddlebag    from    Adel.    The    irony,    Gyrael intended   the   dig   for   stepping   out   of   his rank.    Most    First    Caste    would    be    empty handed, have a trailing retinue. They’ll never understand me. The   echoing   of   eight   pairs   of   heels   on the   polished   steps   made   them   hold   their tongues     until     they     reached     the     foyer below. “So   you   weren’t   going   to   tell   us,   eh?” Gyrael took up the old topic. “I    assumed    your    stable    master    was competent   enough   to   manage   it   without burdening you.” “Liar.”    Gyrael    shot    him    a    smirk.    “It slipped your mind, eh?” “Now you’re questioning my wits?” “Aye.” Her    brother    snorted    back    a    laugh. Justen   tried   to   give   Gyren   a   dirty   look, but his own grin got in the way. “Where’s     that     cute     tradergirl     you spend   so   much   time   with?”   Gyrael   asked. She   was   definitely   warmed   up   to   grate   on him. Keeping him unsteady for Clarisa. “Not    breaking    fast    together.    I’ll    be    a little busy getting the brigade—” “Or did that slip your mind too?” Justen exhaled. “Any   new   thoughts   about   what   you’ll do with your mother?” “Ach.    It    isn’t    like    I’m    going    to    hang her.” Gyrael   hummed.   “She’s   my   liege   lord. I have a right to be interested.” “She   is   for   the   moment.   I’ll   send   her brother    here    to    help    you    manage    the place.” “No. We don’t need—” The    laugh    erupted    from    deep    within Justen’s   gut.   Gyrael   tinted   red.   The   hue from the sconces made it almost purple. “I deserved that,” she said. Though    his    shields    were    up,    Justen still    overheard    her    brother’s,     “Yes,    you did.” They    entered    the    commons    and    the roar   of   a   hundred-fifty   warriors   lurching to    attention,    swords    banging    hips    and heels     slamming     granite     shocked     the nerves. “Good        morning,        Lord        Regent,” boomed,     echoed     ten-fold     across     the enormous chamber. Gyrael pressed her hands to her ears. Justen   searched   the   front   rows   for   the likely   inciters.   There   couldn’t   be   anyone still    asleep    anywhere    in    the    castle.    He caught   Kyl’s   grins,   which   didn’t   carry   the pride   of   a   guilty   party.   Troy?   They   both pressed    their    chins    in    the    air,    always proud   for   the   energy   within   the   brigade. But   the   stoic   pair—weren’t   ones   for   such things. So who? Justen   turned   and   pressed   a   glare   on Adel. “Don’t   look   at   me.   I   say   your   head’s too swollen as it is.” True . At least Gryphon was nowhere in sight, adding his thunderous roar to it. © R. Mac Wheeler 2017