Friday, 15 November 2013

Where Flap the Tatters of the King (Lauren Scharhag & Coyote Kishpaugh) in One Thousand Words

Where Flap the Tatters of the King (Book 3 in the Order of the Four Sons series) by Lauren Scharhag & Coyote Kishpaugh is today's feature on One Thousand Worlds.

Where Flap the Tatters of the King-

The Order of the Four Sons, Book III sees the surviving members of the Order – Kate, JD, Murphy, Bill, Clayton and Alyssa – reunited in a world known as Corbenic. It’s definitely not a warm reunion. With the Corbenese king held hostage by Starry Wisdom, the land has been plunged into endless winter, and certain members of the team are less than thrilled that they have been joined by former MJ-12 Agent Emily Hayes.   

As the team sets out, they find themselves once again braving the elements, on their way to Corbenic's capital city, where they will be plunged into a world that has almost as many enemies within as without. It is a dark and seductive world, a world of alchemists and geomancers, nobles and courtesans. Unrest has spread throughout the empire, stirring talk of rebellion. And beneath all the gilt and glamor, evil sleeps. 

It is here that the team begins to find answers about themselves and about Starry Wisdom’s secrets. Both sides find themselves embroiled in a game of old alliances and older enemies. 

At all costs, the Order of the Four Sons must liberate Corbenic and restore their king. 

Where Flap the Tatters of the King

It was daybreak, and the countryside was barren and still.  The dry grass glittered crystalline and white, the bare black trees silvered with frost.  In some places, dead leaves or frozen clumps of bright red berries still clung to their branches.  A light dusting of snow fell, the wind eddying flurries into low drifts in the hollows and dells.  A snowshoe rabbit paused in a clearing and sat up on its hind legs, ears erect, nose quivering. 

Figures faded in from the snow and wind, bringing their sounds with them, shattering the silence with their voices and footsteps.

The rabbit leapt into the air, spun, and fled back into the dense tangle of frozen briars, its white body melting into the undergrowth.

Christophe looked reproachfully up at the sky, turned his collar up against the cold, and pulled on a pair of gloves.  Behind him, Alyssa was clinging to Clayton, eyes squeezed tightly shut.  When she became sure of her footing, she raised her head, blinking as snowflakes caught in her eyelashes.

Clayton was wearing a blazer over a linen shirt and an undershirt, and he immediately shivered in the winter air.  Alyssa did not fare nearly so well, dressed in a T-shirt and pants.  She opened her bag and took out a jacket she had picked up at the airport in Edinburgh.  It helped some.

“Please, mademoiselle, allow me,” Christophe removed his cloak and draped it over her shoulders in one fluid motion.

“Thanks.”  The cloak was heavy wool and very, very warm.  She pulled it tightly around herself and pulled the hood up.  Immediately, the snow ceased falling on her.  Surprised, she looked up. 

It was still falling.  Just not on her.

She looked down at the cloak, then over at Christophe, one eyebrow raised.

He did not appear to notice and, in fact, had already turned away.  “Now come,” he said briskly.  “This way to my villa where await you a hot fire and food, and I shall tell you of the tragedy that has befallen our fair Corbenic.”  He gestured to the hills, perhaps a mile away, beyond a small forest where they could make out the soaring gables of a great manor house, its lights a glimmer on the pale horizon. 

He set off through the trees.  “Make haste!” he called over his shoulder.  “I cannot be missed!” 

There did not appear to be a trail, but it was evident from the pace he set through the dead undergrowth that he could maneuver through these woods blindfolded.  He seemed to be leading them on a route that ran parallel to the hills.  Dry branches snapped underfoot.  In the trees, tiny dappled wrens fluffed their feathers against the cold, chirping sadly.  They passed a frozen pond fringed with a low profusion of snow-capped evergreens, its coating of dove-gray ice smooth and absolutely pristine.  Some sort of hawk glided by overhead, white-throated, russet and black, with a black-tipped beak, its red eye flashing before it disappeared into a copse of trees on the other side of the pond. 

Alyssa turned her face up to the snow drifting out of the nearly translucent sky.  A silver circle marked where the sun was almost hidden behind a pearl-colored veil. 

“It’s pretty here,” she said in a hushed tone, as if she were afraid of breaking some enchantment.

Clayton smiled.  “It was spring when I was here last.”

“You have been to Corbenic before?” Christophe asked, surprised. 

“I have had the privilege of seeing Four Mothers in springtime, monsieur,” Clayton replied.

“Ah, splendid, my friend, splendid,” Christophe said reverently.  “With luck, you shall again.”

At last they reached an opening in the trees, where the forest was bisected by a road—a road of smooth black flagstones, blown over with snow.  They followed it until they reached the bottom of the hill leading up to the villa.

The house was of some light-colored stone, with a roof of red shale.  In addition to the gables, there were steeply pointed turrets, their outlines ghostly and stark, backlit against the quickening dawn.  Dozens of windows with elaborate wrought-iron panes held gilded fleur-de-lis, egg-and-darts, ivy, hearts, doves.  The windows themselves were arched, rimmed with dazzling stained glass patterns of flowers in red, blue, green and gold.  The road curved in front of the house, leading off to the right where stables and a carriage house stood.

They began the long trek up the hill, heads down, the wind blowing in from the open fields to either side of them. 

All three were shivering violently by the time they reached the wide, heavy front door mounted on gold and silver clasps.  Even the knocker was ornamental—thick, gold, carved with a flower design.  The doorknob was gold, bearing some sort of stylized symbol that was either a slender crescent moon or a bull’s horns. 

Christophe produced a large, ornate key, also gold.

The door opened and a rush of warm air greeted them.  They all breathed appreciative sighs as they stepped over the threshold, into the foyer.

The walls were papered in a soft ivory with gilded moldings.  The floor was marble.  Its pale coloring matched the exterior stone almost exactly, veined in gold, the slabs fitted together with interlocking diamonds of deep red carnelian like cloisonné, drawing the eye forward to a grand marble staircase with delicate gold railings, which held the same designs as the window panes.  The risers and treads were inlaid with more carnelian, edged in gold.  There were gold wall sconces which held not candles but crystals, their illumination reflecting the gold and cream-colored floors, filling the interior with a warm, almost buttery, glow.  Every element had obviously been created in symphony with everything else.  Clayton and Alyssa regarded their surroundings, impressed with the coordinated beauty, the painstaking design of the place.  

Where you can buy Where Flap the Tatters of the King:


Connect with Lauren Scharhag:
Twitter: @laurenscharhag

Connect with Coyote Kishpaugh:

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