The Warlord's Secret (CHAPTER TWO, page 2 of 14)


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My son nears the age where my uncle says the demon must claim him as a host. I remember my own host day. If I could spare my son the pain…but it must be so. The demon protects us, heals us. I will teach my son the demon's power and warn him about its lies. It yearns to be free again to destroy.

In the mind of a weaker man, it would drive him to madness. My uncle tells me this is why I must wait until my dear son is six or seven summers. He tells my heir the same words my father told me: do not leave the walls, never take a life, remain faithful to your people and family. To this, I remind my heir of my father's creed: Tiyan above all else.

***

When a strip of yellow lit the edge of the night sky, Taran returned to his perch in a large window facing the sunrise. He tied a piece of black cloth around his eyes as the sun's rays peeked over the neighboring buildings.

He closed his eyes and imagined himself to be one of the great cats he tracked in the forest. They were magnificent, powerful creatures in varying hues of gold and brown. He admired the graceful predators and often tracked them when he wanted to escape Landis.

The woman rose, her honey musk teasing his senses as she moved around the chamber. She approached him finally, and he snatched the small hand reaching toward him. She gasped and pulled away, but not before his thumb grazed her calloused palm.

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