Lorraine Carey

Lorraine Carey
This is my secret place I go to write for inspiration- Pedro St. James Castle, Grand Cayman

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Excerpt from Laurel A Rockefeller ~ The Ghosts of the Past ~

Excerpt from Chapter 8~ Kendric’s Lament~ 
RM7 led Princess Constance to the throne room and towards the memorial alcoves built to honor notable kings and queens of Beinan.  She stopped in front of King Lyr III’s memorial.  There, on the floor, lay her father, King Kendric, surrounded by a pool of greenish-yellow blood, his favorite schlager sword enveloped by his blood.  Five crossbow quarrels pierced his chest.  Constance’s eyes widened, “Just like Lyr III.”  As comprehension slowly reached into her mind who the man on the floor was, tears began to swell in Constance’s eyes.  Her father was dead.  Her father was dead?  By the same means as her forefather?  How could this be?  Why here?  Why now?  Why in the throne room?  Why with a crossbow when Beinan possessed dozens of more effective and more silent weapons over the last twenty thousand yen-ars?  Regular crossbows were more for parades and heritage lessons than for real use in war.  Why?  Why kill him this way?
Constance looked at the sword at her feet and picked it up, soaking the sleeves of her sapphire blue kirtle in blood. No blood clung to the blade itself, only its hand guard and hilt. Memories flashed before her of watching her father duel with Lord Elendir for fun. Her father taught laser épée at the Ten-Arian monastery she remembered suddenly.  He knew how to handle a blade, both heritage and laser versions.  Killing him by blade would be almost as difficult as killing a knight of Ten-Ar or knight of Gurun with a sword. Understanding filtered through the shock that still filled Constance’s mind and body. 
Tears fell from the princess’s eyes. Looking up and wiping tears off her face, her eyes caught more of the scene around her.  Kendric was not the only casualty.  Following the path of blood on the floor she found twelve heavily cloaked palace guards sprawled on the floor.  Some were pierced with laser spears still stuck through their bodies.  Others were slashed by some sort of sword from the looks of the wounds she could see. With so many protectors in the throne room, how could her father fall to any weapon short of a bow or crossbow, weapons used across Beinarian history, even on original home world, to kill the strongest of Beinarian leaders?   
Finally, Constance gaze fell upon the single woman among the dead.  Kneeling, she turned the body over and gazed into the lifeless eyes of her mentor and friend, Lady Healer Fëawen. Fëawen dead?  How? Looking carefully Constance noticed bruises on Fëawen’s neck – finger shaped bruises.  Had she fallen intercepting whoever killed them?  Beside Fëawen lay Lord Knight Lytsar, King Kendric’s knight-protector and champion, his body pierced with crossbow quarrels like her father.  Constance gasped.  Lytsar was a good man, one of the king’s most faithful servants and her father’s favorite dueling partner.
Not knowing what else to do, Constance raised her voice in song, her notes cracking at first from grief, then growing stronger with courage and regal resistance,
“He was a strong and noble lord with piercing eyes of grey.
He sat upon his noble throne shining like the dawn.
His sword flashed like the brightest star.
He led our people well.
Yet here and now he lays in blood pierced with arrows. 
He was the friend of many knights.
He loved the warrior games.
His heart was won by a lady fair for marriage they did wait.
A kindly prince, his duty carried him to another's bed.
And on her death true love returned, finally they wed. 
He felt the grief of children lost to murder and to pain.
I was the youngest of his blood.
I'll never be the same. 
Here lays my father and my lord. 
I know not what to say.
Except my father and my lord was slain here on this day.
Here lays my father and my lord. 
I know not what to say.
Except my father and my lord was slain here on this day….”
As the last note faded from her voice, Princess Constance looked up.  Twelve courtiers stood four zhang from her, drawn by the sound of her voice.  Constance looked into their eyes.  The gathering knelt respectfully.  Her father’s head court herald stepped forward, “All hail Constance, Queen of Beinan.”
“I am not yet come of age, my lord.  How can I be queen?” asked Constance fearfully.
“Queen you must be, my liege or the Great Council will choose someone else, someone who craves power, not service to our people,” cried one of the courtiers, his jet black hair and metallic blue eyes twinkling from among the crowd.
“Summon High Priestess Aina and Lord Knight Elendir.  We will perform the coronation ceremony as soon as they arrive.  RM7, summon healers of Gurun to bring our honored dead out of this place.  Let High Priestess Aina perform their funerals as soon as I am crowned.  Prepare no reception.  This beinor is dark and my heart is filled with sorrow.  Let all of Beinan mourn with me, even as I accept the Gurun throne,” commanded Queen Constance.

A bit about Laurel~

Born, raised, and educated in Lincoln, Nebraska USA, author-historian Laurel A. Rockefeller educates while she entertains, encouraging readers to think about current events and history in a completely new way. Using exhaustive and comprehensive research across dozens of academic disciplines, Laurel's stories come alive so vividly it is easy to forget you are learning something new. 


 Enjoy Ms. Rockefeller's books in English and Chinese in your choice of digital, paperback, and audio editions.