Here’s a sneak peak for the first full novel in the Adventures in Amarant Series: THE PILGRIM STONE

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Chapter 1

Consus Edderick crashed through the thick forest foliage. Twigs and leaves crunched under his boots. Sunbeams illuminated his mad dash through the woods. His heart beat like a wardrum and competed with the sound of crushing brush beneath him.

His older brother Kyran ran beside him, his bulky muscular frame destroying the shrubbery he ran through. Sweat and dirt covered his coffee colored skin, and though Consus knew he was scared, his eyes fixed forward.

“Are they still behind us?” Consus asked. His voice was a raspy bark.

“I don’t want to stop and find out.”

A thunderous battle cry erupted from the trees several paces behind him. Consus could hear the menacing stomps of the barbarian horde that chased them. Don’t look, just keep running. Still, he dared to steal a glance over his shoulder.

The large shadowy figures of the brögs charged after them like warhorses. Their horrific scarred gray hides were pale in the sunlight. Leaves and twigs were caught in their long black hair and the simple garb wrapped around their enormous muscles. Tusks jutted from the bottom of their jaw and horns on their foreheads.

I shouldn’t have looked. Fear washed away the pain in his legs and pumped his body with adrenaline. He followed Kyran, ducking under trees, leaping through shrubs and running down a steep hill.

“We’re almost there,” Kyran said. “There’s a stream up ahead and a tree that we passed by earlier. We can hide under the roots.”

Consus said nothing, not wanting to waste his breath. He could hear water flowing just ahead of them. The trees parted and gave way to a wide stream walled by steep banks on either side.  The scent of wet mud and decaying leaves filled his nostrils.

Kyran pointed to a tree several paces away at the edge of the bank. It leaned away from the stream, half its roots standing in the air. The exposed dirt beneath it created an alcove in the stream slightly covered by low-hanging lateral roots.  Kyran jumped into the stream, the water coming up mid-calf on his boots.

Consus followed and cold water splashed onto his clothes. They waded over to the alcove and pressed themselves into the wall of the bank. He scrambled to arrange the tree’s roots and moss like a curtain to hide behind. He mimicked Kyran when he saw him rub the smelly mud on his clothes and skin, recalling what his brother had said earlier. Brögs can’t see as well as we do. They rely on sound and smell.

He noticed that the forest had become silent. No birds chirped, no squirrels scampered through the branches, nothing. Soon there was the steady “thump thump” of the brögs as they approached the bank of the stream.

He looked at Kyran. He was motionless and breathless. If he was not standing, Consus would think him dead. Bits of forest stuck out of his wooly black hair, and red mud covered the dark brown skin of his face. Consus assumed he looked just as bizarre.

Outside, he heard the brögs splash about water as they too jumped into the stream. It was hard to understand what they were saying in their language, but it was clear that they had lost the brothers’ trail.  Consus let a small sigh of relief escape him.

There was a loud splash as one of the brögs leapt through the water. He came to a stop just outside the alcove. He sniffed and snorted the air and the walls of the bank. He took a slow step forward, and then another step forward.

Consus stopped breathing; he did not even blink. He prayed he was not sweating lest his natural odor break through the musky barrier of moss and roots. The brög was only a pace away now, his black beady eyes staring directly at him. His crude iron war axe scraped the wall of the river bank and left a scar in the mud. His rancid breath climbed up Consus nose as he huffed and snorted closer and closer.

A stick snapped across the stream. The brög spun around and hurled his war axe through the air. It landed in the back of an elk drinking on the opposite side. The elk shrieked and moaned in pain before it turned and sprinted into the woods.

The party of brögs laughed and jeered as the elk ran away with their comrade’s weapon. The nosey brög gave one final snort before it turned away and gave chase. The others yelled and cheered him on as they followed him, determined to cook their new escaping dinner.

Kyran peered through the dangling moss and stepped out into the stream. “They’ve gone.”

Consus breathed a sigh of relief and left the tree. “I thought you said there would only be two brögs. I counted at least four.” He looked at his reflection in the water and wiped the mud from his long nose and chin. He brushed the foliage from his hair and watched as it floated downstream.

“There are more than expected,” he said. He tried to clean himself up but missed a patch of dirt on his square jaw. “But that just means more gold for us.” He tapped one of his twin blades that hung from his hips. “The more we kill, the more we earn. Besides, you can handle yourself in a sword fight.”

Consus rolled his eyes. “I think your years as a soldier make you better equipped than I. As a scholar, I’ve only read about fighting.”

Kyran clapped him on the shoulder and flashed him a confident half-grin. “Don’t discount what I’ve taught you in the past year. That’s insulting. I’m a damned good teacher, aren’t I?”

“I suppose you’re adequate,” Consus said with feigned humility as he climbed up the banks. Kyran was a good teacher, and it was nice to hear his brother compliment his growth as a swordsman. His skill had developed quite well since he joined his three brothers a year ago. Still, mercenary work was not what he had imagined it to be.

“If you’re so confident in my blade, then why did we run from them?”

Kyran scanned the forest around the bank before turning and following the stream. “We were supposed to meet Altin and Ewan first and then take the monsters by surprise in their camp.”

“I hope they’re alright.”  Consus and his three brothers had been following the brögs’ trail for the past several days before it disappeared into the forest. They had rediscovered the tracks just this morning, splitting into two directions. The brothers chose to split into two groups to expedite their search: Consus and Kyran traveling in one direction; Ewan and Altin in the other.

“I’m sure they’re fine. Ewan’s been tracking longer than you have and Altin’s a blazing mage.” Kyran shrugged his big shoulders. At twenty-two years old, he was the eldest Edderick sibling. He often acted like the six-year gap between him and Consus was much larger though. “Don’t fret. We’ll need to travel around the outskirts of the brög camp to avoid detection. If Ewan follows his trail, it should lead him to the camp as well. We’ll meet up with them before we attack.”

Consus joined Kyran as he crouched to the ground. “Their camp is a mile in the other direction. It will take longer to sneak over. By then it’ll be night. Don’t worry about the dark. I’ve got something to deal with that. For now, we’ll take this route.” He drew a crude map in the dirt to indicate their position and desired direction.

The sun had already begun to set as they trekked deeper into the forest. The rising shadows made it difficult for Consus to navigate through the brush. The further he walked, the louder and slower his steps became. He felt and heard every leaf, twig, and pebble under his feet, amplifying his missteps. Kyran cast an occasional glance over his shoulder as if he could silence Consus’ feet by looking at them.

How does he move without making a sound? Despite Kyran’s bulky frame, he moved with great care and little effect on the woodland around him. I can’t even see where I’m placing my feet.

Consus tripped over a root but avoided falling to the ground. “Should we light a torch?”

“No,” Kyran said. He stopped and retrieved a small palm-sized tin from his pocket under his leather cuirass. “They’ll see us coming a mile away. We’ll use the ointment Altin gave us. How did he say to work it?”

Consus took the tin from Kyran’s hand and opened it. A translucent green mud caked the bottom of the container. “We’re supposed to say the chant and rub it on our eyelids.”

“You do it,” he said with visible discomfort.

Consus held the open tin up to the sky and spoke the words Altin had given him. “Nock-enigh.” The green mud glowed softly. Consus dipped two fingers into the cool goop and rubbed them onto his eyelids.

As he opened his eyes the shadows of the coming night vanished before him. He could see the forest before him as clear as day. The colors of the leaves and plants around him were as evident to him as if the sun were still shining. "I can’t believe Altin called this a simple spell of night vision. It’s amazing."

Kyran dipped his fingers into the green mud goo and rubbed it on his own eyes. "How long will this last?"

"Only a few hours.”

“Then we’d better get going.”

The moon soon took the night sky with the stars. Their light trickled down through the canopy of the forest, providing slivers of silver to light the forest floor. Under the spell, they were golden sun beams piercing through the trees. He could see the nocturnal creatures of the forest moving through the branches and bushes. An owl plunged down from the branches of a beech tree onto the ground below, its talons reaching for an unsuspecting rodent. The shadow of a wolf slipped casually through the distant trees.

Kyran halted and raised a finger to his lips. He knelt, signaling Consus to do the same.

Consus obeyed as he spotted the source of his brother’s attention: a small clearing in the distance where two shadowy figures sat by a little orange fire. Tendrils of smoke slipped past the branches of the trees, and Consus caught the scent of overcooked meat.

The brögs, we’ve found them! He was filled with a sense of excitement wrapped in an aura of fear and anxiety. Three hulking figures emerged from the shadows to join the two brögs by the fire. “You said there were only two. Now I count five.”

“It matters little,” Kyran said.

“It matters a lot. There could just as easily be ten.”

“Even with ten, the four of us could take them.” Kyran flashed him a cocky grin. “Don’t panic. We’ll search the area to be sure there are no others lurking about. Use the call to see if the Ewan’s nearby.”

Consus whistled in a low chirping tone, mimicking the call of a night sparrow. Its whistle stood out from the hushed nocturnal creatures but not enough to draw the brögs’ attention. There were no other Night Sparrows in the area. They lived south of the mountains, but the brögs didn’t know that.

After a few moments, Consus heard a similar whistle repeated back to him. He couldn’t help but smile. Ewan and Altin, they’re alright after all. He recognized his older brothers as they stepped out of the shadow of a distant tree.

Ewan’s tall, lanky figure was huddled in a low crouch as he approached them. He clutched his longbow in a tight fist and tried to brush away thistles from his bushy black beard. Altin walked just beside him, his thin figure lost in his purple robes. His gaunt face was hidden in the shadows of his wide brim black hat.

“Nice to see you aren’t dead yet,” Ewan said. “What’s the plan?”

Kyra pointed to the camp. “I counted five brögs. Did you see any more than that?” Altin and Ewan shook their heads. “Good, I think we can surround them and catch them by surprise. Ewan, once you have a good position, fire on the brögs. Consus and I’ll jump into the fray.”

“What am I supposed to do?” Altin asked.

“Take care of any stragglers. But no fire,” Kyran said. “Mage fire makes it hard to identify the bodies.” Altin gave a disappointed harrumph but nodded.

Consus tried to swallow his fear as Kyran drew their attack positions in the dirt. He realized he would be alone. “Shouldn’t we stick together?”

Kyran shook his head. “It’s better this way. If we cluster together some of them might try to escape. Besides, you can handle yourself against at least one of these.”  

“I’m afraid I am not as confident as you. I am not a master swordsman --”

“Stop doubting yourself,” Kyran said. “Vi tet Argino - Strength and Courage. These are enough.”

Consus sighed at their family motto. Vi tet Argino, it was the only phrase his brother knew in Ancient Common. Yet he recited it almost as often as their late father. He nodded and followed his older brother closer to the camp. Ewan and Altin walked in the opposite direction to flank their targets. He hoped that his strength and courage were enough to defeat the brögs.

Chapter 2

Consus recalled what he had learned about brögs from his studies at Duenmer College. They were a tribal society that warred amongst themselves. Physical cruelty was a way of life, and it showed on these monsters. Despite the leather hides covering their bodies, he could still see white scars on their arms and faces. They were terrifying in the light of the fire. The chalky gray skin and yellow tusks possessed an unhealthy hue. No one knew the origins of the brög race, though many suspected that they had once been humans that were cursed and disfigured when they chose to serve the evil spirits that dwelled in the Darklands.

Fear renewed itself within him as he hid behind the small line of trees that separated him from the brögs. I can do this. Kyran tapped him on the shoulder and pointed at Consus and then to a nearby tall shrub. Consus nodded in understanding and held his position.

Kyran turned and stepped deeper into the shadows of the trees. “Wait for the arrows to fly.”

Consus took several low crouched steps forward to get behind the tall shrub, dense with large green leaves. He was only a few strides away from the clearing. His dark clothing blended well with the shadows of the night. Even an experienced ranger would have difficulty spotting him.

The brögs growled and grunted at one another, presumably speaking to one another in their native language. Whether they were arguing with one another or telling jokes, Consus could not tell. Several bones and clumps of animal flesh lay scattered near the fire.

A brög with a marred visage jumped up, and the other four fell silent. The brute sniffed the air as if searching for something. Consus could scarcely breathe. Had he done something to give away his position? He still smelled of mud, didn’t he? He remained motionless as the brög walked over to his position.

Damn. Maybe after hours of hiking the scent of mud had become weaker. Now I just smell like a sweaty, smelly human. A delicious sweaty human.

His grip on the hilt tightened with every step the monster took. Two more paces. Then I can attack. With one step through the bush and a thrust forward with his blade, he would make short work of the brög. What good fortune that would be!

The brög stopped at the tree line, sniffing the air. It examined the young oak tree not far from where Consus was hiding.

The brög reached down, picked up a rock the size of his fist and sniffed the air once more. Then it heaved the stone into the branches above him.

"Ouch!" came a muffled cry from the tree. The small body of a child hit the ground with a pronounced thud, several twigs and leaves clung to his cloak. The boy lay still at the feet of the brög for several moments. The brög poked the boy with his foot.

I must wait for the signal. I must wait for the signal. Consus repeated the phrase to himself over and over as though it were a spell to hold him in place. What was a boy doing in the forest at night? He began to inch his blade out of its sheath.

The boy rose from the ground and brushed the dirt and twigs from his garments, pulling leaves from his sandy brown hair. Consus saw his pointed ears and realized that it was no child in danger. It was a halfling.

Damnit, Milo. He recognized the halfling, their traveling companion who had trouble following Kyran’s commands. The four brothers had left him in the clearing this morning before following the brögs into the woods. Didn’t we tell him to stay with the horses?

The scar-faced brög picked up the halfling -  who was still distracted with cleaning his clothes - and tossed him into the pile of flesh and bones near the fire. The other brögs rose from their place around the fire, surrounding Milo.

"What you do here?" asked one of the brög in crude Common.

"I'm sorry; what did you say?" Milo asked shoving away a decapitated elk head.

"What you do here?" the brög growled. “How many with you?” The other brögs took up their weapons and looked out at the surrounding trees and forest.

"Oh, just me, I promise. Well me and a very upset family of raccoons. I do believe I may have taken some of them with me when I fell from that tree.”

“Why you so sneaky? Sneaky makes you suspicious. What you do here?”

Consus darted to a bush closer to the brögs. They were too distracted with Milo to notice him. He wondered what was taking Ewan so long to get into position. If he doesn’t attack soon, I’ll have to do something to save Milo.

“I am not a sneak! I am merely trying to be as unobtrusive as possible. How else would I be able to capture the true nature of a brög if they knew I was present? Did I mention I was a bard?” The halfling pulled out a small wooden flute from his pocket and played a high key. “I already have half of a song done; let me sing it to you.” The brög snatched the flute from Milo’s hands and threw it to the pile of bones near the fire. The halfling lunged toward the pile to retrieve his flute but was intercepted by another brög’s foot, kicking him in the ribs.

The little man rolled along the ground gasping for air. “Well now, how do you expect me to sing you the song when you’ve taken my flute and cracked my ribs?”

“You spy,” the brög accused. “How you find us?”

“Well you make quite a lot of noise,” Milo said. “And your feet are huge. It must be impossible to cover those tracks. It wasn’t hard to find you. Terrible scouts and trackers if you ask me-- My, that is a very large mace."

The brög had realized there was no further use for the halfling other than as a meal and, considering his small size, barely that. He waved his weapon at his two companions and then pointed it at the Milo. “You be snack. How you taste, me think?”

At that moment, an arrow ripped through the air and plunged into the neck of the mace wielding brög. Blood sprayed from the wound as he gurgled and clutched at his neck. Another arrow followed, impaling his hand against his neck. The monster fell to the ground, choking on his own blood. He howled and then tore his hand from his neck with both arrows, blood and a piece of flesh flew into the air. His muscles began to bulge and grow and as he looked to the forest where the arrows had sprung from. He howled with such ferocity that the very air around Consus seemed to crackle and the earth beneath him shake.

The other four brögs looked to the west end of the clearing, away from Consus, where the arrows had come from. They ran to the trees for cover, closer to Consus' position.

Consus drew his sword and rushed forward to meet his opponents.

The scar-faced brög saw him first and roared in a rage as he charged forward, an iron longsword raised in one hand. He lashed out and swung with wild determination. Consus did not shrink back but parried a powerful blow from the brög. He could feel his bones shake as the blades connected, but he held his steady and ducked behind the beast. The brög followed the quick maneuver and turned sharply, swinging its sword in a horizontal arc. Consus stayed low and felt the sword cut through the air above his head. He rolled and tumbled to the other side of the brög, and he parried yet another blow as he rose.

He recalled Kyran’s many sword lessons. I have to keep him swinging. His ability is dependent on his strength. If I keep him swinging eventually, he will get tired and make a mistake.

The brög swiped in a vertical arc and, again, Consus danced to the side before lunging forward, slicing into his opponent's leg. The brög howled at the deep gash in his thigh and as he stumbled forward, his body still following the motion of his swing punched Consus in the gut with his free arm.

The blow knocked the wind out of Consus. He panicked for a moment and stumbled backwards but regained his footing as the brög slashed forward again. He parried the blow and noticed that it was weaker than the last. The brög now had a slight limp and was bleeding heavily from the thigh wound. The brög lifted his blade, slashing upward at Consus. He stepped back and away from the swing before lunging forward.  Consus thrust his blade at the brög's chest but the brög turned sideways, and the sword missed its mark. Instead of burying his sword in the brög's heart, Consus left a deep cut that ran across its chest.

Consus felt his foot catch on a root. He tried to balance himself but the momentum from his swing threw off his footing, and Consus held his breath as he tumbled to the ground. The injured brög seized the opportune moment of vulnerability and hacked away. Consus rolled across the dirt avoiding the blade, each powerful blow kicking up clumps of earth into the air. He finally rolled out of the brög's range of motion and leapt up from the ground. He was barely able to raise his sword in time to block the brög's own blade. The cruel iron blade connected with his own with such force that sparks flew into the air. The brög bore down on his blade with both hands on the hilt and growled at Consus.

"Puny boy," he muttered. He spat on Consus’ face and laughed. “Weak human.”

“Witless beast,” Consus growled in return, his blood boiling with rage. The blade of his sword began to glow a bright blue, a spark of lightning dancing along its edge. The brög’s eyes grew wide with fright. Consus’ sword cut through the brög blade, into his neck and down past his collarbone into his chest. The flesh charred along the path of the blade. The brög gasped and fell to Consus’ side.

Consus looked at the sword astonished and dropped it to the ground. How did that happen? he wondered. What had happened to his sword? It was no special weapon, and it had never done that in the past. Kyran would have told him if the sword he purchased for him was magical.

He picked the sword up off the ground and stared at it for a moment. It had returned to its normal steel gray. Perhaps I imagined it.

He surveyed the clearing and saw two of the felled brögs - and Kyran standing over them. They had been gutted, their internal organs exposed, and blood was spilling into the ground beneath their cooling bodies.  Kyran though had no sign of injury nor any labored breathing or even sweat upon his brow as he wiped the blood from the brög off his blade and his dark brown skin.

Ewan emerged from the forest and stepped into the light of the fire. “The scholar lives.”

Consus grinned though Ewan remained with a scowl. “The ‘scholar’ also managed to kill his first brög.”

“I noticed. Congratulations. Almost made it look easy.” He kicked the brög that had flown into a rage. Arrows covered his upper torso like porcupine quills. “That cretin refused to go down. I had to turn him into a pincushion and use my good arrows too! I’ve seen some tough brögs, but this one was ridiculous."

Kyran pat Ewan on the shoulder, "I count only four brögs. Where’s the fifth?"

As if on cue, a small fiery explosion beyond the trees lit up the forest. The wail of a burning brög rippled through the air. Moments later Altin walked out of the forest to stand between Kyran and Ewan.

He pulled his purple robes tighter around him and lowered the black wide brim hat that shadowed his gaunt face. The arcana magic he wielded as a mage drained his body of energy and kept him thin. “That is one less fire spell that I shall be casting this night," the mage said. "I thought you said you could handle all of them, Ewan?"

Consus kicked the corpse of the nearby brög. "I don't think he was expecting this one to grow.” The brög filled with arrows was a bizarre sight. His arms had grown disproportionately large compared to the rest of his body. "What happened to him?"  

Altin leaned in to examine the corpse. "Well, hello. This is interesting. I believe he was under the influence of a very rare spell." He removed his hat to reveal a third eye in the middle of his forehead; it’s pupil dilated and unblinking.

Consus tried not to stare at the strange eye. "A rare spell? Is that what your True Eye sees?” Altin's rare gift had come to him as a boy while he was studying magic in Anidrack. Altin seldom spoke of the experience, but he had told Consus that the eye had made him colorblind. He could only see colors in magic and spells now.

"Yes, a Berserker spell, I believe. It's an ancient spell their shamans once used on their warriors. It enhanced their strength and blinded them with rage while dulling their senses to pain. If I'm right, this is the first time anyone has seen this spell since the ancient gods disappeared."

Kyran poked the brög with his sword. "If the spell was lost, how was he able to use it?"

"I'm not sure, and I cannot even be certain it is the correct spell. His symptoms are most certainly the signature of such a spell. At least that is what the scrolls and ancient texts say. My True Eye only allows me to see arcana magic, not divina. It was only supposed to be cast by the priests of one of the ancient gods. Whether that is Arden or Nemoth, I am uncertain.”

Consus spoke up. "The Berserker Spell is specially designated for the priests, or children, of Nemoth: The Father of Shadows and Blood."

Altin looked up at Consus, putting his hat back on and covering his eye. "How do you know all that?"

Ewan raised a long arm to as if to answer. "Let me guess: you read it in a book."

Consus smiled at the witty answer. "Exactly, I read it from the History of Amarant by Julia Quinby."

Altin raised his eyebrows in surprise. "I thought that book was banned by the Quintetta. How did you manage to find a copy?"

"Even we scholars have our secrets," he answered. Altin laughed as Ewan huffed at the remark.

Altin turned his attention back to the disfigured brög. "That still leaves much to answer. If indeed this is some ancient magic, how did the brög come upon it and what does this mean? I had been under the assumption that all divine magic had disappeared from the world two thousand years ago. All that remains is the arcane magic."

"Could they have discovered the spell from a book or something?" Kyran suggested.

Altin gave his eldest brother a disappointed look. "Magic doesn't work like that. When the gods vanished from the realm of a men they took their divine magic with them. Even if the brögs did find a spell book, it would do them no good. They would have no source from which to draw their power."

"But you can still cast spells.” Altin gave an exasperated sigh in response.

Consus put his hand on Altin’s shoulder. "Yes, but that is a different kind of magic. Mages like Altin draw their power from the world around them. The Children of the Gods drew their magical power from Arden and Nemoth. Two different sources and two different magics: the arcana and the divina."

Ewan gave a chortled response. “I’ve never known brögs to read very much. Don't know what they'd do with a spell book anyway."

“They have their own language and means of communication,” Kyran said. “They are not stupid. You know that. I’m more concerned as to why they were here at all and why they have such a powerful spell. Did you hear what they said?”

Consus shrugged his shoulders. “It sounded as though they did not expect to be found.”

“It’s unlike them to be so covert. They usually just sneak over the mountains and attack the first thing they find. What were they hoping to accomplish?” Kyran stared at the corpse as though he expected an answer.

The brög began to convulse, and Altin leapt back with such sudden force that he nearly knocked over Consus.

Ewan cursed and pulled two more arrows from his quiver and fired them into the body of the wretched monster. "Just stay dead!"

"Hello," called a muffled voice from beneath the large corpse. "Is the fighting over now? Can someone get this smelly thing off me?" Consus breathed a sigh of relief; it was only Milo. The halfling must have been caught under the brög as he fell. Kyran and Ewan lifted the corpse of the brög and pulled the halfling out from underneath. The little man's clothes had several bloody stains and his sandy brown hair tangled with leaves and dirt. “You forgot me and left me under there!"

Kyran planted his hands on his hips. "No, you forgot to stay with the horses like you were supposed to. Did you even tie them down?"

"Of course, I tied them, just like Ewan showed me. Left, over, under, hook and right."

"Oh, stones no. It's left, over, under, left and hook. You can barely tie down your own boot straps," Ewan remarked.

"I can too. It's not fair that I never get to join in all the sneaky fun parts. I always have to stay with the horses," he complained.

"Well, you tend to get in trouble," Kyran said.

"That's not fair; the brög could smell me. He's not used to smelling halfling; we smell unique."

"You certainly do," Ewan said. Milo pulled a pine cone caught in his cloak and threw it at the woodsman who dodged it.

Kyran stepped between the two of them. "Enough of that. It's dark enough out here, and this spell we have won’t last forever. We'd best be on our way. We'll spend the night along the road and make our way to Normead in the morning. But first, we have to take the heads.”

Ewan pulled a hatchet from his belt. "Right then, you hold, and I'll chop. Promise I won't miss.”

Ewan and Kyran walked over to the two bodies near the fire. Consus stared at the magically disfigured brög body. "How fortunate of us. It's not every day that one witnesses an ancient spell. What do you think it means? You don't suppose that means that gods actually exist, do you?"

"I'm not entirely sure," Altin said. "Perhaps they do, and we just haven't known about it. Or this is just some other form of magic I am unfamiliar with."

“As I was fighting one of the brögs my sword began to glow with a blue light. You don’t suppose that was ancient magic, do you?”

“Really? That is interesting.” Altin removed his hat once more and opened his True Eye. Consus held his sword up before Altin’s eye as it gazed upon the blade. “I see nothing. No spells or enchantments of any sort. It appears you have an ordinary sword.” Perplexed, Consus placed his sword in its sheath. Perhaps it was a side-effect of the night eye spell that Altin had cast. Maybe that made him think the sword was blue. Altin moved beside the brög corpse. “Bring your sword here. An ordinary blade is just what we need to get the job done.”