Today’s stop on the Feel Real Fantasy blog tour celebrating the completion of the Rys Rising series by Tracy Falbe presents an excerpt from the third novel New Religion: Rys Rising Book III.
In this scene Cruce Chenomet has just suffered a humiliating political loss when he tried unsuccessfully to take charge of the militia during the crisis of an invasion. The new Militia Master comes to confront him…
Through the window he saw a cadre of Kahtepian militiamen. Cruce frowned, suspicious of their errand.
He opened his front door and saw Leifer mounting the steps, alone. His honor guard remained in the saddle.
Cruce crossed his arms and greeted his new master with a disgruntled frown.
“I would talk to you, Commander Chenomet,” Leifer said.
Without inviting him in, Cruce said, “Then talk.”
The Kahtepian appraised Cruce carefully. He knew the Kwellstan commander to be hot tempered. Leifer hoped he could artfully assert his authority and mend the obvious antagonism of his rival.
“Bellastan Carver’s funeral will be at sunset. We be cremating him in the main square,” Leifer informed him.
“I’ll come,” Cruce said, and his hostile gaze urged Leifer to get off his porch.
The Kahtepian narrowed his eyes but managed to tame his tongue. “Look, Chenomet, your bitterness be easy to see, but we have to pull together for Nufal—”
Cruce cut him off and asked him to tell his brilliant plan for defeating the invaders.
“You know we be waiting for the Daykash,” Leifer said.
“So we don’t do a thing until the Nebakarz say so?” Cruce asked.
“Great Divinity, man, you know we need them. You say so yourself,” Leifer said hotly.
“That’s when I thought they would help me,” Cruce muttered and felt the cold spreading roots of his sprouting faithlessness.
“Be sensible. Did you consider that the Nebakarz decided it might be too disrupting to the militia not to have a Kahtepian leader?” Leifer challenged.
“We’ll see if they were right about that,” Cruce said.
Riled, Leifer told him he would not tolerate Cruce’s pouting and insubordination, but Cruce interrupted him. “Leifer, if you want my cooperation, you have to give me a free rein, as Carver did. He appreciated the contributions I made. I won’t be made impotent by your friend Charl Jadun.”
“I’m here talking to you,” Leifer pointed out. “What do you want?”
The question disarmed Cruce a little and made him realize that he was being destructively difficult. His pride budged and he stepped aside. “Come in,” he said.
When he closed the door, he faced the new Militia Master and declared, “I want to take my men north to pursue the invaders and defend the settlements.”
Leifer was aghast. “You can’t! We barely be having a chance since you arrived to reinforce us if the invaders come back,” he argued.
“But what about those people? They have no chance,” Cruce said.
Leifer exhaled sympathetically. Abandoning so many tortured him, but he had to be practical. “When the Daykash arrives, we’ll be getting something worked out with the tabre. We can at least set ourselves to reclaiming the Burlip watchpost. No man has reported from there. We’ll head that far as soon as the tabre be ready,” he offered.
Cruce slapped a fist against a wall and leaned there, trying to think. He knew they needed tabre help. Surely the Daykash would pursue the invaders, but when? The Burlip watchpost was only a morning’s ride away. Surely they could go check it now. From there they could at least survey the northern plains.
Guessing the direction of Cruce’s thoughts, Leifer gently said, “I know you’ve put a lot into that little charity project of yours in Upella, but you not be the only man invested on the frontier.”
“Then let’s go defend it!” Cruce cried, facing the Militia Master again.
“There not be enough of us!” Leifer shouted, finally losing his temper and gesturing broadly with his hands. “We have to defend Kahtep. We need your Kwellstan fighters here with us. I be the Militia Master and I say so, and it’s what the people of Kahtep want!”
Cruce countered, “The people of Kahtep would prefer we defended them before the invaders return to their doorsteps! They’ve gone north. I say we pursue them and punish them before they come back.”
“You don’t know what you be talking about, Chenomet. We already tried to stop them outside the city and lost. We’re pinned till the Daykash be helping us. Now if you be stepping one toe out of this city without my leave, I be having you locked in chains. Not the first time for you, you crazy boat-ridin’ bastard,” Leifer declared, glad to have the threat finally out.
“Lock me up now,” Cruce dared and pushed him in the shoulder. Taken by surprise, Leifer stumbled back a couple steps, but he caught himself and came at Cruce with a furious fist. Cruce blocked it easily and shoved Leifer away again.
“You’re not the first Militia Master I’ve had it out with,” Cruce said.
Leifer willfully checked his temper. With clear contempt he reminded Cruce that the only thing that restrained him at that moment was the need to keep the militias united because of the dire need. Leifer continued, “I be forgiving this indiscretion, Chenomet, but you disobey me and you’re done. We don’t need you.”
Cruce yanked open the front door. “I’ll keep that in mind,” he said.
Tracy Falbe invites you to give her characters a chance to feel real to you. The Rys Rising fantasy series is driven by magic, passion, bravery, ambition, conquest, and defeat. Rys Rising: Book I is a free ebook and hopefully your gateway to an epic reading experience.
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