I really, really, really had hoped that Second Son would be available by now. Long before now, actually. However, CreateSpace is still being bratty about printing my cover correctly, so we keep trying things.
I’ve ordered two rounds of proof copies thus far, and am now waiting on round 3. I promise, as SOON as it looks as beautiful in person as it does in the jpeg, it will be available for purchase and I WILL let you all know the SECOND that happens!
However, while we wait….. an excerpt to whet your appetite.
The day of the tournament dawned bright and clear. Rhoyan woke up early and stayed in bed for as long as he could stand it, which was about five minutes, before jumping out of bed and dashing across the hall to Ky’s room.
“Ky?” Rhoyan whispered, opening the door just a crack. Even in his excitement, he knew better than to wake his older brother should he still be asleep.
No answer came from the lump on the bed, so Rhoyan quietly closed the door and tiptoed away. He heaved a sigh of bitter disappointment and paced back and forth in front of the door, bored and restless. He went back to his room and stared dolefully at his bed. Knowing he could not go back to sleep he pulled out his sword and began practicing his routine. For three months Rhoyan had been practicing his swordsmanship in his room late at night before bed. He had been using the sword his uncle had given him, and it was slowly building up his arm strength. He had also begun training with both hands. He was getting to be nearly as good with his left hand as he was with his right.
Rhoyan ran through the other exercises Master Yevo had taught him to help build up both his stamina and his strength. The young prince had always been the best in his rank, mostly because he had more innate skill and speed than the rest of the boys in his age range. But now Rhoyan was determined to add hard work to his raw talent.
Part of his new enthusiasm was due to his classroom studies. The young prince had been studying the great wars and the ancient Llycaelon heroes this year in Master Hobard’s class. The stories and histories had sparked in his young mind a love for tales of battle and a deep respect for the warriors of old. A desire to become one of those heroes had begun to grow within the young prince. Master Hobard was thrilled with Rhoyan’s sudden interest in history, though he suspected the prospect of a tournament had more to do with it than anything he was doing as a teacher. The old master did not mind though; the boy was learning, that was the important thing.
Ky continued to be a reluctant attendant in the classroom, but he went to every class for two reasons. The first reason was that his father had ordered him to. The second, and perhaps the more significant of the two in Ky’s mind, was because Captain Ramius had begun to take over the boy’s warrior training, and he threatened to make him clean stalls if he so much as thought about missing class. Although he found it hard to forgive his uncle after his riding lesson, he still respected him, and if their relationship was strained by Ky’s humiliation in the pasture, it was strengthened by Ky’s respect for Ramius’ experience with weapons. Ky struggled with a dichotomy of feelings when it came to his new tutor. He longed for his uncle’s approval, even as he resented his need for it. He sometimes missed the laid-back, friendly relationship they had once had, but the rift formed by the riding lesson made going back impossible.
“You need to learn your country’s history, adding sums, reading, writing, rhetoric, and you especially need to learn about government and how this country is run. Now don’t argue with me, boy: you will be king one day, do you hear? These are things you will need to know!” The gruff captain had made it clear that there would be no debating the point. So for the first time in his short life, Ky had a record of perfect attendance in Master Hobard’s classroom.
“Rhoyan, you up?” Ky whispered from the doorway.
Rhoyan halted his practice and sheathed the great sword at his brother’s voice. He walked over to the door, barely able to contain his excitement. “Ky! Finally!”
“How long have you been awake?” Ky asked. Looking at Rhoyan with a discerning eye, he took in the fact that his little brother was fully dressed, flushed and breathing hard as though he had been running or exercising.
“An hour or so,” Rhoyan said, shrugging, “I couldn’t sleep anymore. The tournament’s today!”
“Looks like you’ve warmed up already. We should go down and get some hot breakfast; we don’t want to perform on empty stomachs.”
They headed down to the kitchens. Queen Fiora was sitting at a table with Lita when they arrived. She beckoned for them to join her.
“My two, fine warriors,” she said, giving them each a hug. “I knew you would be too excited to sleep, so I came down here early to ask Lita to prepare you some breakfast.”
“Thank you,” Ky said, looking at the spread before them.
Lita had prepared them a wonderful breakfast, but they soon discovered they could not eat very much. Their stomachs were jumping around in nervous and excited anticipation. Fiora smiled understandingly.
“You’ll be hungry enough after the tournament,” she said.
“Let’s go check on our armor,” Ky suggested.
“I have to get ready, as well,” Fiora said. “I won’t get to see you until after the tournament, I’m sure. Let me look at you.”
They stood and she stared at them, a pride and love mingled on her face. “Fit to be kings,” she announced. “I can’t believe you’re both growing up so fast.” She embraced them both and kissed their foreheads.
“Mother…” Ky pretended to grimace, but then he hugged her back.
“All Right, I know I can’t keep you here any longer. Go on, work out some of your restlessness. I’ll be cheering for you!”