09 June 2009

The Stone Lord part 1

Stone Lord

By Brenna Lyons

Note: The muse loves games of ‘what if.’ In this case, the game went something like... We know that the Stone’s plans are capable of going awry. We know the young Stone lord is typically in his twenties, thirties, or even forties, when the previous one dies, leaving the younger lord to the Stone.

So, what would happen if the Stone’s timeline for succession to the Stone was fouled, and the young Stone lord was a child, when his predecessor died? Would the Stone be lost to them, until the new lord was cursed? Would a child hold the Stone? As it turned out, the Stone gave me the story of a young Stone lord from an earlier Beast War, in just such a situation. The answer was...neither of the above...

Happy reading!


{Come to me. Come now.}

Brand went still, listening for the voice again. Who was it? The bright sunlight and the lack of response from his older brothers who had sealed their curses attested that it wasn’t a beast.

{Come now.}

His head spinning, he launched into the trees. His young legs pumped hard, and he scrambled over rocks, jumped obstacles, skidded down steep inclines.

His lungs burned. His muscles ached. Brand was sure he was bleeding from a dozen places, and still he ran, following the voice calling to him.

At last, he collapsed, panting, shaking, coated in sweat. His body protested a hundred abuses, and he was too weary to do more than scoop a handful of water from the rushing stream an arm’s length away and give in to his body’s demands to crumple.

Brand stared at the darkened sky in disbelief. His mother hadn’t summoned him to midday meal yet when the voice had called to him. He’d lost the day? Though his aching body confirmed that he could have run that long, his reasoned mind insisted even a Warrior sealed in Krankheit had limits that didn’t stretch this far.

How far had he come? Why had he? There were no answers forthcoming.


In the next instant, he did.

* * * *

“We will find him,” Tel promised his mate.

How the boy had managed to disappear so completely was a mystery. One moment, he’d been playing with his brothers and cousins. The next, he’d vanished.

So far, the best trackers had only been able to follow him a league, and they’d lost his trail four times, in that length. A trained Warrior couldn’t travel so stealthily, let alone an untrained boy. But, he had.

“Why would he do this?” Gia sobbed.

There was no answer to that. It was as much a mystery as everything else about this situation. Brand was a responsible child...or had been until this.

At a loss to offer any further comfort, he hugged her to his chest. Gods but her pain killed him. When he found Brand, the boy would learn a lesson usually reserved for those cursed already.

* * * *

{Wake, young Warrior. Come to me.}

Brand dragged himself up, emptied his bladder, and swallowed several mouthfuls of water. He looked around, but he didn’t recognize his surroundings. Plants he’d never seen before confirmed that he was far from the safety of his home.

He’d spent the night in the open, only his father’s amulet protecting him, and he had no idea which way was home.

{I protect you. Come to me.}

Brand winced at the sharp edge to that voice, and it softened.

{Come to me, Brand of the Sword.}

He nodded numbly, pivoting on his bare heel. Where had his boots gone? Had he lost them the day before and not realized it?

The voice crooned to him. He placed the sun at his back. Then he was in motion again.

The world sped past him, around him, a blur of motion.

He stumbled to his knees, letting his head fall back. The sky was dark again, the day inexplicably gone. Brand slid to his side, reveling in the damp soil beneath his cheek, letting his eyes close.

How long would this last?

{Tomorrow. Come to me tomorrow.}

Brand groaned at the idea of another day like this.


* * * *

“How could you lose him?” Tel shouted at his brother.

Bil ground his teeth. “I cannot explain it. How could a child do this?”

Tel’s answer was lost in the thunder of hoof beats. He turned, watching Alreed of the Sun pull his horse to a halt. The other man tipped his head in a curt welcome.

“We need your son, Tel,” he blurted out.

The words to reply stuck in his throat.

Bil did it for him. “You need which son? And why?”

Alreed sighed. “My father is dead.”

Tel’s heard pounded in fear. “The Stone.” Gods alive! Had the Stone called for Brand?

“He was carrying it,” Alreed hurried on. “He died before we reached him, and without the connection of his living injuries, we have been unable to find the Stone. Perhaps...your son could--”

“Brand is missing,” Tel grumbled. “But now I know why he is.”

Alreed let loose a string of harsh curses. “I must return to my range. We will have every Warrior searching for the young Stone lord.”


Alreed turned back, his brow up in a silent question.

“I am coming with you.”

He hesitated only a moment and then nodded.

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