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Dark Priest

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Dark coven, undead monsters, giant rodents, and demoniac high priest. Defeat them or a child and her world die.
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Author: P. M. Griffin
Description

Lorcan, the Elven King, Sirona Carey, his queen, and their comrades former ghost Aidan, and the leprechaun Tun hasten to investigate and thwart an in incursion of the Dark Host on a continent of the world Terrastis.

The four begin with almost no information about the peril they face, because the commander of their forces on Terrastis had in a gross error of judgment withdrawn all his troops from the affected continent a year previously, but by dint of reasoning plus their knowledge of the area itself and of their foes, they soon realize they are in the midst of a terrifying crisis.

Their enemies’ plan is almost complete, and there is no time in which to summon aid. The Elven King and his companions must set themselves against and defeat the human members of a Dark coven plus undead monsters, giant rodents, and a seemingly demoniac high priest to stop the sacrifice that will initiate the annihilation of life on Terrastis. It is a seemingly hopeless task for four soldiers to accomplish, but they have no alternative but to move ahead with their attack.

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Dark Priest  
by P.M. Griffin  
Sequel to The Elven King  
Fantasy  
January 29, 2019  
Cover by Charlotte Volnek  
217 pages  
978-1-77392-032-0  
$5.99US  
Fantasy, elves, dark powers, corcery, combat, human sacrifice, realm of time,  

Excerpt

He reached the dais, crouched close beside it. Instinctively, he glanced up along its perpendicular side and along that of the glistening altar.

His enemy was there, seemingly far above him. Lorcan froze for a moment in surprise. It was Harley but a Harley different from what he had anticipated finding. This was not the youth he had driven from Sirona’s homeland long before, nor was it the aged survivor of so many decades. This was a man in the full of his strength, a powerfully muscled man who appeared to be in his late twenties.

Timon’s face filled him with horror despite his full knowledge of the dark priest’s allegiance. It was warped and terrible with a demoniac hate, and even with the battle fury coursing through body and soul, the King of the Elves felt his courage waver. That grave-white mask with its blazing, fire-reflecting eyes held nothing at all that was human. Its appearance was that of those dread beings who had dedicated all their awesome Power to the service of the Dark Prince’s will in the ages before human or his own time had begun.

He read the evil intellect and sentient fury blazing there, and he saw, too, the blind, ravening rage of a rabid beast. The teeth, seemingly huge and glistening in the strange light as the lips curled back from them in an inaudible snarl, further fueled that last image until he could not be certain whether this horrific apparition was demon or man or animal.

Lorcan’s dismay held him the barest moment, but short as the time was, it had cost him the advantage. The first strike would come from his enemy.

The Ard Rí raised his sword to meet it.

Timon’s cold laugh rang out simultaneously with his attack.

 Lorcan cast himself aside and to the floor as a ball of scarlet flame exploded in the space he had occupied an instant before.

The elf felt dazed. Incredibly, Harley was his own Power master, and he was strong in its use, strong and fast.

The Elven King fought to rally himself. The dark priest would attack again and do it soon. Lorcan knew he had to strike and strike with full effect. Timon, or this demon Timon now was, would not permit such an affront to go unavenged. He dared not do so, for in defeat, he was dead whether he survived the confrontation or not. The archtraitor he served rarely accepted or forgave failure and would not pardon it in this case.

Harley’s eyes gleamed. He had nothing to fear. He would give his Prince this presumptuous elf and the two companions he had brought with him before destroying the Virgilian child, four victims, three of them significant in themselves, in the place of the original one.

The mirthless laugh sounded again. Lorcan looked up to see Timon’s fingers spreading wide as he began a dissonant chant.

The Ard Rí paled. He knew the gesture if he could not catch the words. Within microseconds now, the spell would be complete, and a killing arc of flame would shoot from those extended fingers to engulf and slay him. He would not die alone. Sirona and Aidan were holding their own and better against the remaining Dark Ones and were succeeding in keeping them away from him and his far more critical battle, but they could not face the coven’s master and hope to live. Once he fell, his comrades would quickly be overcome, and the agony of the child they had come to save would begin.

Desperately, he reached for his own Power.

It responded. Without direction from his conscious mind, his will surged within him, and a stream of light leaped outward, pale gold light as searingly hot as a flare from the surface of a star. In another instant, it expanded into an immense ball of flame.

Because it originated in his own being and was no mere response to a sorcerer’s spell-command, it came without forewarning, with no delay while word was spoken and pattern woven. The dark priest had no chance to raise a defense against it. His blazing eyes widened, and he flung himself down behind the shielding bulk of the altar even as his opponent’s sending struck.

The golden bolt hit the stone squarely and exploded into a cloud of radiance too brilliant for mortal eye to bear, then it vanished again so quickly it might have seemed no more than an illusion had the ruin of the once-perfect altar not given testimony to the reality of its presence.

The stone still stood, a charred and fissured shadow of what it had been a second before, shattered but also cleansed so it could never again be bent to the Dark Prince’s murderous service.

An object lay on its blackened surface, small and ominously still. The little girl appeared to be perfect, untouched, but the elf still feared rescue had come too late.

He scrambled up beside her and saw to his relief that Nyla was alive and apparently unharmed, although terror all but leaped from her starting eyes. She did not move, obviously could not do so. Ghoul paralysis, he deduced. It would wear off of its own accord in a matter of hours. Her spirit and her mind were at greater risk now. An adult schooled in the horrors associated with Creation’s primal war could be hopelessly scarred by less than this helpless and innocent child had seen and endured.

The massive altar had shielded Timon Harley from the force of his enemy’s sending. With the immediate danger passed, the dark priest stood up, a dagger glinting in his hand. He was determined to give the prince he served his sacrifice, this part of it at the very least, even if it had to be without the fullness of the prescribed ritual.

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