On a bitterly cold day

Chapter Two: King Lowell

On a bitterly cold day, lacking of warmth or human compassion, the kingdom of Velez faced the queen mother’s treachery. The people prayed a god might intervene to deliver them from her madness, thereby preventing Wodensday from dawning, but their prayers went unanswered and the morning dawned anyway, as mornings always do, although graver than expected.

A thick white haze crept in from the sea, smoking the lower hills and denying a shaft of sunlight from penetrating the eastern horizon. Perhaps the god of war didn’t understand the situation, as he had not done his part to grace the land with protective magic.

King Lowell didn’t welcome pagan gods and had ignored the Privy Council’s warning. Preparing himself for a sentence that must be carried out, he stood in front of a golden reflecting glass, appraising his shoddy appearance. A strained forehead, grizzled cheeks, and tense worry lines darkened the hollows beneath his steel blue eyes. He searched for the likeness of his father in the reflecting glass, considering the blue of his own eyes while remembering the emerald green of the former king. His father’s visage had begun to slip away, blurring with the passage of time, but the man’s opinions still carried weight.

If the choice were yours to make, Fatherwould you have decreed the same punishment?

Lowell supposed it didn’t matter what a former king may have reasoned; he was dead, helpless to support the actions of the new king either way. The opinions of his royal parentage or his king’s men—or anyone else’s, for that matter—shouldn’t concern him. He alone must face his reservations and live with the consequences.

Still, the deed he must bear witness to brought him no joy. He did not smile as he withdrew from the mercuric glass. Good humor would not find him smiling on this sickening day.

The Ebony Queen, book two in the series A Reign of Blood and Magic, is available for preorder and releases on July 14th, 2020.

Published by Abby Lane

Abby Lane is the author of the dark fantasy series, A Reign of Blood and Magic.

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