Return of the Ancients: The Valkeryn Chronicles 1
Sample of Return of the Ancients: The Valkeryn Chronicles 1
And So, the Prophecy Begins
The king sat astride his armoured horse, drew in a deep breath and exhaled slowly as he looked out across the bloody plain below him. Broken bodies and armour were strewn over the entire field, and the smell caused him to bare his teeth and growl deep in his broad chest. He turned to an approaching warrior, and nodded for him to speak.
‘No survivors, sire.’
The king turned back to the field with sad eyes. ‘I know; I could already sense it.’
He snorted as if to expel the sickening odour of death, and shook his head in disbelief. ‘But how? Two hundred of our mightiest warriors cut down. How does that happen? They wouldn’t dare to attack us in broad daylight – they’re nothing but assassins, cutters of throats in the dark.’ He turned to the warrior once again. ‘But if not them, then who – who would dare it . . . who could dare it?’
The king spurred the horse to where another figure crouched down looking intently at something in the mud. He pointed and moved his gauntleted hand over the shape, and then looked up to the king.
‘A print – a Slinker, I think . . . but the size. Impossible.’
The king stared at the shape in huge print with its knife-like claws, then looked away towards the horizon. ‘I have heard legends of the giants from the dark lands.’ He looked around at the carnage. ‘Whoever did this did not just want to win the day, but wanted to grind us to dust. This was nothing but bloody savagery.’
He looked up at the sky, noting the position of the sun – mid morning and the heat was rising. They needed to get their fallen below ground before the scavengers came. He felt exhaustion weighing heavily on his shoulders. It was not his age or his armour, but the feeling of impending danger that seemed to drag the strength from his frame. He had fought many wars, but none had caused the sense of disquiet that he now felt deep inside his chest.
Another warrior plodded through the mud and stopped to look up at the king, his mouth working, but no words came.
‘What is it?’
‘Sire, some . . .’
The king waited for a few more seconds. ‘Speak, Karnak. Fear nothing.’
The warrior drew in a breath. ‘Some of the bodies . . . have been . . . partially eaten.’
The king lowered his head and shut his eyes. He nodded slowly. ‘May Odin give us strength and wisdom, for I fear a war like no other comes to Valkeryn.’ He turned to the warrior. ‘See that the princess is brought in from the forest.’
Karnak tilted his head. ‘And if she won’t come? Last time she put an arrow into a warrior’s leg.’
The king spun around on him. ‘Tell her it’s the king’s order. That girl needs to start behaving more like a royal charge, and spend less time daydreaming or testing her arm in the forests.’
He dropped the horse’s reins and reached up to lift the silver helmet from his head. He ran one hand up through his hair, and looked around, scanning the ridge.
The breath caught in his throat – a silhouette on the rise. It could not be . . . He blinked and tried to speak, but no words came. All he could do was lift his arm to point. At last he found his voice. ‘Have I gone mad? Karnak, do you see?’
The tall warrior followed his gaze and then frowned in bewilderment. ‘Then I am also mad, sire. I see, but it is impossible – they are a myth.’
The sun dropped a little lower and the silhouette disappeared. The king dropped his hand, and nodded. ‘All things are possible in these darkening days.’
‘Shall we go after it, sire?’
‘No. Events will unfold as they are meant to.’ He turned to the warrior. ‘And so, the prophecy begins.’
Arnold Singer is just like any other fifteen-year-old boy growing up in the suburbs average height, average looks. The love of his life thinks he’s a geek … that is if she notices him at all. Pretty normal, and pretty boring, really.
But this normal life is about to change forever. On a school science trip to watch the test firing of a new particle accelerator, Arn is caught up in an accident that propels him into an extraordinary new world.
In this new land, Arn is the last human alive. It is populated with mysterious and bloodthirsty creatures, some of whom want him dead, while others see him as their only hope for survival.
Can Arn survive in a hostile world and save his new friends? Or has he arrived in time to witness the fall of a mighty empire?
An epic tale of love, betrayal and war in a world both familiar and terrifying.
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Greig Beck grew up across the road from Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia. His early days were spent surfing, sunbaking and reading science fiction on the sand. He then went on to study computer science, immerse himself in the financial software industry and later received an MBA. Greig is the director of a software company but still finds time to write and surf. He lives in Sydney, with his wife, son and an enormous black German shepherd.Find out more