I’m happy to host an excerpt today, this time from “The Rising Wind”, an epic fantasy novel by author Ken Floro III. I hope you enjoy the snippet!
The two trolls at the edge of the camp bared yellow fangs and growled at Marcavius, drawing the attention of the rest of the clan. Then they began shuffling toward him, walking intermittently upright and on their knuckles, like apes. Each was massive, with visibly powerful limbs and a broad chest, layered with plates of chitin, like a lobster’s tail. Their mouths took up half their monstrous heads, framed by lantern jaws which opened deep and wide, and were filled with jagged triangular fangs.
As they advanced on him, Marcavius felt a paralyzing chill race down his spine. Suddenly, regretted the decision to try and rescue Balthazar. Not that it mattered now. The trolls were closing on him quickly and he had to act. As was customary at the academy before a duel, Marcavius raised his oathsword and offered a fencer’s salute to his adversaries.
When the trolls saw a weapon flash in the setting sun they paused for a moment. The rest of the clan was now on its feet, watching the commotion at the edge of the clearing. While he still had some distance between himself and his enemies, Marc then turned and dashed back into the forest. Behind him he heard the trolls suddenly howl and come charging after him with loud, thumping footfalls.
Marc ran for several paces before passing his cousin’s hiding place. Then turned and planted himself in a duelist’s pose, with his sword raised before him. A moment later, the trolls came crashing into view. They stopped when they saw their quarry obviously coiled for a fight. Like any predator, they were more cautious of prey that could defend itself. Grunting and snarling, they slowly began to move in opposite directions, clearly planning to surround the lone knight in front of them.
The Rising Wind
Author: Ken Floro III
Genre: Fantasy / Adventure
Have you ever dreamed of being swept into adventure alongside a dashing knight or two? Would you be outraged if you were suddenly thrust into terrifying dangers against your will? What if you found yourself trapped on a cursed island, in the middle of a haunted sea, surrounded by your worst enemies? When a conniving treasure-hunter hijacks the Rising Wind, its passengers will find themselves facing all this and more!
“The same trick didn’t work a third time. When Marc stepped into the ring of firelight and shouted a challenge, his adversaries shrank into the shadows across from him – more cautious now than they had been earlier. Their broad limbs and hulking silhouettes prowled the darkness at the edge of the forest, disguising their numbers. Standing exposed, in the open clearing, Marc felt vulnerable, but he knew he couldn’t run. For an anxious moment, he just stood there, uncertain what to do next. The curse of inexperience was lack of foresight, and Marc hadn’t stopped to calculate an alternative in case his original plan failed. Now he had to think on the spot. Unfortunately the present circumstance was no place for contemplation. So, in that dangerous moment, he acted on instinct.”
Ken was born and raised in the Southside of Saint Louis. By the way, did you know Saint Louis was named after King Louis IX? He was the only French monarch ever to be sainted, in part because he led two Crusades (which didn’t go so well), but mostly because his grandson, Phillip the Fair, sort of abducted the papacy to France after finagling one of his henchmen into becoming Pope. Since adding a saint to the family tree would put a little extra burnish on his royal reputation, Phillip had his pet Pope, Clement V, do him a solid. You’re welcome for the trivia.
Now, where was I? Oh, yeah, we were talking about Ken Floro III. After earning a degree in World Literature, followed by a degree in Culinary Arts, Ken soon made the obvious career move and went to work in medicine. If you’re having any trouble guessing why, then you’ve obviously never served time in the literary or culinary fields. A little taste of reality can suddenly turn a healthy paycheck, normal working hours, and long-term job security into sumptuous delicacies.
Despite the sudden change in his employment trajectory, Ken never turned away from his dream of writing. He’d nurtured a lifelong creative ambition, which had gained direction when a funny true story he wrote for a high school English class became so popular with his classmates they traded copies of it in the hall and passed them up and down the bus. After that, as they say, ‘the die was cast’.
By the way, the ancient historian Suetonius originally coined that phrase, claiming Julius Caesar said it when he crossed the River Rubicon – but in Latin, of course, iacta alea est. Ever since, those words have been used to indicate a portentous moment that affects the course of all subsequent history. In Caesar’s case, crossing the Rubicon sparked the first of the civil wars that ultimately destroyed the Roman Republic and replaced it with that institution most abhorrent to traditional Romans (who had all been conveniently killed or exiled by then): monarchy. In Ken’s case, in just means that English paper led him to focus on writing as a means to channel what the voices in his head kept telling him.
Wait! Did I say ‘the voices in his head’? Whoops, sorry. Just a little joke there – ha-ha! What I meant to say was that Ken turned to writing to express the, uh, inspiration he received from . . . the muses. That’s sounds less crazy, doesn’t it? Yeah, let’s go with that. The editor can fix all this later, right? Anyway, ever since that catalytic moment in high school, Ken has been writing as a hobby and a passion. Thus far, he’s published eight books, along with several other tidbits, all of which are available on his website, southsidecavaliers.com.