Title: Kallum's Fury
Series: Lake of Dragons Series #2
By: E. Michael Mettille
Publication Date: May 31, 2016
Publisher: TMR Books
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Five summers have passed since Maelich and Cialia bested Kallum over the Forgotten Forest and scattered the god to the wind. Ouloos is entering an era of peace like none the world has ever known. Or is it?
Tragedy strikes. Ymitoth is killed at the hands of dead-eyed men bearing an uncanny resemblance to Kallum’s priests. The loss proves too great for Maelich to cope. His sanity slips and he vanishes.
Cialia embarks on a quest to find her lost brother. Along the way she learns her former city, Druindahl, has entered a period of darkness. The people she once protected are at the mercy of mercenaries interested only in coin and presided over by a king powerless to stop them. The cruelty she finds in the hearts of these horrible, false riders of Druindahl is more than she can stand. She finds her flame. The aftermath challenges the very core of her moral beliefs.
Meanwhile, war threatens the shores west of Havenstahl. Without the city’s two greatest heroes to protect her, one man must stand up and lead the armies of the greatest city of men against an unstoppable force of monsters from across the Great Sea. Riddled with uncertainty, Daritus must stand tall against overwhelming self-doubt and lead his soldiers into a war more perilous than any in Havenstahl’s history. Ouloos will never be the same.
As the two stepped into the orange, flickering glow of a blazing fire, they caught the attention of the twenty or so soldiers lounging around it. A voice among the crowd shouted, “The giant slayer lives!” The rest of the small group erupted in a cheer that brought more soldiers from other fires burning around the camp. In a few moments, hundreds of men were crowding as closely as they could to the hero that led them into battle and killed a giant.
“Don’t be crowding too close,” Doentaat hollered above the murmuring throng. “The giant slayer still be needing to heal.” Then the king of dwarves paused, collected himself, and shouted with every ounce of force his lungs could muster, “But Daritus, the killer of giants, lives!”
This sent the crowd into a wild frenzy. A cheer louder than a crack of thunder erupted from the throng of wily soldiers.
“Let them giants take note,” a voice rose above the rest.
“General Daritus fears no man, no beast, and certainly no giants,” another answered.
Still another shouted, “Long live the king.”
And yet another answered, “Yes, King Daritus.”
The buzzing and shouting continued. Congratulatory remarks filling the air as the soldiers reveled in their general’s glory.
Finally, Daritus raised his right arm and shouted, “I am no king.”
“Quiet,” Doentaat yelled. “Let the general speak.”
The murmuring slowly subsided as Daritus continued, “My friends, soldiers, comrades, I am no king. I am a man, a soldier just as all of you are. I am a man who stands tall against fear, as all of you do. I am a man who is willing to give my life for the good of Havenstahl and Alhouim and all of Ouloos.” He paused as the crowd finally grew completely silent, finally adding, “But I am only a man.”
Daritus began to pace back and forth in front of his tent as he continued, looking around the crowd into as many eyes as he could, “I am not a god. I am not special. I believe the people I represent deserve to live in a world free from the fear of being trampled, ripped apart, or even eaten by the likes of the monsters challenging our shores. But…I am just a man.”
“Just a man who kills giants,” a voice answered from the crowd that erupted again in response.
Once the crowd calmed back down, Daritus stopped pacing and continued, “Yes, I killed a giant. And not just any giant, I killed their leader. It was a general against a general, and a leader of men prevailed. I have been battered, teetered on the brink of death, and yet here I stand very much alive. What does that tell us?” He paused, glanced around the crowd, and then answered his own question, “It tells us giants are not invincible. They bleed and die just as we do. Their hides are tough, but our swords are sharp and strong.” He paused again as a murmur swept through the crowd. Finally, he added, “When the sun rises on a new day, I cannot lead you into battle, but I will be with you in spirit. Every grong you cut down, every trogmortem you slay, and every giant that falls before the might of men and dwarves will strengthen my spirit.”
A brief cheer blasted from the crowd.
“All of you, men and dwarves, you all share my desire. All of you have the strength to see your will done on the battlefield. What stands in the way of your glory? Giants, trogmortem, and grongs are horrible, nightmare creatures that trample everything and leave a path of destruction in their wake. Yes, they are terrifying. They growl and snarl and snap. They fight for no cause though. All of you standing before me, all of you fight for a cause. Do not be swayed from it or intimidated by their posturing. Think about the innocent folk who sit huddled in their homes, terrified by the monsters threatening their peace. Think about those who have fled the coming storm and challenged the dangerous trail to Druindahl, ripped from their land by fear. Think about your fallen friends who have died by your side. They are your cause. They are whom you fight for. Let those images burn into your brain, and unleash that fury on the beasts that dare challenge your might. I am just a man, and I killed a giant. Who among you will be the next to make that boast?” The volume of Daritus’s voice had slowly been rising as the words poured from his mouth. By the time the last words fired from his lips, they were carried along by the strength of an all-out shout.
E. Michael Mettille is the pen name of Mike Reynolds. Mike Reynolds is the author of Lake of Dragons and Hell and the Hunger. Mike has also written numerous short stories and poems. He has spent the last twenty years in direct marketing, print, and communication. Mike is fascinated by history, belief systems, the human condition and how all of those things work together to define who we are as a people. The world is a wonder and, based on the history of us, it is a wonder we have a world left to wonder about. Born and raised in Milwaukee, WI, he now lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Shelia.