“What have you found, Dorofej?” Kinhar called from a distance.
“Dig!” Dorofej whistled at Branimir through his clenched teeth, “Find me the moonstone, Ojenek. In the palm of your hand, it will fit. Smaller than your fist, it is!”
Branimir bobbed his head.
“Oreg’henite, the Ojanen Throne, Kinhar,” Dorofej sung out in a bard’s tone, causing distraction from Branimir, “Magnificent, yes? The Kras were slaves to their own before the Highborn, serving the Emperor night and day to find gemstones and precious rocks for the construction of Oreg’henite from Gjetvald Meas, the First Emperor of Ojanen, to the Ninth. It took era upon era to craft the chair! Still, Gjetvald had the most prevalent contribution being the First to rule in Eevaltti with each subsequent ruler adding bits more, they did.”
Branimir dug frantically behind Oreg’henite in the soft, muddied soil that lined its rear. His fingernails filled with red muck as he dug deeper and deeper into the earth.
“The Kras would sit beneath their ruler at these stone tables, breaking stone from clay, gem from stone, yes? An eternal search for jewels to match their desire in the depths of the mountains, they did have.”
Branimir’s fingers touched a leather pouch, damp with decay. He pulled it free from the mud, ripped loose the leather binding, and dumped the contents into his hands eagerly. There, in his hand, was the bluish moonstone, sparkling as though it were filled with an inner fire, called Ojenek.
Branimir smiled wide. Ojenek, the jewel of an emperor, the talisman of the Kras, was held firmly in his grasp!
Falmagon raised next to Kinhar, passing through the columns, his single eye always watching and wary, “What did they discover in all their digging, Dorofej?” He clutched Habërmani, clearly marking that he was aware of the significance of relics and the Koldovstvo found within them.
“I found it!” Branimir yelped in delight, his little voice echoing from wall to tunnel like the uplifting exclamations of a hundred Kras cutting the sediment from their first shiny stone. He stood erect by Oreg’henite holding the Ojenek in the air between his finger and thumb jubilantly.
“Doltish, imprudent, Kras!” Dorofej’s palm connected with his forehead. He shook his head, the tassels from his chin bouncing in defeat.
Kaelandur was forged by the Highborn to slay one of their own, Nedezhda Mager. As their slave, Branimir Baran never thought to question his cruel masters until he is forced to take part in the execution. His actions begin a chain of events that will lead him to confront demons, cannibals, and himself as he is forced to question his own morality and the true meaning of good and evil.
Joshua began crafting the world for the dark fantasy series, Thrice Nine Legends, in 1999. Melkorka, the first book of the series, was published in 2015. The sequel, Dyndaer, will be released in January 2016. He is also the author of the Hawkhurst Saga. Joshua currently lives in Alaska with his wife and children.
Anaerfell: Coming October 2015
Dyndaer: Coming January 2016