Yesterday was the fourth anniversary of Sanctuary of Nine Dragons: Book Three. Over the course of the last year all three of the books in the trilogy have had their fourth anniversaries, I just failed to mention them. So I am going to change that today.
April 26, 2013 Palace of the Twelve Pillars was released with a print version being released November, 2016.
Palace of the Twelve Pillars: Book One
Release Date: April 26, 2013
MuseItUp Publishing Bookstore: https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/young-adult/palace-of-the-twelve-pillars-detail
Video Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSmA0Q52h_8
The High Wisdom raised the crown from its golden case. A loud scream tore the silence in the tent. Joachim turned to look at the entrance. A soldier fell through the opening, blood spurting from a slit stretched across his throat.
As he bounded off the dais, Waldrom screamed, “What’s going on here?”
A wild rush of wind ripped the tent flaps open, and a horse and rider burst through. Joachim gaped at the body of the dead soldier. His heart raced and leapt to his throat. His gaze traveled up the horse’s legs. A man’s black boots. A scream caught in his throat, and tears filled his eyes. He stared into blue eyes.
The horse pawed the ground and snorted. The rider dismounted and stood next to the dead guard.
Wriggling free of Waldrom, Lilia ran to the rider. She threw her arms around him. “Brandan, you’re here. You’ve come to free us.”
The prince pushed her aside. “Brother, I see you are trying to usurp me again. It appears I got here just in time.”
“No, you’re wrong. I have no desire to take anything rightfully belonging to you.” Joachim stepped toward his brother and reached out a hand to him. “I want to help you and see what we can accomplish together.”
Swatting his hand away, Brandan laughed. “Help me? You’re the one who needs help. Anything you have to offer is worthless to me. Now out of my way. The king and I have business.”
“No, listen to me. You can’t do this.” Joachim spun him around.
He clouted Joachim, knocking him down. “King Waldrom, we need to talk. He’s deceiving you.” He spat at Joachim then turned and bowed to Waldrom. “I’m at your service, My King.”
Regaining his feet, Joachim pushed Brandan into the guard standing behind him. The guard wrapped his muscular arms around Brandan. “What should I do with him, Sire?”
Brandan flipped the soldier to the ground and put his black booted foot on the man’s chest. “The one you should be detaining is standing there, you fool.” He pointed at Joachim.
“What are you doing?” Lilia grabbed Brandan by the arm. “Stop this, or Waldrom will imprison us all. Why are you jeopardizing our lives?”
He looked at his mother. “Don’t worry, Mother. The only one in any danger here is the traitor you see standing before of you. First, he betrays me, next he kills Father, and now he would betray you and Waldrom. Guards, seize him!”
The king stepped forward and raised his hands to stop the guards. “What do you mean a traitor, and how do you know this?”
“Because I know my brother, and that’s the way he thinks. He’ll lie, cheat, and kill to achieve his own ends, and his goal is to have both countries under his to rule at any cost.”
“Why should I trust you over him?”
“Because I’m just like you,” Brandan responded.
Walking around the twins, Waldrom rubbed his goatee thoughtfully. “My boy, you present an interesting dilemma. How do I choose one over the other? How do I know which one to believe? Guards seize both of them.” Two guards stepped forward, and each grabbed a twin.
“You’re wrong.” Joachim struggled to break free. “This is wrong. I’m not a liar. I only want what’s best, and that’s for us to be together.”
“You’re the one who’s wrong.”
Brandan pulled his arm free. “I’ve no use for you.” He turned to Waldrom.
“Get him out of here, so we can finish.”
Joachim broke loose, stepped across the gap and grasped his brother by the tunic. Brandan jerked around and punched him. He rubbed his jaw and shoved Brandan, who fell to the ground “What happened to you? You’re not the brother I know.”
Standing up, the black prince pulled his sword. “Nothing is wrong with me. I just realized who I am and who truly cares about me…and it’s not you.” He rested the point of the sword on the cut Waldrom had given Joachim. As Brandan pushed the tip in the scratch, he re-opened the partially scabbed wound. Joa laid his hand on the side of the sword and pushed it away. Guards grabbed Joachim’s arms.
“Enough! I can see you two will not make this easy. I put before you a challenge, which will determine my choice. You will travel to the Cave of Njori and extinguish the flame of Asha. Melvane will accompany you and testify to its completion.”
Brandan replaced his sword and walked over to his horse. “I don’t see the need for this. It’s obvious I am the one, but I’ll go along if that is what you want.” He remounted his horse and reined it around to exit.
Still in the grasp of the soldier, Joachim yelled, “No, Brandan, stop! You can’t do this. We can’t. It’s the light of Asha, never to be extinguished. If you do this, you’ll destroy all hope and any chance we have of defeating this evil.”
Brandan laughed and kicked his horse. “All the more reason to get this done quickly. Guards, find a mount for my brother.”
“No, I won’t go. I can’t do it.”
The king raised his hand. “The choice is made. Guards, take Joachim to the prison tent. Brandan, we will deal with this inconsequential flame later. Right now, we have more important business to attend to.”
He signaled two of the guards to remove Joachim and then, as if it were his own idea, said, “I knew all along he was a traitor. I was only crowning him to draw out the true Prince of Sidramah. Brandan, thank you for arriving so soon and before these Wisdoms regretted what they did here today.”
As the guards dragged him from the tent, Joachim struggled and screamed, “No, he’s lying! Brandan, why are you doing this?” His cries echoed through the camp as Waldrom returned his attentions to those remaining in the tent.
Palace of the Three Crosses: Book Two
Release Date: September 20, 2013
MuseItUp Bookstore: https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/young-adult/palace-of-three-crosses-detail
Video Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIkNu78-BME&t=2s
Outside the chapel, Waldrom, Brandan, and Joachim stood in a triangle. Waldrom laughed. “So nice to have you two in one place, makes my goal so much easier to achieve. Now I have both of you. Oh, did you know your mother rejoined me.”
Derdrom walked forward leading Lilia in chains.
“We could have been one happy family, but now, I have to kill the two of you along with Lilia. You brats have put me in disfavor with Sidramah, and the only way to regain his favor is to get rid of all three of you. I had hoped to spare at least one, but alas, that is now impossible. The only question is…who’s first? The time has come for a decision.”
Brandan stood beside Joachim, his face working with barely controlled rage. Brandan lunged toward Waldrom.
Waldrom sensed the presence of magic and glanced behind him. Rupert and Lukan stood behind him. He grabbed Lilia and pulled her close, placing his short sword at her throat. “I suggest you stop, or I will cut her throat,” he warned Brandan. To emphasize his point, he pressed the sword against her skin puncturing her flesh.
Brandan, with sword drawn, took another step.
“I wouldn’t do that, unless you want your mother’s corpse on your hands.”
Brandan advanced, as Waldrom muttered a spell to compel the king to keep moving and cut a little deeper drawing blood. He felt Lilia quivering in his arms.
A woman stepped out of the chapel, carrying a sword covered in blood. “Brandan, what are you doing? There’s a battle being fought. Why are you out here and not inside helping me?”
Waldrom glanced at the new arrival. He did not recognize her and turned his attention back to Brandan, who was still advancing. “Well, I see you’ve gone and made yourself right at home. You even found a strumpet to help warm the place up. I should have known you wouldn’t waste any time. Sorry to break up this little party, but it’s still my kingdom. I would greatly appreciate if you would all leave. But, since you won’t go, I’ll have to remove you myself. Where were we? I was deciding which of you to kill. I see, though, a few have been added to the numbers. All the more fun for me. Although it may be a little more painful for you, but that doesn’t matter. Should Lilia remain my first choice?”
Magda grabbed Brandan’s arm. She recognized Waldrom and had as much against him as Brandan and her father. “Wait, Brandan, I will deal with this.”
She moved toward Waldrom, but a voice in her head cautioned her. “Don’t reveal yourself. This is not our battle. Walk away. Let Waldrom do what he will.” She glanced around. Whose voice did she hear? It sounded like Melvane, but he was nowhere in sight. Upon further consideration, she realized this wasn’t her battle. She had every reason to want Waldrom out of the way, and if she let him get rid of these humans and the Kningrad, then she could deal with him at my leisure.
The voice spoke again. “That is right, let Waldrom do what he may, and then we will take care of him.”
Magda dropped her sword arm. “Brandan I don’t know what’s going on here, but I don’t want any part of it.” She turned and walked back into the chapel. “Hurry up and finish out here. I’ve taken care of those in the chapel so we can begin the joining once you’ve ended things. we’ve a joining to conclude. I’ll be waiting.” She slammed the door behind her. Waldrom’s voice followed her into the echoing chamber of the chapel.
Waldrom laughed. “Brandan, I would say you haven’t made a very good choice. You should be grateful I am going to end your life so you don’t have to put up with her much longer. Now where was I?”
Joachim wanted to run to Lilia, but his head whirled. Stars floated in front of his eyes, their motion making him sick with dizziness. He stepped up to stand beside Brandan. “Waldrom, I’m afraid you’re mistaken. First, you are seriously outnumbered. Second, what makes you think you can use Mother to blackmail us? Such childishness, using a woman to negotiate, instead of dealing on a man-to-man level. Let her go, and we will discuss your surrender. I don’t want to kill you.”
Brandan pushed Joachim aside. “You may not, brother, but I do. He will stop at nothing to destroy me, and I can’t let that happen.”
A group of Brandan’s personal guard came charging down the hall. Waldrom pushed the sword point a little further into Lilia’s throat. “I see you boys still don’t agree on anything. I suggest you stop the group of soldiers from attacking me. Rupert, I know you’re back there, trying to form a spell to stop me. That wouldn’t be a good idea either.”
The tableau unfolded before Joachim’s eyes. Waldrom, in the center of the circle holding Lilia with a short sword slicing her throat and Brandan, his long sword drawn, advancing on Waldrom. Rupert and Lukan stood motionless behind Waldrom. Lukan had his sword drawn. Conflicting voices rang in Joa’s head. “Kill them all. You don’t need them.” Other voices calling, “Joachim save them. They need you.”
Lukan yelled, “Sire, watch out behind you.”
Joachim started and turned as a Mantion rushed at him. He pulled his short sword from his scabbard and stood before the coming onslaught. As the attacker reached him, he swung his weapon cutting and angering the Mantion. The foe sliced at Joachim’s knees with his knife, leaving a gash in his thigh. When Joachim doubled over in pain, the Mantion leapt on his back and pummeled the king. Suddenly, the weight of the attacker lifted from his back. Joachim fearfully turned his head, expecting to see the Mantion standing over him ready to deliver the kill stroke.
Sanctuary of Nine Dragons: Book Three
Release Date: February 7, 2014
MuseItUp Bookstore: https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/young-adult/sanctuary-of-the-nine-dragons-detail
Video Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIkNu78-BME&t=2s
Joachim cringed as he thought about what he had to do. The council had decided. He didn’t agree completely, but in the end, Joachim knew it was the only way; something had to be done. Maybe Brandan would give him a reason not to send him away.
King Brandan stomped into the room. “Why, Brother, have you no throne prepared for your poor, missing brother? I’m hurt. I expected more from you and my sister-in-law. Maeve, dear, couldn’t you have helped him prepare better?” He stepped toward her, quickly grabbed her hand, and kissed it.
Joachim lunged at him, pushing him from the dais. Brandan staggered then regained his balance and gazed at his brother. “Why such violence, especially when I am so recently injured?”
Stepping off the dais, Joachim stood eye-to-eye with his brother. “Enough! You’re no more hurt than I am. And you have no business touching my wife, or sitting on Crato’s throne.”
Brandan laughed, pushed him aside, and stepped up to claim his throne. Joachim grabbed his twin’s shoulder, spun him around, and punched him in the mouth.
Rubbing where Joa’s fist had landed, Brandan smirked. “Well, my brother has finally developed some stones.” He raised his other hand to hit Joachim.
Matthias stepped forward, sword in hand and grabbed his arm before he could hit Crato’s king. He pulled the king’s brother away, so Joachim could reclaim his throne.
Jerking himself free, Brandan straightened his tunic. “This has been fun; but as you seem to be in no mood to visit, I shall take my leave. Come to me when you’re in a better frame of mind.”
“Stop! You are going nowhere until I say you can.”
Brandan stopped and looked at his brother. “What did you say to me? Is that how you talk to a fellow king and brother?”
“Yes, it is. As of this morning, you are no longer a king, and I’m not sure I should even call you brother.”
“Why dearest brother, whatever do you mean?” Brandan asked.
“Ever since we were boys, you have done everything you could to make trouble. I was always willing to forgive you and hoped you would change your evil ways. But no more! You have pushed me—pushed this country—too far this time,” Joa thundered at him.
“What are you rambling on about?” Brandan sneered and bit a fingernail.
“Brandan, I should sentence you to execution, but there are two things keeping me from that. First: you are my brother, and I hold onto a hope, however faint, you can be reformed…”
Brandan chortled. “Not a good bet, brother.”
“Second, I strongly suspect you of making two attempts on my life. Unfortunately, I don’t have enough evidence to prove it was you. I punished one innocent man because of the little evidence we do have. I do not wish to make that mistake a second time.”
Brandan laughed again. “So, if we’re finished here, I’ll be leaving.”
“As I said before, you won’t be going anywhere until I say so. I may not have what I need to sentence you to death, but after your actions toward the queen this morning, I have some recourse.”
“What are you talking about? I did nothing she didn’t ask for.”
Maeve rose from her throne. Joa put his hand on her arm to stop her.
“Brandan, I suggest you remain quiet until I finish.”
“Brother, you do not have the authority to do this. We are equals.”
“Do you not see the Adept Council before you? We met and discussed this matter at length… They have given me the authority.”
“This tiresome group of old men?”
Brandan laughed. “They have even less power over me than you do.”
Ignoring Brandan’s comments, the king continued. “First, I strip you of your title. You are no longer King Brandan but will henceforth be known simply as Prince Brandan.” He paused and swallowed. He didn’t know if he could continue. The lump in his throat felt as big as a koali fruit. He swallowed again. Maeve grasped his hand. Warmth and reassurance enveloped him. He knew what he had to do.
“When we have finished here, Rupert, Salochin, and Master Frederick will take you to Rupert’s tower. There, they will strip you of your magical powers. When they are finished, Matthias and Wilhelm will escort you to the Port of Wyrzburg, where you will be put on a ship bound for Hyogo, the prison island. There you will remain for the rest of your life. You are never to return to Crato or Mahorg. You will live in the mountain abbey with the monks and work side-by-side with them.”
“You’re a misguided fool.” Brandan sneered. “If you believe that by exiling me, you are saving yourself from evil—think again. You may have peace and rest comfortably for a short while, but don’t assume I won’t find a way to come back and destroy you.” He stepped up to the thrones and leaned forward, placing a hand on each. The guards on either side of the king stepped forward to stop him. Joachim raised his hand signaling them to stop.
Brandan glared at the guard and muttered, “Freisen!” The man froze where he stood.
Brandan turned back to his brother and sister-in-law. “No, Joa. This is not over and what I did to your guard is nothing compared to the evils you will suffer by my hand.”
While he was speaking, Rupert chanted a binding spell. Matthias came forward and placed his sword tip to Brandan’s back.
The king put his good hand on his brother’s shoulders and pushed him upright as he stood. “You have done enough! Matthias, escort him to Master Rupert’s tower.”
As the prince was escorted from the room, Joa slumped back into his throne. It was done, he thought as remorse washed over him. A tear crawled down his cheek as Maeve squeezed his hand.
All three books are available as a boxed set.
The Twelve Pillars Bundle
Release Date: April 3, 2015
MuseItUp Bookstore: https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/bundles/the-twelve-pillars-bundle-detail
Twin princes Joachim and Brandan come of age and are thrust into adulthood as they enter a world torn apart by war, kidnapping and betrayal.
As the twins are crowned Kings of Mahorg and Crato, and wed to powerful women, each will deal with the loss of their parents in his own unique way. The choices each makes will set their world on a cataclysmic course that only loss and sacrifice can deter.
Is their love and faith strong enough to see Joachim and Brandan through the veil of evil blanketing the land, or will it fail and be left to their children to save?
So come join the celebration and see what kinds of trouble Joachim and Brandan are getting into.