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Chapter 1 – The Ancient Debt
“Merlin of Amber?” She asked, and the strange light in her eyes compelled me to continue to meet her gaze, whatever my own wishes on the matter.
“Who’s asking?” I managed, she could force me to look her in the eye, but I’d be damned if she could force me to be polite.
“I am called Brigid. Now, answer me, or I will conclude that you are not Merlin, which would mean I’d have leave to slay you.” Her tone seemed to indicate that she hoped I’d refuse. So I disappointed her again.
“I’m Merlin.” Little by little, my hand crept down my side. If I could get a good, quick swing of my arm, perhaps I could toss Frakir at her neck.
“Corwin’s son, and Dara’s. A bargain at any price, My Prince.” Her tone was mocking, and it was then that a hand closed on my wrist from behind. Frakir squirmed, but to no avail, the grip on me was like iron. I felt a grip on my other arm’s shoulder as well, and the compulsion finally left me as the huge minion lifted me like a sack of flour.
“What do you want? Some kind of ransom?” I tried kicking the brute manhandling me, but he didn’t seem to notice. Overall, this whole experience was turning out to be pretty rough on the ego. Especially when Brigid turned away from me without answering.
“Get this area ready.” She said to some too-slender figures that could barely be seen in the dim light. “The rest of them will be here soon, and we wouldn’t want to miss even one. A skin of my father’s wine to the one who brings me the first.”
Without seeming to acknowledge her, the figures faded from view as they moved into the darker reaches. The creature carrying me had reached some kind of wagon, and he tossed me down on the bed of it.
I turned to get a good look, he was an ugly sort, rough-hewn features on a body more than eight feet tall, and little in the way of clothing. Just some coarse rags draped his frame. He turned away and I tried a spell.
I got through a lynchpin and a half before he whirled around and his fist crashed across my face.
That was the last I knew of anything for some time.
Merlin of Amber – The Price of Kingship