Assassin of Curses: (The Coren Hart Chronicles Book 3), стр. 1

Copyright © 2021 by Jessie D. Eaker

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written permission.

Jessie D. Eaker

jessieeaker.com

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are a product of the author’s imagination. Locales and public names are sometimes used for atmospheric purposes. Any resemblance to actual people, living or dead, or to businesses, companies, events, institutions, or locales is completely coincidental.

Cover art by Daniel Eaker

Book Layout © 2017 BookDesignTemplates.com

Assassin of Curses/ Jessie D. Eaker — First edition

ISBN 978-1-7341293-5-9

To Becki and Daniel...

For keeping me sane.

Contents

An Unexpected Guest

Interrupted Meal

Fumiko’s Charm

Presents from Friends

Forced Hand

A Hidden Talent

Interrogation

Homeward Bound

A Lesson Shared

Family

Hidden Ruins

Unpleasant Visions

Goats and Cats

First Portal, Second Memory

Cabrina’s Gift

Hard Stop

An Old Friend

In Plain Sight

Reunion

Love and Death

Gates of The Empire

The Butterfly

Deception

Opening The Vault

Unlocking The Forbidden

Jiaying’s Lesson

Last Wish

Back Home

The Promise

Acknowledgments

About The Author

 

CHAPTER ONE

An Unexpected

Guest

Edlingreen Castle was quite the change from my old home. Looking up from my journal to stare at the rafters over my head, I couldn’t help but marvel at the wood’s beautiful stain and highly polished finish. Not to mention being entirely devoid of cobwebs and dust. The brightly lit room smelled pleasantly of spice, and the gently glowing fire provided ample warmth against the frigid morning.

I looked down at the paper in front of me. Despite the improvement in my surroundings, it was unfortunately blank.

The nearby window was open, yet through some trick of myst, only allowed in the light and none of the cold outside air. Very different from what I was used to, where the spiders living in the rafters would frequently drop down and offer to correct my spelling.

Could that be the reason the words were coming so slowly this morning? Could it be I missed the dust, the cobwebs, and even the old musty smell of my previous home, Revenhill Keep?

I brushed the end of the quill against my lips. My spelling had indeed been a little off lately.

I sighed. No. It was just that I was distracted. Too many thoughts—too much had happened in too short a time. I shook my head. A world-renowned knight and explorer had to be better than this. Knights were focused. Their arms were as strong as trees—their minds as sharp as their blades. And of course, their thoughts were so highly organized, and their observations so revealing any reader would gasp in awe.

I looked back down at the blank page. Well, maybe crafting a complete tomb of all my wisdom was a bit too optimistic. At this point, I would settle for getting my thoughts down accurately without too much embellishment.

The minstrels certainly didn’t mind stretching the truth. While I had established contact with the mysterious keepers, uncovered the Mirror of Bygone Tears, and saved the princess from an evil myst user—not to mention helped restore her to the throne—it wasn’t like it was this huge thing. I had only done what needed to be done—and of course, I had lots of help from some very good friends. But to hear the minstrels tell it, I, Coren Hart, had saved the world or something. I shuddered. A new ballad, ‘The Cursed Knight,’ was gaining popularity, and I was tempted to have the princess execute whoever had written it.

Unfortunately, the historians weren’t any better. They had already proclaimed me one of the great explorers of this generation and were busily scribbling their scholarly essays arguing over my motivation for this or that. Why had I not forced Wynn’s hand earlier? Why did I allow the princess to be captured? Why did I wait until the last moment to save her life? I sighed. Believe me, if I’d been half the hero they made me out to be, I wouldn’t have done it that way either!

If I had any hope of having an accurate account, I was left with no other option but to write it myself. Which was why my notes were scattered over the table around me. I looked them over, the undisputed king of my jumbled mess. I had to somehow bring all of it into a coherent whole. I shook my head. But all that was for another time.

Today, I was trying to come up with some tiny pearl of wisdom to include in my journal. Or at least a few striking observations that would help the kingdom—and prove to someone very important to me—that I was a little bit useful.

A slumbering sigh made me glance over to the room’s other occupant, Princess Zophia Olwenna Xernow. While actually the kingdom’s queen, she had decided against giving up her princess title until her coronation, which was still a couple months away—if even then.

She rested, fast asleep, slumped over her desk—her head cradled on her left arm—while her right hand still loosely held her writing quill. She had finally succumbed to exhaustion, something I had been predicting for the last few hours. She had worked late into the night writing letters to the kings and queens of the surrounding kingdoms, warning of the Dark Avenyts invasion and asking for their help. Unfortunately, this was the second round of letters. None of them believed her. The Dark Avenyts were the stuff of stories told to frighten children, not something to be taken seriously. They had been banished from the world a thousand years ago. So none of them offered her help. And worse yet, all refused to send supplies.

I wanted