- Ally Condie
- Annette Lyon
- Aprilynne Pike
- Brandon Mull
- Brandon Sanderson
- Bree Despain
- Brodi Ashton
- Claudia Gray
- Dan Wells
- Erin Bowman
- Howard Tayler
- J Scott Savage
- Jacqueline Novak
- Jennifer Moore
- Jessica Day George
- John C. Wright
- Josi Kilpack
- Kiersten White
- Larry Correia
- Lauren Oliver
- Luisa Perkins
- Mary Robinette Kowal
- Nancy Campbell Allen
- Robison Wells
- Sandra Tayler
- Sara Zarr
- Sarah M. Eden
- Seanan McGuire
- Shannon Hale
- Shawn Speakman
- SJ Kincaid
Excerpt from The Way of Kings
Elhokar cursed. “That move exposes our entire central line! Who is in charge back there?”
“My son,” Dalenar said.
“Renarin? The boy couldn’t duel a blind woman.”
“He’s well-practiced at tactics,” Dalenar said stiffly. “If you’d wanted to appoint someone else, you should have done it before you went dashing off to try and get yourself killed.”
Elhokar turned, his eyes dark at the lack of respect.
Be careful, Dalenar warned himself. This is not your brother. Elhokar is a different man. “We should return, your majesty,” Dalenar said, wrestling down his anger. “It is not safe.”
Elhokar waved his hand dismissively at the word ‘safe.’ His honor guard had finally managed to catch up, pushing through a widening gap that was dividing the Prallan army into two separate forces. In the distance, several more Prallan towers were rolling forward into the fray—a final, desperate attempt to turn the battle. However, with the Aleth central line threatened, they could actually make a difference.
Dalenar felt a sudden stab of worry. The battle had nearly been theirs. However, if the Prallans pressed the west, and if those towers held . . .
Renarin, what in the name of the Thoughtgiver are you doing?
The honor guard approached, accompanied by a large group of spearmen and one mounted man. Meridas regarded the corpses and fallen tower with his usual indifference. Dalenar, however, was impressed to see the man approach. Meridas was no Shardbearer—his armor was a simple breastplate of normal steel, and he wore a regular sword at his side. Venturing away from the relative safety of the tower was a brave feat, even if he was accompanied by several hundred soldiers.
“Meridas,” the king said as the councilor bowed differentially. “Good. I need your horse.”
“Your majesty?” the merchant asked with concern as Elhokar dismissed his Blade—the weapon disappearing back into smoke—and clinked forward, waving for the tall merchant to dismount.
“Elhokar . . .” Dalenar said warningly.
The king, however, simply raise a forestalling hand. “I’m just going back to the tower, uncle. I need to find out how much of a mess your son has made of our battle.”
“The scouts discovered an army of Prallans far to the west,” Meridas explained as he dismounted. “I told him to send a messenger for you, but he withdrew the line instead, fearing that we would be flanked.”
Dalenar frowned, finally understanding Meridas’s willingness to enter the field. This wasn’t the loyal vassal braving the battle to seek his king, it was the petulant underling seeking an ear to tell his tale.
“Your majesty,” Dalenar said, stepping forward. “Wait for Aredor to—”
The king mounted Meridas’ horse, then kicked it into a gallop without a word. Dalenar tried to summon his frustration, but it was growing increasingly difficult. He had sworn his life to defend the son of the brother he had loved. Spears he could block, Shardbearers he could duel, but the boy’s own stubbornness made for an impossible battle.
Behind him, several attendants stripped the Shardplate off of the young man Dalenar had killed. He had been no older than Renarin, a boy forced into the role of a man by circumstances and title. Once, hatred and fury had lent Dalenar their power. Now, pity was sapping his strength as steadily as age.
He was so distracted by his unpleasant emotions that it took him a moment to register Aredor’s yell. Dalenar’s head snapped up, turning toward his son, who was leaping atop his horse and summoning his Shardblade.
Dalenar followed his son’s gaze, looking past the frantic honor guard, past the confused Meridas. The king had been unhorsed somehow, and stood, looking dazed, his Shardblade still unsummoned. Above him a mounted figure raised its weapon to strike again. A fourth enemy Shardbearer. Where had he come from?
They were too far away. Aredor couldn’t get to him, and the honor guard had been left behind. Blue-uniformed corpses lay scattered around the two figures—men cut down while Dalenar hadn’t been looking. Other spearmen were running away, or standing stunned. The king . . .
One, solitary spearman in blue suddenly dashed across the rocks and jumped at the unnamed Shardbearer. Only one man.
But it was enough. The spearman jumped up with a heroic bound, tossing aside his spear and grabbing ahold of the enemy Shardbearer’s waist. The weight threw off the surprised Prallan’s strike, and he missed the king. Unbalanced, the Shardbearer reached desperately for his reins, but missed. He tumbled backward, the brave Aleth spearman hanging stubbornly to the man’s waist.
The king recovered his wits, summoning his Shardblade and backing away. Tensets of footmen, realizing their opportunity, jumped for the fallen Shardbearer, spears raised.