Publication Date—Dec 15, 2015
Explore the origin of Blaine McFadden and his allies in this short story prequel to the epic Ascendant Kingdoms Saga from Gail Z. Martin.
Condemned to exile in an arctic prison colony for murdering his sister’s attacker, Blaine McFadden has lost everything — his title, his family and his fiancé. Velant Prison holds the worst of the kingdom’s convicts, overseen by brutal guards who are exiles themselves. When a sadistic guard takes things too far, Blaine’s insubordination makes him a target of the prison’s notorious commander. To survive, Blaine needs to rely on his wits and his fists — and a few good friends to watch his back.
Word Count: 7,000
“Not bad enough that it’s so cold it would freeze the nuts off a wolf,” Piran Rowse grumbled. “Not bad enough that we’ve got these bloody shackles. Does it have to be dark for half the year, too?”
Blaine McFadden—Mick to his fellow inmates—grunted in reply. “That’s the point, Piran,” he said. “If you recall, we were exiled because they weren’t fond of us.”
Piran’s curses were spectacularly creative. “I seem to remember exile was supposed to be better than a noose. Some days, I’m not sure about that.”
It was up for argument whether it was colder and darker outside Velant’s ruby mines or down in their depths. At least in the mines, Blaine thought, there isn’t the constant, cutting wind, or the wild bears and wolves. Predators of another type ruled the deep places.
The crack of a whip stung Blaine’s shoulder. “Stop talking and keep digging!” The guard glared at Piran and Blaine as if he were hoping they would be foolhardy enough to reply.
Piran held his tongue until the guard was out of earshot, and then began a muttered litany of expletives that was remarkable even for him. “Shut up, Piran,” Blaine said. “For some reason, you mouth off and I feel the lash for it.”
Piran shot him a crooked smile. “Just one of my many talents.”