The Girl With The Bow
Book One in the Nyla Series
(C) 2013, 2016 Adam Cole
Published by Nuncici Press, an imprint of Adam Cole Works LLC
For the second time in his life, Vival hung by his feet in a dungeon beneath Mount Ingfier. This time, instead of a little girl standing in front of him, there was a lifeless skull whose cold breath smelled like a rotting carcass.
Vival couldn’t say anything, couldn’t even make a retching sound because of the spell that filled his mouth. When, at last, the Lich King made a gesture with his hand of bone, Vival spit out the last word he had attempted to say.
The Lich King, hearing his name, straightened to attention.
“I command you. Free me!”
The Lich King cocked his head, as if listening intently.
“Lich King! Do as I say!”
Vival could tell somehow that the Lich King was smiling. That lifeless skull seemed to possess something in it that suggested mirth, even laughter.
“How did you come to discover my name?” the Lich King whispered to him.
“Release me!” Vival repeated, as loudly as he could with the blood swelling his upside down mouth.
“Your commands will not work,” replied the King.
“You have freed me from such constraints.”
“I? What?” Vival, quite taken aback, tried to squirm in his bonds but could not find a place of greater comfort. “You must obey the commands of anyone who says your name. That’s what…” Vival reined in the last sentence just in time, before revealing the name of the Sand Witch.
The Lich King, so close to hearing the information it desired, hissed an icy breath through its teeth. “Yesssssss…” it said. “Who told you?”
“How do you resist the call of your name, Reypanpil?” Vival said the name with all the force he could muster in the vain hope that it would have some effect.
It had none. “As I already told you, Vival!” the Lich mocked, blasting Vival’s hair back with the cold force of his reply. “You have freed me.”
“By speaking my name without commanding me,” replied the Lich.
Vival thought for a moment. It was true, he realized. Back in the throne room with the Overreacher, he had only summoned the Lich, not instructed him. Suddenly his heart sank. That was the third thing the Sand Witch had told him, the one he had been unable to remember for Nyla. “When you have said his name,” the witch had admonished him, “immediately command him.” But she had not told him why.
“I thank you,” said the Lich. “For having been roused, and allowed to work my will, I am now my own master, and the master of all I see.”
Vival felt like a fool. He had come to this island to end a great evil. Now he could see that he had merely replaced one evil with another.
“The one who told you my name may have other ways to compel me…” whispered the Lich, “They might not be so stupid. Whom have you told?”
Vival immediately guessed at the Lich’s intent. “The girl doesn’t know anything!”
The Lich considered. “That may be true. And yet the risk is considerable.”
“I’m the only one,” Vival said firmly.
“No,” replied the Lich. “Someone told you.”
Vival went silent. He realized the Lich was after the name of the Sand Witch.
“Answer,” urged the Skull.
“I read it in a book,” Vival said quietly.
“You cannot read!” the Lich said scornfully. “And even if you could, you would never have found the information yourself.” The Lich rose to his full height. “All who know my name must die.” The King stalked off, speaking over his shoulder. “There are many ways I might determine the truth…magical and otherwise. But I am in need of answers quickly. Torturing you would obviously take some time. Instead there are others who will talk more readily.” As the Lich moved away, Vival realized what he meant.
“I told you the girl doesn’t know anything!” Vival protested.
“Then you will have to speak for her,” answered the Lich from the hallway. “And I would do it quickly if I were you.” The glow left the room. The Lich had vanished into the darkness leaving Vival to hang by his ankles and to consider.
More about The Girl With The Bow
When Vival, Knight of the Fittest, risked his life to rescue the princess from Veer Isle, he never thought he’d be the one who needed to be rescued. And to make matters worse, the girl he was helping didn’t want to leave! The first book in the Nyla series introduces Vival, Knight of the Fittest, Tom the Incredibly Helpful Sword, two mysterious island dwellers named Cher and Sherluck, and Nyla, the mysterious girl with the bow.
Adam Cole is an author and music educator in Atlanta, GA. He has written numerous books and stories for children, as well as a number of adult and non-fiction titles including The Speed of Darkness and Seven Ways the World Can End.
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