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
Nyla looked at the ghastly features of the Lich which now turned square on her. “What shall I do with this one,” he asked, “This girl with the power to charm the dead?”
Quickly, Nyla ran over to Vival who lay, exhausted and helpless on the floor. Unconcerned, the Lich watched and made no move to stop her. The soldier that had been guarding Vival watched the girl too, still recovering from the charm she had laid upon him. “Vival!” Nyla screamed, tugging at him. “Get up!”
Vival raised his eyes to look at her, as if to ask “What can I do?”
“You can stop the Lich!”
Vival shook his head, either afraid or unable to move.
The Lich King had been watching with his empty eye-sockets. Now he spoke again. “Though I feel no pain, I do grow tired of this show,” he said. “I do not need the girl, nor do I need this…” The Lich King raised his arm-bone, the instrument still clutched in his fingers. The Clef, guessing his intention, cried out in forbidding and anguish, but the Lich could not be stopped. He swung the old Vee A’La in an arc to hurl it towards the wall.
“Just a minute!” It was a new voice, strong and confident, and it came from the front door.
The Lich, just an gesture away from casting the instrument to its doom, paused. He turned to the voice. Everyone else in the room quickly followed suit.
Nyla looked over and saw a familiar looking man. She could not, in her current distress, say exactly where she had seen him. He was not overly tall or imposing, but his fine clothes and bearing indicated that he was a person of some importance. Rich brown hair, immaculately combed, a tan, smooth, clean-shaven face, eyes like still, hard agate marbles. He carried himself very well and remained relaxed and calm despite the terrifying figure before him.
“Begging your pardon, majesty,” said the well-dressed man. “A thousand pardons. I hate to interrupt. I just don’t want to see a good artifact go to waste.”
“Artifact?” repeated the Lich, looking at the man in what must have been puzzlement. “You mean this?” He held up the instrument.
“Ah, yes,” replied the man. “That beautiful object there. I was told I might find it. How much are you asking for it?”
“Who are you?” demanded the Lich, as the man stepped further into the room.
“Well, my mother called me Rob, and Goodfella was my father’s name. Since that time I’ve acquired an unflattering moniker that you may have heard. Here they call me…The Goon.”
Nyla’s eyes opened wide. She recognized him now from the image of the man she had seen at Fort Poleo. What was he doing here?
“I do not need your money, idiot mortal!” exclaimed the Lich King. “I have riches beyond compare under my mountain. No doubt you have heard this and come to plunder me!”
“Do you have a well-trained army?”
That set the Lich back a pace. He paused, still gripping the Vee A’La, and considered. “I do have soldiers…” he began.
“Yes, soldiers,” repeated the Goon, smiling pleasantly, with his hands out to his sides. “But an army? Forgive me, your majesty, but I’ve been living on the outside of this mountain for some time, and I know that your people have been under an enchantment for many years. I’d be willing to bet there’s not much organization down here.”
“It will come!” snapped the Lich King. “My people will obey me without question.”
“Ah, but why wait?” asked the Goon. “Every day delayed is a day someone gets the idea that they’d be a better King than you. Anyone tried to take your throne yet?” Here the Goon looked casually at the ceiling, and the Lich’s head followed. Both regarded the little Clef, still hanging by the chandelier.
The Lich King seemed distressed. “What can you do about it?”
“I happen to have a little army of my own,” the Goon said, taking a disinterested step further into the room. He looked down at the floor and dug a line in the dust with his toe, as if he was considering buying the place. “A few hundred men, a ship or two. Not much, you understand, just enough to get you going so you can keep control of the island, begin plundering the mainland.”
“And why do you need the instrument?” asked the Lich suspiciously.
“Actually, I don’t,” shrugged the Goon. “I’m not a musician. I was just trying to get your attention. Forget about the instrument. Let’s say instead that, in return for a well-heeled army, you make me your voice on the outside. Let me do my work in your name. There are a lot of places out there that would be happy to be working for you.”
The Lich was silent, considering. Finally, he said, “And if I do not wish to treat with you?”
“Well, then,” said the Goon, shrugging a little. At that moment, a number of men began entering the room after him. “We wouldn’t be friends, would we? I’d have to consider using my army another way…” In an instant there were between twenty to thirty large well-armed mercenary soldiers behind him, all standing with their swords at the ready.
Unmoving, the Lich King regarded the Goon who, to his credit, held out under that unflinching gaze with remarkable self-assurance. He examined his fingernails as if he had all the time in the world. From the wall, Nyla and Vival watched the exchange, contemplating the horrible idea of a Lich King with a General Goon.
The Lich slowly turned to regard the crowd of one-hundred subjects who now watched him in horror. The skeletal Lord idly regarded the instrument in his hands. Then, in a sudden swift movement, he drew the bow across the strings so that it made a terrible groaning sound, causing the crowd of one-hundred to stiffen. “We are attacked!” screamed the Lich. “Defend your king!”
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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