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As the Crow Flies

As the Crow Flies

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As the Crow Flies

Length:
69 pages
59 minutes
Publisher:
Released:
Jan 12, 2017
ISBN:
9781370981083
Format:
Book

Description

Aziru is a mercenary fighting in the Persai army. When the army is routed, the survivors are forced to retreat for home, the enemy close on their heels.

Their flight leads them to the Black Forest. Ten thousand years old and surrounded in superstition, the forest is rumored to be haunted. Legend says, that no one who entered has ever returned.

Caught between two choices, one going ahead, the other turning back, the soldiers must find their resolve and renew their courage. But it is a promise made to an acquaintance that will truly test Aziru’s skill in combat and his ability to keep his word.

“As the Crow Flies” is a sword and sorcery novelette. About 15,000 words long.

Publisher:
Released:
Jan 12, 2017
ISBN:
9781370981083
Format:
Book

About the author

A.R. Williams developed a love for reading at a very young age and in the fourth grade, when an assignment to write their own works of fiction was given, it occurred to him that he could craft tales for others to enjoy. A.R. Williams’ work has appeared in Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, Three Crow Press, and Every Day Fiction. A.R. received an honorable mention in the fourth quarter of the Writers of the Future Contest in 2010.


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As the Crow Flies - A. R. Williams

As the Crow Flies

© Copyright 2017, A.R. Williams

Cover images licensed from Depositphoto.com

Image 1: VBaleha

Image 2: Prometeus

Image 3: Prometeus

Image 4: Demian

All rights reserved. Except as permitted in the case of brief quotations in critical articles or reviews. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the author. Inquiries should be addressed to arwilliams@a-r-williams.com

This book is sold DRM-free and is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. If you would like to share this book, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased exclusively for you please purchase a copy. Thank you for respecting the work of this author.

All characters in this book are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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Synopsis:

Aziru is a mercenary fighting in the Persai army. When the army is routed, the survivors are forced to retreat for home, the enemy close on their heels.

Their flight leads them to the Black Forest. Ten thousand years old and surrounded in superstition, the forest is rumored to be haunted. Legend says, that no one who entered has ever returned.

Caught between two choices, one going ahead, the other turning back, the soldiers must find their resolve and renew their courage. But it is a promise made to an acquaintance that will truly test Aziru’s skill in combat and his ability to keep his word.

As the Crow Flies is a sword and sorcery novelette. About 15,000 words long

TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER 1

CHAPTER 2

CHAPTER 3

CHAPTER 4

CHAPTER 5

EPILOGUE

MAILING LIST

OTHER BOOKS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

THANK YOU

Two thousand Persaian soldiers had marched into the northern wilds, less than three hundred marched back out. The tattered remnants of the army staggered through the snow, the line lengthening as the wounded fell behind.

A feeling of hopelessness set in as their numbers dwindled each day. Each morning they rose, disheartened by their defeat, and bent their heads to the wind. They lifted heavy legs, wooden from the cold, and trudged onward, leaving streaks of blood behind them and those that did not wake where they lay. Each day they worried about northern reprisals and constantly looked behind them for any sign of new attack. When no threat emerged, they gazed forlornly ahead. The rugged, northern mountains stood as a last indomitable barrier between them and their goal.

Persai, their homeland, was nothing more than a sigh on the wind, and many leagues away. Would they ever see those borders again? Would they ever see the rolling, green hills?

A light snow began to fall as the army entered Eyfrod Gorge. Aziru stepped aside to drink water from his canteen. It was cold and freezing, but he forced himself to drink it nonetheless. Even in conditions such as this, the body needed water. As those behind him passed, Aziru studied them.

The path was narrow and crooked. At most three men could walk side by side at its widest point. It was good, defensible space that would make it easier to hold their ground if attacked. Yet, as he watched the Persaian soldiers walk past one by one he realized that most were already spirit-dead.

They walked with their heads down and did not survey the change in landscape, or look warily about for any sign of the enemy, nor hold any fight in their eyes that they were determined to survive this adventure. They showed no sign of hope that these mountains were the last obstacle before them, no hope that they would make it home.

Many were wounded. They leaned on pikes, or staffs, or hastily made crutches carved from tree branches.

As Aziru watched them, he noticed the army walked into shadow. His people had a saying on the steppes, ‘to walk into shadow is to walk into death.’ The two cliffs on either side rose almost straight vertical before they disappeared into a swirling, white mist hundreds of feet above.

Aziru pulled on his long braided beard, then gripped his battle axe tighter. If he was going to meet his death, he would meet it fighting. Only two from the mercenary company he had joined were left. He and Wyborn, the big northman, who none of the Persaian’s trusted. The other mercenaries had fled as soon as the battle

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