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A five thousand word short story where the quill proves to be more dangerous than any sword. The genealogist Draston is charged with the impossible. His master, Hamvok the Merciful, craves a royal ancestor or two to legitimize his tyranny. But every avenue of Draston’s research comes to a dead end. Nobility has never sneezed on Hamvok’s ancestors, much less married into them. And now Draston’s time has run out. To save himself from Hamvok’s violent displeasure, Draston promises to prove the tyrant is descended from a god. In doing so, he commits himself to a path of forgery and sacrilege. His enterprise will risk the wrath of gods. But, far worse, it will draw him to a shadowy figure more terrible than all the gods combined, The Fate Healer.
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A Word From The Author
The Golden Rule Series
About Noel Coughlan
THE FATE HEALER
by Noel Coughlan
THE FATE HEALER
Copyright © 2016 Noel Coughlan
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except in the case of a reviewer, who may quote brief passages embodied in critical articles or in a review.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Cover by The Cover Collection (http://www.thecovercollection.com/)
Edited by Finish The Story (http://www.finish-the-story.com/Editing.htm)
Additional Proofreading by Proofed to Perfection (http://www.proofedtoperfection.com/)
Published by Photocosmological Press (http://photocosm.org/)
Epub Edition: ISBN:978-1-910206-10-2
In frustration, Draston slapped the moldy tome shut, catching his long, wiry beard. With a snarl, he tugged it free. His research had reached another dead end. It might lead to his own dead end very soon. It wasn’t easy being an ambitious tyrant’s personal genealogist. Hamvok’s self-proclaimed epithet was “the Merciful,” but he had either chosen it ironically or he didn’t know what the word meant.
The door of Draston’s study swung open, and the self-made King of Hamvoksland swaggered inside, red-faced, his lips pressed together into an uncompromising line. He leaned over the table and glared. “So, Draston, have you made any progress?”
Draston couldn’t think. “Eh, eh, eh.”
Hamvok slammed the desk with his fists. “So, you have failed me again.”
Draston pressed a tremulous hand to his forehead. “Perhaps the kings of Kalidoon—”
Hamvok’s lower lip pushed upward as he shook his head. “You tried to link me to them six months ago and failed, as you failed with the great earls of Freeg, the high lords of Pharmus, the princes of Melior, and a dozen other noble lines.” He pounded his chest with his fist. “I am obviously of royal blood. Otherwise, how could I be such a natural leader of men? How could I win victory after victory against my less noble rivals?”
Draston nodded with wide-eyed enthusiasm. Please, don’t pull me up by the beard this time.
Hamvok’s bobbing head mocked him. “And yet, you have failed to associate me with the pettiest of noble bloodlines!” he roared. “Something that even the poorest apprentice in your profession could do in an afternoon!”
Draston’s gulp hurt his dry throat. Hamvok’s recorded ancestors were all pig farmers. They had never strayed from their mountain village. Nobility had never sneezed on them, much less married into them.
Draston raised his trembling palms in a placatory gesture. “I have another lead, a strong one. I didn’t want to bring it up because…” Why? Why? Why? Damn it. It was so hard to think beneath Hamvok’s brutal gaze. “I wanted to complete some preliminary research first before I mentioned it to you.”
Hamvok’s scowl deepened.
“But the evidence I’ve found so far,” Draston hastened to add, “while circumstantial, is extremely positive.”
“What house is it this time?” Hamvok grunted, rolling his eyes.
Draston’s mind blanked. His genealogical lore evaporated in an instant.
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