Chaos Descending

Chaos Descending by Toby Neighbors

Book: Chaos Descending by Toby Neighbors Read Free Book Online
Authors: Toby Neighbors
Tags: Fiction, Fantasy
his new crown.”
    “And you aren’t the man you were a year ago,” Vera said softly.
    “That wounds me,” Lorik said.
    “You know its true.”
    “A barbed tongue, that one,” Stone said with a grin. “She pulls no punches.”
    “All I’m saying is that you aren’t invincible, Lorik,” Vera said. “I love you, and I don’t want to see you hurt. You’re my oldest friend.”
    “And you are mine, but I’ve sat idle and let things go on without me for too long. Ortis should be ruled by an Ortisian, not some usurper from Baskla.”
    “So you’ll go to Ort City and do what?” Vera asked. “Demand that Yettlebor steps down and gives you the kingdom? Are you mad?”
    “No,” Stone said quietly. “He’ll have to kill Yettlebor.”
    “Assassinate the sitting king? Is that how you would start your reign? And don’t you think his soldiers would want revenge? Killing him would be tantamount to declaring war with Baskla.”
    “King Ricard owes us his kingdom and his daughter’s life,” Stone said.
    “The princess didn’t return home, remember?” Vera asked. “She’s still in that dreadful temple for all we know.”
    “I hope she stays there,” Lorik said.
    “Your legend isn’t as well received in Baskla, that’s all I’m saying,” Vera went on. “If you kill Yettlebor, then Baskla will almost certainly attack us. King Ricard won’t easily give up his family tie to Ortis.”
    “What other option do we have?” Stone asked.
    “We?” Lorik asked. “You two have a life here. If what you say about these soldiers is true, you’ll be better off once I leave.”
    “You think this is what we want out of life?” Vera asked. “I’m not sure you’re smart enough to be a king.”
    “We’ve just been waiting,” Stone said. “Vera always knew you’d come back from the Wilderlands eventually. We believe in you, Lorik. If anyone deserves to be king it’s you, and we won’t be left behind when you need us the most.”
    Lorik fell silent for a moment, knowing that Vera and Stone were watching him closely. He knew he couldn’t turn back, although part of him wanted to do just that. He couldn’t hide from his destiny, but he hated the thought of putting the people he loved in danger. The truth was, he didn’t desire to be a king, but he couldn’t deny what the Drery Dru had told him. He was chosen, marked, a man with a destiny. He just had to figure out how to fulfill that destiny without losing the people he cared about most.
    “Then we leave tomorrow,” Lorik said, making up his mind. “We’ll need horses.”
    “I can get us horses,” Stone said.
    “What are we going to do?” Vera asked.
    “Ride to Ort City,” Lorik said.
    “And do what when we get there?”
    “We’ll have to figure that out on the way.”
    They finished their plans and Vera packed bags for herself and Stone. Lorik sat by the fire, nursing a mug of ale and trying to decide what he should do about Yettlebor. He was King Ricard’s cousin, and that meant he would have the support of Baskla. In fact, the army he led was from Baskla, not Ortis. Reports from the south were not good. Most of the citizens of Ortis, like those in Falxis and Osla, had been captured by the horrible flying creatures the witch had unleashed. She had mutated those poor wretches, turning them into a fearless army with only one objective: to kill anyone who opposed them. But when the witch had died, her mutated army had regained their own minds. Most had fled south, which meant that most of Ortis was abandoned. It would take decades to rebuild the population and spread across the kingdom once more, but Lorik knew that Yettlebor would never be content to keep a smaller version of Ortis safe. No, Yettlebor would want everything, all of the land that had once been Ortis and perhaps even more.
    Stopping Yettlebor and finding a way to regain the citizens lost to the witch’s power had to be Lorik’s highest priority, but he wasn’t sure how he

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