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Guest Blog Post ~ Ted Mendelssohn

THE PREVIOUS OWNER


The king stumbled down the tunnel, trailing blood. He had ridden for three days without stopping, and he could barely stand. His wife was dead, and his wizard, and his best friend. His own son was hunting him, with traitors and foreign mercenaries. His city had fallen, and with it, his dream of uniting the land again under one pax, one law.

Sometimes, it sucked to be the king.

His sword whined and muttered as he dragged himself forward, begging him not to sheathe it, to wield it once again for justice. Of course, it was the sword that had gotten him into this mess in the first place. It had taken him out of the stables, made him king, given him the power to do any damn-fool thing he pleased. A giant circular table? A Perilous Seat that only the chaste might use? A Britannia-wide manhunt for a four-hundred year old cup? What had he been thinking?

And the sword was still making it tough for him. His appalling son had enough pure meanness to force the sword into obedience, no matter how the sword itself felt about it. That was the one thing the king could not allow. So instead of expiring peacefully in his bed, surrounded by weeping damsels, he was limping down a Welsh burial mound, leaking fluids, hoping desperately that he'd get there before.

"Hello, yer Highness."

It was Hwyll son of Kaw, a nasty piece of work who loved knives and hated soap. The king had disliked Hwyll even before the knight had gone all Ostrogoth and woven those shark's teeth into his beard. And behind Hwyll were a dozen private military contractors. Saxons, by the look of them.
"Why, Hwyll, what are you doing down here? Come for the waters?"

"Hand it over, yer Highness." Hwyll extended his hand

The king smiled to himself. His son Medrawt might have a will strong enough to master the sword, but Hwyll? He was dead meat, and he didn't
even know it.

"You want it? Here!" The king tossed the sword into the air. Hwyll caught it, hilt-first.

And screamed.

He staggered backward, then shook the sword as though it were red-hot grease clinging to his skin. He screamed again, fell to his knees, and with a final whimper, shoved it point-first into the cave's floor. The blade cut into the bedrock like cheese, sparks flying everywhere, squealing against the stone.

Hwyll collapsed, twitching. The Saxons backed away, crossing themselves and muttering counter-charms.

The king limped to the sword and pulled it effortlessly from the stone. The power flowed into him, closing his wounds, numbing his pain...for a little while. A moment. Just long enough. He twirled the sword casually in front of himself, once, twice.

“Right, then," said Arthur, for the very last time. "Who's next?"
© Ted Mendelssohn 2013




13608750




Official blurb:
Ever since he arrived in Paris, Henry the Rat has made a pretty good living selling "magic" swords to gullible knights. But when Henry sells one to Geoffrey Plantagenet, brother to King Richard, his happy days are over for good. Geoffrey forces Henry into a dangerous, uncomfortable quest for the most famous magic sword of all time, Excalibur, even though Henry is certain that it's just a myth.
Then Henry actually finds Excalibur - and his troubles really start: For Excalibur is not just the sword of heroes...it’s also the sword that won’t SHUT UP. It communicates with its owner, it knows what kind of owner it deserves, and Henry doesn’t even come close.
To keep Excalibur and the world safe from the appalling Geoffrey, Henry will have to masquerade as a knight, crash a royal wedding, rescue a princess, break a siege, penetrate the secrets of the Perilous Brotherhood, and find Excalibur’s rightful bearer, all while trying to reach an accommodation with a snotty, aristocratic hunk of steel that mocks him, takes over his body, and keeps trying to turn him into the one thing he hates most...a hero.

http://theswordthatnagged.blogspot.com 

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