Friday, 14 August 2015

The Never-Dying Man by V.M.Sang

vivpicV.M. Sang was born in the north west of England, in the county of Cheshire, but now lives in the south east. Her journey from one to the other has taken her through Lancashire, East Anglia and Central Southern England.
She likes animals, although she has no pets at the moment. Animals have always been one of her great loves. She also likes to walk and cycle.
She enjoys painting and a variety of crafts as well as gardening.
She retired early from teaching and now spends time writing novels and poetry.

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About the Book

After finding Sauvern's Sword the previous year, the members of Wolf set off to find the kidnapped child of a friend who saved their lives the previous year.
They are separated and five of them are taken prisoner to the capital of Erian where they discover the reason that the Sword is needed. They eventually fall foul of the Master, the ruler of Erian, and have to make a desperate escape.

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Never Dying ManHere's an excerpt:

Captain Shampso of the 2nd division of the Erian Army heard the shout from the troll chief. He was working on the papers relating to the handing over of the goods the trolls had brought and privately bemoaning his fate in having drawn this duty. He did not like trolls, but as they seemed to be a new ally for his country, he had to tolerate them. But oh! didn’t they smell? He wished someone would teach them the rudiments of hygiene. Still, he had heard hobgoblins smelt worse, if that were possible. When the shout went up, he quickly pulled on a leather jerkin, grabbed a sword and longbow, and ran out of his tent. He rapidly assessed the situation. There seemed to be an attack on the trolls’ camp rather than his. He noted flaming arrows from three places, and magical fire from two of those places.
‘Two mages, then,’ he thought to himself. He could not judge quickly how many attackers there were, but cast his eyes all around the troll camp. It was then he noticed the absence of the yeti cub. So, it was a rescue attempt, was it? He would soon see about that. Calling orders to his men, he left one on guard and took the remaining eight to the troll camp. Once there, he split them up into three groups and ordered each group to attack one of the places where the firing was coming from. Shouting battle cries, his men ran into the trees. He and the two men making up his group ran towards the east where he thought one of the mages was stationed with at least one other person firing bolts from a crossbow. He was not disappointed. Pretty soon, he saw the blue robes of a mage disappearing through the trees. He fired an arrow, which missed its mark. He heard sounds from one side and sent his men after it. Whoever it was, they were not very good at moving quietly through the woodland. Every now and again there was a curse. He had determined that the mage was to be his target, and set off in pursuit. He kept getting tantalising glimpses of blue through the trees, but then he lost sight before he could level his bow and fix his target. Then he heard a word of magic and five bolts of silvery energy struck him. He managed to almost dodge aside, but the bolts did enough damage to slow him considerably. He was wounded, but not badly enough to prevent him from continuing his pursuit. He looked for the mage. He must be within sight to be able to send those missiles. He could see nothing. Then he heard another mumbling of magic, and looking in that direction saw a movement to his left. He fired an arrow, more in hope than expectation, but was rewarded by an exclamation. Good. He had got the bastard this time. Unfortunately, not fatally, as he heard him moving off again. He had determined the mage was male by the voice.
Captain Shampso followed the sounds made by the mage. Curse these trees. They hindered him and helped the mage by hiding him from sight. Then he caught another glimpse and as he entered a clearing, he saw the man at the other side. He had stopped and was weaving the mana for another spell. He was tall and had auburn hair, which he wore shoulder length, and the deepest blue eyes the Erian captain had ever seen. Shampso stopped and raised his bow. As he let fly, so did the mage. A ball of coloured energy sped towards him from the mage’s hand. He dodged the ball and so his arrow missed the target, but so did the ball of energy, flying off sizzling into the trees. However, he was luckier than the mage as his arrow found the mage’s right leg and he now stood propped up by his staff unable to run any more.
Shampso drew his sword and walked carefully over to the mage. Mages were not to be trusted and nearly always had something up their sleeves; sometimes literally, so he was careful. The mage was saying something else. Another five bolts of energy flew from his staff to embed themselves in Shampso’s shoulder. Gods, but it hurt. He had better finish this quickly. He drew back his sword for a killing blow, when there was a thud. He glanced down to see what it was and was surprised to see a crossbow bolt protruding from his chest. Still with a look of surprise on his face, he slowly toppled forwards, then found himself looking down on the scene below. There was a body lying on the ground and a dwarf coming out of the trees followed by a female elf, who ran over to a blue-clad mage sitting on the floor. The dwarf was saying something, but he could not determine what it was. He wanted to know how he was flying, and whose was the body lying on the ground. None of his men had been with him, but it was obviously an enemy of these intruders. He felt himself being pulled away until all memory of the incident was gone and he was travelling towards the land of the gods.
‘Come on, Mouse.’ Sergeant Pendrimo heard the male barbarian say to the small girl at his side. ‘This way, quickly.’
He looked, but could see no one else, although he thought he had seen three of them in the beginning. Still, he could not worry about that. He must finish the two he could see, and as quickly as he could. He detailed one of the men with him to search in the forest in case there was in fact a third, and set off with the remaining man after the barbarians. What were they doing so far to the east? He wondered, but dismissed the concern to follow his orders which were to find and kill the attackers and abductors of the yeti cub, not to wonder as to who they were or why they wanted the creature for themselves. It was easier just to follow orders, he thought. Then suddenly, the pair went in opposite directions. He signalled to his companion to follow the girl, while he turned in the direction the man had taken. The man dodged and wove through the trees, doubling back towards the camp. There was a movement behind him. He turned quickly to see what it was, and was struck in the throat by a thrown knife. His last thought was, ‘I knew there was a third one.’
Thadora was pleased with her throw. It was strong and accurate. She retrieved her knife and slunk back into the trees. Davrael paused and turned. She waved to him to signal that his pursuer was no more, and then melted back into the undergrowth. The horselord retraced his steps and followed the track Kimi had left. He had hated splitting up from her, but knew it was the best thing they could do, to split the three chasing them. He crept forward, and saw the third man, the one who had disappeared into the trees just before they split. He had gone after Thadora, he supposed. Obviously she had given him the slip. He was crouching down behind a bush, and was drawing out his crossbow and loading it with a bolt. Davrael did not think. The man must have seen Kimi and was trying to shoot her from cover. He leaped onto the man’s back, throwing him down into the leaves. The soldier’s crossbow flew from his hands as he tried to get from beneath the creature on his back. He bucked but Davrael, being an expert horseman, was not thrown off. The soldier felt hands around his neck, squeezing and pulling his head backwards. He tried once again to unseat Davrael to no avail. He was beginning to struggle for breath, but Davrael hung on.
‘Try to kill my wife from hiding, would you, like a coward?’ the horselord growled, squeezing harder.
The soldier gave up trying to remove Davrael from his back, and with a superhuman effort, he managed to roll over so that he was on top of Davrael, albeit on his back. He grabbed the horselord’s wrists and pushed hard. He was a strong man, and managed to break Davrael’s grip. He leaped to his feet, dragging in gulps of sweet air, but his throat was sore. Davrael also leaped up and drew his sword quickly before the soldier had time to prepare himself, but the man was quick. Before Davrael was on him, he had his own sword drawn and was almost ready for the onslaught. Then a female voice came from the other side of the bush behind which the soldier had been hiding.
‘Put up your sword, soldier, I’ve an arrow trained on you. Harm one hair of my husband’s head, and you’ll feel the arrow through your heart.’
Davrael smiled to himself to hear Kimi’s voice, but to the soldier it looked like the smile of a wolf ready for the kill. He dropped his sword and fled from the place as quickly as his legs could carry him. Davrael also dropped his sword and ran to embrace his wife.
‘What about the other one? The one that went after you?’ he asked.
Kimi smiled. ‘Do you mean him?’ she said, pointing to a body lying on the floor. ‘He caught up with me, but unfortunately for him, he underestimated my sword skills. He spent too long taunting me with what he was going to do when he had finally got my sword off me.’ She grinned up at her husband. ‘He didn’t get a chance to try, I’m sorry to say.’
Davrael looked at her with a speculative look on his face. This was a new Kimi. One he was not sure he knew. The girl he had married could not have killed a man and smiled about it. Still, she was still his Kimi, and he loved her. He embraced her again, and only then did he notice her trembling. They set off again, this time towards their camp.
‘Can you deal with the troll?’ Fero asked Grimmaldo. ‘The Cat has no fire and he’ll not be able to beat it without.’
‘I think I can manage to cast some sort of fire spell. It may be difficult in the confined space of the woods to cast a fireball without setting the whole forest on fire, but I can try something else,’ replied the young mage setting off in the direction they had seen The Cat taking, hotly pursued by the troll. They had been positioned not far from where the abduction of Tadra had taken place and had seen all that happened. The Cat had tried to lead both the man and the troll away from the direction that Grnff had taken with his cub, but the man had seen a glimpse of white and had taken off after him. The troll had pursued The Cat relentlessly.

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