First Winter’s Line Lost Chapter

      Goblinque whispered, “Derek. Evelyn.”

      “We’ve heard his thunder,” Evelyn said.

      “He’s only eighteen.”

      Derek asked, “Was I that loud at eighteen?”

      Goblinque laughed. “No. The magic we taught you at eighteen had a more subtle ring to it.”

      Evelyn scratched at her left earlobe. “What’s this boy doing to make such a racket?”

      Goblinque sighed.

      Derek reached across the table rubbed Evelyn’s knee. “What is it, Goblinque?”

      “I’ve heard reports that he’s using red lightning. He has killed five dark knights, including Avenall.”

      “Avenall of Le Mans?”

      “Yes,” Goblinque answered.

      “No!” Derek howled.

      Evelyn shook her head. “No eighteen year old boy could kill Avenall. Who is your source for this information?”

      “A shapeshifter witnessed the slaughter,” Goblinque said. “As I said, the boy commands red lightning that etches across the landscape like a line of blood.”

      No one said anything for the longest time.

      “The three of us together should deal with this boy,” Goblinque said. “I’m quickly giving up hope of enlisting him. He must be killed.”

      Evelyn smiled. “We’re expecting again, Goblinque.”

      Goblinque let out a little giggle more fitting to a teenage girl. “You aren’t going to give up hope are you, Evelyn? No matter how poorly the children always turn out.”

      “Surely our luck can’t run dry forever.”

      “We can’t help you this time,” Derek said. “You know how she gets when she’s pregnant.”

      Evelyn glared at Derek and spoke very quietly, “What do you mean, Derek?”

      Derek glared right back at her. “You know exactly what I mean.”

      “We need to be concerned with this Eriq Winter,” Goblinque said. “He could be our undoing.”

      Derek smiled. “Do I sense fear in your voice, Goblinque?”

      “The world is changing, Derek. The musket is spreading, and now this red lightning: two ways of killing us that I know no ward for.”

      “I’ve ordered a shipment of muskets from the Ottomans. I expect to be practicing warding against a bullet within the month.”


      “Is this Eriq Winter a holy warrior?” Evelyn asked.

      Goblinque did a little unhappy dance. “His aura is difficult to read. It surely isn’t pure white.”

      “He killed five dark knights,” Derek said. “Send ten.”


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