Title: Lioness of Kell
Author: Paul E. Horsman
The lioness Maud is at eighteen already a black powerhouse of brawn. When she is ordered to fetch a young thief from a pirate town, she thinks it an easy task. Until she and Jurgis the thief find themselves running for their lives.
Young warlock Basil sees his life threatened by a summons from the Warlockry Council, to prove his beauty. He knows his lame foot will betray him and escapes on the first ship out of town. On board he meets Yarwan, a handsome midshipman, who awakens feelings he never knew existed.
When the four young people meet, Basil learns of a spell that could repair his foot. Only the spell’s creator, the infamous Black Warlock, disappeared nearly a century ago. As the four decide to go looking for him, they start on a path leading to an old war and unsolved mysteries that will change their world. Or kill them.
On his way forward, Jurgis stopped, his need to piss forgotten as a young girl came up the gangway. She was a Kell, nearly as black as Maud, but with her hair made up as a bird’s nest, and dressed in a flowing robe of gauze as thin as cobweb that betrayed every inch of the strong body underneath.
‘You, male!’ she said in a tone that roused hot rage in Jurgis’ breast. ‘I am seeking the Lioness Maud of the M’Brannoe. Tell her I come for her.’
Jurgis closed his mouth with an audible snap. He’d met plenty rough girls in Brisa. Harbor whores, tavern wenches, pickpockets; all coarse and often foul-mouthed women, but none had ever displayed the soul-wrenching arrogance of this barely dressed chit.
The girl frowned at his silence. ‘Are you dumb, male? Go quickly, and warn the lioness I am here. Jump to it.’
‘Well, it’s that you ask it so kindly,’ Jurgis said. ‘And who might you be?’
‘Don’t be impertinent!’ The girl’s eyes flashed. ‘My name is not your concern. Go and fetch the lioness.’
Without another word, Jurgis strode back to their cabin. He slammed the door shut behind him and Maud turned around, her sheathed sword in her hand. ‘Something wrong?’
Jurgis cursed. ‘There’s a girl come on board. A terribly arrogant, snotty girl in the most nekkid robe I ever saw. She wants to see you.’
‘A naked robe?’ Maud frowned. ‘Then she’s a wisewoman. The young ones like to go about in transparent drapes.’ She prodded Jurgis’ breastbone with a finger. ‘Don’t you believe for a moment her dress has anything to do with her being hot and cuddlesome. A wisewoman isn’t a warrioress. We’re generally easygoing; they are the opposite, and this girl’s nakedness is a deadly trap. She’d remove the manhood of any offender even quicker than I would.’
Jurgis growled. ‘That ill-mannered child cuddlesome? I’d rather mount one of those pewbara cats.’
‘Much safer. Was she alone?’
Jurgis thought back and shook his head. ‘No. She had an attendant. A boy. He wasn’t much bigger than I and looked scared as hell.’
Maud sighed. ‘They sent us a difficult one.’
‘Not all your wisewomen are wise?’
‘Forget it. They’re no better than warlocks.’
Paul E. Horsman (1952) is a Dutch and International Fantasy Author. Born in the sleepy garden village of Bussum, The Netherlands, he now lives in Roosendaal, a town on the Dutch/Belgian border.
He has been a soldier, salesman, scoutmaster and from 1995 a teacher of Dutch As A Second Language to refugees from all over the globe.
Since 2012, he is a full-time writer of epic light fantasy adventures for both Y.A. and over. His works have been both trade published in The Netherlands, and self-published internationally.
His available titles are:
* The Shadow of the Revenaunt (Rhidauna, Zihaen, Ordelanden) trilogy
* The Shardheld Saga (Shardfall, Runemaster, Shardheld) series
* Lioness of Kell (standalone)