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RUEIN: Fires of Haraden

G.O. Turner

Edited by Danita Mayer Illustrated by Tom Jilesen

Also by G.O. Turner

Published by A Little Vast Studios

Prequel Novelette: Rue’s Requiem

Available as a free eBook on GOTurnerWrites.com

Book One: The Book of Ruein

HARADEN TRILOGY

Book Two: Fires of Haraden

Book Three: Nazier’s Visage

(Fall 2021)

Book Four: Gilded Lands & Cages

(Spring 2022)

Copyright © 2021, A Little Vast Studios LLC. All rights reserved.

Published by A Little Vast Studios LLC.

This novel is a work of fiction. All characters, places, and incidents described in this publication are used fictitiously or are entirely fictional. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted, in any form or by any means, except by an authorized retailer, or with written permission of the publisher.

Inquiries may be addressed via email to

[email protected]

First Edition: April 2021

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Contents

Acknowledgments

Map

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Next in the Series

Glossary

About the Author

with Gratitude

Danita Mayer - Editor

Tom Jilesen - Cover artist

Tukang Desain - Masthead Icons

G.O.Turner - Cover design

Beta Crew: Miss Francis, Amanda Nicoler, Conny Jolitz, Lily Zayas, Deborah Dalton, & Jules!

d20 Isle Crew: Matt, Dana, Denis, Liz, Keith, Chris, Russ, Stefan, Raff, Mo, Tony, Jason, Rebecka

RPG creators of the world

Our kids, and of course the most supportive of all, my wife

“I am not a slow writer, I am not a fast writer…

I am a half-fast writer.”

― Robert Asprin

Prologue

“If a flower will not bloom, then wither the stem for such is fruitless. Root the giving loam to know which has no way forward. Then watch as we leave the complacent to starve upon the lifeless clay.

Thus we grow over, stretching out into forms and colors of our choosing. Yes. We few can be as them. Yet, is it not far better to be as we?

Soon, the clay will not stifle, for mastery is nigh. Our worthy will mold beyond such rare seed, as we embrace one another…and our numbers swell.”

– High Nazier

Proving himself should’ve thrilled the newly tendered Peridoc.

But this? This was a mistake.

The novice healer would give back to the Haraden Realm. He’d show them. Humans could stomach just as much as their underdark brethren. Healing was hardly ever simple, and most duties sure as hells weren’t pleasant ones. This was messy work. He was ready to get bloodied.

Of course, that should be while healing someone.

Probably should’ve let his superior, Tender Gune, win at cards, if he didn’t want such a grave shift.

Night at the citadel was calm, without the usual blustery conditions. Warm gusts still occasionally blew through the halls and into the healery. Tapestries of noble pursuits fluttered behind tables of alchemical vessels and instruments. No doubt, Gune was off to better things. Like sleep.

If Tender Peridoc wasn’t going to spend this time healing, then he’d prefer a quiet nap of his own. Better to help yourself if no one else.

There was no helping the body the guards carted in. Shit. This brought Peridoc an unexpected duty. Nerves crept up on him. He had no reasons for fear. The healery was within the citadel, high above it all.

Yet, he stood there.

It had been a span since the guards left. Peridoc hadn’t wanted to burden them further or get in their way. Best he should convey a solemn air, a seriousness to match this task.

At least, that’s what he told himself.

The council ordered a hush over this, like the others. Haraden citizens were not to be vexed with the news of what had occurred.

It’d been many weeks since the outsiders’ attempt. This mess had all started with them. But, whatever the connection, it eluded Peridoc. The council’s lords were not the most open of people. So, how was he to make sense of senseless deaths?

Think it through.

Common thugs took control of their supply caravan. The bandits were seized within a league of entering the realm. All captured, save for one stray—some errant goblin. He’d slipped away while the rest ended up in shackles. The thugs’ fates had already been resolved, so it couldn’t be them. Yet that goblin thorn persisted in Haraden’s side.

The guards had implied that this body was somehow related to the stray goblin. Tender Peridoc’s duty: simply confirm.

The tender knotted back his blond hair and fixed his eyes on the slab’s blood-soaked blanket. All he had to do was roll up his sleeves and get to it. He’d seen burns, broken legs, gangrenous infections, but this was going to be his first dead. Nowhere near his plan for the evening. Vith it, he cursed. Forcing down the lump in his throat, Peridoc set his shoulders and crossed the marble floor.

A gust wafted, swirling the sulfurous outer air against the decay and into his nostrils. He hesitated mid-reach. It likely took a day for them to transport. The pungence, reminiscent of rotten cabbage, mixed with the musty tinge of moldering. Ugh. How long had it lain undiscovered?

He turned to reposition several of the everburning lanterns. Closer to the slab,

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