Miceral silently took the lead, walking deeper into Khron’s inner sanctum. Still on edge, Farrell scanned their surroundings. The main chapel glowed from the light of a thousand flames. Neither wizard’s fire nor real flame. Farrell recognized the hand of the divine in the flickering lights.
A massive throne, large enough for Khron to sit upon, maintained a silent vigil over the sea of empty stone pews. Miceral led them down the wide center aisle as Farrell extended his senses. Whatever Khron meant for them to find had to be here. He just needed—
Farrell spun to his right, his staff held across his body.
Miceral turned with Farrell. “What…?”
“Greetings, Chosen.” An old dwarf, dressed in the plain gray robe of a priest, leaned on an ornate golden crosier. His bushy eyebrows rose as a smile split his full gray beard. “I am Father Aswick, High Priest of Khron. Welcome to Trellham.”
Farrell lowered his staff and moved closer to Miceral. “Greetings, Holy Father. Thank you for your welcome. I am Farrell.”
“Farrell? No other title?” A twinkle of amusement danced in the dwarf’s steel gray eyes.
“Just Farrell will be fine.”
“Very well then, Just Farrell.” He nodded before turning his attention to Miceral. “The hand of Khron is strong on you. You are a chosen, but not His first.”
“I’m Miceral, Farrell’s life partner.”
“Indeed.” Aswick seemed amused by their exchange.
“Forgive our intrusion, but holy Khron directed us to come speak to you.” Farrell returned his staff to his back. “I hope this isn’t a bad time.”
Smoothing the front of his robe, Father Aswick shook his head. “No bother at all. I apologize, however, for my appearance. In my haste to greet you, there wasn’t time to don the formal robes of my office.”
“We could come back another time if you prefer.” Farrell didn’t want to come back, but the holy father deserved the choice.
Aswick let out a deep, rumbling laugh that echoed around the almost-empty temple. “While I do not doubt the sincerity of your offer, I can read your face well enough to know you hope I decline.”
Smiling through his embarrassment, Farrell nodded his agreement. “That obvious?”
“If I may suggest, avoid being drawn into a card game where your purse is at stake.”
“You might want to reconsider that statement, Holy Father.” Miceral placed a hand on Farrell’s back, stroking it gently. “Being Chosen by Khron isn’t sitting particularly well with Farrell.”
Aswick’s eyes widened, and his head jerked back slightly. “Not want to be Chosen?”
“Don’t sound so shocked, Father.” Farrell caught the annoyance in his voice and took a deep breath. “Every time one of the Six makes me their Chosen, I acquire new tasks I don’t want.”
“Service to our gods is a blessing, not a burden.”
“Spoken like a high priest,” Farrell said to Miceral.
Miceral didn’t react outwardly. “Let it go. You can’t win that debate.”
“As you say, Holy Father.” Heeding his partner’s advice, Farrell tried to sound sincere. “Whatever assistance you can provide would be appreciated.”
“Come.” Aswick turned his body sideways. “Join me in my private quarters.”
After defeating Meglar at Belsport, Farrell returns to Haven to recover from his injuries, but Khron, the god of war, has other ideas. He gives Farrell a new mission: free the survivors of the ancient dwarf realm of Trellham from their three-thousand-year banishment. To fulfill Khron’s near impossible task, Farrell will need the help of his distance ancestor, the legendary wizard Kel. But Kel has been dead for a thousand years.
Farrell finds information hinting that Kel is alive, so he moves his search to Dumbarten, Kel’s birthplace. To reach Dumbarten unannounced, Farrell and Miceral disguise themselves as mercenaries on board a merchant vessel. Their journey is disrupted when pirates attack their ship. While attempting to subdue the attack, Farrell is struck down by one of Meglar’s minions.
Unconscious and trapped in his own mind, Farrell’s only chance for survival rests with Miceral and the peregrine king Rothdin entering his thoughts and helping him sort fact from illusion. To reach Farrell, they will need to rely on an untested spell from one of Kel’s spellbooks. If they succeed, Miceral can guide Farrell home safely. If not, Farrell will destroy not only himself, but Miceral, Rothdin, and everyone around him.