Hi peeps! I have to admit I’m excited and a little sad to introduce Andrew Q. Gordon and the stunning cover to his last Champion of the Gods story When Heroes Fall, excited because YAY!!! 😛 a new amazing fantasy with Farrell and the guys, but also very sad as it’s the last story in the series 😥 , Andrew shares a brilliant guest post with us and we have a wonderful excerpt, so check out the cover, enjoy the guest post and love that excerpt! ❤ ~Pixie~ p.s. Andrew’s also giving away free copies of The Last Grand Master to newsletter signups!
When Heroes Fall
Andrew Q. Gordon
It took the Seven to create the world, each to rule Their own, until Neldin sought to rule it all.
The Six defeated Neldin three millennia ago, but time has no meaning to a god. Before the dust settled from the first conflict, both sides set in motion plans for the next one. As Champion of the Six, Farrell, with Kel’s help, gathers those loyal to the Six to meet Meglar and his army.
But Neldin plotted as well, and like the Six, His plans all lead to the final confrontation between Champions.
Kel teaches Farrell that weapons and power will not be enough—victory requires something from within each Champion. But Neldin also knows this and unleashes a final surprise at a critical moment that claims some of those Farrell loves most.
With the fate of Nendor riding on his actions, Farrell must ignore the pain and find the will to win. If not, his world and everyone he loves will fall to Meglar’s darkness.
.•.•.**❣️ DSP Publications ❣️**.•.•.
Andrew Q. Gordon!
It’s said you never forget your first, and for me that’s true. No, not that first. (Well, yes that first too, but we’re not here to talk about that.) I mean the first review of one of my books. A little more than six years ago – in February of 2013, The Last Grand Master was released. Pixie at MM Good Book Reviews published the first review of the book. When DSP Publications suggested I have a cover reveal for When Heroes Fall, the last book in the series, I asked to have it on MM Good Book Reviews. It seems fitting that the first shall be first with the last book cover.
Every author gushes over how much they love their covers and how wonderful the artist is. It just so happens that in my case it’s true. When DSP Publications offered to rebrand the series to the DSPP imprint and away from their romance line, complete with new covers, I jumped at the chance. I wanted something different. Something that would become synonymous with the series. Sam – aka AngstyG – had the vision of the covers and the talent to make it work.
Each cover has a set of hands holding something essential to the story and to the that particular book. In Book 1, it’s a fireball, to symbolize magic. The next four books introduce the seven Gifts of the Gods. In Book 2 the hands hold the Eye of Honorus, Book 3 has the Heart of Seritia, Book Four, the Mind of Falcron, and this last book has the last of the seven Gifts recovered– the Blood of Arritisa. The Gifts represented on the covers were acquired in those books.
Drilling down a bit more, there are the ‘main’ images. I used quotes because, in many ways, what’s in the hands is every bit if not more central to the book than the image. Book 1 is Farrell, Book 2 is the Seafoam Rose, Book 3 is Kel, Book 4 is fight at Bowient, and Book 5 is Farrell again. The covers, like the story, come full circle. It began with Farrell on the Plains of Gharaha, and it ends with him there.
The series got its first push on MM Good Book Reviews. Now, the first push for the end of the series is here as well. As I said, it is fitting to come full circle for the beginning of the end.
If you haven’t started the series, you can get a free copy of the first book: The Last Grand Master, by signing up for my newsletter. Click the hyperlink to the left or go to my website – www.andrewqgordon.com for details.
INTENSE PAIN woke Farrell from a deep sleep. He opened his eyes and drew a ragged breath. The throbbing assault on his mind ended an instant later, leaving only a dull echo. A scan of his burns showed no distress or pain. Still, the sensations had been too vivid to be a dream.
He lay back and stared at the ceiling as his head sank into the soft pillow. The need to rest had nearly pulled him back to sleep when his head erupted in pain. The powerful scream lacked the mind-searing agony Nerti’s exuded when Nordric had died, but it still made him wince. When he closed his eyes, he saw nothing but bright white light. Unlike the grief that fueled Nerti’s outburst, this radiated terror.
A sheen of cold sweat formed on his forehead as he tried to assess the threat. How had someone slipped past his shields? Even Nerti and Rothdin couldn’t get in and out that easily. Only Miceral had this much access to him and the scream wasn’t from him.
He held his breath, ready to pounce. When the mental shriek came, he grabbed it. It hadn’t gotten into his mind; it was calling to him with such force it hurt. The unknown caller was scared beyond words, almost like a child….
Farrell jumped off the bed and ran to the nursery. When she’d been scared at Trellham, he’d dispelled her fear. She must have instinctively reached for him again, only this time it was more intense.
He burst into the suite without thinking and startled Urana, who sat knitting in the common room. Her scream should have woken the children, but Farrell doubted it would. Geena’s spillage was so strong he wasn’t sure he could wake her at the moment.
Urana dropped her knitting and clutched at her chest with both hands. “Your Majesty, what’s happening?”
“Sorry, but Geena is… is having a bad dream.”
“She’s what?” The way she steadied herself surprised Farrell.
“I can feel her… her emotions. I think she’s having a nightmare.” A bad one.
He slowly opened the door. Geena moved around as if someone were poking her. She had a look of pain that mirrored her shouts. He tried to probe her mind, but the jumble of thoughts kept him from reading much. If he pushed harder, he might see more, but he didn’t want to risk damage to her mind.
“You should be sleeping, not calling me.” Her reproachful tone didn’t help his mood.
“I would be, except something is wrong with Geena.”
“Then you should call the healer, not me.”
“Nerti, please. You know me well enough that I’d do that if that were needed. It’s her mind. Fear is emanating from her and the projections are painful. It must be terrible considering how much it hurts me.”
“What’s causing it?” She reached out a link and Farrell grabbed it.
“I don’t know. She’s fighting something, and I’m afraid if I try to push through I’ll hurt her.” Another stab of pain struck his unprotected mind. “Nerti, help me!”
“Open your eyes and let me see her.” Despite her calm tone, he sensed her unease.
Farrell did as instructed and had to force himself to breathe. The silence lingered longer than he expected, but he knew better than to disturb her.
“The source of her discomfort is coming from Bren,” Nerti said.
Her words struck him like a war hammer to the face. “Bren? How’s… it can’t be.”
“I don’t know, but Klissmor has a link with the child and is checking to see what bothers him.”
“His dream is of death and fear.” Klissmor’s voice was full of anger. “It is not a natural dream. Someone is feeding his mind images of his parents’ death.”
“Who?” Farrell imagined the ways he would make that person suffer for hurting his son. When he found them, they’d—
“Be calm, Little One,” Nerti said in a soothing voice. “We will find the source and end the threat.”
Geena’s screams left a dull ache in his mind, and he couldn’t stop his heart from pounding. Nerti and Klissmor alone would be a match for anyone; together, he didn’t know what could stop them.
He walked over to his son’s bed to calm himself. Bren clutched the sheets with his tiny hands, and his anger burned hotter.
“Who’s doing this?”
He reached for Bren. At the least he could wake his son and end his terror.
“Stop!” Nerti said.
Farrell froze with his hand nearly on Bren’s cheek. “But I can end his nightmare.”
“And we’ll lose our link to whoever is doing it.” The urgency in her tone made him retract his hand. “This way we can end it for good.”
“The link is buried deep, but I see it,” Klissmor said.
Farrell didn’t like what he’d heard. “Miceral!”
“Farrell! What’s wrong?” Fear oozed from Miceral’s question.
“Get Kel and my mother.” Farrell tried to contain his fear. “Someone is feeding Bren nightmares.”
“What!” Farrell heard his fear reflected back in Miceral’s voice. “How…. Who…?”
“Klissmor and Nerti are trying to find out now.” He took a deep breath and held it. “Can you find Kel and my mother?”
“Yes. Of course. I’ll—”
“I’ve already summoned them,” Nerti said. “They’ll be there soon.”
“I’ll wait for them and let them in,” Miceral said. “Father and I are in the study.”
Farrell watched his daughter’s little face contort as if she were living what Bren saw in his mind. Twice her mouth opened as if she would scream, but only a small moan came out. He couldn’t stand to see Geena suffer, but he didn’t break the link. Nerti and Klissmor needed the connection to stay open to find the source.
“Urana?” He waited until she looked at him. “Can you find Master Heather and tell her I need her best healer trained in empathy immediately?”
She stared at him for a moment and then glanced at Geena. “At once, Your Majesty.” She turned on her heel and walked away.
He wanted an update, but asking would get him a rebuke. Geena’s fear had taken a darker tone and her face contorted into a scowl. “Nerti, something’s changed. She’s gone from afraid to angry.”
“She’s fighting back in her dream,” Nerti said. “The soldiers are coming for Bren and her. She’s trying to defend them.”
“How can I help her… them?”
“Remaining calm is the best thing right now.” She sent a soothing touch through their link. “We’re trying to trace the connection back without announcing ourselves. Whoever is doing this will sever the link if they detect us.”
“Be….” He nearly told her to be careful. “Let me know how I can help.”
“You can bring us to their room in a moment. We’re moving toward the Door outside our quarters.”
Before he answered, the front-door spell alerted him to someone’s arrival. “Let me know when you’re ready.”
“We’re waiting for Rothdin. He is better at this than we are.”
Farrell raised an eyebrow at the admission. His adopted father had a formidable mind, but for Nerti to admit he surpassed her spoke to how serious she considered the matter.
Miceral and Horgon appeared in the doorway with Zenora, Kel, and Heminaltose behind them. Judging by their expressions, Nerti must have briefed them.
“Have you shielded her from Bren’s thoughts?” Zenora asked.
“I would have, but Nerti said not to.” He held up his hand to stop her and Miceral’s objections. “They need the link open to find the source. If we alert whoever is doing this we know what’s happening, we may lose the chance to stop them.”
“I agree,” Kel said. “If we catch them unaware now, we can sever their link for good. If they know we’re watching, they’ll take precautions to try to hide their presence next time.”
“Damn it to the Eight Gates of Neblor,” Miceral said. When everyone turned to him, he threw his hands out. “Why attack a child? What do they hope to gain?”
“There are many things I could think to do if it were me.” Kel shook his head. “Let’s focus on ending the threat before we speculate on what they hope to accomplish.”
Farrell put his hand on Miceral’s back and rubbed it. “Easy. Nerti and Klissmor won’t let any harm come to Bren.” He said it as much to reassure himself as his partner.
“Rothdin is here. We are ready,” Nerti said.
“Are you by the Door?”
“Step back,” he told them as he found a spot to open the Door. “Nerti and Klissmor are coming with Rothdin.”
“And Hesnera,” Nerti added.
He scanned the room and hoped everyone would fit.
“Everyone but Miceral and Farrell should step out,” Kel said. “Even you, Zenora. I’m as close to them as anyone, and I include myself in this. The room is too small for everyone, and their parents should be here.”
Grateful for Kel’s help, Farrell remembered to make the Door big enough for a peregrine. When he’d locked in the points, he needed a moment to clear his thoughts so he could picture the other side.
Nerti led the way after the Door flared to life. She and Hesnera went to Geena’s bed while Rothdin and Klissmor attended Bren.
“Hesnera and I will guard the girl while Rothdin finds the one behind this,” Nerti said. “Klissmor has a link with Bren, so they are better suited for that task.”
He watched anxiously as the two bent over Geena. Hesnera spread her wings as if to block something and Nerti touched her horn to Geena’s cheek. His daughter shuddered and gulped a lungful of air. Instantly, her face relaxed. She rolled onto her stomach and grabbed her pillow.
“Nerti and I diverted the hurtful thoughts into my mind to ease her suffering,” Hesnera said. “It won’t alert anyone to our presence.”
Farrell heard her but had already turned his attention to Bren. Klissmor was attempting to get between the bed and the wall. Without asking why, Farrell extended his arm and slowly moved the wooden frame.
He couldn’t see Bren, so Farrell moved to the foot of the bed with Miceral at his side. Without thinking, he reached for Miceral’s hand and entwined their fingers. His father lowered his beak until it was inches from the sleeping child, and Klissmor did the same with his horn. They stayed there for several second until suddenly they dipped their heads at the same time.
Bren convulsed and Farrell stifled a scream. Miceral did the same and squeezed his hand. When Rothdin and Klissmor moved away, Bren smiled happily and rolled onto his side.
“What happened?” he asked, hoping he wasn’t disturbing them.
“It is done,” Rothdin said. “The presence is gone.”
“I left him dreaming of riding on my back,” Klissmor said. “Your son has the heart of a Muchari warrior.”
“But what happened?” Miceral asked. “Who was it?”
“A priestess of Neldin had a connection to my grandson.” Rothdin sounded angry. “I followed the link back to the source and terminated it.”
“Priestess of Neldin?” Zenora asked. “How is that possible?”
“The night of the coronation in Trellham.” Farrell glanced at Miceral. “Geena said Bren had a bad dream. She woke us and half the palace guard.”
“That is a great deal different than a priestess with a way into your son’s mind,” Zenora said.
Farrell nodded. “I agree. When it happened I thought it something from when Trellham was overrun. No one had lived in the palace since the start of the war. I assumed it was just an echo from those dark days.”
“The palace was the first place Neldin’s creatures attacked,” Kel said. “A spawn of Neblor could have survived this much time, but not a priestess.”
“The priestess used the creature of Neldin’s to find an unprotected mind,” Rothdin said. “She found my grandson and soon realized his significance. She was trying to get to Geena as she is old enough to be useful. The perceived attack she was fighting when we arrived was the priestess trying to get to her. It is good we caught it now.”
“Is she gone for good?” Miceral’s voice betrayed his angst.
“She will not bother either of them again,” Klissmor said.
“How can you be so sure?” Horgon asked. “No disrespect, but they found a way inside his mind once. What’s to prevent them from doing it again.”
Rothdin’s feathers puffed in a way Farrell couldn’t read. “The witch of Neldin is dead.”
“She’s….” Farrell looked from Rothdin to Klissmor and then to Nerti and Hesnera. From their expressions, something had happened they didn’t want to talk about. “How… how do you know?”
“Once I found the source, Rothdin and I raced across the link and attacked the mind of the tormentor.” Klissmor avoided looking at Farrell.
“Did you…?” Zenora asked. “Is she…?”
“She’s dead, Mother,” Farrell said. “The witch deserved nothing less.”
Champion of the Gods series!
First Love (Prequel to book 01) *Free at Amazon
The Champion of the Gods (book 01)
The Eye and the Arm (book 02)
Kings of Lore and Legend (book 03)
Child of Night and Day (book 04)
Champion of the Gods (book 01 & 02)
Other books by Andrew Q. Gordon
Ashes of Life
Andrew Q. Gordon wrote his first story back when yellow legal pads, ball point pens were common and a Smith Corona correctable typewriter was considered high tech. Adapting with technology, he now takes his MacBook somewhere quiet when he wants to write.
Since devouring The Lord of the Rings as a preteen, he has been a fan of all things fantastical. His imagination has helped him create works of high fantasy, paranormal thrills and touch of the futuristic. He also writes the occasional contemporary story.
He currently lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his husband of twenty-two years. Together they are raising their pre-school age daughter and three dogs. Andrew tries to squeeze writing time in around his most important jobs, being husband and ‘Papa.’ Along with teaching how to kick a soccer ball or ride a scooter, he has become fluent in cartoon characters and children’s books. To find out more about Andrew, his writing and his family, follow him on his website or on Facebook.
You can also sign up for his monthly newsletter and get an exclusive short story only available to subscribers. Use the link below to join: http://andrewqgordon.getresponsepages.com