There was light and sound, a trickling of water somewhere and the murmur of soft voices. He opened his eyes and stared upward at a tall canopy – a bed? Beyond the gossamer draping, a gilded and carved ceiling arched high overhead. Soft light filtered through open windows; rich carpets and cushions covered the floor around a low table piled with food and decanters. The walls were decorated with tapestries and ornate oil lanterns hung at intervals.
He felt heavy, sluggish and oddly dull. There was an endless moment of complete incomprehension – no relation to anything in the luxurious interior in which he found himself.
He lifted his head and looked down his fully clothed and armored body, lying atop the soft bed. His sword was missing. He knew nothing of where he was or even who he was, but he felt the absence of his sword like a missing limb.
He found it set on a low table near the windows. The belt was wrapped around the scabbard, and the soft leather from the grip had been unwound and piled to the side as though someone had wished to examine it. The red stone fixed in the pommel winked at him. Recognition blazed as he touched the hilt.
This sword had been entrusted to him.
He must keep it safe.
He lifted its familiar weight and checked for damage on the long blade before rewinding the leather strips. He began to buckle the belt around his waist but stopped. It didn’t feel right. He needed it to be strapped across his back. The scabbard
and belt were adjustable and his fingers moved in a practiced motion to reattach the scabbard at a different angle, turning the belt into a baldric. He threaded the leather strap through its ring, clasping it across his chest, adjusting the sword into a comfortable position. He paused, noticing the red gleam on his chest. A star was etched into the tooled leather of his breastplate.
He traced the star’s edge with his fingertips. A familiar voice spoke in his mind. “Lanfear, may you find peace and gentle rest until the Stone requires your protection again.” A beautiful face appeared in his mind – Altania. His heart thudded as a swell of emotion surged through him and with it, memory slammed back with disorienting force.
LANFEAR, BOOK TWO OF THE STONE GUARDIANS: REMEMBERING.