Excerpt from Sorcerer’s Blood by Christopher Kellen

I’ve known Chris Kellen since he joined the Magic Appreciation Tour on February 11, 2012. I think of him as one of the founding members since he joined within the first month after the site was launched. Over the past year and many emails, we’ve become friends. He has been a great supporter of the MAT as well as his fellow magical fantasy authors. Thank you Chris!

SorcerersBlood-2It is with great pleasure that I present an excerpt from Chris’ latest work in his Elements of Sorcery Series, Sorcerer’s Blood. The Elements of Sorcery is a series of novelettes featuring Edar Moncrief, my favorite Kellen character. Chris characterizes the series as “lessons,” but don’t let that fool you. This is a dark fantasy adventure series with a great lead character and plenty of situational humor. Sorcerer’s Blood is scheduled for release on March 1, 2013.

In association with his The Elements of Sorcery Tour, Chris is giving away 3 copies of his Elements of Sorcery series (Lessons I-III). Don’t forget to sign up at the bottom of this post after you read the excerpt!

Sorcerer’s Blood Excerpt

My world stopped when the knife went in.

The cold steel separated flesh and muscle on its mirrored blade. It scraped against bone, setting my teeth on edge. Blood began to flow, and as it exited, a gout of blood followed closely behind it.

My blood.

The sudden, sharp pain stole my breath away. I inhaled, trying desperately to block out the sudden blackness that threatened to sweep me away.

Then the blade struck home a second time.

It wasn’t as bad, the second one. The pain was still fresh from the first wound that my hands were clutching uselessly at, trying to put the pouring red liquid back where it belonged. It was hard to breathe.

“No, no,” I gasped. My fingers clutched uselessly at the fleeing red liquid, trying to force it back from whence it came. “Get back in there, damn you.”

Why was it so hard to breathe?

In slow motion, my knees buckled beneath me. I felt the sting as I struck the stones hard, all the strength gone from my legs, but it was a distant feeling. A rushing sound filled my ears, and I toppled forward, landing face-first on the dirty cobbles beneath me. My chest felt as though it were being compressed by a vise; every breath was agony.

Breathe, I commanded myself, fighting through the pain.

I never saw my assailant. All I heard was their footsteps, slowly walking away.

Death was not something that I’d seen coming for me that day. There was a lot of trouble that I’d expected to come my way, but a knife? Something so crude, so ignoble as an assassination in a dirty alley had never even entered my consideration.

Bravo, Selvaria, I sarcastically congratulated the blasted city in my head. You managed to surprise me. Well done.

Blood flowed from the wound, forced to a trickle by the clutching grip of my hands, but it was deep, and it was vital. I could already feel my fingers beginning to weaken as rich, wine-colored arterial blood stained my fingers and left crimson stains on the cobblestones. Each new breath was a blossom of burning pain as I struggled to draw the next, and the next.

If I didn’t do something soon, I was going to die.

There was no time to get to a healer. I was barely going to maintain consciousness for another few seconds, and as soon as my fingers weakened far enough, I would spill my entrails in the dirty alley. The stink of sewage assaulted my nose, and it was that moment that pronounced my impending death absolutely certain, unless drastic measures were taken.

There were a great many things I’d mastered in my time, but the healing of wounds was beyond the grasp of sorcery. There was only one item within reach which had any chance of saving my poor, pathetic life.

My attention flicked to the pouch secured to my calf. The constriction of the leather band suddenly seemed achingly painful, though it was nothing compared to the desperate panic rising in my chest.

Blackness threatened to close in, and I fought it back.

I cannot die here.

I will not die here, black gods be damned.

The heartblade.

Reports on its efficacy were varied. Some claimed that the use of an Arbiter’s heartblade would give them great power. Others maintained that it meant only death. Very few had ever held onto a heartblade for any length of time, and most of its powers were a matter of myth and legend, not empirical fact.

Sorcerer, experiment upon thyself.

I was dying anyway. What did it matter?

I sank to my knees on the stones. Moving was hard, as it turned out. As my midsection flexed, my fingers weakened, and I barely kept my guts from dropping to the ground. Every twitch of my muscles was agony as my heart expended my life’s blood upon the cobblestones. My fingers fumbled desperately toward my calf, reaching for the sole thread upon which my continued existence would rest.

I couldn’t reach it.

My fingers seized only inches away, refusing steadfastly to continue. Was it loss of blood, or was it paralyzing fear that gripped me in that instant? My mind was hazy in that moment, and I couldn’t be sure.

With an immense surge of will, I forced my fingers onward, unlocking the clasp that held the leather pouch shut. The tiny, fragile, crystalline needle tumbled out into my hand. It was glittering brightly with a soft blue-white glow.

A coughing spasm gripped me, and more of my precious lifeblood spilled out onto the stones. My fingers were locked with pain, spasming tightly. The heartblade nearly tumbled from my fingers, but I managed to hold it without shattering its fragile beauty.

The moment of truth. Can I do it?

It was an easy choice. The possibility of life, or certain death. I resolved to choose life.

Unless, of course, the heartblade also meant death.

I had read extensively of the Arbiters and their strange artifact. I had attempted to study it, only to be rebuffed at every turn. The only option I’d had was to undo all of its enchantments, one by one, and something in me had resisted the urge. Prescience, or coincidence?

It was so beautiful. I cradled the tiny thing in my hand as though it were a fallen star.

The blackness was coming for me again. This time, I wasn’t sure I could resist it.

I could not hold my stomach and perform the heartblade’s ritual simultaneously. With an effort of will, I forced my hand open. I didn’t look down, didn’t look to see what happened. Instead, I moved my bloodied hand to my collarbone, ripped my robes open with the other hand, and counted down on my left side.

One rib.

Two ribs.


Just below the third rib, I drove the tiny needle of the heartblade into my flesh.

The crystal point grazed my heart, and it felt as though I was set aflame. The brilliant light of the artifact’s enchantment filled my eyes, my body, and my very soul.

I tried to scream, but no sound passed my lips.

Surely, this was death.

Bet on the wrong horse again, moron, was my last thought before darkness overcame all.

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About Christopher Kellen

ChrisKellenChristopher Kellen is an IT specialist who thinks he’s got what it takes to spin the occasional swords-and-sorcery yarn. His heroes of literature are those who are fearless in telling an uncompromising story. He wishes that there were more people who wrote like Robert E. Howard, H.P. Lovecraft, and Karl Edward Wagner, and while he knows that that he can never live up to their genius, he hopes to contribute something to the genre that they so loved. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife and their monstrous black dog.

Chris’ Blog: The Eye of the Storm

Connect with Chris on Twitter: @Eisengoth


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