The Department of American Reading is ambivalent about the sale of any existing copies of Knight Upon Savage Mountain: A Shadowsword Adventure by Leopold Keen. Although the interior text and paper quality meet our typical standard of excellence, there was an issue with Wei Hung, the graphic designer responsible for the cover design. Ten thousand copies were printed before our overseas liaison realized that Mr. Hung (inadvertently pictured on the cover alongside the novel’s protagonist) was in no way affiliated with the W. Hung Printing Company. Although the majority of the books have been sold to a Texas-based biomass power plant, we are releasing a limited number of these novelty editions for sale.
Synopsis: Eldderarad Puissant, High Lord of the Eldritch Tower and bearer of the Shadowsword, receives troubling news that the Gia-ald of Orestenth have crossed the borders of Ennydar into the Morning Lands. Eldderarad must take up the legendary Shadowsword yet again to do battle against these ancient foes of the Meeder Kingdoms, but before he can do battle, he must lay to rest the Machiavellian scheming within his own realm and unite his people. Fortunately, the High Lord can count on the help of the plucky bard, Ackashat, and his newest companion, the adorable pixie dragon, Stormbow Shatter. However, could the rumors of an abyssal mace infused with the dark energies of the dead dragon, Istortur, be true?
“Watch out behind you!” Ackashat shouted while he waved his mandolin to hold the slavering gia-ald at bay. He stood with his back pressed against the great oak tree that had sheltered them last night.
Eldderarad looked over his shoulder just in time to see the gia-ald panther-master rushing toward him, its rusty fauchard poised to disembowel him. He swiftly beheaded his current opponent and pirouetted to face this new one, the Shadowsword leaving a swathe of darkness in its wake as he brought it about to snap the creature’s pole arm before cleaving its spine. Black, fetid ichor sprayed everywhere.
“Look out, Eldderarad, another one!” Ackashat yelled. He smashed his mandolin over the head of a gia-ald and kicked it backward into the semicircle of its twenty-some compatriots. “There’s no chance of us winning this fight if you can’t reconnect with the powers of the legendary Shadowsword — and fast!”
“If only this were sorcery or politics,” Eldderarad muttered under his breath, “then this would be an easy fight, but I’ve grown soft these past five years while ruling Ennydar from my throne in the Eldritch Tower of Master Magic. I can’t believe that my muscles ache already. If only I could coax the Shadowsword to do its legendary dance of death!”
Things seemed hopeless, as they still faced over six dozen gia-ald there upon the skull fields outside of Farmer Fram’s cottage. The old farmer lay dead alongside his prized pig. A score of gia-ald javelin throwers were approaching behind the ominous bulk of a horse-headed, cigar-smoking tikbalang. The dread beast could crush a man’s bones with a single slap.
Eldderarad lunged at another enemy, who blocked his blow. The High Lord feigned another thrust, and then slashed at the unsuspecting gia-ald’s kneecap, crippling it. The Shadowsword began to feel light in his hands, growing cold as it drank the souls of its victims. Eldderarad heard a voice faintly whisper in his head, “My ageless thirst will soon be quenched. Soon the dance of death will begin. Sooooooon . . .”
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