Posted on December 27, 2010 by Flames
The lightning-paced conclusion to the Stone of Tymora trilogy by best-selling author R.A. Salvatore and his son…
After dueling with a dragon and a demon, Maimun knows he must destroy the stone that has kept him on the run for most of his life. The question now is how. With Joen by his side, Maimun journeys to the Tower of Twilight to beg famed wizard Malchor Harpell for answers. But Harpell’s help comes at a steep price. Friends become enemies. Lost secrets come to light. And deep in the shadows, the sentinels are watching, scheming to save the stone–even if it means someone must die.
Featuring the sage words and signature swordwork of R.A. Salvatore’s best-selling character Drizzt Do’Urden, this final book of the Stone of Tymora trilogy is packed with action, magic, intrigue, and a heart-stopping twist that Salvatore fans won’t want to miss.
Flames Rising is pleased to offer our readers an excerpt from this book by Bob and Geno Salvatore. Be sure to check out our interview with the Salvatores about the Stone of Tymora series here at Flames Rising. The Sentinels is available now at Amazon.com.
Thirteen thousand nine hundred twenty-four. Thirteen thousand nine hundred twenty-five. The flicker of their campfire had traced its way down the short, east-facing tunnel to the locked door to a tiny chamber, my cell. The light had been brighter this night than the previous few nights, and the uneven crack at the bottom of the door had allowed plenty of light in. But that light, too, had finally gone out.
Fourteen thousand and seven. Heartbeats, that is, since the light had gone out. I kept my legs crossed, sitting as comfortably as I could in the cramped cave. I held my
breathing steady, keeping count as precisely as I could. Of course my count would be inexact, but that was hardly the point. The pirates had been drinking heavily,
like every night. Most or all of them had surely passed out. Still, I figured to play it safe I’d give them three hours so the last stragglers could drift off to sleep.
Fourteen thousand eighty-eight. Three hours, fourteen thousand four hundred heartbeats. Soon. Neither my hands nor my feet were bound. I had gained the pirate captain’s trust. Or, more to the point, I had convinced him that he wouldn’t hear the rest of my story if he didn’t treat me better. And how he had wanted to hear
But I had no intention of letting him hear the rest of it. I had no intention of spending another day here at all.
Fourteen thousand one hundred fifty-six. The door lock would pose little challenge. I’d been saving some bones from my meals, and as I mostly got scraps, bones were in plentiful supply. I selected two, thin enough to fit in the lock, firm but not rigid, less likely to snap. They would be my lock picks, my key.
Fourteen thousand two hundred thirty-seven.
There could be guards posted at the entrance. I might be able to sneak past them. Maybe I’d have to fight my way out. Either way, I figured I could handle it. I had to, after all.
Fourteen thousand three hundred and five. My story would have come to an end eventually. And when that happens, the pirates would kill me, of that I had no doubt. So maybe they’d kill me as I tried to escape, but at least I’d die doing something. I had little dread left of the prospect of the end. It was the prospect of the end on someone else’s terms that really frightened me.
And I would not let that happen.
Fourteen thousand four hundred. Time to go. The door made hardly a sound, and my footsteps made even less. My assumption was correct: two guards sat at the end of the tunnel.
But they’d been drinking and were snoring loudly. I took a cutlass from one of them, feeling much better with a sword in my hand, even that unwieldy piece of metal. Then I crept past onto the narrow, sandy beach. The moon was nearly full, the sky clear, and the view was better than I’d hoped it would be. I knew from observing
the sunlight that the cave faced east. What I didn’t know was that the mainland was visible from the beach.
Pirates lay strewn about wherever they’d passed out, empty bottles and half-eaten food lying next to many of them. It seemed they’d made no attempt whatsoever to find even a comfortable place to lie down. They were sprawled across rocks, flotsam, the various wreckage of and loot from ships.
To my left, the beach extended out of sight. The debris, including the hulks of many wrecked ships, stretched far. A quick glance out to sea revealed the reason for the wrecks: not a quarter mile offshore, several huge rocks jutted out of the water. The tide was low, almost at its lowest point. At high tide, those rocks would be invisible, the strait treacherous to anyone not intimately familiar with those rocks.
To my right, the beach wrapped around a rocky jut. The pirate ship would be there, I figured. A fine hiding place the island made for pirates. It also made it tough for me to get out of there. No boats rested along the beach. I would either have to take some of the flotsam and use it as a raft or head for the ship itself and try to steal a launch. And the ship would be better guarded than some desolate stretch of drunk-and debris-laden beach.
I moved down the beach, looking for a promising piece of driftwood, but nothing stood out. I decided I would have to risk the pirate ship, so I headed for the rocky spur.
A cave dug into the side of it—perhaps a passage through? It was worth a look, so I crept closer.
A light flared within, and I ducked out of sight. A figure emerged from the cave, carrying a torch. Another followed him, and another after that.
“Impressive,” the third figure said. He didn’t look directly at me, but I knew he was addressing me. “Or, it woulda been impressive if it warn’t a setup.”
I recognized the voice—it was the pirate captain. He couldn’t have seen me, I figured, so I stayed quiet. But the beach behind me was suddenly filled with light. Torches flared wherever I’d seen a pirate passed out.
Soon, all those lights moved my way. They’d been watching me through their half-closed eyes. They knew where I was, so I stepped out into the light.
“Fine, then,” I said. “Which of you should I kill first?”
The pirate captain laughed. “None, I think,” he said. “I think ye should sit down an’ tell us more o’ yer story.”
“And why would I do that when you’ll just kill me at the end?”
“Aye, we might, a’ tha’,” he said. “But we’ll kill ye just th’ same if ye don’t speak as if ye do. An’ if ye speak, then at the least someone will know yer story.”
The pirates gathered around, all holding torches, all but one brandishing a weapon. I held up my stolen cutlass to the unarmed pirate, and he laughed at me. His fellows soon joined him.
“Why the setup?” I asked. “Why let me get past the guards at all?”
“I wanted ter know if ye really were capable o’ what ye been saying,” he said. “Ye tell a fine tale, but tha’ don’ make it true. What we seen t’night, though, tha’ makes me think ye ain’t lying.”
I thought for a moment. “Fine,” I said. “Where did we leave off?”
“On a ship, leaving an island,” the captain replied. He motioned to the crew. Some of the pirates took seats on rocks. Others brought bits of flotsam and jetsam and made a pile nearby. One dropped a torch into the pile, and soon we had a roaring fire. “Ye’d found yer lost stone, watched that demon Asbeel plunge into the sea, and ye were sailing away.”
“Sailing away on a ship, with no wind, and hoofbeats approaching,” I said. “Indeed . . .”
* * *
The Sentinels is available now at Amazon.com.
This preview for was provided and published with express permission from Wizards of the Coast.