The King in ReserveThe King in Reserve – Michael Pryor

Cover blurb
Queen Tayesha’s made plan to rule all the saur people is tormenting the land itself. Eathquakes, volcanoes and vast crevasses are threatening to tear Krangor apart.

There is one way Adalon and his friends can halt the Queen’s plans. They must rescue a young king who has eluded the Queen’s clutches. But this mission is thrown into turmoil when the mysterious and terrible A’ak redouble their efforts to return from their magical banishment.

Adalon, Targesh and Simangee must rise to challenge after challenge. The fate of the world is in their claws.

The Story Behind the Story
Book 3 of the saga of Krangor is crucial in the unfolding story. After some initial successes, Adalon and his friends are facing the overwhelming forces of Queen Tayesha – and also facing the possible return of the A’ak. I wanted The King in Reserve to be a pivotal moment where the three friends realise the danger that these two foes present. This is the dark moment, when they are in the most peril. It is the testing time – and such times can bring out the best and the worst.

‘The King in Reserve’ begins
Adalon was glad of the fireplace in the Room of Dreams. The day after they’d returned from Sleeto, the weather had changed. Rain lashed windows. The cold wind found the tiniest cracks in the walls, and the draughts soon chilled any exposed scales. Adalon hoped that the Winged Ones were snug in their new eyries high in the mountains that encircled the Hidden Valley. Targesh’s riders from High Battilon had also taken up residence in the valley, and the farmhouses near the castle were sure to be warmer than the bleak stone corridors here. The riders were well pleased with the chance to keep their battle skills sharp by hunting the traiths and screets that had roamed at large in the valley for so long.

Simangee, Targesh, Hoolgar and the Flightmother had assembled at the table in the Room of Dreams with Adalon. Adalon found it hard to shake the weariness from his head at such an early morning meeting, but he knew that discussing their plans was important.

Simangee and the old tutor Hoolgar looked equally tired. Targesh’s right horn had healed, but the stump was still ragged and angry looking. The only one who was bright-eyed and smiling was the leader of the Winged Ones, the Flightmother.

‘I have good news,’ she said abruptly. The leathery wings, neatly furled on her back, flexed and eased.

‘Good news is welcome,’ Simangee said. She blew a note that resonated in her bony crest. ‘We stopped the invasion of Callibeen, but with Knobblond fallen… ’ She shrugged.

‘Ah, Knobblond may have fallen, but my wide-faring Winged Ones have heard that the King of Knobblond escaped.’

Adalon straightened, his weariness falling from his shoulders.‘Escaped? He eluded Wargrach’s troops?’

The Flightmother gestured at the large map on the wall that Adalon had moved to the Room of Dreams from the Map Room. It was an impressive A’ak chart showing all seven kingdoms of Krangor. ‘The last anyone saw, King Gormond was galloping off through the marshes to the east of Muhna, just as Wargrach’s troops broke through the city walls from the south.’

Adalon smiled. ‘If he’s still alive, this is good news indeed.’

‘For Knobblond?’ Targesh asked.

‘For all of us. Don’t you see? If Gormond is alive, Queen Tayesha’s plans must fail.’