Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

0
Free copy left
You can read our best books
SheilaWolfe would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

Without a Shadow

By SheilaWolfe

Adventure / Fantasy

Chapter 1

In a land of myth and a time of magic, the destiny of a great kingdom rests on the shoulders of a young man. His name…Merlin.
The forest was quiet in the early morning hour. A delicate layer of frost had frozen the world overnight, leaving a silver sheen across every fallen leaf and twig. The pale glow of the rising sun sparkled off each tiny ice crystal but they would all soon be melted away by the warming light.

From around the broad trunk of an ancient oak, Arthur Pendragon peered to see his prey. He could just make out the deer sipping peacefully from a stream, unaware of the hunter's presence. The King stepped quietly between the stiff branches and crept forward for a closer shot.

Drawing from his quiver, he nocked an arrow on his crossbow and drew the string back with both hands, stepping on the front until it locked into place. The click echoed loudly around the trees, causing Arthur to freeze when the deer looked up.

A tense moment passed before the timid creature relaxed and bent to drink again. With a silent sigh that puffed white in the frigid air, Arthur raised the weapon and took careful aim, his blue eyes locking the arrowhead just behind one shoulder. One shot to the heart and it would be over but it needed to be perfect. Not one mistake…

"Arthur! Where'd you go? Did you get it yet?" a voice called, shattering the tranquility. Startled, the King pulled the trigger with a crooked aim. The arrow flew through the air and embedded itself in the ground far from its target. Thoroughly spooked, the deer leaped across the water and disappeared into the forest.

Seconds later, a dark haired figure stumbled into the clearing and promptly tripped over a root, diving face first into the dirt. Arthur rolled his eyes irritably and stomped over to his manservant.

"You really are a bumbling idiot, you know that Merlin?" the King asked heatedly, nudging the other man's arm with his boot.

Merlin staggered back to his feet, brushing the leaves and frost from his clothes. "What? You didn't get it?" he asked, his cheeky grin the face of innocence.

"No thanks to you!" Arthur barked as he went to retrieve his grounded arrow. "I thought I told you to stay with the horses,"

"Well I couldn't let a prat like you go wandering around the forest on your own," he joked, returning the King's glower with a shrug.

"Why? Think I might actually catch something?" Merlin's answering frown made Arthur smile good-heartedly.

"Come on," he laughed, brushing a stray leaf of the servant's shoulder. "Let's head back to the castle before you scare all the animals off,"

The blond man led the way through the trees, his companion shadowing his every step as he chattered to the crisp morning air.

"I still don't see why you insist on hunting this early in the morning. I mean, I don't think half the animals are even awake yet."

"Merlin, with all the noise you make, I'd be surprise if there's anything still asleep in all of Camelot," he answered bluntly. "Besides, what's wrong with an early start on the day?"

"Nothing other than getting up before the sun," Merlin yawned. "You couldn't wait until this afternoon?"

"After my morning patrol, I have a training session with the knights and a council meeting to attend so this was the only free time I had, Merlin, but you seem dead set on ruining that for me as well. Which reminds me," Arthur stopped suddenly, turning to face his servant.

"You will need to have my nice shirt freshly washed and pressed, clean my armor and sharpen my sword." He smiled smugly as he turned around again, pausing only to add, "And because of your incompetence, you can also muck out the stables and polish my boots."

Merlin sighed and started to follow his master's shadow but hesitated when he noticed the sandy ground Arthur was walking on giving way.

"Arthur, wait!" Merlin called, but too late.

"What now?" the King demanded just as the dirt under his feet crumbled.

Instinctively, Merlin's magic kicked in. His dark blue eyes flashed a burning gold and everything around him seemed to move at half its speed. Diving forward, he managed to shove the still falling Arthur from above the sudden hole and into the safety of the solid grass.

Relief hit him seconds before gravity did. The spell shattered and time sped forward, dragging Merlin into the dark gap meant for his friend.

Continue Reading Next Chapter
Further Recommendations

CookieMonster911: The story overall was an adventure that is appealing to any age. The way the characters develop adds a more human characteristic to the novel. The writing style itself is amazing because you can learn every character's thoughts and emotions. The awkward love triangle and jerk moments adds to the ...

Talon Richey: The answer to that question is NO! I absolutely loved the book, it has a way of lifting the magic right of the page and into the imagination. The story is well thought out and connects so easily with its self that as a reader i felt like it could actually be real. defiantly in my top five favori...

Felisa Yoder Osburn: I really enjoyed the story. Civil War stories are some of my favorites and the intertwining of the past with current times was wonderful. I look forward to reading the next stories.

Alice Liu: Whoa! I've been wondering how would the Maurauders react to Harry's life and here we go! YOU ARE THE BEST! All the characters are consistent with their personalities shown in the book! I love how you compare Lily with Molly and it's definitely true for her being a mother! I wish Peter comes have ...

Elizabeth Robbins: 4.5 starsAs far as apocalypse stories go, this one took a new direction. I'm glad someone finally addressed the need for a vampire apocalypse! This is sort of a multi-genre festival of delights. With hints of forced societies, vamps, hunters, romance, apocalypse, government conspiracy, and thrill...

Nymeria: Really can't get enough of this story. It flows well, it captivates the reader from page 1, and throws you into such a well-written, well conceptualized world that you'll believe it's real. Everything in the book is meshed together really well. From character backgrounds to plot twists, you can t...

heavyreader: great scifi novels but needs a better spell checker (check auto-substitution level) and grammar checker!!! otherwise, ready for mass market publishing!!

Elizabeth Krohn: I really enjoy the story but the Dursley's hate for Harry to just disappear is not very realistic and does seem to OC for me. Dudley, i can see changing due to the dementor incident but the other two ... not so much.For breeding purposes Luna and severus should have kids to have another Hogwarts...

Mourn8220House: When first reading "Avarice," I thought it would be another fairytale but I was taken back the author's approach and choice of ending. There is little to be said for the story and overall plot besides the sudden twists and speculation, other than that I do not want to ruin a fantastic tale, you m...

More Recommendations

summerstone: Seriously this is one of the best books I've ever read. The plot is intriguing, I love the narrative style. Its very descriptive and unique, with minimal cliches. It makes for a great read and the sequels are amazing. Totally worth reading. ^^ That's me trying to be professional. But in all hones...

Dru83: This is the second or third time I've read this one and I just love it. It has just about everything you could ever want packed into one scifi story. It still has some parts that are a little rough in terms of grammar, punctuation, and word usage, but it's still an awesome story. I love how detai...

colt: i love your books! all of them! i am so happy for you! when i first read your book i thought "this seems really interesting" and i just got hooked had to have more, i wondered if you had a sequel to the first one, and you did, i was so excited that i had to start reading it. your series left me t...

Brie Lundy: I have never read a story like this before. It was riveting. It kept me captive. Once I started it I couldn't stop until it was finished. 10/10. I need more of this book. They need to find the Wizard!!

This story wasn't for you ?
Look at our most viral stories!
King's Lament

FreakyPoet: "you made me laugh, made me cry, both are hard to do. I spent most of the night reading your story, captivated. This is why you get full stars from me. Thanks for the great story!"

The Cyneweard

Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."

This story wasn't for you ?
Look at our most viral story!
Spectra

Ro-Ange Olson: "Loved it and couldn't put it down. I really hope there is a sequel. Well written and the plot really moves forward."