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

catd69: Karim is a very talented writer. When I started reading his journey it took me into the book and I was in the story till the end. I've never felt this way with any other writers stories. If you want to read a gripping adventure, this will be the one book I would suggest you pick.

Shifa Gohar: this book is my first on inkitt and I love it thoroughly...but i guess this is not the end. The characters were amazing the plot too. At times it scared me more than a horror movie would. Love the plot something i had not read in a while.

Lynda Keosavanh: very well written. from start to finish. I loved the plot and how it flowed. I enjoyed the characters and was engrossed by the mystery unfolding. I could barely put the book down. and look forward to seeing more

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 ...

Alex Rushmer: This was not what I expected, but I enjoyed it a lot Malfoy was always one of the characters that I liked a lot, so I like that a lot of this happens between him and Colette. I read the first couple chapters, and I enjoyed your writing style and am excited to see where you take this story. My com...

Hawkebat: Playing both Kotor I & II and Swtor I found the story line interesting and it held me until chapter 35 Very good story and plot flow until then, very few technical errors. I felt that the main character was a bit under and over powered, as it fought for balance. The last few chapters felt too f...

ynez2005: I LOVE THIS BOOK SOOOOO MUCH!!!!Though you really need to make another book,more Princesses!!! Whoooo!!!Girl Power!!!Mabey it could even be Devona's BFF???That would make it even better!!!Plus can you pleeease make Akki come back,together with Thea and Authur amd the whole family is back!Other th...

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.

Pille: I have never read a ... werewolf/urban fantasy/any other genre ... story with this brutal honesty about kidnapping and mafia. It was a chilling experience but you also managed to write it as the best thriller and also give it a happy end. I must praise you for the amazing writing skills you have...

More Recommendations

ArgyrisMetaxas: Thrilling story which builds layer ontop of layer. A few mis spellings every few chapters. What I found special was that it took a modern day problem and took it to its logical conclusion and plays this realism with gritting precision. I'm always on edge ready to shout from adrenaline. This is gr...

genlynne2379: I read the other review of this book and I must say that I disagree with it wholeheartedly. I do not believe the author put the apostrophes in the names just to be unique, but because the characters are supposedly of a different race than humans. They are Anmah. They should have different names a...

mitchreed519: Truly fantastic, I would buy this book and any other prequels or sequels there after. An empowering and intriguing novel, and well written. Best literature I've read in a while, beats out published books as well.

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...

diabolka: This book is a fascinating twist on mythology, fantasy and romance genre. The author has done a fantastic job combining Greek mythology with a modern day twist, tying in a plot that offers twists and turns that are both expected and unexpected. The hero, Ross, and heroine, Antara, are complex, ...

rudyoxborough46: An action-packed, mystical adventure awaits anyone wishing to read this novel. I’m amazed at how well you’ve managed to flesh out the characters in this book, and I hope to read more of your work.I’ve read books about goblins and elves and all that mumbo-jumbo before, and most accounts of these c...