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
Liv would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

Crossed Swords

By Liv

Fantasy / Drama

Chess

The fire crackled in the hearth, illuminating the two men hunched over the board as they continued their long and arduous game. The white haired man was dressed regally, on his head was a crown-the stars adorning it glinting gloatingly at the man opposite. The king the studied the board and moved another pawn forward. His opponent calculated his options and found himself running a little short. He glanced up nervously as he moved his queen, very aware of the display of his captured chess pieces, situated at the elbow of the very important man in front of him.

"Aldertree, tell me, how have things been?" The white haired man asked, speaking very softly. If Aldertree had not been playing close attention, he would perhaps have not even heard it.

"Oh, well-th-things have been running…fairly smoothly since…" He stammered, flustered by the question. He knew that any wrong move, very much like this game of chess, could see him off the board completely.

"Since? Since what, Aldertree?" The man questioned, not breaking eye contact with Aldertree, as he moved his knight closer. The firelight danced in his eyes, giving him an even harsher gaze.

"Surely you are aware of the incident with the Downworlders!" Aldertree exclaimed, wiping his sweaty brow and taking a sip of the glass of wine in front of him in an attempt to calm his nerves.

"Of course." The man replied coolly, signalling that it was Aldertree's turn. "But, I would like to know whose fault it was."

"Well, i-it was Wayland as we all know and his son of course," Aldertree replied, stating the obvious.

"I disagree," The interrogator announced, smiling coldly as he took yet another opposing chess piece.

"But surely, my liege, it is obvious!"

"Let me make this simple for you Aldertree" Mr. Morgenstern said, voice still very calm. He took a captured pawn and laid it out in front of Aldertree.

 "Wayland and his son were like the pawns, but who controls the pawns?" He questioned, leaning dangerously close to Aldertree, who moved back instinctively.

"Y-you sire,"

Morgenstern chuckled, but it sounded rather empty to Aldertee's ears.

"You are right of course, I do control the board and therefore control the pawns." He stated and then took a knight and held it up, placing it behind the pawn on the board.

"Let us pretend that the pawn is controlled by the knight." He then placed a castle behind that. "And the castle controls the knight, but who can you guess, is the Castle?"

Aldertree fought long and hard to come up with a coherent answer, downing the last dregs of the wine in the process. The king smiled as he noticed this, his eyes gleaming with malice.

"You, Aldertree, you are the castle. And if the castle had controlled the knight and the knight had controlled the pawn….Then, well, it would not have happened, would it?"

Aldertree chose not to answer.

"Michael has been taken care of, as has the knight, but what of the castle?"

Aldertree was once again mute.

"My, my we cannot have such corruption going without punishment, can we, Aldertree?"

Aldertree was very obviously distressed, this was not going to plan.

"Your turn," The King stated coldly, sitting back in his chair, surprising Aldertree. But when he glanced down at the board, he could only make one move.

"Checkmate." Morgenstern announced, knocking over the king daintily, his eyes full of smug superiority. The sound resonated in Aldertree's ears like the axe on a chopping block. He caught the cold glare from his superior and knew what it meant.

"NO! No, Valentine, please I'm begging you!" He begged, which only angered King Morgenstern even more. Begging was for pathetic men.

"There is nothing more that can be done," He answered coolly, no sympathy evident in his placid voice.

The door opened and a few men clad in black emerged.

"No! No! Please! I have information!"

"Really?" Valentine asked, clearly disinterested.

"Yes! Yes! There was this man-"

"Fascinating." The king drawled in reply, clearly disinterested.

"No, no. You have to believe me, it was Lucian Graymark I swear it was him!"

"For starters Lucian is not a man," Valentine snarled.

"No, no. S-sire. Th-the attack. I-it was l-l-led by-y Lucian. The downworlders-" he coughed. ",d-d-angg-erous-" He stammered uncontrollably; the words caught in his throat. His hands shook as he was caught up in a seizure, his throat closed up, choking him. Valentine smiled mirthlessly, swishing his unused cup of wine, before pouring it out gloatingly onto the carpet. Aldertree registered his mistake before it was too late and the light had left his eyes. Valentine sighed and gestured for his idiot associates Pangborn and Blackwell to remove the dead body. They did so without question.

He sat at the table, studying the fire, pondering upon the last piece of information. The Downworlders were getting stronger, more rebellious, although of course they were no match for him and his son… He could not believe Aldertreee was telling the truth about his old parabatai he decided, his fingers tracing the faded parabatai rune. No. Lucian killed himself when he was given the chance…But….if there was a chance he was alive...He twirled the queen around in his fingers until he set it down and stared at the board in front of him, before moving the pieces around until he had made up his mind. He picked up his quill, dipped it in ink and started his letter to Stephen Herondale. The army of chess pieces glinted in the firelight as they stood to attention in front of their King.

Continue Reading Next Chapter
Further Recommendations

spooky jedi: Love your story!I really hope more people read this story!Its amazing!! The plot is very unique and different, which is very good to have in a world full of stories. You have very complex and intellectual plot line, with your many loveable character and that hint of 'will they, won't they' is ju...

Marijana1: The melancholy present throughout this story has the power to influence and etch into the minds of the readers, to stay there and refuse to leave even after they have finished reading the story. This is a deep, powerful story, making the readers wonder about everything – about love, about their e...

tsolaidowu: I want a continuation dammit....I loved this book and the 1st one. I can't believe this is it. I'm not ready to say goodbye to Jeff and Lorie; and the gang. Great book and storyline. You're a genius Madelyn.

Jason Phang: More, I want MORE! Your stories are keeping me from games and (gasp) even sleep! Each chapter brought fresh hooks that I willingly wolfed down (pun intended) and I just couldn't bear going to sleep not knowing what happens next to Lindsay and Wayne. I also loved how the epilogue was done. Excelle...

Jason Phang: It's too short! The plot was excellently thought through, with the characters flowing up and down the storylines like the peaks and valleys of the Himalayas. Thoroughly enjoyed the book and the time spent with Asta and her journeys. (:

Dessie Williams: loved the book. the plot the characters all just great.I think it's a must read. once you start this book it's hard to put down. hope it gets published....I think this book is a must read.great job!!!!

annie08c: I really like this story, I can relate to it a lot and with how she feels, the boyfriend and the events that happened but I'm a little bit younger. It was really good plot, really liked how you stuck to the topic and you had a new title for every chapter making me guess what's going to happen. Ma...

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...

Shubh Guru: when i'm reading this novel, I remember all my school days, all i feel like i m back to my old days, all the misery come to "bay" and how she come back like a shinning star are so good...this is my first book and i love this because it contains all the thing, love ,betrayl,losing some one who lo...

More Recommendations

Alkira Joan: Great story, I found it hard to read especially the dialogue. You just need to fix up some spelling errors and the gramma .I enjoyed this book. was a little hard to get though.,.,..,.,.,,..,.,.,, , , , ,.,, , , , , , , ,., , ,.,,,,,

ernbelle: When I first started this story I was a little unsettled by all of the information that appears in the prologue, and wasn't sure if I would continue. However, I am very glad I did. The plot was very well thought out and really interesting. There were not any page breaks or markers to acknowledge ...

Hudson: Your story was fantastic Erin! The Rising Sun was one of the first stories I read on Inkitt, and I have to say I don't regret the three to four days I spent pouring through the story.Probably the biggest strength I see in your writing is your characterisation of Eliana, Oriens, and the rest of th...

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.

spec4huff: Thank you for creating this world. I am a 6'3" veteran that thinks himself tough. But the piece of literature you have created made me misty eyed on a number of occasions. I want a love like this. Thank you again, I would totally buy this book and hopefully the sequels to this ever enchanting lov...

SPepper: I had a hard time putting this book down even to go to sleep. The story is compelling and beautifully character driven. I hope author will make this a series.

About Us:

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.