{{ contest.story_page_sticky_bar_text }} Be the first to recommend this story.
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
mccourts would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

The Seven Kingdoms

By mccourts

Adventure / Fantasy

Foreword

Foreword by Sean Lypaczewski


When the words are spoken

The spell begins to wind

The cast is called, the weapons drawn

The clock counts down its time


Though hearth be warm

And cups be full

Our tasks are grave and grim

So here we sit

The chosen few

Our bloody joys begin


For in the darkest parts of woods

We temper our great steel

With equal parts of skill and luck

Our destinies reveal.


I’m going to steal a line right from the author to start here. He had it in the intro before he asked me to write this. He said, “This story is a love letter.” I can’t think of a better way to describe this book. It’s a love letter to Dungeons and Dragons. It’s a love letter to a campaign that has ebbed and flowed over a decade: Where the characters have changed, the worlds evolved, and the players themselves matured. It’s unlikely that many who haven’t taken part, even in some small way, will read this; but if they do, they shouldn’t be worried. The following is a glimpse into a world that has been in the making for a very long time, by people who love this place immensely. Even if you’ve never played the game, get ready for one hell of a story. You may not get all the inside jokes, but this book will not disappoint. For those who have played, especially for the gentlemen who this book is dedicated to: hold onto your butts.

The game Dungeons and Dragons is an act of world building. When people sit around a table, no single person is in control, but rather they come together and decide to see where the night takes them. Sure, there may be an end goal, but a good DM (dungeon master, or otherwise known as the poor soul trying to keep everyone in check) knows that even the best laid campaign will sometimes go sideways. In that lateral motion, everyone involved finds the freedom to explore; to dive deeper into a character that started as nothing but an idea on a piece of paper; and to open up to the possibilities that they couldn’t have even imagined a dice roll before.

Here’s an example:

At the start of a new story we found ourselves on a ship - I can’t remember why, or if we were prisoners, but the why hardly matters. Our characters, newly created, were blank pages aside from some small character flair and stats saying what they were good at:

An eccentric wizard with his owl, Owly

A war cleric clad in crimson and black armour

An elf ranger with an inborn hatred of humans

A surly man-druid who, unlike the normal tree loving kind, was tied to the sea

And I’m pretty sure Chris played a rogue. Or a sorcerer. Honestly there have been so many campaigns that some things are blurry. Also, I know I’m missing characters... this was a big one, so please bear with me.

Our boat came under attack. The mast was aflame, the hull slowly cracking before our eyes. We were tasked with trying to save the ship, fight off the attackers, stop the fires, and get to shore safely.

We screwed the whole thing up.

No one could agree on a course of action. Everyone’s turn was trying to solve some other problem. We bickered like children as the water rose around us. Inevitably we had to abandon ship and face some hard rolls to make it to shore. Steve refused to take off his armour - he spent a long time crafting this look, dammit, and this armour was going to be the key to his success in future battles. So he drowned. Naturally.

The scraggly, bearded, homeless looking druid, played by Darren Hutz, was clearly pissed when we reached safety. Soaked, with all our weapons gone, he didn’t even have his shillelagh, which was actually his character’s only possession. He tried his hardest to keep us in order on the boat, and blamed us all. My elf, who hated humans already, didn’t take kindly to this (plus I think I was drunk and a bit surly myself). So we fought. Hand to hand. Each roll was an eye gouge, a knee to the kidneys, a fist to the face, a hand around the throat trying to wrench the life out of the other. We were supposed to be on the same team, and yet here we were.

By the end, Darren was face down unconscious in the water, and I was bleeding pretty badly. All the other players just watched. I can’t remember who pulled the druid from the sea, but he lived. None of that helped our goals and poor Steve spent his time that night working through the books to make a new character (one that would die spectacularly by a perfectly shot arrow right through his skull, an unbelievable three twenties in a row making him our first victim to the house rule of instant death). But that random decision to scrap on the beach brought more out of my and Darren’s characters than we could have come up with on our own. Without it, I can’t imagine how this human druid and my human-hating elf could have worked together, but after that they had the same begrudging respect that comes from a real fist fight. That bond only grew stronger as the campaign continued.

This is only one story of millions that could come from the same group of guys, rolling the same dice in the same sets of basements, but to me it helps highlight what makes Dungeons and Dragons spectacular: spending time with your best friends; having some drinks and catching up; all the while playing a game that can be hilarious, heart-wrenching, exceptionally difficult, and even more rewarding. It is the best movie you’ve ever seen, it’s the best story you’ve ever heard, it’s the best book you’ve ever read - because you get to make it- with some of the best people you know.

This book takes the story made by many and continues it: moving it forward, filling in its past, and ensuring an even richer future for the games that are now bound to happen. It is a love story to those characters and to the world they live in. The author has created a team around him in hopes of making this the best thing you’ll read all year. It’s a testament to his own hard work and commitment to the players that have taken him, and many others, along for this crazy ride.

It has been an honour to get to work on it on your behalf. Steve, thank you. I cannot begin to describe how much fun this has been. Working on this with you has meant the world to me. This has been a joy to be a part of.

Thank you old friend.

But I’ve taken up too much of all of your time already.

Let’s begin shall we?

Continue Reading Next Chapter
Further Recommendations

Bri Hoffer: I couldn't put it down!! The characters are all incredibly likable, and it's so descriptive you can see, smell, and feel thier surroundings. Great story, and very well written. I cannot wait for follow up stories. there were a few grammatical errors, but nothing that I could move right over.

Lydia Walters: I really enjoyed this novel. It gives us a view of what could be if we really tried.Also that there's nothing wrong with loving our LORD and our fellow humans. couldn't wait to get to each new chapter (mission). Thanks, Joe!

Flik: Hi! ^.^ huge fan of yours on ff.net! When I saw the note about this contest on The Way We Smile, I couldn't help but rush over here, create an account, and vote! XD Seriously love this story and would recommend it to anyone! :D best FT fanfiction out there. Amazing story, amazing concept that wa...

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...

Jade Niday: This book kept me interested and wanting more. I fell in love with the characters and the plot. This book never has a dull moment. It has action, suspense and even love. Can't wait to find out what happens next

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...

Stephen Warner: To start off, I am thoroughly impressed. The writing style is somewhat unique, and the plot seemed to move at a nice and steady pace. However, I was not expecting this to be a vampire book! I am usually not one for novels about vampires, but I was pleasantly surprised! You wrote with such grace a...

re8622: The Last Exodus quickly grabbed my attention. Almost as soon as I started reading the story, I couldn't put it down. I found that the ideas the author put forth were very thought provoking given the turmoil we have seen gradually rise over the last several years. I felt that I could understand th...

More Recommendations

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...

maewilde25: I am so in love with this story!!! captivated me till the very end, there wasn't a dull moment. Didn't particularly enjoy the lay out and some bits of info was missing along with how a 21 year old man amassed so much wealth that needed to be explained other than that and a few spelling errors, th...

Lauren Sanby: This is an excellent story. Very gripping and keeps your attention throughout. Hoping the author is writing a sequel because I'd love to read more about Rhi and Andreas and find out what else Rhi is able to do with her powers.

ElusiveBadwolf: I loved this book so much! It's a shame that i already came to the end of this. I really enjoyed the story, and i liked it how everything became in the end. It was a great book and i can say that you are a great writer too. Keep it that way and i think you can make it in the writing business!

Ayesha Shaikh: I love the twists. 😆I like how the writer describes everyone's point of view and the character development. I'm gonna read all the books by this author (current and upcoming). She's one of my favorites now. The spelling mistakes are normal no big deal, the amazing plot makes up for it. Thank you ...

amarin8388: Bottom Line: I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys Science Fiction. During my reading, I thought many times that this would make a good story for a movie. It reminded me of the StarWars movie franchise, not because of the plot but because of the diversity of chara...

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.