The Eyes of God


By John Marco

cover image of The Eyes of God

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Akeela was the king of Liiria. Young and idealistic, he was determined to bring peace to his kingdom -- a land that had been plagued by war with the neighboring kingdom of Reec for decades. Beloved by his people and called "Akeela the Good," he revered knowledge as well as peace, and vowed to make Liiria a haven of learning the like of which the world had never known. Now, he had come to parley in Hes, capital city of Reec, with gifts from his subjects to their age-old enemy, King Karis. For protection, Akeela brought his Royal Chargers, Liiria's elite fighting corps, led by the infamous Bronze Knight, a man as feared as the young king was loved. Lukien was the Bronze Knight of Liiria. Not yet thirty, he was peerless with a sword, and had earned his reputation the hard way. War was his life, his true calling, and if it were up to him, he would never make peace with Reec. But he was Akeela's champion, and his loyalty knew no limits. Abandoned by his father and left an orphan by his mother's death, Lukien had lived by his wits on the streets of Koth, Liiria's capital city, stealing what he needed to survive or working for pennies in the slavelike conditions of the smithies. Then, at fourteen, he met Akeela. The young prince had slipped away from his guards and wandered into the alleys Lukien called home, only to be robbed and beaten by local roughs. Lukien saved the prince's life, and, in gratitude, was taken in by the royal family and raised by King Balak, Akeela's father. From that day, Lukien rarely left Akeela's side. A bond of loyalty stronger than blood linked these two men -- for each had saved the other. But though they loved each other as brothers, no two souls could be more different. Akeela was a scholar, a dreamer, and an academic. Filled with a boundless enthusiasm and an almost childlike optimism, his experience of the world came from books, not real life. Sheltered and cloistered, he had never known battle, though his country had been at war since before his birth. Slight in stature, it was the size of his heart and the strength of his vision which made him a great man. Though he was a fosterling of a king, had graduated from the Liirian War College at the top of his class, and had risen to command the Royal Chargers, Lukien had never forgotten the bitter lessons of the street. Tall, golden-haired, handsome as a god, and strong as a gladiator, nevertheless Lukien's soul was shadowed by the past. He had never forgiven his drunken father for leaving him, nor his mother for dying. It was an unfortunate foe indeed who faced the Bronze Knight's wrath. As Akeela and Lukien entered the gates of their enemy's stronghold on a mission of peace, neither man could foresee the turmoil this historic journey would wreak on their lives. For to seal the peace, King Karis of Reec would bestow upon Akeela his most valued treasure: the hand of his charming, beautiful, and accomplished daughter Cassandra. But unknown to anyone, Cassandra hid a terrible secret. She was experiencing the first symptoms of a disease which would threaten her life, and cause unimaginable strife for all who loved her. And for Akeela and Lukien, the quest for Cassandra's salvation would overwhelm every bond of loyalty, every point of honor, every dream of peace. For only the magical amulets known as the Eyes of God could halt the progress of Cassandra's illness. But the Eyes would also open the way to a magical stronghold which would tear their world apart and redefine the very nature of their reality. Jacket art by Keith Parkinson
The Eyes of God