The Sword and the Sunflower

By Mark Bradford

This book will launch on Dec 9, 2019. Currently, only those with the link can see it. 🔒

A father who lost his heart, a traveler who lost his love, and a girl who lost everything.

In a world turned upside down, a grieving father seeks a job one last time, to assassinate a man he's never met. His agreement is not what it seems, and what he finds changes him forever.

This coming of age fantasy adventure explores the aftermath of catastrophe 1,000 years in the past—in a new world distant yet familiar to us. It questions the definition of family and challenges beliefs—all through the eyes of three strangers that have no business coming together.

Each one impacts the life of the other, in ways they could not have known.

Is it an ancient prophecy or just a poem?

The agreement

“Do you know the origin of your name, bishop?”

It asked of him—with a voice that was an entire chorus—and the tower resonated with the sound.  The voice spoke firmly, and gently. It whispered and yelled. It was many, and one. And it would make any man mad to listen to it, but it did not this day.

Perhaps because he already was.

Lucjan spoke back into the statue.

“I know many things. And many things have changed. Some information can be trusted; oth…”

“Light bringer.”

The voice interrupted, almost laughing, as if revealing the final line of a very elaborate joke.

Lucjan closed his mouth, not sure how to feel, not sure what the voice wanted by this statement.

“I see.”

“You are named after the one that attempted to bring light to your people.”

Lucjan stared into eyes of stone. They did not blink.

“He failed.”

“I will not fail!” The bishop replied immediately, thinking this was a challenge, or perhaps that it was suggesting his namesake caused him to be destined to fail.

“We have a deal and you are bound by it.”

“Yessss…” The voice drew out the single syllable and the walls shook with it. It affirmed what Lucjan said but was also perturbed. Was there anger, or was it hate he heard?

“Seek the assassin and pray once again.”

Lucjan knew there was nothing it could do, but he was also in a precarious position. He had harnessed lightning in a bottle months ago. He had done the impossible—the saint was in his keeping and would provide all manner of knowledge and power.  

But it had also alerted him to a danger with an augury.  Lucjan would be struck down in a mere week.  A great warrior—one known about the land— would visit him in his very tower and strike him down.

The saint could not protect him, but could provide a means for a proxy to do so.  

The assassin. But this would not be a simple case of pitting one fighter against the other.

“Nay, the warrior is much too powerful. The assassin could not defeat this warrior. He would be… helpless.”

The voice had told him this almost a month ago and with it had lead him to a scroll—a scroll that would foretell the prophesy. There was a problem though—Lucjan’s ability to translate the ancient language was marginal at best, and he was running out of time.  

The voice would do what it was asked but only what it was asked. It could not provide information, or translate the scroll.  Or rather, it provided its own information, when it wished it.  Though it was in his service it could only act based on the specific prayers of Lucjan.

And it could not tell him what to pray for.

This he found profoundly annoying.

The scroll had been before him for many days, and he had focused all of his efforts on translating it.  Often times he wondered if it simply said he was doomed, spelled out his death… but thoughts of that ilk were quickly washed away by his pride at being so powerful as to be part of an ancient prophecy.

He had accomplished much and his accomplishments had justified his actions—every one of them.

He was indeed an important part of the church as a whole.  Perhaps one day he would be a Saint.

Day and night he worked at the document until finally he translated it.  

“Strike at the warrior when n’er be more weak

Motion is set when ye find what ye seek”

Once again he prayed and his audience was granted. He described what had been translated, and he asked specifically for help in sending someone to this warrior when they are at their weakest.  

He just needed a warrior—one that was ruthless, a killer. One that was single-minded in purpose and would not fail him.

A simple mercenary would not do, nor would a barbaric fighter of some kind. He had considered freeing a prisoner to do the bidding. Even the strongest of warriors had their limits. Lucjan needed more than just skill. He needed something else—or an individual weighed and found wanting.

He needed someone with no heart, because their heart had been taken from them.

About the author

Mark Bradford is an author, speaker, podcast host and builder. He invests time and effort researching a subject to create an understandable explanation. His podcast interviews and experiences have taught him much wisdom. The fruits of his labors have been a dating site, five books and a card game. view profile

Published on December 15, 2019

Published by

90000 words

Genre: Fantasy

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