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Morgan Rice

Night of the Bold

Copyright © 2015 by Morgan Rice

All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior permission of the author.

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return it and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictionally. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Jacket image Copyright Algol, used under license from

Morgan Rice

Morgan Rice is the #1 bestselling and USA Today bestselling author of the epic fantasy series THE SORCERER’S RING, comprising seventeen books; of the #1 bestselling series THE VAMPIRE JOURNALS, comprising twelve books; of the #1 bestselling series THE SURVIVAL TRILOGY, a post-apocalyptic thriller comprising two books (and counting); of the epic fantasy series KINGS AND SORCERERS, comprising six books. Morgan’s books are available in audio and print editions, and translations are available in over 25 languages.

Morgan’s new epic fantasy series, OF CROWNS AND GLORY, will publish in April, 2016, beginning with book #1, SLAVE, WARRIOR, QUEEN.

TURNED (Book #1 in the Vampire Journals), ARENA ONE (Book #1 of the Survival Trilogy) and A QUEST OF HEROES (Book #1 in the Sorcerer’s Ring) and RISE OF THE DRAGONS (Kings and Sorcerers – Book #1) are each available as a free download!

Morgan loves to hear from you, so please feel free to visit to join the email list, receive a free book, receive free giveaways, download the free app, get the latest exclusive news, connect on Facebook and Twitter, and stay in touch!

Select Acclaim for Morgan Rice

“If you thought that there was no reason left for living after the end of THE SORCERER’S RING series, you were wrong. In RISE OF THE DRAGONS Morgan Rice has come up with what promises to be another brilliant series, immersing us in a fantasy of trolls and dragons, of valor, honor, courage, magic and faith in your destiny. Morgan has managed again to produce a strong set of characters that make us cheer for them on every page.…Recommended for the permanent library of all readers that love a well-written fantasy.”

Books and Movie ReviewsRoberto Mattos

“RISE OF THE DRAGONS succeeds – right from the start… A superior fantasy…It begins, as it should, with one protagonist's struggles and moves neatly into a wider circle of knights, dragons, magic and monsters, and destiny.…All the trappings of high fantasy are here, from soldiers and battles to confrontations with self…A recommended winner for any who enjoy epic fantasy writing fueled by powerful, believable young adult protagonists.”

Midwest Book ReviewD. Donovan, eBook Reviewer

“An action packed fantasy sure to please fans of Morgan Rice’s previous novels, along with fans of works such as THE INHERITANCE CYCLE by Christopher Paolini… Fans of Young Adult Fiction will devour this latest work by Rice and beg for more.”

The Wanderer, A Literary Journal (regarding Rise of the Dragons)

“A spirited fantasy that weaves elements of mystery and intrigue into its story line. A Quest of Heroes is all about the making of courage and about realizing a life purpose that leads to growth, maturity, and excellence…For those seeking meaty fantasy adventures, the protagonists, devices, and action provide a vigorous set of encounters that focus well on Thor's evolution from a dreamy child to a young adult facing impossible odds for survival…Only the beginning of what promises to be an epic young adult series.”

Midwest Book Review (D. Donovan, eBook Reviewer)

“THE SORCERER’S RING has all the ingredients for an instant success: plots, counterplots, mystery, valiant knights, and blossoming relationships replete with broken hearts, deception and betrayal. It will keep you entertained for hours, and will satisfy all ages. Recommended for the permanent library of all fantasy readers.”

Books and Movie Reviews, Roberto Mattos

“In this action-packed first book in the epic fantasy Sorcerer's Ring series (which is currently 14 books strong), Rice introduces readers to 14-year-old Thorgrin «Thor» McLeod, whose dream is to join the Silver Legion, the elite knights who serve the king… Rice's writing is solid and the premise intriguing.”

Publishers Weekly

Books by Morgan Rice














A CRY OF HONOR (Book #4)

A VOW OF GLORY (Book #5)







A LAND OF FIRE (Book #12)








ARENA TWO (Book #2)


TURNED (Book #1)

LOVED (Book #2)

BETRAYED (Book #3)

DESTINED (Book #4)

DESIRED (Book #5)


VOWED (Book #7)

FOUND (Book #8)


CRAVED (Book #10)

FATED (Book #11)

OBSESSED (Book #12)

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* * *

Chapter One

Duncan walked through the ebbing flood, water splashing against his calves, flanked by dozens of his men as they trekked through the floating graveyard. Hundreds of Pandesian corpses floated by, bumping against his legs as he sloshed through what remained of the Everfall flood. As far as he could see stretched a sea of corpses, Pandesian soldiers washing up from the overflowing Canyon, being swept out to the desert in the receding waters. It was the solemn air of victory.

Duncan looked down at the Canyon, overflowing with water, still spewing out corpses by the minute as it bubbled over, and he turned and looked at the horizon, toward Everfall, where the gushing torrents had slowed to a trickle. Slowly, he felt the thrill of victory well up inside him. All around him, the air began to buzz with the victorious cheers of his stunned men, all trekking through the waters in disbelief, all slowly realizing that they had actually won. Against all odds, they had survived, had conquered the much greater legion. Leifall had come through, after all. Duncan felt a surge of gratitude to his loyal soldiers, to Leifall, Anvin, and most of all, his son. In the face of grim odds, none had backed down in fear.

There came a distant rumble, and Duncan checked the horizon and was overjoyed to see Leifall and his men of Leptus, Anvin and Aidan amongst them, White running at their feet, all returning from Everfall, riding back to reunite with them. They were joined by Leifall’s small army, hundreds of men, their shouts of triumph audible even from here.

Duncan looked back to the north and spotted on the distant horizon a world filled with black. There, perhaps a day’s ride away, sat the remainder of the Pandesian army, rallying, preparing to avenge their defeat. Next time they would not attack with ten thousand men, Duncan knew, but with a hundred thousand.

Duncan knew time was short. He had been lucky once, but there was no way he could withstand an attack from hundreds of thousands of soldiers, not even with every trick in the world. And he had exhausted all his tricks. He needed a new strategy, and he needed it fast.

As his men gathered around him, Duncan searched all the hard and earnest faces and knew these great warriors looked to him for leadership. He knew that whatever decision he made next would affect not just him but all of these great men – indeed, the entire fate of Escalon. He owed it to them all to choose wisely.

Duncan wracked his brain, willing the answer to come to him, pondering all the ramifications of any strategic move. All moves carried great risk, all carried dire repercussions, and all were even riskier than what he had done here in the canyon.

“Commander?” came a voice.

Duncan turned to see the serious face of Kavos, looking back at him with respect. Behind him, hundreds of men stared back, too. They were all awaiting direction. They had followed him to the brink and had come out alive, and they trusted him.

Duncan nodded, breathing deeply.

“We meet the Pandesians in the open field,” he began, “and we lose. They outnumber us still a hundred to one. They are also better rested, armed and equipped. We would all be dead by sunfall.”

Duncan sighed, his men hanging on his every word.

“Yet we cannot run,” he continued, “nor should we. With the trolls, too, attacking, and the dragons circling, we have no time to hide, to fight a guerrilla war. Nor is hiding our way. We need a bold and quick and decisive strategy to defeat the invaders and rid our country of them once and for all.”

Duncan fell silent for a long time, pondering the near impossible task ahead. All that could be heard was the sound of the wind rippling off the desert.

“What do you propose, Duncan?” Kavos finally prodded.

He looked back at Kavos, gripping and ungripping his halberd, staring back with intensity, as his words rang in his head. He owed these great warriors a strategy. A way not just to survive – but to victory.

Duncan pondered the terrain of Escalon. All battles, he knew, were won by terrain, and his knowing the terrain of his homeland was perhaps his one remaining advantage in this war. He reflected on all the places in Escalon where the terrain might offer a natural advantage. It would need to be a very special place indeed, a place where a few thousand men could fight off hundreds of thousands. There were few places in Escalon – few places anywhere – that could allow that.

Yet as Duncan recalled the legends and tales ingrained in him by his father and his father before him, as he recalled all the great battles he had studied from times of old, he found his mind turning to the battles that were most heroic, the most epic, the battles of few against many. Again and again, his mind returned to but one place: the Devil’s Gulch.

The place of heroes. The place where few men had fought off an army, where all the great warriors of Escalon had been tested. The Gulch offered the most narrow pass in all of Escalon, and it was perhaps the one place in the land where the terrain defined the battle. A wall of steep cliffs and mountains met the sea, leaving but a narrow corridor to pass through, forming the Gulch that had taken more than a few lives. It forced men to pass through single file. It forced armies to pass through single file. It created a bottleneck where a few warriors, if well placed and heroic enough, could fight off an entire army. At least, according to the legends.

“The Gulch,” Duncan finally replied.

All eyes widened. Slowly, they nodded back in respect. The Gulch was a serious decision; it was a place of last resort. It was a place to go when there was no other place to go, a place for men to die or to live, for the land to be lost or to be saved. It was a place of legend. A place of heroes.

“The Gulch,” Kavos said, nodding for a long time as he rubbed his beard. “Strong. Yet there remains one problem.”

Duncan looked back.

“The Gulch is designed to keep invaders out – not in,” he replied. “The Pandesians are already in. We could perhaps block it off and keep them in. But we want them out.”

“Never once in our ancestors’ time,” Bramthos added, “has an invading army, once it crossed the Gulch, been forced to leave through it again. It is too late. They have already passed through it.”

Duncan nodded back, thinking the same thoughts himself.

“I have considered this,” he replied. “Yet there is always a way. Perhaps we can lure them back through it, to the other side. And then, once they are south, we can seal it off and make our stand.”

The men stared back, clearly confused.

“And how do you propose we do that?” Kavos asked.

Duncan drew his sword, found a dry patch of sand, stepped forward, and began to draw. All the men huddled around close as his blade scratched the sand.

“A few of us will lure them through,” he said, drawing a line in the sand. “The rest will wait on the other side, prepared to seal it. We shall make the Pandesians think they are pursuing us, that we are fleeing. My force, once it passes through, can circle back, through the tunnels, come back on this side of the Gulch, and seal it off. We can then all make a stand together.”

Kavos shook his head.

“And what makes you think Ra will send his army through that gulch?”

Duncan felt determined.

“I understand Ra,” he replied. “He craves our destruction. He craves complete and total victory. This will appeal to his hubris, and for that, he will send his entire army after us.”

Kavos shook his head.

“The men that lure them through,” he said, “will be exposed. It will be near impossible to make it back in time through the tunnels. Those men may likely be trapped and die.”

Duncan nodded gravely.

“Which is why I shall lead those men myself,” he said.

The man all looked back at him with respect. They stroked their beards, faces beset with concern and doubt, all clearly realizing how risky this was.

“Perhaps it could work,” Kavos said. “Perhaps we can lure the Pandesian forces through and perhaps even seal them out. Yet even so, Ra won’t send all his men. Stationed here are just his southern forces. He has other men, spread throughout our land. He has a mighty northern army, guarding the north. Even if we won this epic battle, we would not win the war. His men would still hold Escalon.”

Duncan nodded back, thinking the same thoughts himself.

“This is why we shall split our forces,” he replied. “Half of us will ride for the Gulch, while the other half will head north and attack Ra’s northern army. Lead by you.”

Kavos stared back at him with surprise.

“If we are to free Escalon, we must do it all at once,” Duncan added. “You will lead the battle in the north. Lead them to your homeland, to Kos. Take the fight to the mountains. No one can fight there as well as you.”

Kavos nodded, clearly liking the idea.

“And you, Duncan?” he asked in return, concern in his voice. “As poor as my odds are in the north, your odds in the Gulch are much worse.”

Duncan nodded back and smiled. He clasped Kavos’s shoulder.

“Better odds for glory, then,” he replied.

Kavos smiled back with admiration.

“And what of the Pandesian fleet?” Seavig chimed in, stepping forward. “Even now they hold the port of Ur. Escalon cannot be free while they hold the seas.”

Duncan nodded to his friend, laying a hand on his shoulder.

“Which is why you shall take your men and make for the coast,” Duncan replied. “Use our hidden fleet and sail north, at night, up the Sorrow. Sail to Ur, and with cunning enough, perhaps you can defeat them.”

Seavig stared back, rubbing his beard, his eyes alight with mischief and daring.

“You realize we will have a dozen ships against a thousand,” he replied.

Duncan nodded back, and Seavig smiled.

“I knew there was a reason I liked you,” Seavig replied.

Seavig mounted his horse, his men following, and he took off without another word, leading them all off into the desert, riding west for the sea.

Kavos stepped forward, clasped Duncan’s shoulder, and looked him in the eye.

“I always knew we would both die for Escalon,” he said. “I only did not know we would die in such a glorious way. It shall be a death worthy of our ancestors. I thank you for that, Duncan. You have given us a great gift.”

“And I you,” Duncan replied.

Kavos turned, nodded to his men, and without another word, they all mounted their horses and took off, riding north, for Kos. They all rode off with eager shouts, raising up a great cloud of dust as they went.

That left Duncan standing there alone with several hundred men, all looking to him for direction. He turned and faced them.

“Leifall approaches,” he said, watching them near on the horizon. “When they arrive, we shall all ride for the Gulch as one.”

Duncan went to mount his horse, when suddenly, a voice cut through the air:


Duncan turned in the opposite direction, and he was shocked at what he saw. There, from the east, a lone figure was approaching, walking toward them through the desert. Duncan’s heart pounded as he watched her. It could not be possible.

His men parted ways on all sides as she approached. Duncan’s heart skipped a beat, and he slowly felt his eyes filling with tears of joy. He could hardly believe it. There, approaching him, like an apparition from the desert, was his daughter.


Kyra walked toward them, alone, a smile on her face, heading right for him. Duncan was baffled. How had she arrived here? What was she doing here? Why was she alone? Had she walked all this way? Where was Andor? Where was her dragon?

None of it made any sense.

And yet there she was, in the flesh and blood, his daughter returned to him. Seeing her made him feel as if his soul was being restored. All felt right in the world, even if just for a moment.

“Kyra,” he said, stepping forward eagerly.

The soldiers parted ways as Duncan walked forward, smiling, holding out his arms, eager to embrace her. She smiled too, throwing her arms out as she walked toward him. It made his entire life worthwhile just to know that she was alive.

Duncan took the final steps, so excited to embrace her, and as she stepped forward and embraced him, he wrapped his arms around her.

“Kyra,” he gushed, tearing. “You’re alive. You’ve returned to me.”

He could feel the tears streaming down his face, tears of joy and relief.

Yet strangely, as he held her, she was still, silent in return.

Slowly, Duncan began to realize that something was wrong. A split second before he realized, his world was suddenly filled with blinding pain.

Duncan gasped, unable to catch his breath. His tears of joy quickly morphed to tears of pain, as he found himself breathless. He couldn’t process what was happening; instead of a loving embrace, he felt a cold shaft of steel puncturing his ribs, being driven all the way inside. He felt a hot sensation gushing down his stomach, felt himself numb, unable to breathe, to think. The pain was so blinding, so searing, so unexpected. He looked down and saw a dagger in his heart, and he stood there in shock.

He looked up at Kyra, looked into her eyes, and as horrific as the pain was, the pain of her betrayal was worse. Dying did not bother him. But dying by his daughter’s hand tore him to pieces.

As he felt the world begin to spin beneath him, Duncan blinked, baffled, trying to understand why the person he loved most in the world would betray him.

Yet Kyra only smiled back, showing no remorse.

“Hello, Father,” she said. “So nice to see you again.”

Chapter Two

Alec stood in the dragon’s mouth, gripping the Unfinished Sword with trembling hands, dazed, as the dragon’s blood gushed down on him like a waterfall. He looked out from between the rows of razor-sharp teeth, each as large as he, and braced himself as the dragon plummeted straight down for the ocean below. He felt his stomach dropping through his throat as the icy waters of the Bay of Death rushed up to greet him. He knew that if he was not killed by the impact, he would be crushed by the dead dragon’s weight.

Alec, still in shock that he’d managed to kill this great beast, knew that the dragon, with all its weight and speed, would sink to the bottom of the Bay of Death, and would take him with it. The Unfinished Sword could slay a dragon – but no sword could stop his descent. Worse, the dragon’s jaws, now lax, were closing in on him as its jaw muscles relaxed, clamping down to become a cage from which Alec could never escape. He knew he had to move fast if he had any chance of survival.

As the blood gushed down onto his head from the roof of the dragon’s mouth, Alec extracted the sword and, as the jaws nearly closed, braced himself and leapt. He shrieked as he fell through the icy air, the dragon’s razor-sharp teeth scraping his back, slicing his flesh, and for a moment, his shirt snagged on the dragon’s tooth, and he did not think he would make it. Behind him he heard the great jaws clamp shut, felt his shirt rip, a piece torn off – and finally, he was in free-fall.

Alec flailed as he dropped through the air, bracing himself for the black, swirling waters below.

Suddenly there came a splash, and Alec was in shock as he plunged into the frigid waters, the icy temperature taking his breath away. The last thing he saw as he looked up was the dragon’s dead body, plunging down near him, about to impact the bay.

The dragon’s body hit the surface with an awful crash, sending huge waves of water up in either direction. Luckily, it just missed Alec, and the wave instead crested out and away from its corpse. It carried Alec high up a good twenty feet away before it stopped – and then, to Alec’s dread, it began to suck down everything around it in a giant whirlpool.

Alec swam with all his might to get away, yet he could not. Try as he did, the next thing he knew, he was being sucked down in the vast whirlpool, beneath the depths.

Alec swam as best he could while still clutching the sword, already a good twenty feet below the surface, kicking and plunging in the freezing waters. He kicked for the surface, desperate, sunlight sparkling high above, and as he did, he saw massive sharks begin to swim toward him. He just spotted the hull of the ship bobbing in the waters high above and he knew he had but moments to make it if he were to survive.

With one last kick Alec finally surfaced, gasping for air; a moment later, he felt strong hands grabbing at him. He looked up to see Sovos yanking him on board the ship, and a second later he was up in the air, still grasping the sword.

Yet he sensed motion out of the corner of his eye and turned to see a massive red shark leaping out of the water, aiming for his leg. There was no time.

Alec felt the sword humming in his hand, telling him what to do. It was like no other feeling he’d ever felt. He swung and shrieked as he brought it down with all his might, using both hands.

There followed the sound of steel cutting through flesh, and Alec watched with shock as the Unfinished Sword hacked the huge shark in half. The red waters quickly teemed with sharks, eating the pieces.

Another shark leapt up for his feet, yet this time Alec felt himself yanked high up and he landed on the deck with a thud.

He rolled and groaned, covered in aches and bruises, and breathed hard with relief, spent, dripping wet. Someone immediately covered him in a blanket.

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