Excerpt, Book 2

A Gathering of Falcons
Death was imminent. Lord Clyde scowled at his left
hand as if it was the source of the crushing pain in his
chest. In the brief moment before slipping into the
shadow, the legendary warrior mused at the irony. Clyde
had so oft anticipated his demise on the battlefield that
he had never imagined he would die in the midst of a
foal pasture teeming with the vitality of new life. The
enormous man hesitated for several awkward moments
with one foot poised in the stirrup. Aborting the
attempt, he slowly backed away from the great beast
and, almost casually, leaned back against an ancient elm
Clyde and Tiny had made one last survey of the foal
pasture before their annual trip to the king’s Summer
Festival. There were twenty-four mares grazing
contentedly about the large field, with their foals
frolicking about as young horses tend to do. In the
distance stood the Worthington Estate in its redeemed
Tiny clambered onto his mount, but Lord Clyde,
gingerly clutching his left arm, half slid, half slumped to
the ground.
“Are you well, Uncle?” Tiny asked in alarm.
“’Twill be fine, lad,” Clyde answered thickly. “I’ll be
takin’ a little rest here. You ride on back to the house an’
tell Timothy I want him to come to me ... alone. And ...,”
he paused to laboriously catch his breath, “Tell me good
wife Gretchen ... I’ll be waitin’ fer her.”
It was just past a month later when the memorial
tribute to Lord Clyde was held at the Worthington
Estate. It was attended by nearly every lord of the
kingdom and the entire royal family. Such affairs were
typically stuffy and painfully formal. However, because
King Lohman III had such a high degree of affinity for

Clyde’s simplicity, formalities were relaxed and the
gathering became somewhat of a reunion.
Princess Sarah, chagrined by the missed opportunity
to record Lord Clyde’s life story, was renewed in her
determination to pen the history of each of those
assembled. She looked across the table to her father-in-
law, the king, and asked, “How is it that you and Master
Yomahito met?”
Lohman slowly swept his gaze from the far end of the
table up to those nearest him. His eyes locked with
those of the small man from the mysterious Far East. A
long moment of silent communication passed between
the two old friends. Then, as if to break the trance,
Yomahito said simply, “It was raining.”
The mists of reminiscence came across the king’s
eyes. He began to speak and the room fell to silence.
“Yes. It had been raining hard for days ...”