Hunting Evil Has A Price.

Scarred by the death of his friend Kori, Caden is doing his best to move forward. After months of fighting the vile slush trade, Caden realizes that the more he fights, the worse the slums of Kings Keep become. Despite this, Caden presses forward, hoping that once he’s carved through enough evil, Kings Keep will once again find the light. As he pursues this aim, sorcerers from his homeland finally come for him.

As he prepares for the inevitable confrontation with the Malkethian Sorcerers, the Queen declares all sorcery outlawed, and vows to put any violator to death. Unable to defend himself with magic, Caden is ambushed by the enemy sorcerers who are bent on dragging him back to Malketh for judgment by any means necessary.

Without a way to escape Kings Keep, Caden is forced to take refuge in the underground, trading one danger for another. While in hiding, Caden must learn to navigate the labyrinth below the city and find a way to defeat his foes without bringing harm to his friends. All the while, a greater evil is rising from the catacombs, determined to destroy them all.

Get A Copy Today

Kindle eBook: $4.99

Paperback: $16.99

Hardcover: NA

Purchase a Copy
Read a Free Sample

Book Product Details

Language: English
ISBN-13: 979-8-89412-733-0
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Age: 15+ (Suggested for Mature Readers)

Content Advisory

This book is recommended for mature readers.

The themes and events in this book may contain content which are adult oriented. Child of Havoc contains depictions of fantasy violence, blood and some gore, mild language, alcohol and drug use.

There is no strong language or explicit sexual material in this book.

Subscribe To The Newsletter



Ash, wet from last night’s rain, covered the ground for a quarter mile in all directions. The stumps of burned trees that dotted the once luscious glade, were small reminders of what I had already destroyed. The glade was across the mountain, and far enough away from Kings Keep that I could relinquish my anger and fury without restraint. This was a good place for many things, and it was growing to be a new familiar destination. It seemed that the more I came, the less time I could withstand the temptation to return. This was the first time I had come two days in a row. Last night’s business had proven more frustrating than I’d expected and I needed a place to myself where I could let out my anger. Where I could fully embrace the raging fire within. 

Setting down the heavy sack of coal, I rolled my shoulders back and looked up at the sky. The pale blue was neither marked by clouds or birds and the chill which hung on the spring air came with the cool scent of a damp forest. My cloak clung to me, wet from my travel, with several twigs and leaves clinging onto the hem.

Casting off the cloak, I reached into my pocket and pulled out a small box of matches. Shaking them as I slid open the matchbox, I listened to the soft tinkling of small matchsticks. Plucking one out, I flicked my thumbnail on the red phosphorus tip, igniting the match. The flame burst alight, sending small wisps of white smoke into the air before the fire settled and began to burn with a warm orange. Letting the flame burn down the match to my fingers, I allowed the fire to enter through my skin. 

The burning sensation traveled up my finger and into my hand. The flame lived inside me, continuing to consume the small wood that I clenched within my fingers. Watching as the small match disintegrated, I linked the small flame to a piece of coal within the sack I’d set down. New life was breathed into the small flame and it began to swell within my hand. The fire began to course through my arm, chasing my blood as it rushed up into my chest. As the power entered my heart, my entire body burst with power and life. The sensation was powerful and deliberate. Focusing my eyes on the stump of a tree a dozen paces to my left, I held out my hand and channeled the fire through my body and out my hand. 

A column of fire blasted from my palm and struck the already charred trunk. Erupting, the wood lit like a torch and began to burn, the flames reaching up twenty feet higher than the top of the trunk. Within moments the trunk fell over and erupted into a cloud of ash. Embers flitted in the air and smoke rose high, marring the otherwise pristine sky. 

Turning to another half charred tree, I blasted it with fire the same way I had the first. As that tree began to burn, I began to cast fire at random. As balls of fire connected with the earth, the ground erupted sending dirt and rocks in all directions. When the smoke cleared, a hundred small craters covered the glade, making the ground look like a pockmarked face. As I looked at the destroyed earth, I realized how my power had continued to grow. It was easier than ever to cast fire and I was destructive as ever. 

Holding both of my hands before me, I produced a ball of fire which was as wide as I was tall. The fire was like a bubble that continued to grow in size, the color turning from a brilliant orange to a deep blue. As the flame expanded, I stepped into it and marveled at the ever expanding dome of flame which slowly moved away in all directions. Spinning with my arms stretched out to either side, I began to weave patterns with the fire. At first, the movements were just a way to let out emotion, done without thought. But as my mind began to focus, so did the shapes which were made in the fire. Images began to form within them, and depicted in the flames was a memory which I had suppressed for so long I had forgotten it existed. 

Closing my eyes, I let my mind get swept up into the memory. It seemed that a force beyond myself was conjuring the images and helpless to stop them, I decided to embrace them. I suddenly was back, standing on a battlefield, looking at hundreds of haggard soldiers. The Chezek army was fleeing before us, moving closer to their city walls. Blood slicked my hands and my war hammer felt heavy in my hands. A man, his face caved in from the repeated blows of my hammer, lay at my feet. Now unrecognizable, his body fell still, and he died. 

“Get your swiving carcass moving Caden! We must not let them retreat into their city.” 

The voice cut through the din of battle and my attention snapped back into focus. Looking up from the dead Chezek soldier, I saw a group of soldiers rally, turning about and raising their swords to meet me and my companion. The older man, Graham, raised his axe in response to them before barking at me to follow. Graham was dressed in plate armor painted black, and his war helm had a single spike in the front. His dark eyes were full of anger and his hands gripped his axe with a strangle hold. 

Together, we ran to meet the six bloodstained men in battle. Their plate armor was sharp and angular, adorned with spikes and blades which turned their entire bodies into weapons. Though their faces were shielded from us behind the visors of their helmets, I could tell that they were looking at me. Lifting my war hammer, I flipped it so the spiked edge was facing down and prepared myself for attack. 

“On my mark.”

“Ready,” I grunted, heaving my war hammer high.  

“Go!” Graham shouted. As soon as the words left his mouth, I sprinted to the right which drew the soldiers attention away. 

From the corner of my eye, I watched as Graham raised his two handed axe high, then slammed it into the ground. Where the blade struck the ground, the earth cracked and trembled, large chunks blasting upward as the tremor moved towards the enemy. The swelling earth rippled like water, and the Chezek soldiers dropped to their knees, losing balance. Large chunks of rock slammed into the fallen soldiers, denting their spike covered armor. 

As soon as the ground stopped moving, I shifted directions and sprinted towards the downed soldiers. Helpless to stop me, one of the Chezek soldiers raised his hand in defense before I slammed the back spike of my hammer into the helmet. The pointed metal barb broke through the metal of his helmet and lodged into his skull. Twisting the hammer to the side, I dislodged the spike and yanked it out. Blood sprayed from the wound as the man fell backwards. 

Still kneeling, the others continued to struggle to regain their footing. One of the Chezek thrust his sword towards me, catching me in the side. The blade scraped across my chain mail but did not break through. Grunting, I smashed my hammer into his chin with a back handed blow. The sharp sound of his teeth shattering was followed by the breaking of bone. As the man tumbled back, blood spewed from his mouth, small yellow teeth tumbling out onto his chest. He sputtered and choked. His eyes were crossed and he did not seem to notice as I raised my hammer. The spiked end loomed over him for a moment before I drove it down into his chest with a two handed swing. 

The metal spike broke through the armored plate and plunged deep into the man’s chest cavity. There was a soft sucking sound as I pulled out my hammer. Watching the man struggle for breath was more difficult than it should have been. I took a step back and swallowed, a lump beginning to form. Before the soldier could suffer more, I slammed the blunt side of my hammer down upon his head. His metal helmet dented and he fell still, blood pooling around his head as it leaked from the corpse. 

The other four were back on their feet and another squad of seven soldiers were sprinting towards me, their swords raised. Taking a tentative step backwards, I readied myself, heaving my hammer so my right hand was close to the head. Holding my weapon close to my shoulder, I took a deep breath, preparing myself to attack. 

“Get back!” Graham commanded.

Obeying immediately, I leapt backwards, and watched as the geomancer slammed his axe into the ground over and over. The ground began to break apart, large cracks forming which began to swallow the remaining Chezek. As they slipped between the cracks of earth, they screamed, flailing their arms in desperate acts to crawl out of the earth which was swallowing them. Watching their bodies squirm, I listened to their screams, and I forced myself to stay. 

Raising my left hand, I took in a deep breath and from the fire which burned a few paces away, I drew in the power. It seared my insides, sending pain through my entire body. Screaming, I closed my eyes and released the fire. The flames burst from my left hand and shot towards the Chezek warriors. As the fire connected with the first man, it hit him with so much force that his entire helmet was blown off. As the fire disappeared, I got a clear look at his face. The man was bald, his skin partially burned from the fire, and his eyes were full of fear. His mouth hung open as if he were going to scream, but no sound came out. I only looked at him for a second before I blasted him once more with a large ball of flame. The fire seared his face, caused his eyes to pop and his teeth to explode. This time, when the fire faded, a skeletal face of scorched flesh was all that looked at me, its mouth still open in a silent scream.  

Small flames sprung to life and danced between my fingers before the power left my body completely. The sudden loss of the fire and magic within me caused me to stagger forward. Dropping to my hands and knees, I trembled, losing feeling in my hands. The chill which overwhelmed me made me feel like I was frozen. Forcing in deep breaths, I closed my eyes and felt a slight tremor in the ground. Tightening my grip on the war hammer, I looked up and watched as Graham strode forward and began to decapitate the remaining Chezek with his axe. He killed them quickly and without remorse, striking them where they were, half buried in the ground he had broken with his magic. 

My head felt light and my hands shook. What is happening to me? 

A wave of guilt slammed into me with full force and I fell to the ground. My breathing began to grow short and rapid. The anxiety made my chest grow tight and I grit my teeth. The emotions cut so deep it seemed as though I had been run through with a sword. Unable to move, I closed my eyes and tensed every muscle in my body. Despair followed, consuming every thought and feeling. The edges of my vision began to darken and the sound of battle became a distant din. 

“Get up!” I growled to myself. This was no time to break down. I had to hold myself together, just for a little longer. Tightening my grip on my hammer until it hurt, I got up to one knee, then with all the strength I could muster, I stood. Raising my chin, I ignored the dead and focused my attention forward at the armored men on the battlefield. 

Don’t look back. Never look back. 

The Chezek soldiers continued to flee towards their city. Glancing behind us, I looked at the line of soldiers who stood on the hill almost a half mile behind us. The Malketh army looked like a wall of silver, the low hanging western sun shining brightly upon them. The large black banners with the silver eagles were still distinct, even at our distance. 

Only four other Malkethian sorcerers were standing upon the battlefield. They stood in groups of two, and I watched as the other sorcerers attacked the Chezek much as we had, tearing the earth asunder and burning their victims. Watching them was like watching the destruction of an entire army. Like those who had fled from us, the Chezek that were fortunate enough to survive their onslaught fled back towards the city. 

“Come, young one. There are still more we must fight and we cannot let them get back to their city.” 

I took in a series of short breaths, nodding as I processed the words. Staggering forward, I followed after Graham who continued towards the large city walls in the distance. Giving chase, we pursued the soldiers who sprinted with wild abandon. It was like watching hogs flee from a predator, all full of squeals and frantic movements. 

Graham changed his style of attack, waving his hand here and there, causing only small portions of the ground ahead of us to shift. This caused the fleeing soldiers to fall and stumble, making it exceptionally easy for us to catch them.

Rushing up to a fallen soldier, I slammed my hammer into the back of his head, driving his face into the dirt. As the Chezek soldier fell still, I stepped over him and attacked his companion. The second soldier stumbled forward, his feet tripping on a stone which suddenly shot up from the ground. His armor slammed hard against the ground, the spikes which covered it digging deep into the dirt. The man groaned and he turned his head just as I swung down with my hammer. The spiked edge entered his helmet through the slit in his visor, spreading the metal and sinking deep into his eye. Blood spurted from the visor and when I pulled on the hammer, the body jerked forward. Stepping on the soldier’s chest, I pried my hammer free. As soon as it was loose, I held it high and saw the blood drip from off the spiked edge. 

We continued to slaughter the Chezek as we pursued the enemy to the wall. While we killed dozens, the majority were still able to take cover behind the first line of fortifications. The wooden chevals were sharp and coated in a shimmering black substance that dripped down to the ground. Behind the chevals were small dirt trenches which had small stone walls built above them. These dirt and stone mounds hid many from our sight, but I could hear the sound of their metal armor clinking as they dashed into them. 

The walls of the city loomed high above us, but no archers stood atop them. Though it was strange, it made me less hesitant to pursue. However, the lack of archers did make me wonder what they had planned. It was no coincidence that they had lured us onto the battlefield. I shut away the doubts in my mind. They would not be helpful. Not now.

“Stop!” Graham barked. 

I obeyed, skidding to a halt fifty paces from the line of chevals. “What do we do?”

“Burn them!” 

With hesitancy, I lifted my hand and pointed my palm at the first Chezek trench. Taking in a deep breath, I pulled the fire inside of me. My entire body flared with heat and with pain. Screaming, I forced the energy through me, summoning as much fire as I could. The grass on the field around me turned to ash, the wooden chevals withering and breaking apart into charcoal. As my surroundings were consumed, the energy and the fire within me grew so intense that I felt like it was about to erupt from my skin. 

Then the fire blasted from my hand in an enormous column. In horror and astonishment, I watched as the twisting spiral of orange and blue engulfed the soldiers as they tried to leap out of the trench to escape the flames. The sound of screams was drowned out by the crackling of burning skin, the searing of meat, and the popping of bones. Even though the fire only lasted for a few seconds, when the light faded, I had to blink to rid my eyes of the white spots which obscured my vision. When my vision finally cleared, I saw a heap of molten metal, only the faintest outline that they had ever been pieces of armor. What remained of the bodies was unrecognizable and looked like the white ashes of an abandoned campfire. 

Choking, I began to take in staggering breaths. It felt as though my lungs were collapsing in upon themselves, unable to bring in air. Again, I collapsed to the ground. As I continued to struggle for breath, small squeaks and groans slipped through my lips. My entire body was cold as ice and with every passing moment, things began to feel more and more numb. Closing my eyes, I gave into the pain, letting it consume my entire being. 

The memory faded and I once again focused on my surroundings. The dome of blue flame had expanded in all directions several hundred feet. Closing my fists, I let go of my connection to the fire and watched as it burst apart. Small blue embers rained down from above as the dome vanished. The light was gone and in comparison, the pristine blue sky above seemed duller than it had before. Glancing up at the sun, I felt like it had lost both its warmth and shine.

It was with sad eyes that I looked down at the ash covered glade. Smoke billowed around me. My rage returned and conjuring another ball of flame, I cast it high into the air. The ball of flame soared upward until it was too far away for me to control. I felt my connection to the fire break and as it did, the fire vanished, disappearing as if it had never existed. Filling both fists with fire, I began to throw them at the ground and as I did so, I put all of my anger and frustration into the action. Soon, I was standing next to an empty sack which was now covered in dirt and coal ash. With my resources exhausted, I clung to the small fire which was still burning within me and dropped to my knees. 

It had been ages since I had last reflected upon the first time I killed someone with magic. Or at least, the first time I had purposefully killed someone with it. There was something strange about my reflection upon the past. The more I seemed to dwell upon it, the more detailed and distorted the memory became. There were some details that I could recall with such clarity, while there were others that seemed like a fading dream. But there was one thing that remained constant, and that was the pain. 

A bitter laugh slipped from my lips and I pulled all of the small traces of fire from my surroundings and conjured a ball of flame which hung in the air above my hand. Once, this simple act would have caused me pain. Now, there was only pleasure. 

Is that how I am supposed to feel?

The flame vanished, the energy snuffed out. Looking around at the ash, it was clear there was nothing left to burn. Even the sack which had carried the coal was now gone, black dust in its place. Turning around, I walked through the ash of the glade, following my footprints. It was time for me to return to the city. As I reached the edge of the clearing where the ash stopped and the winterbare forest started, I glanced back, a sad smile coming to my lips. 

Another memory bubbled to the surface, and I did not resist it. Instead, I embraced it, and closed my eyes to reflect upon its nature. It was the end of the first day of battle, the first of what would become an endless onslaught of killing and destruction. But it was a beautiful end to an otherwise tragic day.

I remembered laying on the ground, unable to feel my body. I was looking at a burnt orange sky, the clumpy clouds alight with the brilliance of the setting sun. Memories of the battle flooded back and I jolted upright. The shock and anxiety faded after a second, and I rested back upon my elbows. The first thing that drew my attention was the smoke billowing up from behind the large gray walls of the city. The tips of orange flames were occasionally visible through the smoke. The field all around me was burned, the ash covered dirt trodden over by countless footprints. Three people were standing beside me; two men and a woman. 

The woman was small and thin, her long brown hair cascading down her back in soft curls. Her eyes were a deep sapphire blue, shining more brilliant than I’d ever seen, and she had soft pink cheeks. She was looking towards the sky as if examining something in the distance. Her companion was a bear of a man, with a square jaw and arms as thick as my legs. He had a short, well kept beard which was black except for a patch of gray to the left side of his chin. Beneath his dark bushy eyebrows, the man was watching me with keen eyes. 

Graham was running a dry stone across his axe, working over a new chip towards the blade’s lower tip. The others I recognized, but their names were still unfamiliar to me. If they had introduced themselves, I had forgotten what they had told me. 

“You’re finally awake,” the woman said. She was smiling, though the expression did not touch her eyes. “We were about to move you, but Graham insisted you would wake.” 

Graham nodded, getting up from where he sat. 

“I’ve seen it before.” Amod said, his voice rough and scratchy. “They shouldn’t have sent him into battle so soon. Not when he’s not accustomed to using his power.” 

“The boy’s my responsibility Amod,” Graham said, running his stone across the blade a little dramatically. 

He tilted the axe and began to examine the edge, thumbing the side as he felt the sharpness. I was distracted for a moment, examining the blade. It should have been more damaged from striking the ground, though it seemed no more damaged than any other battle worn weapon. 


Graham took notice of my admiring eyes and I instinctively looked to the ground. Waiting to be chastised, I remained as still as possible. When nothing happened, I found myself sheepishly looking back towards the man. To my surprise, Graham was looking at me with wide eyed concern. 

No, I thought, he’s looking at me with pity. 

“How about we go get ourselves washed up?” the woman said. “I am certain we could all use some good food. We’ve all earned it.” 

She reached down and extended a hand. At first I made no move, instead looking down to the ground, and then over to Graham. The man was preoccupied with sharpening his axe again and I finally looked up at the woman. 

“I don’t bite,” she said, flashing me a kind smile.  

Reluctantly, I reached out and took her hand. She pulled me to my feet and dusted off my shoulders. 

“So, what’s your name?” 

“Caden,” I said. “Yours?”

“Lyla. It’s good to more formally make your acquaintance. You have a good companion. Graham will look after you, so long as you stay on his good side.” 

“Like he took care of the last one?” Amod said with a wry laugh. 

“That was not my fault and you know it Amod,” Graham snapped.

“I’m only giving you a hard time. No need to take it so personally. We all know that Damon was a swiving fool. Nearly got the entire battalion killed.”

“We don’t need to talk about that,” Lyla said. “Let’s go.” 

Looking at the ground, I began to search for my hammer. Not seeing it, I began to look back and forth, my eyes growing wide. Panic began to build up inside of me and then Graham took me by the shoulder. He proffered my hammer to me. It was already cleaned off, not a drop of blood anywhere on it. 

“Here you are. No need to worry. You’ve got us now.” 

A wave of relaxation flooded over me and for the first time since I could remember, I smiled. The memory faded as I placed my hand against the half frozen bark of a tree. I looked up at the branches, feeling a wave of sadness wash over me. 

My first good memory. 

Closing my eyes, I let out a deep sigh, a heavy weight settling in my stomach. I could never understand why remembering the sparse good that had happened to me in life seemed to mitigate the bad. Being a warrior for the Malketh army was no longer my life, and like a distant half forgotten dream, I let the memories slip back into the recesses of my mind. It was time to move forward, if only I could find a way to forgive myself. 

No, I thought bitterly. There was no forgiveness for what I’ve done. But perhaps there would be absolution in the things I was about to do. Letting out a slow breath, I took a step into the woods and muttered, “to the burn and blight.”