Another Excerpt from "The Hidden Institute"

This is a small section from my new novel. I kinda liked it, so I thought I’d share it with you lovely people:

Cliffy lept from the runner as they reached the school, sprinting for the doors of the building. As he burst through the side doors, running past the guards who called out even though they recognized him, he turned in the direction of the Headmaster’s office. As he turned the corner, he saw something that stopped him short.

Cliffy gaped, then grinned, and asked, “So, what happened this time?”

Diz frowned from just inside the hallway, “Honestly, I cannot be blamed for this in good conscience.” The boy stood leaning against the wall in full regal vestments, with one arm braced tight against him in a sling.

Cliffy nodded at the arm, “What happened there?”

Diz took a deep breath and looked around, “How long have you got?”

Cliffy pulled him lightly by his good arm, and they began walking toward the headmaster’s office. Diz said, “I started off all right. Playing the son of a knight. Safe, quiet. I figured I could run that for a couple of years before trying anything more ambitious.”

Cliffy nodded, “But then, one day, you couldn’t take it anymore. . .”

“No. It wasn’t like that. I didn’t get bored or anything. Just had a bit of luck.” He shrugged, “I was away, visiting a neighboring country, when I heard about a young prince who had joined the war against his parents wishes. He’d been valorious in battle, but had suffered an injury.”

“An injury to his arm, I gather?”

“No, his face. He’d had reconstructive surgery, but was still in hospital. He was the same age as I was, the same build, it seemed a natural. Honestly, at first it seemed like a trap. Too easy, too sweet.”

“So you showed up at their door, wounded from battle.”

Diz grinned, “It was brilliant. Returned the conquering hero. Everyone was very understanding when I said that war changed a fellow. It explained why I didn’t sound quite right, and the surgery explained why I didn’t look quite right. There were feasts, parties. All the young ladies wanted to kiss me. Some wanted to see what I’d learned in foreign lands.” He paused and blushed a bit, “I’m sure you understand.”

Cliffy grinned, “I have an idea.”

“What’s even better, it turns out the prince was a bit of a wastrel when he left. I showed up, older and presumably wiser, able to understand and concentrate on issues of state. The advisors were giddy. The family was wildly pleased.”

“But then, one day, the itinerant hero returned?”

“No. As near as I can tell, the true prince was perfectly happy out there, fighting his war. Some correspondence with others in his unit showed that he had no love for his family or those in his court. He simply wished to stay with his brothers-in-arms.”

“Really? Sounds perfect for you.” He cast a quick look at Diz’s bad arm, “So, then, what went wrong?”

“It was the cat. The family pet had apparantly been attached to him since kittenhood. I avoided it at first, not knowing how it would take to me. Then I tried to win it over with treats and affection. Evil, vicious little brute. Then one of the maids happened to see me struggling with the thing as it tried to scratch my very eyes out. Well, she told her friends, they told others.”

Cliffy nodded, “And then the rumors started.”

“I had maybe a day from the point where people looked at me askance to the point where they came for me with pitchforks and torches. Traitor, they called me. Fraud and liar.”

Cliffy grinned, “Well, at least they stuck to the truth.”

Diz frowned and took a deep breath, “It was all I could do to escape the grounds intact. I wrenched this,” he raised his bad wing, “on the way out. I don’t think I’ll be visiting there for a while, which is a shame. It truly was a beautiful country, and for a short time, it was mine. The perfect score.”

If you like this excerpt, click the “Like” button on the right side of the blog.

For more of Brand’s writing, check out “Tumbler” available on Amazon.

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  1. Ha, I love a good scam!

  2. Have been waiting for new story since I finished tumbler. Great book by the way and from the preview this one has promise.

    • Thanks very much! I’ve finished the first draft of “The Hidden Institute” and am now editing it. If all goes to plan, the book should be available for purchase by March.