Dreams of Winter A Forgotten Gods Tale #1 by Christian Warren Freed Genre: Epic SciFi Fantasy
It is a troubled time, for the old gods are returning and they want the universe back… Under the rigid guidance of the Conclave, the seven hundred known worlds carve out a new empire with the compassion and wisdom the gods once offered. But a terrible secret, known only to the most powerful, threatens to undo three millennia of progress. The gods are not dead at all. They merely sleep. And they are being hunted. Senior Inquisitor Tolde Breed is sent to the planet Crimeat to investigate the escape of one of the deadliest beings in the history of the universe: Amongeratix, one of the fabled THREE, sons of the god-king. Tolde arrives on a world where heresy breeds insurrection and war is only a matter of time. Aided by Sister Abigail of the Order of Blood Witches, and a company of Prekhauten Guards, Tolde hurries to find Amongeratix and return him to Conclave custody before he can restart his reign of terror. What he doesn’t know is that the Three are already operating on Crimeat. Read Dreams of Winter now and begin your journey into the realm of the Forgotten Gods. Add to GoodreadsAmazon * Apple * B&N * Kobo * Books2Read
Christian W. Freed was born in Buffalo, N.Y. more years ago than he would like to remember. After spending more than 20 years in the active duty US Army he has turned his talents to writing. Since retiring, he has gone on to publish 17 military fantasy and science fiction novels, as well as his memoirs from his time in Iraq and Afghanistan. His first published book (Hammers in the Wind) has been the #1 free book on Kindle 4 times and he holds a fancy certificate from the L Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest. Passionate about history, he combines his knowledge of the past with modern military tactics to create an engaging, quasi-realistic world for the readers. He graduated from Campbell University with a degree in history and is pursuing a Masters of Arts degree in Military History from Norwich University. He currently lives outside of Raleigh, N.C. and devotes his time to writing, his family, and their two Bernese Mountain Dogs. If you drive by you might just find him on the porch with a cigar in one hand and a pen in the other. Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads
Autumn’s bite was crisp this year. Sharp winds blew in from the northern sea, forcing people
inside. Whole fields of crops were lost to the pre-winter freeze that gripped the land. It should have been a
time for celebration, a time to pay tribute to the gods for their generosity bestowed. As winter drew closer
the people prepared for the worst. Not everyone chose to hide in the safety and warmth. Two friends sat
on a porch, staring off into the surrounding fields. Light mist clung to ground, curling up the porch and
around their ankles. Frost kissed the few leaves that had not yet fallen.
“I cannot stay here much longer,” Mollock Bolle whispered.
An angry wind blew his stringy gray hair across his face, forcing him to push it aside with a
frown. Deep lines creased his face; the bags beneath his eyes were dark and haunting. He’d lost much
weight over the past year. Sleep did not come easily anymore. Perhaps it was a sign of things to come,
though Mollock did not believe in premonition or any such devilry.
Fenrin shook his head. “What are you talking about? You just arrived a few days ago.”
“Doesn’t matter,” Mollock distractedly replied. His dark brown eyes focused on the night. A glint
of fear danced around the corners of his eyes.
The wind howled; the cry of a thousand wolves. Fenrin shivered. His small plot of land on one of
the surrounding hilltops overlooking the small farming village of Parnus was one of the larger vineyards
in the region. Fields of grape vines filled the gentle slope off his back porch. Frost covered those vines
now, frost and the first hints of winter. A half-moon hung high in the early night sky, shying behind the
“Something is going on, tell me,” Fenrin persisted. “This doesn’t sound like you.”
Mollock eyed his friend. They’d known each other for almost four decades; childhood friends in a
way that no amount of time could threaten. This made Mollock more uneasy. He didn’t know how to tell
Fenrin something he himself couldn’t explain.
“It is a feeling. Perhaps just a dream,” he shook his head. “I don’t know.”
Fenrin narrowed his eyes. His curiosity peaked. “What do you dream of?”
“Do you have nightmares, Fenrin?”
He wasn’t sure he liked the direction of conversation; the menace behind Mollock’s tone. “No,
Mollock rose and went and stood at the rail of the porch. His eyes scanned the nearby tree line,
watching for things that his mind screamed couldn’t exist. Every shadow haunted him, threatened his life
in a special way known only to the lords of darkness.
Fenrin rocked uneasily in his chair. The strained squeak echoed in the empty night. Dried leaves
scrapped across the porch.
“If I didn’t know you better I would say that you are starting to frighten me, old friend.”
Mollock grimaced. Not even his long years of military service prepared him for this. “You should
be frightened. I am.”
His heart skipped. Fenrin felt his mouth water. Hands shaking, he reached into a pouch and drew
out a long stem pipe. He packed in the tobacco and lit it, drawing deep on the soothing smoke. Fenrin
wasn’t scared. If anything he was confused.
“Mollock, I never heard you speak like this. We’ve been through wars together. How many times
have we stood against the enemy and come out alive?” He exhaled a thick plume of bluish smoke. “None
of what you are saying is making any sense. Come back over here and have a seat. I have some wine
inside. It will ease your mind some.”
Mollock Bolle smiled softly. “You have been a good friend to me, Fenrin and I have wronged
you. I shouldn’t have come here. I cannot say why, but I feel that every moment I stay here threatens you
with danger. I must leave soon.”
“You still haven’t told me why.”
Mollock stared at his friend, his face drawn and severe. “They are coming for me.”
Fenrin’s face paled. He leaned forward. “Who?”
“I don’t know.”
The darkness erupted. A flock of birds fled from the nearby stand of pine trees. Fenrin opened his
mouth in shock, the pipe spilling embers on the old wooden porch. Mollock spun and drew his sword. His
breath came quickly. They watched as a monstrous shadow crashed through the trees, coming closer to
the house. There was no subtlety, no stealth. The creature was unafraid.
Mollock fought the urge to piss on himself. He closed his eyes tight. Not again. The beast roared;
a dreadful wail that withered every tree and plant around it. Its massive bulk easily batted aside trees that
had grown for over a hundred years. Their thickness meant nothing to the raw power exhibited. His
mighty head rose higher than the tallest tree. The air grew rank, fetid. The beast was death, and nothing
on the face of the world could withstand its awesome power.
“What in the name of the gods is that?” Fenrin stammered. His words were pregnant with slowly
Mollock shook his head in denial. He couldn’t believe he had been found so easily. He quickly
regained composure. There would be time enough for chastisement in the future, hopefully. Mollock
sheathed his sword. The weapon would be of no use against a creature of shadow.
“Get back inside and lock your door. Douse the lanterns. This thing won’t bother with you once I
am gone. It is me it’s after.” His voice was hurried, urgent.
Fenrin rose, hand scrambling for his sword as the beast drew closer.
“Damn it man, if you ever listened to me do it now. You cannot fight this. I must run,” Mollock
insisted. The harsh tone of his words broke the beast’s grip on Fenrin. “Gods willing, I will be able to
come back and explain what is happening.”
“And if you don’t?” Fenrin asked.
Mollock grimaced. “Then I am dead.”
Gathering up his back and walking stick, Mollock Bolle moved to the edge of the stairs. He
turned and looked back at his friend. There was much to be said, but he had not the words for it. Instead
he gave a haphazard smile and said, “Winter.”
Fenrin was confused. “What does that mean?
“You asked me what I dream of. I have dreams of winter.”
And with that he was gone, just another shadow in the growing darkness. Fenrin thought to call
after him, to demand an explanation. The beast in the forest cautioned otherwise. Instead Fenrin ran inside
and bolted the door. Every footstep of the beast shook dust from the rafters and threatened to bring the
house down around his head. He hurried to extinguish all the lanterns and candles, silently thankful he
hadn’t built a fire yet. The beast stalked closer. The ground trembled. The air became fetid and rank with
the odors of death. Fenrin vomited in his chamber pot. His heart raced. His hands became sweaty.
And then it too was gone. The nightmare creature of shadow was gone. Fenrin struggled to his
feet and, on shaky legs, ran outside hoping to catch a glimpse of the terror. Rather than finding the beast
he saw a wide swath of destruction from the forest through his vine yards. The world had turned to death
and decay. Fenrin murmured a quick prayer to Aris, goddess of protection and wisdom, for his friend. He
knew Mollock Bolle was a dead man without the help of the gods.