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Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Bone Whistle Prologue!

I don't know about you, but September 18th can't get here soon enough! I'm so excited to share the conclusion to The Gateway Chronicles with you, especially as it's been seven years in the making. In the final two months leading up to release day, I want to share some tidbits and snippets with you, and I thought a good place to start would be with the prologue. So, without further ado, here is the prologue for The Bone Whistle:

The Bone Whistle
“Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead.”

C. S. Lewis


Glass crackled and crunched beneath his feet as he walked through the ruins of what had once been the royal suites of the west wing of Ormiskos Castle. The air was hazy with dust and soot, and yellowish light filtered in through the high broken windows, casting a sallow halo on the charred remains of a heavy armchair. A shadow flitted into the beam of light, and he looked up and saw a crow perching on the jagged edge of a broken windowpane. The crow ruffled its feathers and cocked its head to one side before it cawed and took off again.
Colin coughed and raised a hand to shield his eyes as he stepped into the beam of light.
It felt like so long since he’d seen the light of the sun. He closed his eyes against the brightness and tilted his face up to let the sun warm it. But it was early morning light—hardly strong enough yet to give him the warmth he craved.
The illumination behind his eyelids dimmed, and he cracked them open. Another crow sat in the window regarding him with a beetle-black eye. He scowled at it and looked away. He would have to get used to the crows if he was to be king. Tselloch had a curious affinity for them.
He ran his fingers through his hair. He was dirty—he could feel the oil from his scalp coating his fingertips—and he smelled. He’d once heard someone say it was impossible to smell one’s own body odor after ten minutes. Whoever said that clearly had never wallowed in their own filth in a dungeon for several months. Colin didn’t think he would ever forget the stench. Biding his time in that cell had been one of the hardest things he’d ever done, but Tselloch had promised he would be rewarded, and he had delivered.
A gleam of gold caught his eye, and Colin kicked at a pile of cinders next to a small, half-charred book. He moved the book aside and picked up the shiny object. It was a metal rectangle, blackened in all but a few places where the gold was undamaged. He rubbed his thumb over the surface, removing some of the soot, and turned it over to examine it from all sides. There was an engraving on the bottom—EMS—and when he found the catch, he pressed it. The mirror on the inside was still bright and gleaming, untouched by the smoke and fire. He brought it up before his eyes and peered at his reflection.
With a sharp intake of breath, Colin jerked the compact away. It had to be magic. Certainly he couldn’t look so ugly, even after his time as prisoner. But what was the purpose of magic like this?
It belonged to her, he was sure of it, and if it did, then the magic in it was contrary to him, to his master, to everything they were working for.
He closed his eyes and held it up again, this time careful to feel for it with his magic and draw on the power his master had given him—the power to destroy enchantments. He could see the particles of the compact in his mind, and the glowing golden threads that bound the enchantment—no, enchantments; there were two of them—to it. He pulled the threads apart, and the compact seemed to grow cold and heavy in his hand. When he opened his eyes, he saw his normal reflection staring back at him. With a snort of derision, he bent back the top, pushing until the hinges snapped, leaving two pieces in his hands. He dropped them one at a time into the ashes at his feet, raising a cloud that hovered for a moment like a grey haze in the beam of sunlight.
Tselloch would not mind the filth left behind after the burning. In fact, he would prefer it, but Colin looked around the suite in distaste. He had thought to make his residence here, in this room, but now he wasn’t sure. There were other rooms in the palace that hadn’t burned. But this was the royal suite, and it would be the most suitable place for him when Tselloch crowned him king.
He was not alone.
Colin swung around to face his master. Tselloch had come in without a sound and, as usual, he brought a shadow of blackness with him, clinging to his robes so his presence filled the space in a palpable way. They exchanged a long stare before Colin bowed his head and dropped his gaze. “My lord,” he said.
“You see what I have done for you?” Tselloch said.
For me? Or for you? Colin raised his head and schooled his expression into blank obeisance. It would not do to have Tselloch suspecting he had any doubts.
But Tselloch was absorbed with his accomplishment. “He burned my house, and now, see how I have repaid him by burning his.”
It was a lie, and Colin knew it. He had seen what the alchemist had done. After Tellius had fallen through the window, Colin had stood agape for only a moment before running to the alchemist’s chamber. The fire had not been set by Tselloch, or by any of his servants. It had been set by Rubidius to prevent the shadow creatures from following the Six through the back door of the cottage. It was true, however, that it would not have been set at all if Colin had not destroyed the wards and let in Tselloch’s hordes, so perhaps it was appropriate for Tselloch to claim the deed as his. The fire had raged through the castle all night, spreading from the west wing to other chambers, smoking out Tellius’s servants and subjects like rats fleeing a sinking ship. They had been easy targets, and Colin, unsettled by the carnage, had retreated to the castle grounds to watch it burn.
“Everything happened just as you said it would,” Colin said. “They did not discover your secret. The castle is ours, and Tellius is dead.”
Tselloch hissed, and his pleased countenance fell. “But the Six escaped.”
“You thought they might,” Colin said. He watched Tselloch’s expression carefully. After allowing him to possess him so many times, he was more attuned to Tselloch’s moods than ever before.
“That is true,” Tselloch said. He moved farther into the chamber, and the dust and ashes rose up around the bottom of his robes, as though he walked on a storm cloud.
“Should we search for them? They can’t have gone home yet. It’s not the right time.”
“Home?” Tselloch’s black eyes flashed as he took a deliberate step toward Colin. “Do you still think of it as home?”
Colin set his jaw and widened his eyes at his slipup. He hadn’t meant to call that other world “home,” not really. He didn’t know why he’d said that. “I meant only that . . .”
But Tselloch’s expression became pensive. “No. Do not make up excuses. Do I have your full allegiance, Colin, or do I need to find another?”
It was an empty threat. The time was almost nigh when Tselloch would have no choice but to transition hosts, and he’d prepared too much for too many years with Colin to go back on it now. But Colin couldn’t still the fearful beating of his heart, and he clutched at his chest, at the place where he would have to cut himself open. “Of course you have my full allegiance,” he whispered.
“That is good, my prince.”
Tselloch loomed over him, placed his cold hands on the sides of Colin’s face, and stroked his thumbs down his cheeks. Colin stared, mesmerized, into his liquid eyes, searching for some glimmer of the man whose body it had once been. Tselloch had assured him that, when it was done, Colin would still be present—that they would share the body—but Colin was afraid. When he looked at his master, he saw only shadow looking back at him.
“The gateway is almost complete,” Tselloch said without removing his hands. “We need not yet worry about finding the Six. Your final task is almost upon you. She will come to you, of that I am certain.”
Colin felt a cold chill wash down his spine, and he bit the inside of his lip to keep from letting the fear show on his face. Tellius’s surprised expression as he’d smashed through the glass to fall to his death played over again in Colin’s mind. He shoved it away, terrified his master would read the remorse in his eyes.
“What would you have me do in the meantime, my lord?” Colin asked. He was sweating despite the chill his master had brought with him. He wished Tselloch would step away.
“Join the others in searching for the body.”
Colin frowned. “Whose body?”
Tselloch narrowed his eyes and finally let his hands drop from Colin’s

face. “When you threw the pretender-king from the window, did you not think to search the grounds for his body?”
But Colin hadn’t thrown him. They’d struggled. Fists had pummeled ribs and smacked against jaws. He’d shoved Tellius, and Tellius had tumbled over the window seat and fallen backward, through the glass that had already been cracked . . . Colin twitched and closed his eyes. “Why would I search the grounds?” he asked. “Who could survive a fall from that height?”
“No one, perhaps. But I want the body still.” Tselloch turned his back to Colin and strode away.
“Find it so I can burn it,” he said. 

*The Bone Whistle is book 6 of K. B. Hoyle's bestselling YA Fantasy series The Gateway Chronicles. It is published by TWCS Publishing House and will be available everywhere books are sold on Sept. 18, 2014. 


  1. Sounds great! I'm excited to read the rest!

  2. *fangirls* This sounds brilliant!!! I can't wait until the book comes out - I love your series so much. Thank you for reminding me why I wanted to be a writer. :)

  3. Thanks! Can't help guessing what really happened to Tellius after her fell ;) Will this be available for preorder on amazon? I looked but didn't see it.

    1. The paperback version WILL be available for preorder, but it's not live yet. Sorry!