Efe and Darius

He wards himself to dampen his sense of smell, struggles to speak when overwhelmed, corrects other people’s grammar and spends his life in the company of an infuriating eldritch entity. Darius Liviu isn’t quite suited for the adventurous life in an allistic world, but the universe pushes him onto the road of heroes, and a talent for words alongside a willingness to blood magic goes some way to keep Darius alive. He’s awkward, suspicious and stubborn when it comes to holding people at arm’s length, and his stories are slightly-more-serious fantastical escapades involving marketplaces, rose-covered walls and a king, Efe Kadri, who wants to save the world and begin a relationship.

Darius’s stories begin fourteen years before Tes arrives at the College and establish much of his background referenced in Kit March, including the origins of the belt, his becoming the destroyer of tyrants, and his slightly-complicated history with Kit.

The aftermath of Darius’s years with Efe and his new occupation as a teacher in a magical school shaped by Kit’s secrets is depicted in The Unnatural Philosophy of Kit March. Darius also narrates the side story The Skin Game, set between One Strange Man and The Adventurer King.

Certain Eldritch Artefacts: a Marchverse short story

Cover image of “Certain Eldritch Artefacts” by K. A. Cook. Cover image shows a cartoony, stylised vector image scene of a market scene with hanging peppers and fabric above the text and rows of corked potion bottles sitting on a wooden counter display surrounded by vegetables and sacks. Title and author name are written in a dark brown handdrawn type.

Newly-graduated, divergent magician Darius Liviu has scoured half the world in search of the rarest of rare magical artefacts: a tolerable talking sword. After a year of failure, one last rumour sees him risk Rajad’s chaotic, cluttered, terrifying Great Souk. The noise, the smells, the people and his inability to move without provoking disaster make everything difficult, but Darius dares the nightmare of chaos and conversations in hope of an item will draw the eye of the man he thinks he loves.

The sword he finds isn’t elegant. It isn’t tolerable. It has no intention of being gifted as a lover’s token. It is, however, set on destroying Darius’s acceptance that awkwardness and a life of misunderstandings is the best he can hope for.

Certain Eldritch Artefacts is a story about autism, adulthood and the reasons why one should never enchant inanimate objects…

Links: Smashwords | Gumroad | PDF | EPUB | MOBI

Sequel works: One Strange Man, The Adventurer King, The Unnatural Philosophy of Kit March

One Strange Man: a Marchverse short story

Cover of One Strange Man: A Marchverse Short Story by K. A. Cook. Cover shows a wooden door, bolted shut, set into a stone wall, with dangling ivy and climbing roses obscuring the wall and part of the door. The ground in front of the door is brown earth and has a thin-bladed green bush growing in front of it. A glowing white marble sits on the earth by the base of one of the roses on the bottom left-hand side of cover. Text is written in a white, handdrawn, fantasy-style type.

How can the want for another person make an intelligent man gift something so precious?

When Akash’s former lover refuses to return a family heirloom, Darius knows only one way to help his mate—even if it means ignoring several laws in the process. The magic he mastered in surviving the College and the mercenaries has surprising utility in the art of larceny, at least once he gets past the stomach-knotting anxiety. When Darius makes the mistake of asking Akash why, however, getting caught in a stranger’s third-floor bedroom seems like nothing compared to comprehending the mysteries of romance and friendship.

Links: forthcoming

Prequel works: Certain Eldritch Artefacts

Sequel works: The Adventurer King

The Adventurer King: an Efe and Darius story

Cover image for The Adventurer King by K. A. Cook. Cover features a red leather-bound journal sitting on a wood panel background, like that of a tabletop or floor, with the text sitting on top of the book image in a gold fantasy-style handdrawn type. Objects sit on top of the book cover: a blue pen with a gold nib dripping ink, a screwed-up piece of white paper, a cream scroll with a green seal, a cream and silver compass, and a piece of rope. A grey single-edged sword blade sits underneath the book, and black handdrawn type atop the blade reads "an efe and darius story". The images have a cartoony, vectory feel.

Seven years ago, Darius Liviu met a talking sword belt in the Great Souk, an eldritch being who changed his life forever. In that time, he has learnt something of the sword, mastered strange magic and survived dangerous jobs, but while he has friends in Rajad, he still feels out of place—too divergent to be welcomed and accepted as mercenary and magician.

When an unexpected meeting with potential employers goes wrong, his first instinct is to flee. But a wandering monarch, Efe Kadri, has an offer that might provide the certainty for which Darius has been searching, if only he has the courage to say yes…

Links: Smashwords

Prequel works: Certain Eldritch Artefacts, One Strange Man

Sequel works: The Unnatural Philosophy of Kit March

Forthcoming stories include Blood and the Ravens, a novelette depicting Darius’s meeting of Akash, Ila and Mair, and his lessons with the blood witch Eren Adalet; and The Performance Magician, a novella detailing Efe and Darius’s first adventures and mishaps in Ashad.

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