The Hollow Crown (Kingfountain #4)

The Hollow Crown (Kingfountain #4)

Jeff Wheeler



Ceredigion: Drew (House of Argentine): The young ruler of Ceredigion has been on the throne for eight years since the Fountain chose him to lead his kingdom. With the guidance of his capable counselors, including the Wizr Myrddin and Lord Protector Owen Kiskaddon, he has increased the dominion and influence of the court of Kingfountain.

Brythonica and Westmarch: Owen and Sinia (Houses of Kiskaddon and Montfort): This couple rules two duchies, which combine to be the largest of the realm. They rule from Ploemeur and have one child, a daughter named Tryneowy Kiskaddon, who goes by the nickname Trynne. After experiencing the anguish of a stillborn child, they are expecting another baby.

North Cumbria and Atabyrion: Iago IV (House of Llewellyn): Atabyrion continues to be the chief ally of Ceredigion. Iago pays homage to King Drew for the rights of North Cumbria and has played a strong military role in all of the larger kingdom’s conflicts. Iago and Evie have four children, the eldest being their daughter Genevieve, whom many expect to be the future queen of Ceredigion. Their second oldest, Iago Fallon, is the heir apparent and was sent to Ploemeur under wardship to be trained by Lord Owen.

Occitania: Chatriyon IX (House of Vertus): Occitania is now a tributary duchy of Ceredigion, ruled by the boy duke Chatriyon under the guidance of his mother, Queen Dowager Elyse. The treaty of peace signed two years previously has brought a much-needed cessation to hostilities between the opposing realms, allowing both realms to unite under the banner of the Argentines.

Brugia: Maxwell (House of Asturias): Through an alliance with Legault, Duke Maxwell has fomented intrigue after intrigue in an attempt to discredit and undermine Ceredigion. His realm is the last of the regions once held by King Andrew, the ancient ruler of Kingfountain, that has not sworn fealty to King Drew. His attempts to assassinate the young king have all been prevented. The Espion has reported that Brugia is gathering together an army of mercenaries. A reckoning between the two rulers seems inevitable. Maxwell has a single heir, the young boy Elwis.


Owen Kiskaddon: Duke of Westmarch and Brythonica, Lord Protector of Ceredigion

Iago Llewellyn: Duke of North Cumbria

Halldur Ramey: Duke of East Stowe

FitzHugh Lovel: Duke of Southport

Lord Kevan Amrein: Lord Chancellor of Ceredigion, master of the Espion

Severn Argentine: Duke of Glosstyr


The Fall of Callait

Trynne stared fixedly at the Wizr board, sensing her father was about to defeat her but unsure of how. She glanced up from the beautiful pieces and saw his smug smile, which made her even more determined to prevent it. Her hand was poised over a knight, her favorite piece, but wouldn’t Father expect her to use her favorite? The Wizr set was a gift he had received from the old king Severn when her father was a child hostage at Kingfountain. Owen had been trained in the game by Ankarette Tryneowy, Trynne’s namesake and the woman who had saved her father’s life when he was a child. She loved hearing stories about her father’s past. She never grew tired of it.

She hated losing Wizr.

“I swear, Trynne,” Fallon said with an exaggerated yawn, “if it takes you any longer to move, the pieces will actually grow moss.” He was only three years older than her, but he acted as if he were a man grown. “Just move there and get it over with,” he added, pointing to one of the squares.

“Did I ask for your counsel, Fallon?” she said in frustration. She began grinding her teeth. “You can’t beat Father either.”

“But it’s taking so long.” Fallon sighed melodramatically. “Let’s go down to the city for a pie.”

“You just ate,” Trynne said, turning her gaze to him. The boy had inherited a full dose of his parents’ impetuosity, a roguish grin, and a twinkle in his gray-green eyes that she found fascinating—not that she would ever say so out loud. Their families had been friends for longer than she could remember. Her father and his mother had once intended to marry, but circumstances had thwarted their union. They remained close friends. Fallon had been sent to live with the Kiskaddons for several years so he could learn the skills of leadership and the ways of other lands—knowledge he would need before inheriting his titles.

“The sooner you move, the sooner Lord Owen will beat you. Then we can go somewhere more interesting,” he quipped.

“I’m not done with the game yet,” she said stubbornly. She enjoyed roaming Ploemeur with Fallon, but she also hated letting her father win Wizr without working for it. “Go fetch a pie, then. I don’t care.”

Fallon sighed and raked his fingers through his thick dark hair. He blew out his cheeks and started pacing again, giving her one of his impatient looks that said Hurry up, Trynne. Well, let him fuss. She didn’t want to be rushed. At seven years old, she could defeat almost everyone in the palace at Wizr except her own parents and the Wizr master they had hired to teach her. She pressed herself every day to get better, secretly hoping not just to defeat her father, but also to feel evidence that she was Fountain-blessed herself. Both of her parents had the gift, after all. Her father was a knight in service to King Drew, and her mother was one of two Wizrs who also served King Drew. Trynne hungered to follow in her father’s footsteps.

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