Return of the Defenders
This is the fifth book in an eight book fantasy series. The 5th novel is being drafted. It is expected to be available for presale on Amazon in the fall of 2023.
Back of book cover
On a medieval planet, Brodia has escaped with her lover, the Bone Crusher. The enemy believe she is dead, but she's training to get stronger as she waits for the right time to return.
Meanwhile the enemy grows stronger too. Grand Wizard Quon has established an Academy of Wizards and has many students trained in the art of a wizard's battle.
Planned for a
Return of the Defenders
In the fourth kingdom on the planet Vosj, during the sixth year of Queen Foliana’s reign, the river would soon sweep little Tresela over a two-thousand-foot waterfall.
But before then, she tossed another boat onto the rushing waters of the stream near Home Cave, where she lived. She watched as the strip of bark bobbed its way before disappearing over a small waterfall. The little girl sat on her haunches in the pouring rain. But she didn’t care. It rained every day here, just as it had rained every day for as long as her five-year-old mind could remember.
In this game, each boat was one of Papa’s fishing boats. She loved his stories told during the evenings by the fire. Tales of houses above a cliff with fishing boats at the bottom. Legends of sea storms creating waves, like those that crashed into the cliff’s base at the edge of her world. Of course, she’d never seen a real house or boat, though Mama promised to take her flying to see one soon.
But Mama wasn’t at Home Cave, so Tresela should be mindful of what aunt Jis told her today. Still, Jis wasn’t Mama, so it was easy to slip away when Jis played with her knives. Of course, she knew better than to wander off too far, so she was near the edge of the trees.
Making her next boat, by pulling more bark from the dead branch she’d found, Tresela thought she heard a sound from the forest. After tossing the make-believe boat into the stream, she glanced behind her. The maze of pine trees blocked her view. But her young ears were good, and she had heard something above the constant patter of the rain on her conical leather hat. Is Jis creeping up on me? Pulling off her hat, she strained to hear the sound again, ignoring the rain plastering her black, curly hair to her head.
All her young ears heard was the rain. Putting on her hat, she made another boat to send down to the big cliff at the edge of her world. Tresela chased the boat as it turned in the stream. Soon she was past the point where she could see her home valley. But it was fine because she still could feel Uncle Ibun practicing at Home Cave. Besides, she wouldn’t break Mama’s biggest rule about not crossing the stream.
Then she heard something again. It came from the forest behind her. Holding her breath, she listened; someone shuffled through the soggy pine needles. “Aunti Jis,” she called out. Of course, she couldn’t feel Jis like she could Uncle Ibun, so she wasn’t sure if it was her. “I can hear you,” she said, hoping it was true.
Deep in the near black of the tree trunks, she spied something that was a lighter brown. Standing, she watched, hoping it was Jis in her bearskin coat. But it was much, much bigger, moving between the pine trees. Tresela stepped back as the creature came closer. In the past, when she saw one of these monsters, Papa or Mama pushed it away. Little Tresela knew she had to stay away from it. She took another step back, her feet now in the stream's edge. But her attention remained on the massive animal walking toward her sniffing the air. It was the thing Mama called a bear.
Tresela ran into the stream. Behind her, the monster crashed through the bushes.
The stream ran fast over the slippery stones. Peeking back, she saw the bear at the stream’s edge. She slipped as the water tugged at her legs. Screaming, she hit the cold water, which dragged her away. The rocks banged into her as she rolled in the current, pulling off her hat. When she managed to grab a rock, her hand slipped; then, she rolled down the stream again. Everything was spinning as the water got faster. Soon, Tresela no longer rolled over rocks; now, she floated. She had to fight hard to keep her head up so she could breathe.
The water swept her into a pool, giving her a chance to cry out. But the stream was deeper here and didn’t care about a little girl. So, it pushed her out of the pool. The trees flew past her. They didn’t care about a little girl either. The cold water made each breath painful. Around, she spun, unable to do anything except keep her head up so she could cry out.
After being battered by the stream, Tresela suddenly found herself floating in calmer waters. Waggling her arms, she turned to look around. Now she was in a broader river, moving slowly past the trees. All thoughts about the bear were gone. If she could reach those trees, she’d be safe. She paddled toward the nearest shore, her arms flailing weakly as the cold stole her strength. She just wanted to rest. So, she did.
Reaching out with her mind, she searched for Uncle Ibun, but he was too far away. She searched for Mama or Papa but found nothing. In the air, near the edge of the forest, she saw a speck in the air. Was it Mama or a bird? Tresela screamed as loud as she could, but the speck didn’t care because it didn’t move.
It would be so much easier if she breathed like a fish. Keeping her head above the water was so much work she let herself sink. With her eyes open, she could see the bottom. Can I breathe down there? Letting herself drift down, a calmness came over her. Then, something snapped her back. She knew she would die there, so she kicked back to the surface, taking another desperate breath.
Looking for that speck, she saw nothing. The little girl cried because the world didn’t care. Tresela turned herself to see where the river was taking her. She saw nothing. Well, not nothing. She saw the sky filled with heavy dark clouds. She was at the end of the river, the end of her world. Here, the river disappeared over the big waterfall and down to the endless sea.
Little Tresela held her breath. She was scared. Next time she would stay in Home Cave like Mama told her. Next time, she wouldn’t die.