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Authors: Tj Shaw

Tags: #Fantasy, #Medieval

Caller of Light

BOOK: Caller of Light
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Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright

Praise for CALLER OF LIGHT

Dedication

To my lovely editor, Lill Farrell, who gave me a chance, and to the Wild Rose Press for making a dream come true…thank you.

1- FIRST LOOK

2 – FIRESTRIKE

3 – WALK

4 – GETTING READY

5 – TALK of KINGS

6 – MOONLIGHT

7 – AWAKENING

8 – BREAKFAST NEWS

9 – LIES and DECEIT

10 – The END of a BEGINNING

11 – FAREWELLS

12 – FIRST NIGHT

13 – MESSENGER

14 – BRIDAL LANDS

15 – MISUNDERSTANDINGS

16 – FLAMES

17 – PRECIPICE

18 – ANGEL from ABOVE

19 – ATTACK from BEHIND

20 – RISE of an ANGEL

21 – HOPE

22 – ANTIDOTE

23 – CONFUSION

24 – SEARCH

25 – BRINK of DEATH

26 – FIRST FLIGHT

27 – STIRRLAN

28 – ACCUSATIONS

29 – BETRAYAL

30 – EXPLANATION

31 – NEW BEGINNINGS

32 – JUDGMENT DAY

33 – The MAKING of a MISTRESS

34 – MORNING AFTER

35 – DREAMS

36 – RETURN

37 – CALL of the CRITON

38 – BRANDING

39 – CALLER of LIGHT

40 – KINGS’ ARRIVAL

41 – TIME to CHOOSE

42 – HIDDEN MEANINGS

43 – TRUTH BE TOLD

44 – CALL of the MATRIARCH

A word about the author…

Thank you for purchasing this publication of The Wild Rose Press, Inc.

Caller of Light

by

TJ Shaw

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.

Caller of Light

COPYRIGHT © 2013 by TJ Shaw

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author or The Wild Rose Press, Inc. except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

Contact Information: [email protected]

Cover Art by
Debbie Taylor

The Wild Rose Press, Inc.

PO Box 708

Adams Basin, NY 14410-0708

Visit us at www.thewildrosepress.com

Publishing History

First Faery Rose Edition, 2013

Print ISBN 978-1-61217-706-9

Digital ISBN 978-1-61217-707-6

Published in the United States of America

Praise for
CALLER OF LIGHT

“The story is shown through well crafted visual imagery as well as narrative. The heroine is deftly portrayed from the very start.”

~Marisa Corvisiero, L. Perkins Agency

“This is classic high fantasy. STELLAR research & world-building. You are a GOOD writer, with super world-building and description. You were MADE to write fantasy.”

~Renee Wildes, Fantasy Romance Author

“I was enticed from the beginning! I feel total admiration for Carina. Marek possesses all the qualities required of a stellar hero. The author used all the senses to establish an enchanting ‘otherworldliness’ of the setting.”

~Joelle Walker, Editor, MuseItUp Publishing

“The world building is both fun and different.”

~Alicia Condon, Editorial Director, Kensington Books

“This story was remarkable!”

~Dee Carney, Erotic Romance Author

Awards

2012 – Yellow Rose Winter Rose contest WINNER

2012 – Cleveland Rocks contest finalist

2012 – The Sandy contest finalist

2012 – Great Beginnings contest finalist

2012 – Smoky Mountain Laurie contest finalist

2012 – Touch of Magic contest finalist

2011 – Oklahoma Finally a Bride contest WINNER

2011 – Heart of the West contest finalist

2011 – Melody of Love contest finalist

Dedication

For my mom,

who always provided encouraging words,

a shoulder to lean on, and a swift kick in the pants

during the times I stopped believing

I could touch the stars.

To my lovely editor, Lill Farrell, who gave me a chance, and to the Wild Rose Press for making a dream come true…thank you.

To Debbie Taylor and D.C.A. Graphics, thanks for creating a fabulous cover.

I’d also like to thank you, the reader, for purchasing
Caller of Light
and would love to hear from you. My e-mail is
[email protected]
and Website is
www.TjShaw.com
.

 

1 – FIRST LOOK

With a final grunt, Carina McKay scaled the remaining expanse to the top of the stark mountain. She crouched low, scanned the sky, and listened. Looking up at the Dorrado heavens, she gulped cold air into her lungs to calm her heart from the exerting climb. Even from a distance, only a few wispy clouds dotted an otherwise clear day, and aside from the wind whistling across the rocky surface, silence welcomed her. No voices or thunderous roars from angry Critons. No heavy footfalls from hundreds of soldiers running in the valley below, and no stomping hoofs or neighs from excited coursers.

Satisfied no one watched, she stood and rubbed her arms, trying to warm them from the chilly breeze slicing through her thin blouse. She wished she’d brought her long, split tail riding jacket, but it remained tied to Mira’s saddle on the warmer, sheltered side of the summit.

Mira, her young winged Criton, perched on a large overhang below, nestled under a strand of wide-leafed trees. Mira whined and stomped her feet, shaking the trees that would shelter her from the inquisitive eyes of animals and men flying overhead.

Squirming at her Criton’s noisy commotion, Carina peered over the edge. Knowing the animal could hear her even from the distance separating them, she whispered, “Shhh Mira. They’d see you up here.” Carina frowned when Mira thumped her tail against a tree, making the leaves shiver, but the little Criton quieted under the canopy.

Feeling exposed on top of the desolate mountaintop, Carina scouted for a place to hide. The barren peak didn’t offer much protection, sporting jagged boulders and deep crevices. With cautious steps, she crossed over the shards of blackened rock to avoid slashing an ankle and spotted a crack underneath a boulder large enough to conceal her from anyone flying overhead. After another glance across the bluff to confirm there was nowhere else to hide, she scrambled into the dark hole, praying nothing lived inside the blackness that would bite or sting. She knelt against the cold rock and tried to get comfortable.

During the last few days she’d ridden Mira to the edge of her father’s lands, hoping to get a glimpse of King Duncan and his Criton riders. After finishing her chores, she’d sneak away to soar on the wind currents and calm an unexplainable restlessness building inside her. A rising awareness poked at her mind, needling her with a sense that her life was about to change forever. No matter how hard she tried to quash the sensation, the unease festered and swelled until it lived within her consciousness. The desperation had spiraled into an unbearable ache, her only solace found on the beating wings of her beloved Criton.

A growing burn in her thighs from kneeling forced her to slide down to a seated position and draw her legs up to her chest in the cramped space. If Father discovered her riding Mira, she’d be punished. He never liked her riding Critons because he considered the large, fire-breathing creatures, with rows of sharp teeth, as beasts for war and inappropriate for a noblewoman. Why he even considered her of noble blood made no sense to her anyway because of her mixed heritage.

She learned at a young age that she’d never be a true daughter to her father. The little things hurt the most—the hugs Father offered her half sister Marissa, the gentle teasing to goad Marissa before kissing her cheek in apology, the well-spoken comments about his
only
daughter to visiting royals—just small moments in time that pricked Carina’s heart with each occurrence. After twenty-two years of life with a hollow ache in her heart Carina realized Father would never love her.

When Mira’s screech pierced the silence of her dark cocoon, Carina jumped and cracked her skull against the roof of her hideout. “Ouch,” she stammered, clambering out of the crevice.

“Mira, I told you to be quiet.” She probed the top of her head, exploring with her fingers in search of a bloody wound. Satisfied she wouldn’t die from blunt trauma, she stomped over to the ledge and murmured in her most authoritative whispering voice. “Be still down there.”

Mira wailed and slammed her tail into the trees, peppering the already irritated Criton in a shower of dislodged leaves.

Carina leaned over the rock face, trying to see through the treetops. Something was bothering the usually obedient Criton, but she couldn’t determine what was troubling her green friend. She decided to climb down for a closer look when a resounding roar thundered across the sky.

She turned to witness Criton riders flying overhead while squads of men riding their mighty war coursers and fleet-footed soldiers approached in the valley below, flooding her veins with adrenaline. King Duncan and his men stormed toward her, shattering the silence of the countryside with every thud of a hoof, swoosh of leathery wings, and scream from an angry Criton.

****

Marek Duncan couldn’t find any comfort in the steady beat of FireStrike’s wings. Even the impressive display of eleven bonded Criton riders spread out in a wide arc below him didn’t lighten his mood. He’d spent the last two weeks traveling hundreds of miles from his home, Stirrlan, to court King McKay’s daughter, Marissa. Just the thought of another arranged marriage after the first miserable attempt—or a mistress, for that matter—angered him more.

The crisp air chilled his skin, matching the iciness in his heart. During his twenty-second year, he’d agreed to a marriage union with the daughter of a neighboring king, believing he would have a lifetime to fall in love with Saffron, his new bride. However, the love he’d so hoped for never happened, not even friendship. Five years later, at her request, he released her so she could journey home.

His black leather gloves crackled when his grip tightened on FireStrike’s reins. He needed an heir to his throne to protect his lands from Outlanders. Sampson VelMar, his captain and trusted friend, had suggested he either marry another noble or find a mistress. He chose Marissa because rumor suggested she might be the next Caller of Light.

FireStrike jerked his red head sideways to stare at a nearby mountain. “What do you see, boy?” Marek asked, focusing on the peak.

Sampson flew up on Reeza, his dappled grey Criton with silver-tipped accents, and settled into formation behind and to the left of FireStrike. He pointed toward the summit. “Do you see him?”

“Aye,” Marek grumbled. A lone man this far out raised some concern. Although the man might just be a lookout for King McKay, he could also be a spy with questionable intentions.

“Do you want to send some men?”

He heard the anticipation in Sampson’s voice. They had traveled hard for several days and the monotony of an uneventful trip had drained their spirit. Fighters at heart, journeying to another kingdom without so much as a hint of trouble left everyone restless. He smiled. He too had grown listless and needed to stir things up a bit. “Why don’t we all go?”

A wide, toothy grin spread across Sampson’s face as both Critons banked in unison, followed by the other riders in a tight formation.

Carina shielded her eyes from the sun to better glimpse the riders and their glorious beasts. The graceful animals soared above the foot soldiers and coursers. They glimmered in the bright light as the sun’s rays reflected off the sheen of polished saddles, head gear, and body armor. Flying wingtip to wingtip, they formed a wide V spanning the valley.

Mira squealed, drawing Carina’s attention away from the riders. “Mira, shhh.”

A shadow descended upon Carina and her breath caught in her throat. She recognized the distinct silhouettes of Criton wings dancing on the black rocks beneath her feet. The riders’ flight pattern had changed, blotting out the sun with their approach.

BOOK: Caller of Light
5.97Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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