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Authors: Anna Steffl

Solace Arisen

BOOK: Solace Arisen
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evenSO Press

Prairie Village, Kansas

Copyright © 2014 Anna Steffl

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by an information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review. Inquiries should be addressed to evenSO Press, LLC, 3965 West 83rd Street #267, Prairie Village, KS 66208,
www.evensopress.com
.

Library of Congress Control Number: 2013958466

Kindle: 978-0-9911587-5-1

ePub: 978-0-9911587-4-4

Print: 978-0-9911587-3-7

First Edition

Cover design by The Killion Group, Inc.

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

Cover Design and Interior format by The Killion Group
http://thekilliongroupinc.com

DEDICATION

To JMS and JEK

Contents

Solacians

Map

You, in Whom All Is Possible

First Flight

Dusk

Joined and Asunder

Burning

Effigy

Moon Blood

Life and Death

Talisman

Lily Girl

Of This Place

More Relics

One Room

Snow

Chosen

Weightless

A Prayer for Absolution

Winter Garden

A Terrible Mercy

Jole, Year 0

Hollow Victory

Solace

Epilogue

About the Author

Solacians

Superior Madra Cassandra—head of the Solacian order

Hera Arvana Nazar (Hera Solace)—tasked with finding a champion to wield the Blue Eye

Hera Musette—spiritual advisor to Lady Martise in Acadia

Heran Kieran—a Solacian brother

Sarapostans

Prince Gregory Fassal—heir of Sarapost

Captain Myronan Degarius—leader of the Frontiersmen who carries Assaea, a blessed sword

Sergeant Jamis Micah

Corporal Salim

Corporal Nat

Chancellor Degarius—Degarius’s father

Lina—Degarius’s deceased grandmother

Stellan—Degarius’s deceased grandfather

Acadians

King Dontyre Lerouge

Prince Chane Lerouge—by inheritance carries Artell, a blessed sword

Princess Jesquin Lerouge—Hera Arvana’s student

Lady Martise—widow of the king’s brother, hostess to Solacians in Acadia

Attaché Honor Keithan—assistant to the prince

Lord Sebastion—an impoverished nobleman

Miss Gallivere—a friend of the princess

Gherians

Sovereign Alenius

Breena—the sovereign’s beloved

General Sibelian Aleniusson—adopted son of the sovereign

Cleric Nils—the sovereign’s former advisor

Cleric Rorke—chief cleric of the Worship Hall

Captain Juvenot—keeper of Seraph

The asher—a newly made eunuch

Captain Berlson—of the Fortress Guard

Creatures

The Scyon—a spirit recalled from Hell

Seraph—the poison draeden

Megreth—the fire draeden

Ancient Heroes

Lukis—ended Reckoning with the blessed sword Artell

Paulus—ended Reckoning with the Blue Eye and the sword Assaea

Mariel—founder of Solace

Relics

Assaea—a blessed sword thought lost

Artell—a blessed sword kept by the Acadians

The Beckoner—a device that resurrects dead spirits into a new body

The Blue Eye—a device that can kill by drawing souls into Hell

YOU, IN WHOM ALL IS POSSIBLE

Solace

P
ale light crept into the bottoms of the gathering room’s east windows and into Superior Madra Cassandra’s consciousness. It would be a fine day for travel. In a moment of amused reflection before calling the sisters sitting behind her from their meditation, she noted that the high windows were designed to let in light but not the distractions of the courtyard outside. They did little, however, to deter inward distractions. But today, perhaps, it was allowable to be distracted. Last night was Princess Lerouge’s Coming of Age Ceremony and today Musette and Arvana would be coming home. The duty with the relic was over. Hera Arvana’s letter, announcing she’d made Lerouge champion, had come two days ago. What a mercy that Hera Arvana had fulfilled the Founder’s duty within the time allotted and before the draeden made any show of force.

Madra Cassandra lifted the small bell that rested on the wide arm of the Prioress’s Seat, a heavy chair whose back was to the assembly so that she, as the other sisters, could face the Founder’s icon during meditation. She rang the bell once, and it chimed so pure and clear in the confines of the room’s stone walls. The sound would be lost in the wider world. So was the case with her soul. It had found within these walls its place to sound most pure and clear. She folded her hands and began to say aloud the closing prayer she had said thousands of times. Knowing it by rote, she ceased to hear her own chanting as she strove to feel the harmony made by the voices of the hundred women with her in the gathering room.

Illuminate our souls with Your Light,

You, in whom all is possible,

Dark and Light.

Judge and Forgiver,

Mother and Father,

Pour upon us that which in you is Love.

Use us for the purpose that your Wisdom chooses.

Draw us closer to you every moment of our life

Until in us is reflected your Joy and Peace

As it was in the Founder and the shacras.

In the silence after the prayer, the superior made her own petition for Prince Lerouge. She raised her gaze to the Founder’s icon, and her heart went out to Hera Arvana. This duty had been a trial upon her protégé, but surely, by fulfilling her purpose, she was closer to joy and peace.

Over the muffled rustling of a hundred women trying to rise quietly, came the creak of the gathering room door, breaking the superior’s concentration. An unsettling feeling overtook her as she gripped the arms of the chair, pushed up, and took the cane resting against the seat edge. Over the back of the Prioress’s Seat, she saw a frazzled Hera Musette and the unsettled feeling turned to dread. What was so urgent to bring Hera Musette back so early in the day...and to violate the solemnity of the morning meditation?

“Please, you must come.” Hera Musette’s usually forceful voice came out in a plea so thin it nearly died in the air before it reached the superior.

In the hall, before the superior had time to ask why she had come at such an hour, Hera Musette blurted, “Forgive me, I know he shouldn’t have been admitted beyond your offices, but I had him take Hera Arvana to her cell.”

“Him?” the superior asked. “The prince?”

“Maker have mercy,” Hera Musette said, then sighed. As they went through the halls, Musette alternately answered questions and told a story that brought the superior lower with each word until it ended with, “I pray we aren’t too late for the last blessing. Surely she’ll be far from the Maker without it.”

The superior stopped, wobbled on her cane, and clutched Hera Musette’s forearm. “Where is the relic?”

Sharp cold panged through Arvana’s shoulder. She fluttered her eyes open. It was Lina’s ghost, pinching her shoulder. Arvana wondered how long she had been drifting in the strange sleeplike state. The last thing she remembered was Nan lifting her into Lady Martise’s carriage. Nan. She wanted to see him, but everything beyond Lina, beyond Assaea’s glow, was murky gray. She concentrated, tried to bring the world into focus. Still, everything was gray. Was she dead? Was this to be her doom for forsaking her vows? Being trapped in this place, unable to see anything except the sword of the man she loved. “Lina, am I dead?”

BOOK: Solace Arisen
4.27Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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