What a quest! What a journey! Come check it out!
The High Queen is dying...
At the royal summons, Shae mounts a wingabeast and soars through the air to the high hold of Faeraven, where all is not as it seems. Visions warn her of danger, and a dark soul touches hers in the night. When she encounters an attractive but disturbing musician, her wayward heart awakens.
But then there is Kai, a guardian of Faeraven and of Shae. Secrets bind him to her, and her safety lies at the center of every decision he makes.
On a desperate journey fraught with peril and the unknown, they battle warlike garns, waevens, ferocious raptors, and the wraiths of their own regrets. Yet, they must endure the campaign long enough to release the DawnKing—and the salvation he offers—into a divided land. To prevail, each must learn that sometimes victory comes only through surrender.
An image rose, unbidden—Lof Raelein Maeven, Faeraven’s High Queen, upon her deathbed, her sea-green eyes surging with life. As a guardian of Faeraven and as a friend, he would die to appease the hope that had flared in those eyes.
Wind howled and lightning flashed close enough to blind. Kai wondered if his own death neared. He would not—could not—halt his journey, although it took him into the teeth of danger. Necessity drove him as he pushed onward, past endurance. If he survived the storm, he would deliver Maeven’s last summons.
Shae put up her hood and left the shelter of the stronghold to follow the graystone path. A chill wind rippled through the folds of her cloak, and she shivered. Overhead, clouds unfurled in a pearling sky. She passed into green scented shadow, where notes of damp moss and ripe humus met her.
She shouldn’t have yielded to temptation and escaped into nature unescorted. In earlier days, she had roamed the grounds in freedom with no one caring. She couldn’t get used to the strictures placed on her now that she’d grown older. When would she learn to be more like Katera? She couldn’t remember her winsome twin ever causing their mother concern.
She would go back, but first she needed fresh air to ease the tightness in her chest.
Shae wandered beneath boughs laced with new growth and came at last to her favorite place at the garden’s heart. Although the voice of a stream beckoned in the near distance, she paused beneath a stand of gnarlwoods, their ancient branches stretched wide. These trees had witnessed the construction of Whellein Hold, and they would remain when the stronghold’s mortar crumbled and its stones fell away. She emerged from the copse into a meadow dotted with early flowers and bathed in morning light. The flutter of wings beat an accompaniment to the warbling of birds, and a wingen flitted through the lesser canopy to light in a nearby whispan tree. She stilled to avoid frightening the tiny bird, which dipped and bobbed its bright head to preen scarlet feathers. With its grooming complete, the wingen lisped into sweet-sad song.
Shae smiled. “Sing, small one.”
But a shriek ended the wingen's song. Darkness extinguished its colors. Blood dripped from the foliage of the whispan tree, pure white only an instant ago. Terror gripped Shae by the throat, choking off her scream.
The giant raptor had descended from nowhere and now flailed ragged wings as it rose, screeching in victory, its black eyes trained on Shae.
Pulse thrumming in her ears, she crept backward. Back, back she moved, her gaze never leaving the leathery beast in the air.
This made no sense. How could a welke have ventured so far north?
Her heel caught the hem of her cloak, and she slammed into the ground.
Fear yanked her to her knees. Shock brought her to her feet.
The whispan tree stood pristine as new snow. No blood stained the smooth bark. No movement stirred the silken plumes. No sign lingered of wingen or welke.
And yet she had seen...what?
“Lof Yuel! Does this vision warn of danger?”
Wind stirred the leaves. Branches rubbed and creaked. A stone turned in the stream bed.
Another sound whispered at the edge of hearing.
Shae paused to listen. The sound resolved into a steady flapping, and her heart picked up its pace. She ran into the meadow and scanned the pale sky.
With a toss of its silver mane, a wingabeast spiraled toward her.
The rider sagged, and the spiral went amiss, but the wingabeast recovered with quick grace. With a ripple of muscles, its neck arched, and the feathered wings lifted. Shae rushed toward the rider before the creature's diamond-shod hooves found purchase on the ground.
She reached for his arm as he slid from the saddle, but he shrugged off her help and steadied himself against the shifting beast.
She searched his face. “Kai?” Strain etched her brother’s features.
He turned and with one finger, traced forgotten moisture at the corner of her eye. “Shae?”
She shook her head to silence his question. “You’ve ridden through the night?”
He didn’t answer but pushed her away with gentle hands.
“What troubles you?”
His long silver-gray eyes glazed with tears. “Lof Raelein Maeven lies on her deathbed.”
She opened her mouth to speak, but no words came. What could she say to ease him when the news pierced her like a blade? Tears seeped down her cheeks, silent as the grave.
Kai touched her arm. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have spoken so. You formed a heart-bond when she visited Whellein Hold.”
“What other way is there to speak it?” The image of the wingen and welke returned to her. “Death is death.”
His head bent in acknowledgment, the movement slow.
She touched his arm. “I’m sorry, Kai. I know she means much to you.”
“Could but my hope and my prayers save her, she would live.” He spread his hands in a helpless gesture. “Such power is not mine.”
“Only Lof Yuel has the wisdom to command life and death. We must leave such things to him.”
He looked at her with a somber expression, but then tousled her tangled curls. “Truth from a babe!”
“One day, my brother, you may understand I am grown, or nearly so.” She raised her brows at him, but then sobered. “Does Lof Raelein Maeven…suffer?”
“Little. She does not ail. Life ebbs from her, it seems, by choice.”
Shae let out her breath. “I’m glad she feels no pain.”
He nodded; his expression strange. “You love her, as she does you.”
“How can such a thing come from one meeting?” She spoke again the puzzle that had long occupied her.
“Love has no logic. Come. I must tell Father this news.”
Check out the trailer - http://youtu.be/ZsVFrhb5vCo
Love and duty...faith and trust...all wrapped up to make this quest one of discovery. What a phenomenal story. Well written like the best in fantasy - certainly a match for Tolkien and the best of this genre.
Ms. Voigt has woven a tale that carries you along on the wind of the journey. You'll smile and laugh and cry and gasp at times as she guides you on this quest along with Shae and Kai.
Buy link: http://www.pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/dawnsinger
Buy link: http://www.pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/dawnsinger