There are six races, four realms, and one human girl that can bring them together in peace...or war. Lilae has been hunted since the night of her birth. She is the only heir to the human god's throne.
For centuries the races have been separated by an ancient barrier. Now that the barrier is crumbling and vanishing, the races are once again pitted against one another.
For years Lilae and her surrogate family have avoided the dangerous Shadow Elf that hunts her. All of their years of training seem lost when Lilae is captured and enslaved by the emperor of an enemy race. Or is it? Through every hardship and moment of torture, Lilae finds comfort only in the strange man from her dreams.
On the other side of the world, Liam leads his army of Tryan’s across the realm to protect his people from Shadow Elves that are invading his land now that the barrier is broken. With his best friend, his betrothed, a fairy, and a specialized order of soldiers, he sets out on a journey to find a grand weapon that can aid him in this inevitable realm war.
The plan seems clear, until he dreams of the human girl with the red hair.
And Lilae is supposed to fall for her destined match... Not the enemy that made her his slave.
The sky was a dull gray and the air was cool. Dew clung to the thin overhanging branches and the mountain air smelled sweet. It was just before dawn and Liam was ready for battle. He sat tall above his black horse, waiting patiently for the right moment. Liam's wild black hair fluttered in the morning breeze. He tilted his head and listened to The Winds as they whispered to him.
They’re coming for you, they warned.
His pulse quickened. “What?” Without a reply, they faded with the crisp breeze.
Liam overlooked the dark, rocky cliff as the sun began to rise. The orange rays tried to penetrate the storm clouds, but Liam wouldn’t allow it yet. At the bottom of that cliff, in the valley where the Silver River flowed, slept the enemy.
He wanted them to continue sleeping peacefully. It was important to catch them off guard. Liam wanted these intruders to know that they were not welcome in his realm.
Liam patted Midnight, his battle horse, and smoothed his hind leg. He leaned forward and spoke in a hushed tone to the horse. “Are you ready?”
Midnight neighed in reply and kicked his legs.
Liam smiled and sat up straight. He waved a hand and motioned for the troupe of soldiers behind him to move closer. There were about a hundred Tryan soldiers waiting for his command. They looked around at the empty space before them and the long drop beneath them. Still, Liam had their complete trust.
Liam held the reigns tightly and took a deep breath. The cool air entered his lungs and he closed his eyes. He focused on his power, the energy that flowed within his veins. The clouds began to move closer together, creating a tight knit form in the sky that completely blocked the sun. When Liam opened his eyes, they were no longer blue. They were as black as night.
The Tryans behind him were unafraid. They were the elite warriors of the Order of Oren. Liam had been locked away with those men and women for nearly ten years. He had trained with them, and lived with them as an equal.
Commoners like Rowe, and nobles like Sona, none of that mattered in the Order. This group was like family and they would follow him into the Underworld if necessary. They waited for Liam to signal them. One hand clutched the reins of their horses, the other on the hilts of their swords.
Liam raised his large jewel-encrusted sword into the air with a loud cry, and urged Midnight on. Midnight jumped, and over the cliff they went. Liam held tight. His eyes narrowed fiercely and his sword began to glow white in the darkness. The horse’s hooves searched for footing and found none.
Thunder cracked loudly above them, as if the sky was about to break open and fall upon them with rage. Liam sucked in a breath of the cool air and lightning shot across the sky. Liam caught the light in his sword and directed it beneath them, making a pathway of blinding light so that his men could file steadily behind him.
The horses’ hooves sparked along the road of lightning, a shrill sound deafening them as they slid toward the ground. The valley led them directly to the camp of Shadow Elves.
The effect was perfect, so perfect that Liam couldn’t help but crack a smile. Liam wanted it to look as though he and his men were coming straight from the sky. The Shadow Elves woke with a start at the noise as an army of horses jumped from the path of lightning and trampled into the rocky valley. The vibrations shook the terrain and their enemy was frozen with obvious terror. In an instant, the battle began.
A swarm of Shadow Elves scrambled from their tents. They moved with such speed that their figures were barely traceable. However, Tryan eyes were equipped to spot them. Even though they darted in and out of the shadows, they couldn’t hide.
The Shadow Elves hissed like snakes when they saw the royal colors of the Oren palace. There was blue and red on their breastplates and armor. With Liam leading them, it made them all the more fearsome.
The Shadow Elves had heard about the prince. Liam was the first male heir in centuries and his reputation in the field was notorious amongst the invading elves. Ten years in training and smaller battles with rival clans and wildlings had made Liam a force to be reckoned with. His grim expression was illuminated by another flash of lightning. He swung his enchanted sword and lightning whipped out like a terrifying rope of electric currents. It cut through groups of elves like butter, slaying them by the dozens. The remaining elves began to flee from its path.
Yes, just run away. Liam grinned in triumph as they retreated back to their own barrier. This can end quickly if you just run. And many did run, back to the cruel, dark realm of Nostfar.
The Shadow Elves who remained were quick and agile, with fighting styles that the Orens had never seen. They were like predators, calculating and precise. One leapt from the ground and reached for Liam’s sword.
Liam saw him coming and sliced the elve’s outstretched hand off. The glow of his sword made the wound sizzle as though it had been stuck with a hot poker. The smell of burning flesh struck Liam’s nostrils as the Shadow Elf shrieked in pain and tumbled to the ground.
Before Liam could turn, another was on his back, a blue crystal dagger clutched in its grasp. It never ceased to amaze him how lightning fast they were; like cats, they pounced and darted. His eyes widened as the blade came toward his face.
He turned his head and grabbed the Shadow Elf by its long black hair, slinging it to the ground with such force that it flew into a nearby tree. Liam’s eyes tracked the body, and with a point of his sword, he sent a flash of light that knocked the Shadow Elf from the branches and onto the hard ground. One more down. Liam grinned as he turned Midnight around, and charged headfirst into an oncoming flurry of Shadow Elves with the power of the Ancient Pyrii flowing through his veins.
Rowe charged through the masses with untamed vigor. His ax hung low at the side of his horse. His pulse quickened as he gripped the heavy ax in his large fist, the bands on the hilt pressing hard into his roughened palm.
Rowe lifted it slightly and with a grunt, he leaned forward, swinging the ax powerfully into the heads of the surrounding Shadow Elves. A spray of blood filled the air like a fog.
Skin split open and bone crushed beneath his ax. It glowed blue, and he knew that it stung their flesh as it cut through. The yells and noise was deafening, and so was the blood that rushed as his heart pumped with adrenaline.
Rowe’s horse wouldn’t slow. Like every other horse on the battlefield that a Tryan rode, they were connected with their rider. They could feel the same, sense their thoughts, and anticipate what the rider wanted. The horse veered right and into another group of Shadow Elves that tried to slice the horse’s belly or legs, trying anything to get the Tryan soldier to the ground.
Rowe kicked one with his heavy booted foot and thrust the ax into the neck of another. The glowing blade sliced straight through the soft flesh of its neck and barely paused to cut through the bone. Other elves looked in horror as the head rolled off of its body to the muddy ground.
Rowe sat up and swung the blood from his blade, not stopping as he continued on to the next unfortunate being in his eyesight.
“Sona!” The Tryan woman on the white horse heard someone shout her name from beyond the dense cluster of elves she was attacking.
Her head snapped up toward the voice, her hands tight on her horse’s reins. Rowe pointed to a tent on the far side of the field.
Sona nodded and her horse instantly understood the orders. They galloped through the crowd as the Shadow Elves continued to fight with the Tryan soldiers on the ground. Sona grinned despite the calamity all around her.
The Shadow Elves reached for her as she passed by, but her horse was too fast for them. She ran them over with such a force that many lay crushed behind.
Once they reached the tent, she hopped from the horse’s back. Sona reached both hands over her head and grabbed her dual swords from behind her. The swords glowed blue with her touch, and with a face of determination, she charged through the tents flaps. Inside, three Shadow Elves crouched over a circular table.
Her large blue eyes widened. The surface of the table was black, like smoke, and images of other Shadow Elves flickered along the smoke. The smoke disappeared and the Shadow Elf captains lunged at her.
“Kill the Tryan!”
With a curved sword in each hand, she crisscrossed them and sliced the first elf straight through his abdomen. With a pull of the swords, she cut him in half. Blood splattered onto the tent’s walls as she flung one sword at the elf to her right.
He fell backward with the force of her throw, as the sword lodged into his spine. The screams filled her ears, but she was in a trance. With only one sword, she saw the other elf dart to her like lightning.
Sona grunted as he elbowed her in the face before she could catch him with her sword. She tasted the saltiness of her own blood and it enraged her. Her eyes narrowed. He may have caught her off guard with his Shadow Walk, but he would only get one hit. She would not make that mistake twice.
Her sword caught the handle of his dagger and tossed it into the air. He growled and ducked as she tried to cut off his head. The glowing sword missed, but she anticipated his move and kicked him in the chin, knocking him backward. She lunged on top of him, her sword’s blade pressed against his neck.
“Who sent you?” Sona clenched her teeth as he tried to push her off.
His thin eyes were completely white and matched his tattoos almost perfectly. A smile spread across his face. “Is that a trick question?” he asked with a raised brow and a grin that was meant to taunt Sona.
Sona's gaze bore into his, watching the light fade from his eyes as she pressed the blade into his neck. He wrapped his thin hands around her throat in a desperate attempt to stop her. She closed her eyes and finished the job. His hands fell back to the ground, limp and lifeless.
Sona stood and closed her eyes. Heart thumping, she wiped a streak of the Shadow Elves blood on both cheeks, readied her swords, and stepped from the tent and into the blackness of night that only her fiancé’ could have arranged on a spring morning.
She saw him on his black horse, regal, and full of a confidence he normally didn’t display. She watched him, as she let the light from her glowing body seep into her swords. A tiny bit of light made them blue. A tiny bit more made them yellow. She shook a bit as she poured nearly all of her light into the swords.
And made them red with power.
Meet the Author - K.N. Lee...
Her works include, The Chronicles of Koa: Netherworld, Dark Prophet, Rise of the Flame, A Gifted Curse, Wicked Webs, Empty Your Heart, Pixie Dust, and the paranormal collection of short stories, Thicker Than Blood.
Author, K.N. Lee loves hearing from fans and readers. Connect with her!