Here’s a sneak peek of the new Malvers War prequel story I’m busy writing that will be available only to my subscribers.
Activity filled the stable and courtyard as the platoon of fighters readied their horses. The early morning sunlight caught the crystal dome of the Temple sending rainbow light across the courtyard. Histrun had a bad feeling about this trip to Dehanronlair Province. Gedehanron, the Dehanronlair Clan Alpha, hated Histrun, yet had insisted the only way he’d learn the new method that saved lives was if the creators, Histrun and Zehala were the ones to teach him.
Histrun led his big, black stallion, Telen, through the organized chaos and to the hitching post in front of the Keep House. A dark-blue roan mare with blue-gray stripes, white mane, tail, and socks stood dozing with her rear leg cocked. Kylara opened her eyes when Histrun tied Telen next to her and nosed him. Histrun looked around, but couldn’t see Kylara’s rider, and his bond-mate, Zehala.
He climbed the steps to the Keep House and before he could open the door, it flung open and Naila, Zehala’s daughter, hurried out, nearly bumping into him. He stepped back quickly to avoid the collision.
“Do you know where Zehala is? It’s nearly time to leave.”
Naila laughed. “Of course, I do. Where else would she be? She’s in the crèche. It’s where I’m heading now.” She skipped down the stairs. “Are you coming?”
Histrun envied her youth and energy. He sighed as he trudged down the stairs. He was beginning to feel his ninety-one years creeping up on him. He kept active and could still fight the Malvers monsters with the younger fighters.
Together they left the bustle of the courtyard behind and entered the quieter sections of the keep. In the center of the keep, where it was well-protected, stood a large house in a sea of grass littered with toys and playground equipment. A sheadash stone fence encircled the yard. Their feet crunched on the crushed sheadash stone walkway. The ten-foot wide path and the fence ensured that if any Malvers monsters made it this far into the keep, the Posairs’ children would be safe.
The constant threat of attack and the fighter’s need to always be ready to battle the monsters meant the children of the fighters were housed and cared for by caregivers and lived together in the crèche. Histrun thought it a good practice and tradition. He didn’t need to be distracted by little ones. He’d been raised in one and had never suffered for lack of attention or love. He didn’t quite understand Zehala and Naila’s need to stay in contact with their daughters after they were turned over to the crèche. His other lovers hadn’t; certainly, not Sujeen. As soon as the twins had been weaned, they were placed in the crèche and Sujeen had returned to her training to become the next Clan Alpha of Strunlair.
He and Naila quietly entered the house. A woman with dark auburn hair sat in a chair holding two little girls on her lap. One had red-brown hair and the other creamy white hair with thin streaks of gray. The white-haired girl looked up and her smile of joy lit up her pale blue eyes.
“Mama!” she cried, and wiggled off Zehala’s lap and ran to Naila.
Naila picked her up. “My, you’re getting big, Wisah.”
“I’m almost five,” Wisah said solemnly. “Did you come to tell us a story, too?”
Naila shook her head. “No, I came to say good-bye. We have to go Dehanronlair Province and teach more people how to fight the Malvers monsters better.”
“So more people don’t die and cross the veil.” Wisah tucked her head into Naila’s shoulder. “I don’t like seeing them die. They are so sad, until they see the Goddess.”
Histrun’s eyes widened. He hadn’t realized Wisah’s powers were opening up, or that they were so strong. She’d need to be sent to the Sanctuary soon to train her White and Gray Talents and become a White Priestess. A person’s Talents determined the work they did to support the community as a whole. His gaze turned back to the auburn-headed girl, watching them with big, brown eyes. Rizelya would follow in her mother—and his—footsteps and be a warrior, fighting the Malvers monsters for everyone’s survival. He wondered if she’d also become a leader like her parents had been.
Rizelya climbed off Zehala’s lap and slowly approached Histrun. “Bright Blessings, Sir.”
He crouched down so he didn’t loom over the little girl. “Bright Blessings, Rizelya. Have you learned anything new?”
She nodded, a smile lighting up her face as she opened her hand. A tiny flame appeared on her palm for a few moments before fading away.
Histrun returned her smile. “That’s very good. Soon, you’ll be able to make it dance.” He’d been worried she had too much Brown Talent to be a strong Red. They needed Reds to fight the monsters, not more Browns to till the earth or tend the flocks. “Practice hard and eat your food so you can grow up to be a strong fighter like your mother.”
“Yes, sir.” She continued to stand in front of him, hope gleamed from her eyes.
He relented and gave her an awkward hug. He looked over her shoulder at Zehala to see her beaming at him. If it made his bond-mate happy to show affection to the waif, he would. “It’s time to go.”