Long before Shadow was born, the Heartwood was a land of warring clans of elves.
When human lord Sharl comes to build a great city near the forest and abducts Chyrie and her mate, Valann, to gain safe conduct through the forest, the elves learn that an even greater enemy is approaching -- an army of barbarians sweeping down from the north.
Now the elves must make peace, not only with each other but with the hated humans, to unite against a threat that may destroy the city and the forest together.
Anne Logston: An Icon of the Creative Universe—A Master of Science Fiction and Fantasy Quill—Paver of Past, Present, and Future. Each of best-selling author Anne Logston's books have their own story, but can all be described as all highly character-driven with a lot of action. Her characters, especially Shadow, often have a touch of whimsy and sly humor. While still maintaining a light touch, she talks about the consequences of racism, defining your own identity, and what happens when magic becomes mixed up in everyday lives.
"I was born February 15, 1962 in Indianapolis, Indiana and grew up there and in the country in southern Indiana. I started to write fiction as soon as I could put intelligible words on paper. I quickly learned to type so I could put intelligible and LEGIBLE words on paper. I graduated from the University of Indianapolis in 1984 with an Associate's degree in computer sciences, for which I had no talent, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature, for which I had no practical use.
"After college, I spent six years masquerading by day as a bad-tempered but sane legal secretary, then coming home at night to assume my secret identity as a bad-tempered and mildly demented writer. After significant bootsole-to-buttocks encouragement from my best friend, Mary Bischoff, I reluctantly sent off my first manuscript and was blessed with a remarkably short search for a publisher. My first novel, SHADOW, saw print in 1991, and two years later I abandoned my "normal" life and descended completely into fantasy.
"I have a remarkably patient husband, Paul, who supplies the sanity in our marriage. Together we are owned by three cats, two dogs, and one snake. In my infrequent leisure time, I like to grow and/or cook strange and spicy things, and I am an avid collector of anything about vampires."
Chronological Order of the Shadow Series
Greendaughter (Prequel—Book 6)
Wild Blood (Prequel—Book 7)
Shadow (Book 1)
Shadow Hunt (Book 2)
Shadow Dance (Book 3)
Dagger's Edge (Sequel—Book 4)
Dagger's Point (Sequel—Book 5)
5.0 out of 5 stars
Overall an excellent read. If you haven't read any of the "Shadow" series then read this first. If you have then still read this. The book goes into the character of Cherie, the elf that always seems to help Shadow and is said to be the oldest of the Wilding clan. The book takes place in the beginning of elf-human contact and explains how the tradition of the high lord & high lady elf/human relationship started. Overall very well written due to its 3D characters and fascinating story.Flame_926 -- Amazon
5.0 out of 5 stars
I always loved this book and all the author's other stories. I wish she had written more books. Her characters are approachable and yet approriatley foreign. The land is just obscure enough to not be ours but yet relatable enough to makeit viable. I love her humor and her characterization.LibKat -- Amazon
4.0 out of 5 stars
A classic fairy tale. Anne Logston has the ability to pull the heartstrings and tell a good story at the same time. In this book, which is based off of the world she created in the Shadow series, Chyrie is an elf caught in the middle of a war/invasion she doesn't understand. The book is written in such a way and is short enough that is creates the feeling of being around a campfire telling fantasy stories. I must say that I enjoyed Greendaughter, and if you have read any of Logston's previous books and enjoyed them, then you will not be disappointed with this one.Gr33n4blu3 -- Amazon
5.0 out of 5 stars
Following up the Shadow series by Logston, this is the story of Chyrie, the mysterious Wilding elf who helped Shadow in her adventures. This story marks the beginning of changes in the land, when the humans moved to the area and developed their city, disrupting the elves' existence and forging an uneasy bond between them for the rest of eternity. This is a wonderful story, if somewhat poignant. Logston's Shadow series offers a range of emotions, as well as a lot of humor.Elizabeth Slater -- Amazon
They sat in silence in the thicket, not particularly uncomfortable, watching the strangers’ fire for several hours before Chyrie spoke silently to her companion.
(Not too close. What do you think?)
Valann knew better than to move, but his thoughts had the flavor of a shrug.
(They watch the territorial lines,) he said, (carefully staying just beyond the Wilding markers. I think they mean not to intrude. Still, they bear watching.)
(What does not?) Chyrie teased half seriously, her fingertips moving soundlessly over his thigh. (Must we wait here all night? They are Silvertip, and Silvertip never walk at night. Their nighteyes are blind as an owl by day.) No Wilding would have made such a camp, so open, fire so large and visible. Even Silvertip would be more cautious if they cared to avoid detection. There was nothing to learn here.
Valann’s pointed ear-tips twitched briefly in body-language amusement.
(Does my she-fox-in-heat mate grow impatient? Then we will go—quietly if you can!)
Chyrie wrinkled her nose. (You speak so to me, you who rustle the leaves like a stumble-footed human in your passing? And to think I would wish to couple with your overly furred body—)
(Ah, peace, my own spirit.) Valann’s hand crept to touch her cheek. (You are silent as moonlight and as lovely. Come, I have dreamed a new pattern for you tonight.)
The Silvertip elves were laughing and drinking now, less alert than when they had made camp, and Chyrie and Valann slipped unnoticed from the thicket.
It was only a few minutes run to their latest home—a woven bower in a huge willow tree overlooking a small creek-fed forest pool; like most Wildings, Val and Chyrie preferred the safety of the trees. It was complete even to the baked-clay firepot that would allow a tiny, careful fire to be built for light or cooking, while the camouflaging woven-switch walls would prevent the light from being seen by anyone passing by.
They dined on cold roasted rabbit, and Valann carefully selected pots of dye from his collection nestled securely in a nook. By the flickering light from the firepot, he painstakingly pricked the new design into the skin of Chyrie’s slender forearm, carefully adding a dew-sparkling goldenflower to the green vine twining its way down from her shoulder.
“It is beautiful,” Chyrie admitted, critically examining his work. A purple, blue, and green butterfly perched on the flower’s lip, so real that the fragile wings seemed ready to flutter.
“As is she who wears it,” Val said, smiling, running his healing touch over the design so that the last itching soreness faded away. “Tomorrow I will begin a new tendril.”
Chyrie chuckled, flashing teeth startlingly white against her amber skin.
“You are vain of your work,” she teased. “It will be said of you that you find my form unsightly and would hide it beneath the beauty of your art.”
“The trees of the Mother Forest, with leaves of silver and flowers of ruby, are beyond compare,” Val said, tracing with his finger the path of the vine crossing Chyrie’s collarbone and disappearing down the front of her tunic. “Yet she adorns them with ivy. Will I let my mate, most perfect among elves, want for such finery? No, she must have all that is most beautiful of the world for her own.”
“Hah!” Chyrie captured his hand before it could dip under the neck of her tunic. “My own soul, you seek to win by flattery what is already yours by right. Well do I know that you work your art so freely upon my skin only because none could see the pictures upon your hairy hide.” Playfully, she tugged at the wiry black curls on his chin. “If you would grow so un-elflike a pelt, none wonders why you work your vanity upon the person of another.”
A too sharp tug at his beard brought a yelp from Valann, and he gave Chyrie’s short golden-brown curls a yank.
“If my fur displeases you, you need not pluck it out by the roots,” Valann growled with mock anger. “Else I will take my vengeance by pulling these unseemly shorn locks out to their proper length.”
Chyrie gave an exaggerated sigh.
“If you have no better way to pass your time than to curse my cut hair,” she said with dignity, “then I will take my leave of you.”
Before Valann could react, she ducked out the side of the bower, paused only briefly to pull her tunic over her head, and dove from the branch into the moon-dappled pond.
Valann, stripped of his own tunic, was only a breath behind her, but Chyrie was ready for him. As soon as his head emerged from the water, he found a handful of mud slapped abruptly into his face. By the time he had rinsed the dirt out of his eyes, Chyrie had vanished.
Chyrie peered out from the mossy platform behind the waterfall as Val glanced about him, watching the water for telltale ripples or bubbles. When he saw nothing, he frowned and climbed out of the pool, searching the mossy banks for tracks, unaware that his mate was silently stalking him.
Chyrie caught him only half by surprise, for as she leaped, some stray noise or thought caused Val to half turn, so that he carried her with him into the water. For a moment they sputtered and grappled under the water; then, as if by a signal, the frantic contact of their slippery skin took on a different quality. Their eyes met for a moment; then they scrambled from the water to fall, dripping wet, on the moss.
They coupled fiercely in the moonlight, then lay resting on the moss, sharing wine and idle caresses.
“My time of ripeness will soon be upon me,” Chyrie said in the darkness, rubbing her cheek over the springy hairs on Valann’s chest. “It is only a day or two away, no more.”
Val was silent for a moment.
“I thought as much,” he said. “Your scent has begun to change. Do you wish for a child? You are less than nine decades, young for bearing.”
“This is my second ripening,” Chyrie said.
Val propped himself up on one elbow to look at her.
“You never said you had ripened before,” he said curiously.
Chyrie shrugged. “I had less than three decades and had not taken the rites of adulthood. Nor did I have you.”
Val traced the line of her jaw with his fingertip.
“If you wish to bear, we should return to the clan,” he said. “Many men have no life in their seed. You should return to dance the High Circle in case I am one such.”
Chyrie hesitated. It was seldom that a Wilding female ripened, and the celebration would draw in every member of their small clan, even those solitude-loving folk, such as Val and Chyrie, who chose to live apart. But still...
Chyrie shook her head at last. “Let it be your offspring or none. I am still young, and there will be other ripenings if I fail to bear this time. I would like a child of your seed.”
Valann’s black eyebrows raised, pride and concern warring in his dark eyes.
“I am honored,” he said, “but it would rest uneasily on my spirit if you were to miss your chance to bear because of such sentiments.”
Chyrie smiled. “It is said that women who couple at the forest altars during their ripeness will surely conceive.”
Val stood, pulling Chyrie to her feet.
“Then tomorrow we leave for the altars, as soon as we have seen the Silvertip safely past our boundaries,” he said. “Come, we need rest.”
Snuggled in soft furs in their bower, however, they did not sleep.
“A child of my seed and yours,” Val said dreamily. “Perhaps a girl-child with your amber eyes.”
“Have you sired before?” Chyrie murmured into his hair.
“The Mother Forest knows,” he said. “When one of thewomen danced the High Circle, I tried with the rest. Until now, my heart, I never cared whose seed bore fruit.”
“A rutting stag such as you can only have potent seed,” Chyrie teased. “In a decade or two we shall yet see some of the clan’s men-children sprout your furry chin.”
“Would that we had such proof,” Val sighed. “Ah, well, the Mother Forest knows best where her saplings should grow. Sleep now.”
Chyrie smiled, kissed his shoulder, and closed her eyes.
“I do not understand,” Chyrie said, kneeling beside the dead fire. “It is barely light, yet they have been gone so long that the fire is cold. Silvertip do not travel by night, yet these did. They seemed not alarmed last night, laughing and drinking their wine; yet this has the look of flight.”
“Could something have come upon them in the night?” Valann asked puzzledly. “Yet there is no sign of violence, nor did they abandon any of their belongings. Their tracks do not show the spacing of flight, but they turn upon themselves and hastily return from whence they came.”
Chyrie knelt beside a small footprint, sniffing.
“There is no smell of fear, nor of blood,” she said. “Need we return to the clan and tell this to the Eldest?”
Valann grimaced and shook his head.
“If misfortune befell Silvertip, it is no affair of ours,” he said. “Perhaps one of them fell ill and they returned home to seek out their healer. Surely there would be a beast-speaker among a wide patrol; perhaps they received a message to return. At any rate, their trail leads away from Wilding boundaries.”
Chyrie nodded, shouldering her light pack.
“Then we need not follow?”
Valann shrugged. “As long as they respect our boundaries, it matters not what they do. Still, if they are returning home, their track will cross the common road to the Forest Altars. If we should come within sight of them, we shall see; if not, then not.”
Chyrie nodded again, sniffing the air as she cast out with scent and thought.
“There are deer at a pond south-southwest,” she said. “A stag and three does, and a fawn.”
“I still have some of the sap-sugar to tempt them,” Valann said, grinning. “Will they bear us?”
“They will not refuse me,” Chyrie said pointedly, taking the sugar from him. “But stay hidden until it is agreed, lest they think a bear has happened upon them.”
“Continue to taunt me, little one,” Valann threatened, “and when we reach the altars you will think a bear has happened upon you.”
“You have far to go to equal a bear’s size and might,” she teased. “But you will do as you are.”
Valann growled and reached for her, but she had already disappeared down the trail ahead of him, her laughter floating back to him on the morning breeze. When he caught up, she had already reached the pond and was feeding the sap-sugar to the deer there. The deer startled at his sudden appearance, but Chyrie soothed them back to calm.
“They will bear us to the altars.” Chyrie smiled, scratching the stag around the base of his spiraling, ebony horns. “They were moving south already, for there have been human poachers seen in North Heart.”
“That is near Silvertip territory, only a little to the northeast,” Valann said, frowning. “I like it not. That might have been the cause of the Silvertips’ hurried return.”
“Humans, far enough into the forest to threaten Silvertip territories?” Chyrie returned. “They prowl only at the outskirts, afraid to match their clumsiness against our swords and bows. Still, if humans infringe on Silvertip lands, at least the Silvertip will be too busy to trespass on ours. If it pleases you, I will dispatch a message to the Eldest.”
“Best be safe,” Val agreed. “Then we need not hasten to return.”
Chyrie’s questing thought coaxed a squirrel from its play, and after accepting a bit of dried fruit as its reward, it scampered northwest toward the Wilding village.
“Let us hurry,” she said, climbing awkwardly onto a doe’s back. “I feel my body ripening.”
Valann chuckled and, with less difficulty because of his greater height, mounted the stag.
“Do not fear,” he said gently. “You will remain ripe for some days. There is time aplenty.”
Chyrie was silent, running her fingers nervously through the doe’s thin late spring coat. Many women, she knew, remained ripe for half-moons at a time, but there was an unreasonable feeling of urgency in her that had nothing to do with her body. She was relieved when Val set a quick pace south.
It was four days ride to the altars, but they took time to note disturbing signs about the forest. Although the Silvertip trail crossed the common road leading to the altars, the Silvertip had been traveling fast and the tracks were old. The animals of the wood seemed agitated, although to Chyrie’s questing they could give no reason.
By the time they arrived at their destination, Chyrie’s uneasiness had grown so great that she half feared to find the Forest Altars vanished as mysteriously as the Silvertip. To her vast relief, however, the holy place had not changed much since the journey she had made during her trials of adulthood decades before.
The altars, ornately carved slabs of stone, were scattered widely apart over an area of the forest carefully tended by the local clans, but set apart from any clan’s territory by specially inscribed markers. Within the markers, which also bordered the common road, lay the only land held in common by every elf in the forest, and campsites free to any who would use them.
Chyrie and Valann selected a camp near one of the most remote altars and ate the preserved food they had brought, as custom forbade either hunting or fire within the sacred place, and Valann could not hunt in the other elven territories surrounding it. As tradition demanded, Chyrie tied a green cord, denoting a ripe female, around her arm, but she did not so mark the camp; if she had, the marker would have obliged any visiting males to offer their services in a High Circle, and Chyrie and Valann had no wish to be disturbed.
When the moon rose, Chyrie carefully moved the few offerings from the chosen altar.
“This altar is little used.” Val grinned. “Well enough. I have no mind to be interrupted while at such important business.”
Chyrie glanced around. “Nor I, my mate, but I feel as if there are eyes upon me.”
“Then let them watch,” Val murmured into her ear, lifting her onto the cleared altar. “Perhaps they will learn something from us.”
Val was of a mind to be especially pleasing, and Chyrie was glad of the peace-laws of the Forest Altars, for otherwise surely her cries would have brought enemies upon them. It was some time before they rested, panting and slick with sweat, on the passion-warmed stone.
“I was wrong,” Chyrie whispered, nuzzling Valann’s beard. “I fear even a bear might find cause for jealousy of my much-furred mate.”
(Well enough,) Valann told her silently, not wasting breath to speak, (for I have little mind to seek a bear for you now. You will have to be satisfied with my attentions.)
Chyrie moved a little to kiss him.
(Of those I am more than pleased—but not yet satisfied. It will be many days before I know whether your seed has put life in my womb.)
Val’s hands moved over her with renewed passion.
“Then we must take every opportunity to assure it,” he murmured against her mouth.
Suddenly he froze, his head tilting to listen as leaves rustled to the south.
(What?) Chyrie asked quickly.
(Perhaps only an animal,) he returned, reaching for his sword before he realized that in the safety of the altars they had left them beside their pallets. (Still, best be safe. I have not your thought-sense. What do you—)
His thought cut off abruptly as his body was suddenly torn away from her. A huge form filled Chyrie’s vision, and for a moment her mind could make no sense of the impressions that bombarded her: a roar of fury; the scent of unwashed human flesh and poorly cured furs; the sound of Val hitting the earth, the fiery pain in his head that echoed in her own; a flurry of motion to her right as two more humans leaped from the bushes; and the welling terror in her own mind as a gigantic hand seized her throat.
There was no time to react. Chyrie struggled for breath, her nails clawing at the fingers encircling her neck; her feet sought for purchase as she simultaneously sent a silent scream for help to anyone or anything who might receive it. The human’s face, grizzled and huge, was only handspans from her own; his breath was foul, and his eyes held a gleam Chyrie instantly understood.
She had no breath to scream, but still she fought with the blind instinct of a fox caught in a trap. Blindly she lashed out with feet and hands, eliciting a yelp of pain from her captor. His free hand came up, and there was an explosion of pain in her head—