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Weapons of Ruin

With both the traitorous Kazan and the hated White Sister Malgora now dead, Kitarisa and High Prince Assur begin their new life together. However, once they return home to Daeamon Keep, trouble begins again. One by one, the Sacred Weapons, the holiest symbols of the three dominant tribes in Talesia, have been stolen. Evidence points to the Qualani People, savage nomads of the north, who, so far, have kept a tenuous peace with the Talesians. But Prince Assur and his uncle, the Swordmaster, Ramelek, begin to suspect something far more sinister. After investigating the Qualani, they return to chaos and destruction within the fortress of Daeamon Keep: Kitarisa, Princess Sethra,--Assur's sister--and Lady Davieta, have been abducted. The great Keep is in ruins. Assur, Rame, and the faithfill Raldan Mar'Kess race to find the treasured Weapons as well as the three women before the Narusuba, a mind-altering cult devoted to worshiping the dark Beast from the Aforetimes, can carry out their own sinister plans and offer three living sacrifices to their hideous dragon-god...

Book 2 of the Talesian Narrative series

A Hard Shell Word Factory Release


C.L. Scheel

    Whether Christine Scheel is writing sci-fi/fantasy, a romantic suspense, or a Regency, writing is her passion-- not to mention horses, hiking and opera, but not necessarily in that order! Originally from Portland, Oregon, Christine resides in Reno, Nevada with her husband, Robert.

Reviews

"Weapons of Ruin is an exciting and enthralling sword and sorcery tale that will appeal to readers who love a great fantasy. Kitarisa has had a hard life but in spite of the danger she is in, she is compassionate, kind and forgiving. Assur must stop a deadly plot from coming to fruition even though the odds are against him. He must also save his beloved from her enemies with the help of the mages who are the only ones that can expel the dragon spirit from her body. Readers can look forward to reading more books in this magical series."

Harriet Klausner
Excerpt

Prologue

FEAR RARELY OVERCAME a Siarsi warrior, but Warrior-Guardian Amstok trembled with genuine terror. Throughout his long watch, he had faced the altar stone guarding Siarsia's Hammer, a sword held in each hand crossed over his chest. He never took his eyes from his tribe's most sacred object. The tribe's namesake Daughter, Siarsia, had bequeathed to her people the silver hammer she had carried into battle, along with her most precious gift, the secret of steel. Only the Siarsi knew how to make the weapons Talesian warriors carried into battle. Men from every tribe often gave their most valuable horses, their most beautiful women and sometimes their last talin for one Siarsi sword.

Tall and serious, young Amstok did not often join in with traditional Siarsi boisterousness and their inclination for getting into trouble. He wore the hai'stam, the crossed, black-enameled bands over the chest and the long, kilt-like hai'sten that fell nearly to his ankles, with a dignity far greater than his twenty-four sunturns.

It had only been for a moment -- a chilling cold that had crept through his bones and a sickening dizziness filling his mind like a deadly smoke. He had not turned his eyes from the Stone and Hammer for an instant. He was sure of it.

Amstok's heart beat wildly within his chest. The long, slender braids at his temples, threaded with fine glass beads and gold ornaments, trembled against his lean, black-scarred cheeks. The ultimate dishonor. Disgrace and shame on his family and clan. By Verlian's blood, dishonor upon his entire tribe.

The penalty would be death -- he knew that. The Master of the Forge would see him flayed alive and then have his headless corpse staked outside the great Caverns for all to see, until he was no more than bones and dust. Amstok would not be Summoned to the Goddess, to Verlian's side as one of Her favored, but remain forever scorned.

Amstok turned and hurried from the high-domed chamber to find the Master. He pulled open the heavy iron doors and was about to enter the corridor when he nearly stumbled upon the crumpled forms of the outer Guardians. He knelt down and touched the nearest warrior's neck, looking for the beat of life, but snatched his hand back in horror. The Warrior-Guardian was dead. Blood ran from a gaping slit in his throat. The other Guardian lay dead from a similar wound.

Amstok stood, shaking with rage. Who would dare violate the Caverns? Kill the Warrior-Guardians? How had they defeated the elite E'stal Guardians protecting the entrance to the Caverns?

The Master's great bell rang an ominous warning of invasion.

Swords drawn, Amstok ran toward the sound, prepared to sacrifice himself for the Goddess and Her daughter. He turned down the main corridor leading to the chambers of the crucible and the forges. Several Warrior-Guardians ran by him, frantically trying to find the intruder and seal off the chambers and their priceless secrets.

No one shouted or panicked. Only an underlying feeling of dread permeated the dark corridors as the Warrior-Guardians sought the enemy who had violated their secluded realm.

The great bell rang again, now more of a death knell than a warning.

At the Great Cavern, Amstok stopped. The order of the Caverns had been shattered. A knot of Guardians clustered around someone or something lying on the sand. Amstok brushed by a huge ironworker, his broad face agleam with the sweat of his labors, and to Amstok's surprise, tears of unashamed grief. The big man grabbed Amstok by the arm and pulled him around to face him.

"What has happened?" Amstok shouted.

"All is lost. All is lost," he said, moaning.

Amstok broke free and hurried toward the cluster of distraught men surrounding what was lying at their feet.

"Amstok!"

He recognized the voice of his closest friend, Kamchet, another Warrior-Guardian who had taken oaths and bonds with him on the same day.

"Kamchet! What has happened?"

"The end of the Caverns," the young Warrior-Guardian said, his own eyes filling with tears.

Amstok pushed his way to the center of the gathered warriors. He stopped and stared at the figure lying in the sand.

"Death to all Qualani!" one of the Guardians shouted angrily.

All indeed, was lost. The Caverns had been violated, the Sacred Hammer had been stolen and the Master of the Forge lay dead in a widening pool of blood spilling from a hideous, gaping wound in his throat.