Marriage and love weren't supposed to be part of Isu Magan's life.
“A good mix of realistic and fantastical elements, and a gripping, at first gritty storyline, the puzzles first presented in early chapters are resolved in the plot in a way that shows rather than merely tells!” Troy
As Isu falls deeper in love with Sama Conn, her Counsellor works in secret in the shadows, preparing to ruin her.
When Isu Magan finally takes the crown, it seems that all her dreams will at last come true.
But her Counsellor has other plans and Isu finds herself on trial with her life at stake; only the Law of Substitution can save her...
pale gold light at dawn
above the grey wall of cloud;
sun struggles to rise
Pre-Dawn, 7th Erdanir, Royal Tower
MINAH WOKE IN HER NARROW bed in the light that precursors dawn. She wondered what had woken her and recalled vague dreams of her father's death. Pushing them aside, she snuggled into the coarse blankets, willing herself back to sleep.
The cold air had woken her mind and she could not return to her slumbers. Her thoughts drifted to Sama Conn and she wondered again how he was going to get rid of Jya and break the enchantments so that eternal winter would be forever banished from the Kingdom. Minah, herself, was still quite willing to stab Sergeant Aurik; his lecher's ways were too much to be endured. If she did not have the Princess' protection, she knew she would be at Aurik's mercy.
Minah was prepared. She had a very sharp dagger hidden beneath her mattress. It had never been used. She wanted to keep it that way until she was able to kill Aurik.
Pre-Dawn, 7th Erdanir, Helmgar's Quarters
HELMGAR COULD NOT SLEEP. His dreams were confused, fluctuating between nightmares where Jya devoured the inhabitants of Vintrig's Kingdom one by one and surreal visions of golden summer reigning eternally around the Castle.
Since he'd heard the revelations from the lips of Aurik and Jya a week ago, the Steward had said nothing to anyone. He harboured his new-found hope in his heart, but dared not say anything for fear of unleashing Jya's wrath.
In the gloom, he could see the clear stone hanging on its leather thong on the shelf above his bed. It was a strange talisman. He kept meaning to ask Sama how it really worked, but never seemed to find the opportunity.
He smiled to himself, recalling how the musician had been teaching the people of Vintrig's Kingdom to dance. Helmgar had enjoyed the last session, dancing with the Whore, who now called herself Saredan.
Pre-Dawn, 7th Erdanir, Kitchens
SPRAKLEAS HEARD THE sounds of regular breathing around him. It was still dark in the kitchens, though a sliver of light forced its way through a crack in the shutters on the outer wall. Rhythmic snoring and snorting filled the air. He wondered what had woken him.
Should he report to Sama today? No, that wasn't necessary until tomorrow. So, today he would clean, carry and chop as Greda commanded him.
The old man shifted slightly on his pallet, being careful not to disturb Erik asleep nearby. The young man had a fiery temper if woken suddenly.
He wondered again what Sama's mission was here in Vintrig's Castle. Always before, the singer's plans were clear cut and easily achievable. This time, Sprakleas had a feeling that things weren't quite turning out as Sama wanted them too.
He closed his eyes and tried to sleep once more.
Pre-Dawn, 7th Erdanir, Jya's Tower
JYA DID NOT SLEEP. He had no need. He did many things during the dark hours. Much of the magic that he worked responded best without the sunlight to weaken his enchantments.