INDIE'S TODAY BEST FANTASY 2019
Sara is having crazy dreams. Gryphon and dragon crazy. The scary part is waking up, safe in her apartment, with scratches and splinters. Is she losing it because of stress? One more unfinished sculpture will fully tank her grades. Goodbye bachelor's degree, hello failure. Her twin sister is in a coma. And on top of everything else, her best friend Peter wants a date.
It's enough to make anyone sleepwalk.
Choosing to defy the Conclave, Bard-in-training Trystan risks capture and mind control to find a magical lute through a shadow network. Luthier-wizard Dane meets a sinister stranger and barely escapes with his life. Together, they must end an ancient curse, guided by a fae they only know as Sara.
"A richly conceived fantasy with a grand emotional payoff" – Kirkus Reviews
"..the book offers a lot to readers who are looking for a more creative fantasy that doesn’t employ an axe to the face. " – Booknest.eu
Fae, Louisville Kentucky
Sara can't wait to graduate and get the heck out of Kentucky. When she is nervous, she pops off with misworded movie quotes. You'll find her sculpting in her studio, working in the university greenhouse, or watching old movies when she isn't in class. Sara lives in Old Louisville with her roommate Jane in a huge old Victorian mansion that has been converted into apartments. She drives a classic Karmann Ghia.
Dewin, Dohnavur, Canard
Everyone thinks dewin are dangerous, but Dane knows the truth. Sure, he can see the fae, but that doesn't make him a monster. His true craft as a wizard-luthier must be concealed, or his life is forfeit. Dane isn't sure he has what it takes to wield the broken Song. If the Conclave comes for him, he will be put to the test.
Innkeeper, Dohnavur, Canard
The Innkeeper at the Bell and Rider has a quick wit and a sharp tongue, with a wisdom that belies her age. Her gnome guardian, Jax, watches over her with fierce devotion.
Journeyman, The Bindery, Bestua, Canard
Trystan has almost attained his master bard's ring when he hears the true Song for the first time. As the youngest son of the Forgelord of Pelegor, Trystan is technically a prince. He's never felt more powerless. Enchanted lutes are forbidden. Trystan won't let such a minor inconvenience stop him from owning one, no matter the cost.
Head Spinner, Baehnt, Canard
Baron by day, leader of the Spinners by night. Tabor runs a shadow network that spans the Weldenlands. Whether climbing towers and dodging the Conclave or hosting the premiere ball of the season, he's always on guard.
Chymaera, Wyn Aerie, Canard
M'ra rules her Sigil with wisdom and strength as Eldest of the Wyn Aerie. Ancient, mysterious and farsighted, she seeks only to allow the Profi of her sigil to quicken once more.
Gnome, Dohnavur, Canard
Jax is a singular gnome. As deema to Bell Pennyweather, he meets all of the village's few visitors. He hears all the gossip and generally stays one step ahead of Cantor Nadir's nonsense. Just don't ever ask him to sing. Really. Don't do it.
Gnome, Dohnavur, Canard
Pezzik looks after Dane, caring for him as if he were her own son. She's respected in the gnome burrow, but has served as deema to Dane's family for centuries.
Trystan dan Tenkor
Aeries are home to various Chymaera. The Wyn transform into gryphons and live in an aerie splendid with lacy towers, mingled trees, and waterfalls. To the humans who might pass by, from the outside, the area might at first glance appear to be only sharp, needle-like rock formations interspersed with trees. The camoflauge serves to protect the Wyn from those who might otherwise plunder their treasures.
Musicians train at the Bindery, located in the Welden capital of Bestua. The studemts there learn composition, performance, statecraft and crafting. They learn to scribe clearly and have access to the largest library in the Weldenlands. They also learn how to avoid accessing the True Song, Students apprentice to learn all the general skills required of a bard, but specialize in their studies when they become journeymen. Very few attain their Master's ring.
Capitol of the Weldenlands, Bestua sits beside a river in the Middewelde. The High King's palace is particularly beautiful.
The Sundered Cities are called Cimaehne and Ciclaehne. 500 years ago the ancient city of Citraehne was torn in half, much like the World Tree. The twin cities sit across from each other, separated by a channel. They are the only locale where the Speakers still function. Many visit to see them.
This small town is best known as the gateway to the Heyegrove, where the gnomes dwell. Many work with lumber from the Heyewood, which lies directly north. The town boasts several lumber mills in addition to a Conclave chapterhouse with a large number of acolytes. The regional Baron, Hiram Pickell, spends most of his time in Bestua and largely allows the town council to govern themselves.
The gnomes live together in a large underground complex known simply as the Burrow. It lies hidden deep in the Heyegrove. Once there were many Burrows but now only one remains. The Burrow has a central cavern, known as the Burrow Moot, where the residents gather to eat and work together. The leader of the Burrow is an ancient gnome named Thurial.
The largest city in Kentucky, also known as Falls City. Louisville is famous for an annual horse race, the Kentucky Derby. It also is the bourbon capital of the world. It has a huge group of Victorian houses near downtown. Sara lives in one of these and attends the city university.
The Cursed City, former home of the Majisterium. When the Song was broken, a fog descended on the city and with it, an oppressive dread for all who tried to leave as well for new visitors. A lake sits at the center of Siarad and the town wreaths the lake. At the center of the lake sits the island of Anach, and the ruins of the Majesterium towers.
A Conclave chapterhouse important for its proximity to the World Tree. Also houses the central Ministry of Monitors which tracks information sent by the Watchers. High Cantor Siles administrates the facility.
The mountain capitol of Pelegor, Mos Tevis, is the home of the Forge. Its magical fire is used to produce songsteel, the only material capable of destroying the Shadowborn. Most men of working age are members of the Forge guild. The Forge is so entwined in the culture, the king is known as the Forgelord and Forgemen are synonymous with Pelegorians. They are also known as Northmen. As a rule they are fierce warriors and capable navigators. They use longships to transport their wares. Both men and women train in combat, ready to use their songsteel blades to defend the innocent. They have a close camaraderie with the dwarven clans, who live in their midst.
A shadow network of rogues committed to upholding the Song. They work against the Conclave with subterfuge, protecting all Majesterium artifacts and lore. They also trade in forbidden enchanted musical instruments and train their members to use them. Unofficially, they serve High King Tenneth. Officially, they don't exist. Their main Nest is in Baehnt, but there is a representative in most major cities and towns. They protect dewin from the Conclave and have a special interest in Siarad. They employ a code to communicate safely called the Spinner's Cant.
Ghostly people who rapidly flicker in and out of sight, the fae are the subject of many children's stories. Dewin, gnomes and some children may see them easily. They often speak words that are difficult to understand and it is rumored they cannot be trusted. The oldest tales say they were messengers from the Storm King with ties to the Majesterium. A fae could bond with a dewin and become faisant. The dewin thus bonded became a Majister.
Chymaera are creatures who can transform after they mature, a process called quickening. The Wyn transform into gryphons. Tall, very thin and alabaster-skinned with white hair in their unwinged state, the Wyn love beauty. They work daily in songpitches, creating Watchers, Speakers and Takers. After the War of the Wyrm they retreated into their aerie and are rarely seen among men.
The Caprices haunt the island of Anach in Siarad. They give oracles to the pilgrims who seek them out and appear at irregular intervals in Siarad for this purpose. They have no form other than their robes, which appear to float.
The Cyntae are the firstbon of creation and assisted the Storm King in governing until the War of the Wyrm. The Conclave teached that the Storm King is dead and the Cyntae now sustain the Song. Daily Canting services are held by the Conclave to assist them in this work. Chymaera cannot quicken without the Cyntae but only one, Doran, has manifested since the War. There are eight Cyntae. Domini is the oldest and the leader, Renato, Miah, Faron, Solimon, Lalo, Tieson and Doran.
Cantors are Conclave priests and officials. They conduct daily canting services to support the Cyntae. They also capture dewin and purify them so that they may not go mad and kill others.
Gnomes range in size from six inches tall for their children to about 3 and a half feet tall. They have a special bond with the earth and stone and can walk through them much as humans can swim. They speak with all animals. They live together in a burrow. Gnomes have a rhythm, a cadence to all they do, a response to the Song which pulses through them. When two or more gnomes are together it is very noticeable and they create a kind of percussive music. A gnome who adopts a human family is called a deema.