Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Fire and Ice Young Adult
Number of pages: 304
Word Count: 104K
Cover Artist: Caroline Andrus
In a realm where magic was thought to be lost, young bard Telyn Songmaker is able to cast powerful spells with her music. Exiled from home in the violent aftermath of her song magic gone awry, Telyn endures a solitary freedom…unaware of the price on her head.
Bound to the Wood by blood and by oath, Mithrais is dispatched to protect her by the dying sylvan gods he serves. Only Telyn can perform the dangerous counterspell that may save them. But love may be the most unpredictable magic of all…
“Is it true that there was a murder in the Sildan court last year?” a calm male voice called from the end of the room furthest from the dais. Telyn felt herself grow cold, her fingers stilling on the harp strings, and forced her voice to remain neutral.
“There was an unfortunate incident involving the son of Vuldur, Lord of the East. He was killed, but it was not murder. Lord Vuldur seems to have gone mad with grief and views it as such.”
“That is understandable,” the voice continued mildly. “After all, it was his only son. Isn’t that right?”
Telyn could not see who was asking the questions, and indeed, the voice now seemed to come from nowhere and everywhere at once. She took a deep breath and answered, “Yes, it was his only son.”
Mercifully, the voice did not come again, and Telyn let her fingers move on the strings of her harp in the beginnings of the interrupted song, forcing herself to calm and concentrate on her music. Her heart was racing. It was entirely possible that the question was an innocent product of rumors filtering west of the Sildan capital, but even Riordan hadn’t heard anything about the incident until this afternoon. She played the song with single-minded focus, rigidly employing her disciplines until her breathing was normal and her heart slowed. It seemed that none of the guests had noticed her discomfiture and were smiling with pleasure at the music. It was just a rumor repeated, she told herself. It had to be that.
“I promised Lord Riordan a love song for his lady,” Telyn said, disciplining her voice to carry nothing but cheer. She glanced at the head table. Riordan smiled at her encouragingly with a reassuring nod, and Lady Ciara beamed at her. Mithrais, although he appeared relaxed, looked ready to fly to her side at an instant’s notice.
She closed her eyes and began to play one of the oldest Sildan love songs she knew, letting the haunting and beautiful music carry her song magic to the audience, enhancing an atmosphere of romantic anticipation. She had just taken a breath in preparation to sing the first verse when the sting of pain, a jangling discord of strings and the crunch of wood startled her eyes open.
Telyn looked down and saw the feathered end of a small crossbow bolt. The point was buried in the shattered soundboard of her harp, directly over her heart. A warm trickle of blood welled from a shallow cut on the back of her hand where the bolt had grazed.
Several women screamed; in the sudden confusion, Telyn sat frozen with the harp in her lap. Mithrais was suddenly there, appearing out of thin air to pull her to the floor and shield her with his own body while Riordan protected Ciara, bellowing orders to his guards to find the person who had fired the bolt.
Ciara was pointing toward the rafters. Telyn clawed her mask off and tried to look up, but between Mithrais crouching over her and the guests running to and fro she could see only the floor, Mithrais’ discarded mask, and the shattered remains of her harp on the stones beside her. The dark iron crossbow bolt stood out in stark relief against the pale wood.
“This way!” Riordan beckoned Mithrais, who lifted Telyn up to her feet, still shielding her from the unseen marksman, and hurried to where Riordan was pointing. Behind the tapestry on the dais was a hidden hallway, and Riordan and Ciara followed them in. “It leads to my library. Go!”
About the Author:
Elisabeth Hamill is a nurse by day, fantasy novelist by night. In seventh grade, she had “Famous Author” inscribed under her name on her yearbook cover – an aspiration that, while delayed, was never forgotten! Her first published work, SONG MAGICK, saw its first draft finished during recuperation from cancer treatment and surgery, and is the fulfillment of that lifelong dream of being an author.
She lives in eastern Kansas with her family, where they fend off flying monkey attacks and prep for the zombie apocalypse.
Manic Readers: http://www.manicreaders.com/ElisabethHamill/