(By altering events preordained by the Dragon Stream, Rheagon Dawes inadvertently condemned his sister to a journey she might not survive. Ilyanna departs for Khavenha where she hopes to unravel rumors of a strange weapon coming to life in Ellessari.)
“Ilyanna, you are not obligated to do this,” Rheagon explained as they watched over the harbor from the outside of town. The ship Ilyanna had chosen was arranged to set sail across the Alluvia Sea within the hour.
“I choose to go. I want this.”
Though Rheagon could not remember their mother he believed Ilyanna was a perfect replicate. Her eyes were an ocean blue vibrant with an excitement Ilyanna loved to chase. She twirled the end of her braid with her fingers, the blonde reflecting the sunlight across her fine skin. “I’ll never forgive myself should the worst happen,” he said. “You understand you were chosen to punish me.”
She flashed her trademark smile—a half-crooked smirk of missing teeth; an otherwise blemish on her near perfect beauty. “You deserve to be punished, reckless that you are.” Ilyanna laughed abruptly at the sarcasm. Rheagon was never reckless and they both knew it. Other words would suit him better. “You haven’t told me what you did.”
“Nothing that you wouldn’t have done in my place,” he replied. The same thing anyone with a decent mind and a good heart would have done. The crime was disciplining him by sending Ilyanna on a mission she was unlikely to survive.
They walked side by side down the gentle slope kicking at the tall grass and admiring the seagulls riding the wind with grace. The flavor of the ocean scented the air.
Ilyanna changed the subject. “Do you remember our mother?”
Funny that he had just thought of her. “Only the sound of her voice.” For Rheagon that had always been enough.
“Yes, her voice was her strongest trait. She always sang of strength, to bolster our courage within our hearts. I want you to know, Brother, no matter where I go I’ll be singing.”
Rheagon chewed on his lip in an attempt to withhold the tears, but then he wondered if that was a mistake. If she were to see them maybe she would realize the severity of her mission. “Ilyanna, promise me you’ll be careful. Until this threat in Khavenha is unveiled we cannot appreciate the danger it might represent. I won’t be around to save you this time.”
Ilyanna surprised him with an embrace. “You and I will fight together again someday, I swear to it.”
Rheagon engraved the moment to memory. “Farewell.”
A bell rang from the port—the last warning
before departure. Ilyanna sprinted down the slope with her braid bouncing in
stride. Rheagon watched her go with a smile and a tear, and when he could no
longer watch her run he turned back, wishing she had seen them both.
(Ilyanna was never seen or heard from again. Eight years later something
terrible has happened that has Rheagon questioning his loyalty to his King. After
a heated argument with the Emissary, Rheagon meanders through the streets of Elanor while contemplating abandoning the Conjural
Hearts to search for Ilyanna…)
Rheagon continued his descent into the wrong side of town, his thoughts drifting between past and present. Fables spoke that in the old world mages could offer second chances to those deserving by subtracting time from the present. If he could alter his decision to save that infant and spare Ilyanna…would he?
Merchants parked their wagons tight along the sidewalks with an assortment of fish strung between them, offered fresh from the ocean or smoked in ale and cedar. Rheagon meandered from one vendor to the next without interest, consumed by a decision yet to be made—return to the tower or leave Elanor forever. Children chased with their imitation rods of silver, their imagination battling the wild creatures of Rynwell.
A stranger called for him from the shadows of an alleyway. “You, Sir! A word please.”
The request was crystal amongst the ruckus of the crowds. Drawn to the voice, Rheagon was faced with a foreigner in a black shawl with eyes set firmly upon him. “I offer you news of Ilyanna.”
The words stuttered his heart. The stranger slipped deeper into the alleyway, gone. Rheagon lurched between the vendors to catch him, almost tripping as he rushed the corner.
“I suspected that might garner your attention,” the stranger said from the shady side of the alleyway, fitted against a wall with his arms folded neatly. Exquisite hooks that resembled a barb when layered across each other were tattooed beneath his eyes, chained together from the bridge of his nose down his cheek. A mix of blond and black was slicked behind his ears.
Far too many emotions overwhelmed Rheagon at the same time. “Who are you?”
“It is not important,” he replied with an unfamiliar accent. Khavenha?
“How do you know my sister? Does she live?”
Rheagon’s heart settled when he nodded. “Aye, she lives, but needs your help.”
Everything about this was wrong. “Where is she?”
“Lord Edan of Danalee has taken her prisoner on charges of treason.”
Rheagon snatched the man by his neck. “Choose your next words very carefully, stranger. You are suggesting that Lord Edan has betrayed Rynwell.”
Rheagon relaxed his hold only enough to let him speak. “Explain.”
“You have it wrong. Lord Edan has not betrayed Rynwell, Ilyanna has.”
The man barred his teeth. “Release me…” The markings beneath his eyes turned from black to a shade darker than his skin.
A magic user. Rheagon relaxed his hold, but not before displaying his own. His fingernails brightened when he summoned the Hjarta. “I am not amused.”
Sweat beaded above his brows. “Your Emissary received notice of the incident two days ago.”
Rheagon swallowed the hurt. It seemed unlikely and possible all at once. If Elthian had known about this today…“How did you know to find me?” Come to that, the coincidence and the timing of all this could not be overlooked. Rheagon understood he was confused and hurt but he was no fool. How did the stranger know to find him here?
“I befriended Ilyanna in Khavenha. She told me of you. All I require is a name, Rheagon Dawes, and then I can find anyone.”
“What crime has she been mistaken with?”
His markings colored. The red bloomed from beneath his skin as if the markings were rooted. “Go to Danalee if you want the truth, but please do so soon. I fear for her.”
Lord Edan would never hurt Ilyanna. “I’m not going anywhere but back to the tower. You can explain this to the Emissary.”
“No, you are going to allow me to leave because I am only trying to save someone we both deeply care about. There is a reason the Emissary has retained this information from you, and I suggest you think this through carefully. Ilyanna warned me of the ignorance residing in that tower, Rheagon, and I suspect you understand the same.” The tattoos pulsed deeper into the red. “Ilyanna told me once that you were the only one alive capable of hearing the truth.” He massaged his throat and then straightened his cloak. The fabric appeared thick and weighted yet when he moved it rippled like silk. “Ilyanna does not require the Hearts on this day, she needs her brother.”
Rheagon fell to silence. He tried to gather all the scattered pieces of his mind but all he felt was anger, grief, but mostly confusion. He could have been standing in a dream surrounded by possibilities that were all false and yet he considered that the most improbable was true.
The stranger offered him a smirk. “It is a lovely day to travel. The sun is shining, after all.”
Rheagon stood motionless as he allowed the stranger his freedom. The day evolved over and over again in his mind but all he could determine with certainty was that someone had lied. Rheagon refused to believe that Elthian would withhold this information, especially after discussing Ilyanna’s fate and his asinine words.
Rheagon could see no harm traveling to Danalee. He knew Lord Edan well enough that they could handle the situation amicably. At the very least discover who was lying. If the Emissary truly withheld this information during their discussion earlier there would be no crevice in that tower he could safely hide in.
Could Ilyanna truly be home? Rheagon forced a breath. All of this made no sense. This is madness.
to Danalee, then.”
END. Visit the Memoirs page for more info.
THE WRATH OF ZAR
Answers armed with disaster and linked to mysteries about his father’s past thrusts Adan Caynne into a desperate quest to find his missing brother. Unaware of the evil spreading across Yannina, Adan quickly discovers that his fate is bound to a handful of others who are desperately seeking answers of their own. When an Andar apprentice suggests that Adan may be their only hope, his life is thrown into chaos as he and his new companions find themselves chased by the demon army. At the helm stand the Dryden, powerful warriors sent from their master to initiate their long awaited journey of revenge. In their alliance is the dreaded dragon Zar, awaiting his beacon to summon soul into flame—chaos into death.
THE WRATH OF ZAR
DRAGON FIRE EDITION
Limited copies were printed in soft cover and are available on Amazon through Red Toque Books. The Ebook version is available on Amazon, IBooks, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble.
PRAISE FOR "THE WRATH OF ZAR"
“This fantasy debut by Calgary native Easson launches a saga of war and treachery, where demons threaten all that is good and a few stalwart heroes must prevail against them. A good choice for large sf collections or where epic fantasy is popular.” Library Journal, November 2007
“The fact that the narrative takes a number of unpredictable turns along the way makes the book even harder to put down, and the bombshell revealed on the very last page has me awaiting the second book in the series with bated breath. If Easson’s future novels are anywhere near as impressive as this one, the fantasy genre has a new star on its hands.” Daniel Jolley
“This book is action-packed, and full of adventure, daring and danger. There is not much more you could ask for from a fiction novel - it entertains, it takes you to a different world, and it makes you care about the characters and leaves you desiring to know what happens next.” Steven R. McEvoy, Book Reviews and More
“Its a fine effort by first-time novelist Shayne Easson that fantasy fans will certainly enjoy.” Rainbo Reviews,
“The Wrath of Zar is a well thought-out adventure with a remarkable cast of characters. Just when you think you have it all figured out, the plot takes another shift and thrusts the reader into another layer of intrigue. This is high fantasy at its best, powered by interesting and sympathetic characters in a unique world of men, demons, gods, and dragons.” Clover Autrey, Paranormal Romance
“Wow! What a great start for a new fantasy writer!” Diane Snyder, Armchair Interviews
“In my opinion Shayne Easson has a talent for storytelling and it's easy to see that he loves writing. I think that he's about to become one of the best new fantasy authors.” Rising Shadow