A new series from award winning Author, C.R. Richards: The epic tale of two men begins. The first – a man of honor trying desperately to turn his country from civil war. The other – a boy struggling to discover his destiny before agents of evil find him first.
Coveted by two ancient enemies of a long forgotten age, the continent of Andara holds the key to victory in an endless struggle for dominance. Eight hundred years have passed since the god-like Jalora struck a bargain with the first King of Valdeon. The Lion Ring, symbol of the covenant and conduit of power, gives its bearer incredible abilities. The ring’s borrowed magic protects the people of Andara from covetous evil, but there is a price. As with most predators, the Lion Ring must feed. Only the blood of the D’Antoiné family line will satisfy its hunger.
A rival for Andara’s treasures, the Sarcion has waited impatiently for its time upon the land. Whispers of treason in the right ear aid its treachery. The King of Valdeon mysteriously disappears, leaving his lands in danger of a civil war by the hand of a murderous usurper. His Lion Ring is lost and the covenant is broken. The Jalora’s power begins to seep away from the land. Evil’s foot hold grows stronger. Can the Lords of Valdeon, Sacred Guard of the covenant, stop the tides of war? Or will Andara fall into chaos? The future rests in the blood of a boy…
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Blood and bone. Mikel D’Antoiné’s fields were buried in the remains of the dead. He shifted his bare feet, trying to find firm footing upon the blood-soaked ground. Pain radiated from the many gaping wounds that made tracks along his bare torso. Dark, sweat-drenched strands fell across his swollen eyes. A hand made steady with grim resolve wiped them away.
Eight Valdeonian men stood with him in the remains of their smoldering village. Farmers all, they were the last of those able and willing to stand in defense of their people. Desperation kills fear. Anger breeds courage.
A lone shack protecting what was left of their women and children stood behind them. Screams of the helpless shook the thin walls. Mikel’s wife and son were among the first to perish. Their bodies remained in a pile at the center of the battlefield with the other dead, befouled and dishonored by men from distant shores. Returning from his labors among the crops, he and the other men of the village had been too late to save them. Flesh eaters had already claimed most of their people before the farmers had pushed them back. Those innocents left trembling behind thin walls would not be taken with this new surge of violence. Mikel would see his life drain away first.
In the distance, the murderers from foreign shores waded through the dead. They were rough men, unkempt and savage. Mercenaries. Their armor was thick and their swords strong. Covered in the blood of the innocent, they kicked away the bodies of women and children. Cold hatred filled Mikel’s heart as his eyes took in their leering faces. A hundred strong, they had no fear of the nine men who stood against them.
Thunder crashed in the depths of the sky as a great light burned through the din. Mikel shielded his eyes against its searing beam. He staggered helplessly as the ground threatened to break apart beneath his feet. Panic and cries to an unknown god rose behind him from the shack. The men standing with him made no protest. They were all ready to die, whether it be by the hand of an army or the land that kept them.
Then the great light faded, leaving a band of pale warriors standing at the edge of the battlefield. Dressed in brilliant white, their pale skin and hair glistened in the light of their power. Cold faces remained indifferent, betrayed only by the burning blue of their eyes. Each hard glare was fixed upon the murderous invaders. Cautious hope rose within Mikel’s heart. The mercenaries knew these pale warriors, and they were afraid. Whimpered cries bubbled from flesh-stained lips. A few mutterings for mercy drifted across the muddy fields. Still, the pale warriors showed no emotion and no inclinations for mercy.
“Protect the Innocent. Punish the Guilty.” A voice — neither male nor female — resonated from the very Erthe and sky. Brandishing twin swords, the strange men and women moved as one. Perfect features remained emotionless as they penetrated the mercenary battle lines. Mikel stood frozen with the rest, watching as their unstoppable blades carved a deadly gap between the killers and the villagers.
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