A coming of age story about a young priestess who is called upon by an ancient artifact to save it from forces of evil. Though she must become an outlaw to succeed, she learns to follow her own heart.
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Magda Ranhubell lives in the snowbound country of Montrovik. She ran away from home six years before to join a Sanctuary and become a priestess, rather than marry her rich neighbor or govern her family's estate. The book begins when Magda leaves the Sanctuary, bound for the snow mountains. She carries the holiest artifact in the country - the Chalice of the Silver Reindeer - which has telepathically asked her to remove it and take it up the mountain.
To accomplish her goal, Magda must outwit bountymen, avoid wolves and survive blizzards. Along the way, a fellow outlaw joins her - a magician who has run away from the King's court. Together they realize they are being hunted by someone who will do anything to get his hands on the chalice and use its power for evil.
Whenever I felt myself losing spirit, I took out the chalice. It always gave me a profound sense of inner strength, and I was warmed by its age-old vibrations of peace and wisdom. I could feel it like a friend, urging me toward the summit.
Tonight, I was content to sit and stare into the fire. My body was tired, and even lying down seemed a chore. I almost fell asleep with my eyes open. Just as I was slipping away, a hand gripped my neck—and I felt the edge of a cold knife on my throat.
I could not scream, though I felt the panic rise up in my throat. “Who are you?” said a cold voice behind me.
Fearing it was one of the ruffians returned, I answered, “I’m a poor servant and have been separated from the King’s party. Have pity, sir.”
“Liar,” the man retorted, and I felt the knife tip pierce my skin. “I’ve just left King Harben in his tower, and by the look of you, you’re no servant.”