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A Compelling Fantasy
When Riya Mayur, princess of the paanthan province of Zikhin married Amias Teagan, ruler of the human kingdom of Acacia, at the age of fifteen, she believed she was doing her duty to her family and her people. Despite life becoming a nightmare, it was one she was dtermined to endure.
In a world fraught with danger, it comes as no surprise when her brother is killed in battle the day of her wedding. But when her parents are murdered by her childhood friend, she's forced to return homeas Crown Princess of Zikhin. Faced with the prospect of crowning her husband king, she finds her world turned upside-down and comes to realize just how far Amias' machinations reach.
Machinations involving a human bandit, a shape shifting Nordfirar fight slave, a Shamiran wizard seeking to prove himself, and a Nordfirar prisoner known only as the Fox Maiden. Machinations that will force Riya to change, to make alliances and dangerous bargains in an effort to save her people and preserve her sovereignty.
But Amias' eye is on a much larger prize...
Choking down the rancid broth that was likely to be his only meal for the next twenty four hours, he listened carefully to the coversations around him. The prisoners were confused, many frightened. Few had been told the reason for their arrests. His gray eyes drifted over the drawn faces, the hollow gazes. This wasn't the Zikhin he knew.
Rubbing a calloused hand over his rough cheeks, he absently played with a piece of straw on the floor. " Are they still having trials?"
A disturbing silence fell on the entire prison level, all gazes turning to the newly arrived highwayman.
"You don't want a 'trial'," one woman whispered.
"They march you into the throne room," an aged blacksmith cut in."And the king passes judgement. No matter the evidence, you're guilty, no matter the crime, you're executed"
" The queen stands at his side...doesn't say a thing to stop him"
"She's given her people over to a madman"
A new round of arguments erupted only to be cut short by horrifying screams from the lower levels.
"What was that?"
No one answered. All eyes turned away. Mothers hugged their children tighter. Even the men seemed afraid.
"What is it?"
"Clerics,priests,priestesses, witches and the like are taken to the lower levels. None ever come back."
"They say the king is a black witch," a small Paanthan boy piped up. "And makes sacrifices of good clerics, priests, priestesses and witches to serve his daemon master."
Scorpio shrank down into his clothes, his blood turning to ice in his veins at the realizatioon and the possibility of uaine's fate.