Embers (Enclave Publishing)
Abiassa’s Fire Book 1
By Ronie Kendig
He’s coming for them. And the kingdom.
Haegan and Kaelyria Celahar are royal heirs of the Nine Kingdoms, but Haegan is physically crippled. What chance does he have against Poired Dyrth, the greatest enemy the kingdom has ever faced, who wields fire with a power none can match?
Their only hope is forbidden: Kaelyria must transfer her fire-harnessing abilities to Haegan. When she does, it comes with a terrible price: Haegan’s disability is healed, but only by being transferred to Kaelyria. This decision causes their father, the King, to unleash his wrath against Haegan.
Haegan must flee the kingdom alone with two impossible tasks: Find a cure for Kaelyria and stop the coming war with the omnipotent Poired Dyrth.
Once amid the fertile lands
Were proud and strong brigands.
Vain in their ways,
They numbered their days;
Then came the blight
With fire so bright.
It devoured hearts and pride.
In agony, their children cried
As roaring devoured every drop
Of life, livestock, and crop.
Red, orange, gold, and blue
Reshaped the lands—people, too.
Now they writhe amid the pyre
Of Abiassa’s Fire.
It was said the very soul of the land burned within her. The soul of the fire, of Abiassa. The thought drew Kaelyria Celahar’s gaze to the Fiery Mount. She traced its spine in the distance. The charred slopes teemed with reddish-gold lava spilling down into the Lakes of Fire. So beautiful. Forbidding. Compelling.
“Red, orange, gold, and blue; Reshaped the lands, people, too.” Kaelyria’s breath bloomed over the leaded glass as she recited the ancient rhyme. As the circle of fog shrank, she braced against the heaviness crowding her, sniffling out the joy she once felt at being the heir to the throne. The future ruler of a realm so powerful. ” ‘Now to thrive on holy pyre, They unleash . . . Abiassa’s Fire.’ ”
Blackened earth shifted, forced aside by the burning elements that glowed bright against the night-darkened land. Just as she would push aside the darkness pursuing her and her people. Gone were the laughter and merriment that thrived in the days of her childhood. At nineteen, she was an adult, no longer the child who once danced around the Great Pit singing the evensongs with her friends. With Haegan.
Kaelyria lowered her gaze. Hand on her stomach, she drew a breath as synergy, hot and thrumming, surged against her palm. Answering. Churning. The very essence of who she’d been since Haegan’s incident now infused her with the abiatasso that guided her, enabled her to someday rule. But more importantly it existed to protect the people of Zaethien.
Even the midnight sky seemed to shrink, yielding darkness to the territories beneath its heavy cloak. Or maybe they were shrinking because of her intended course—if her connection with the land was as whole as she’d been taught, could it feel her turmoil? The irrevocable path she’d chosen?
Grief anew threatened to strangle her. She closed her eyes. If she did not do this, the fires could go out. The land could die. But if she did, she could die.
“My lady, princess?”
The soft voice pulled Kaelyria from her somber thoughts. She straightened, smoothed a hand down her silk-embroidered gown as much to brush away the weighty thoughts as to compose herself, and turned from the window. Across the black lacquered floor, torchlight scampered up the gilded walls and tapestries, casting an odd glow against her handmaiden’s young face.
Pulling the silk wrap tightly around her shoulders, Kaelyria lifted her chin. “Is he here?”
Kiesa gave a reluctant nod, no doubt held captive by the fear that shone in her eyes. This was the end, even her maiden knew. “My lady-grace, are you sure you—”
“Bring him.” Kaelyria dared not trust herself to hear anyone’s concerns or complaints, especially the one who knew her heart better than most. The one who attended her minute by minute. The ne who dressed here, laughed with her, and shared confidences.
Kiesa tucked her head and stepped back. Once she’d cleared the threshold, she gave a quick bow and vanished.
One last chance to change your mind. Would Haegan ever forgive her for this? Would Father? And Graem . . . The thought cinched a tight cord around her stomach.
A large shape filled the doorway. Cilicien ka’Dur entered, followed by Kiesa. Hair smoothed back, facial hair trim and neat encircling his mouth, he brought with him a chill that defied the roaring fire in the hearth. Adorned in his Ignatieri overcloak and black breeches, he made an impressive figure as he bent before her. When he bowed, the firelight caught the gold threads and streamed down them, striking the rubies, orange sapphires, and—the most prized—citrines stitched into his mantle. Fiery prisms exploded from the gems and leapt around the room.
“Princess, it is an honor.” His voice seemed oiled, slick. Though his gaze did not go to the fireworks cast by his bejeweled cloak, ka’Dur could not keep the pride from his eyes, from puffing his chest.
Kaelyria curled her hands into fists, her attention flicking to where Kiesa stood in the shadows, sensing the support of her handmaiden against this accelerant. His appearance had caught her off guard at their first meeting—he was not what she’d expected an accelerant to look like, especially not one of his caliber. Old, gnarled, she’d expected. This . . . Even as it pleased her eye, something about his beauty sparked unease in her heart.
With an amused look, ka’Dur strolled her private quarters, considering the paintings, the sofas, the gold tables, and brocade tapestries. “Quite a change from our last place of meeting.”
Kaelyria ignored him, steeling herself. “Are you prepared to do this?”
“Are you, my lady-grace?”
Kaelyria walked quickly to the armoire and retrieved the pouch from the lead box. She rubbed her fingers over the velvet. Gems poked through the fabric and rolled against her palm. half her inheritance, and the gems the least of the price she would pay.
Any price is worth protecting Abiassa’s Fire.
– – – – –
Ronie Kendig is an award-winning, bestselling author of a dozen novels. She grew up an Army brat. Now, she and her husband, an Army veteran, have an adventurous life in Northern Virginia with their children and two dogs–a Maltese Menace and a retired military working dog, VVolt N629. Ronie’s degree in Psychology has helped her pen novels of intense, raw characters. Since launching onto the publishing scene in 2010, Ronie and Rapid-Fire Fiction novels have hit bestseller lists and garnered numerous awards and much critical acclaim.