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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Navigating the icy, granite world of Versula ~ Sweet Saturday Sample

My Sweet Saturday Sample is a morsel from my latest release, an epic fantasy romance, Heritage Avenged: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Two. This is the second of a 5-part series.
Available at Amazon for only $1.29.

In this scene, Lyra and Kenzo, her magical owl friend, must travel into the cold, granite territory of Versula to meet the evil alchemist in his retreat away from the Dark Realm. She badly needs a favor from him in order to help Cullen, her wizard lover, who has been seriously injured. Along the journey, Lyra gains a ride across the unusual, rugged terrain with some dragon friends, Gea and Yasqu. Even with these dragon escorts, the pair are not exactly welcome guests to the retreat.

Once all were arranged, the two dragons took flight again, this time remaining low by following a maze of canyons. With her agile maneuvers into hidden passes, it was apparent Gea knew her way through Versula. The gold dragon’s wings rippled as if she swam rather than flew. The smooth ride allowed Lyra to relax and take in the stark beauty they passed. In many ranges, the dragons sailed around huge mushroom-shaped granite tor.
They traveled a long time, maybe close to an hour. She and Kenzo alone would have spent weeks, even if they knew this route.
A hazy light of dawn allowed her to see more details. Farther north, the stone became mottled with dark gray circular patches against a tan background. Statues rested amongst the tor—goddesses in flowing gowns posed with an array of unfamiliar animals. Wings, horns, and fins attached to odd-shaped bodies in unusual positions. What looked like a giant platypus wore short curling horns on either side of its duck bill as well as wings set on its shoulder blades. A child-like goddess stood frozen with her hand stroking the fur on its back, her head thrown back with a wide smile covering her face. Lyra wondered if Tarom ever willed his statues to life since they wore such animated expressions. That would certainly be a playground for the bizarre.
The odd spectacles held Lyra’s attention and also made her curious about the nature of the man she intended to convince to train her. The stone figures certainly served as road signs, indicating they approached his retreat. But with cimafa as guards, he didn’t have any real need to hide.
Gea made another turn, and at the end of that chasm stood Tarom’s retreat. An imposing Gothic castle fa├žade sat against a promontory, hundreds of feet above the level they flew. Designed from the local gray granite, it stood apart from the surrounding gloom with its ornate form. Pointed arches made the building seem even taller and more foreboding. Slender towers surmounted lower ones, achieving dizzying heights. A skeleton of flying buttresses flanked the walls. Wide arched windows were festooned with networks of tracery, while leaded glass rose panes decorated the gables. As they drew closer, Lyra saw intimidating gargoyles adorned the junctions of roof planes, serving as waterspouts.
The sound of laughter, like from a group of happy children, echoed off the walls of the ravine. Lyra snapped her head back and forth, looking for the sources, but only saw immobile granite figures. After hearing more laughter from a deeper, male voice, she fixed her eyes on the walls. At this close distance, many more statues populated the outer grounds of the castle, some made distinct on pedestals, while others stood hidden in inventive ways among outcroppings.
Finally, she discovered a source of noise. One goddess let out a peel of warbling giggles as she elbowed the shoulder of a half goat, half man beast. Her neighbor raised a hoof to point at Lyra and guffawed as though seeing some hilarious spectacle—not a warm welcome at all.
Gea slowed for the first time since taking flight.
A single cimafa patrolled the sky around the promontory.
The hairs on Lyra’s arms stood on end. No rider or ice drakes accompanied it, but that one could be more than enough trouble. She watched its slender black barbed tail slither up and down. Sleek and armored with spines, it didn’t have Gea’s thick musculature…didn’t need to when its defense was sucking souls away from ill-fated attackers.

Heritage Avenged: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Two

Lyra McCauley receives an alarming letter from the coroner who evaluated her deceased aunt, originally thought to have died of cancer. The news causes Lyra to take leave from her job and travel from sunny Tampa to the frozen island community in northern Michigan. Questioning whether Dragonspeir magic was responsible for her aunt’s death, she resolves to learn the truth and accepts the Imperial Dragon’s appointment into the Alliance sorcery training. 

Additionally, becoming proficient in magic craft is the only way she can bridge the gap between her mortal human world and her lover’s. Cullen, a 220-year-old wizard, is dependent upon his Dragonspeir magic for immortality. He is her only family now; she cannot lose him.

Evil forces block her and try to steal her inherited scribal aura. Riding a stealth dragon, a cloaked rider pursues Lyra. Both the Alliance and Dark Realm alchemists lay tricks and traps. Her aura equals that of the first and most powerful Scribe, but will Lyra’s novice training allow her to discover the truth…and find a life with Cullen? Or will the Dark Realm keep them apart?

About the series~

The Enchanted Bookstore Legends are about Lyra McCauley, a woman destined to become one of five strong women in her family who possess unique magical abilities and serve as Scribes in Dragonspeir. The Scribes span a long history, dating from 1200 to present day. Each Scribe is expected to journey through Dragonspeir, both the good and evil factions, then draft a written account. Each book contains magic with vast implications. 

Lyra was first introduced to Dragonspeir as a young girl, when she met the high sorcerer, Cullen Drake, through a gift of one of those enchanted books. Using its magic, he escorted her into the parallel world of Dragonspeir. Years later, she lost that volume and forgot the world and Cullen. These legends begin where he finds her again—she is thirty-five, standing in his enchanted bookstore, and Dragonspeir needs her.  

When Lyra reopens that enchanted book, she confronts a series of quests where she is expected to save the good Alliance from destruction by the evil Black Dragon. While learning about her role, Lyra and Cullen fall in love. He is 220 years old and kept alive by Dragonspeir magic. Cullen will die if Dragonspeir is taken over by the evil faction…Lyra becomes the Scribe.

I'm looking forward to seeing what sweets some of my fellow authors on this hop will serve. Be sure to check them out on the main blog page for Sweet Saturday Samples.
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Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. Read her ENCHANTED BOOKSTORE LEGENDS for adventurous epic fantasy romance: Book One, SEEKING A SCRIBE, and Book Two, HERITAGE AVENGED. She has also authored the Ciel's Legacy series, with fast action mermaid/pirate storylines: TEARS ON A TRANQUIL LAKE and TORTUGA TREASURE.  For a FREE ebook download, read her historic fantasy, LE CIRQUE DE MAGIE, available at Amazon and Smashwords.


Lindsay said...

This drew me right in with the vivid description

Sandra Nachlinger said...

Beautiful description of the world you've created. That cimafa sounds like a nasty creature.

J. Gunnar Grey said...

Aaaaand another series goes on the TBR pile. #SweetSat writers are dangerous to my budget and schedule!


Marsha A. Moore said...

Sandy, Gunnar, and Lindsay, thanks for your comments. This is one of my favorite settings in the novel--definitely a creepy and unique place!

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