“Your brother,” he said, “just brought war to our doorstep.” He said it matter-of-factly, like he was announcing the weather. He had been expecting this.
Tiora swallowed. She understood; peace with the Dageians, at best, had been tumultuous. The kingdom had been expanding its borders for centuries and it was only out of fear of Gorent’s own shiar that it had honoured their trade agreements and kept clear of their waters so far. Or at least that was what they believed. Now, it was clear that Dageis had been acting the part of a lion playing with a mouse. To declare war without a single word when they were already at war against Gaspar…
“We could ask Hafod for help,” she said. “They’ll come. Baidh, too.”
“Baidh? What can they do? Set their sheep against the Dageians? As for Hafod, I’d give half of the kingdom to see the day Karthos raises an army for my sake, never mind in the time it takes for those ships to get to our shores. No, my love. I do not think the Dageians are here to talk. I will have to fight.”
Tiora bent over his seat. “Alone, Father? I can fight, too. Most of your men don’t know half as much about the agan as I do. I could burn the first ship that lands ashore.”
“I know,” Elian said. He looked at her with an odd expression.
“What is it, Father?”
“I should’ve sent you to the Plateau. Not him.”
“He’s your heir.”
Elian’s jaw tightened. “You’re my eldest. I should’ve consulted with the elders and changed the law. I could have. I wanted to. The day you were born was the happiest day of my life. But they advised me to stick with tradition, to enjoy raising my daughter and wait for a son.” He dropped his head. As she bent over to embrace it, her chin on his thick, black curls, he glanced up at her and murmured, “Could you ever forgive me for that?”
“There is nothing to forgive, Father,” she said. “Remember that we love Jaeth, too.”
“He should be here now, facing this with me.” Elian shook his head. “I need you to guide the civilians to hide in the islands. Disappear in the mountain villages. If the worst happens and we lose the headlands, I will meet you in Sen’senal.”
Tiora took a deep breath. “I don’t want to leave you, Father.”
“I can trust no one else with this task. One way or another, our people must survive this.”
“I know.” She sighed and bent down to kiss his forehead. “If Mother were here…”
“She would’ve brought Jaeth home, talked to Cerknar, negotiated a treaty, turned those ships around, and still have dinner ready before sundown.” He gave a crooked smile. “Make haste in your preparations. I want you all out of here before daybreak.”
Series Title: The Agartes Epilogues
Author: K.S. Villoso
Genre: Epic Fantasy
It has been years since his brother’s accident. Kefier was only just beginning to live a normal life–at least, as normal as it could get for a mercenary from a run-down town. And then an errand goes wrong and he finds himself holding his friend’s bloody corpse. Already once branded a murderer, he is pursued by men he once considered friends and stumbles into the midst of a war between two mages. One bears a name long forgotten in legend; the other is young, arrogant Ylir, who takes special interest in making sure Kefier is not killed by his associates. The apex of their rivalry: a terrible creature with one eye, cast from the womb of a witch, with powers so immense whoever possesses it holds the power to bring the continent to its knees.
Now begins a tale with roots reaching beyond the end of another. Here, a father swears vengeance for his slain children; there, a peasant girl struggles to feed her family. A wayward prince finds his way home and a continent is about to be torn asunder. And Kefier is only beginning to understand how it all began the moment he stood on that cliff and watched his brother fall…
Enosh, apprentice to one of the richest merchants in the Kag, is secretly heir to a broken line of mages. Because of The Empire of Dageis’ quest for sources of the agan–the life-source that mages use for power–his people have been reduced to scavengers, his culture diminished to a speck in the wind. For more than ten years, he has helped raise a conjured beast to use as a weapon against the Dageians. But Enosh’s plans are falling apart. A powerful enemy has escaped and Enosh needs to capture him before he reaches Dageis. His quest is further complicated after he finds himself used as a pawn by Gasparian nobles.
On the other end of the continent, Sume, daughter to a Jin-Sayeng hero, must return to her roots to save her country and bring honour to her father’s name. To do this, she must befriend a prince and understand the terrible, corrupting nature of power and the reason her father was driven to walk away from it all those years ago…
Meanwhile, Kefier, Enosh’s agan-blind brother, is forced back into a life of violence. As he struggles with the notion that hands, once bloodied, never stay clean for long, he finds himself occupied with an unexpected burden: his own brother’s daughter.
The battle at Shi-uin has left scars. The rise of Gorrhen yn Garr to power seems unstoppable. As nations fall, the lines between love and duty become blurred and Kefier, Sume, and Enosh must learn to live with the choices they have made.
K.S. Villoso was born in a dank hospital on an afternoon in Albay, Philippines, and things have generally been okay since then. After spending most of her childhood in a slum area in Taguig (where she dodged death-defying traffic, ate questionable food, and fell into open-pit sewers more often than one ought to), she and her family immigrated to Vancouver, Canada, where they spent the better part of two decades trying to chase the North American Dream. She is now living amidst the forest and mountains with her family, children, and dogs in Anmore, BC.