Fall of the Dawn

Old Dawn New Dusk: Fall of the Dawn

On-Sale date: June 12, 2018– Now Available Buy Your Copy Here

High Medieval Fantasy

Fall of the Dawn, book one of the Old Dawn New Dusk series, sets the stage for future events that will take place across the thirteen countries that make up the Primerian continent and encompass the world.

Many lower houses of the Ancient Families, fight for power. The Collective is forced to find a solution. Going against Tirdaoi law, the solution is to mix abilities and add a new seat by combining the four Ancient Houses into one. When Aurella’s older brother is killed by a fated arrow, Aurella is forced to unite with Julian to bring about a son from the Feeler and Mindtalker families to unite with a daughter of the Seer and Mover union.

Lorwic’s borders are under constant threat of attack by Lorhaven lords and Maneland raiders. Unsure of how to lead without the council Gabriel had as a child emperor, he continues to seek their advice. Gabriel must find a way to keep his people safe, while also secure his twin son’s futures from his second wife’s ambitions to disinherit them.

Olslain is in a state of peace and prosperity. Certain his mother will choose his sister as her heir, Henry believes the journey he is sent on across Primeria is to help him in the role of Grand Advisor. Queen Katerine believes that a war is coming. A war the world has yet to see. A war, men are not equipped to win. With a journey cut short, a foreign bride, and an unexpected declaration by Katerine, Henry’s life swirls into uncertainty.

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Book 1 Excerpt

Aurella

The rider entered through the front gate at full speed, the red flag waving violently as his horse galloped toward the doors that would lead him to the master of this land. Aurella’s focus was on that red flag. Something terrible has happened.

She rushed down the wooden staircase that led from the women’s apartments down to the main floor to her father’s great hall. It is where he would go to receive such a message. The stairs creaked beneath her rapid steps, almost knocking down the maid carrying the clean bedding. There was no time for apologies.

She reached the hall by the back door behind the dais. Her father and mother, already waiting in the center of the room. She noticed the guards, six of them, lined up on each side of the hall. She didn’t understand their purpose.

The heavy oak doors were flung open and the rider panting for breath as he finished his journey outstretched his hand. The rolled parchment was sealed with wax but no seal had been pressed into it. A red ribbon was tied and knotted three times around it.

Her thoughts now turned to that of her brother, Caderyn II. The only member of this household not present. Time seemed to stop. Her father, hesitating. To read the letter would be to learn the truth, taking away any hope he now had.

His reluctance was broken by Mary’s entrance. She had been in the garden with her daughter, Alysa.

“What is it? What has happened?” Tears were already streaming down her face as she ran toward Aurella.

Aurella grabbed her hand and squeezed it tight. “We don’t know yet, the message as only just arrived.” She tried to remain calm, for Mary. For she would have to remain strong for Alysa if the content of this message had to do with the fate of her husband, Aurella’s brother.

Sera, Aurella’s mother, stood next to her husband, searching his face for clues as he unrolled the message and began to read the contents. Aurella wasn’t sure what she had seen, for Sera lost herself and sat down right where she stood, servants rushing to her aid even as she shooed them away.

The message dropped from Caderyn’s hands. He too, dropped to sit next to his wife, burying his face in his hands.

Mary took a step forward, pulling Aurella with her, tears still streaming down her face. Aurella picked up the letter. It didn’t make any sense. There wasn’t supposed to be any danger.

Every year a meeting took place between the Shadow Keepers to inform the Collective of the status of Mallum or the Shadow Lands. The Keepers were a peaceful people. Details were vague. The Keepers were running any inquiry into the situation, but all that was known was that an arrow pierced Caderyn’s neck, attempts to save him were unsuccessful.

Of the five children to survive birth, Aurella and her oldest sister Constance were all that remained now that Caderyn had died. A third child, Ameline, had died as a small child, and the youngest of the children, Clare, had gone missing on her way to visit Constance in Abingalon three years ago. There has never been any trace of what happened to Clare, but most believe she is no longer living. All but Aurella and their father.

It had taken three days for her brother’s body to be brought back home, and another two for the household physician to prepare his body for display.

Aurella hated funerals. She could still feel energy coming from the body no longer living. Dead energy and living energy are not the same. Dead energy is cold, sinister even, it pulls at you and tries to wrap itself around you to take you to whatever depths the dead go. She wondered if it was what was left after the emotion leaves. The dead don’t feel.

The past five days had been extremely difficult for Aurella. Mary, her brother’s widow, had taken the news terribly. She had hardly left her bed. Aurella’s parents left the task to her to get Mary up and prepared for Caderyn’s funeral.

Their home was different than most of the ancients’ homes. Her father had built it out of wood set on a stone foundation, preferring not to live within the stone manor house his father had left him. Houses made of stone walls were always cold and dark. The wooden walls allowed the builders to create larger windows for the sunlight to shine in. It also meant summers were very hot inside.

The bedchambers for the members of the house were all on the second floor of the house. Mary’s room, was only a couple doors down from Aurella’s, yet she managed to make it take a few minutes to arrive.

She tapped on Mary’s door. No response. She hesitated a few moments longer, knowing the moment she entered the room she would be overwhelmed by Mary’s emotions. So far, she had managed to hold herself together, she wasn’t sure she could continue to do so once she exposed herself to her closest friend’s feelings.

She found Mary, not laying in bed as she had been told she would be found, but standing at her window. Even from the doorway, Aurella could feel the humidity in the air. Mary, her hands placed on the window ledge, her body slightly tipped toward the opening, seemed to be trying to mentally escape.

Aurella tapped on Mary’s open door, in an attempt to let Mary know she wasn’t alone. Mary shifted her body back, but remained facing the outside, facing freedom from the day’s events to come.

“Mary, I have no words to help you, but…” Aurella started.

Mary turned to her face her oldest friend, resting her backside on the window ledge. Aurella noticed she was already in her funeral gown. It was a plain white linen gown that puddled slightly on the floor. A silver chain belt had been hooked around her waist, a union gift from Caderyn. She wore no other decorations.

“Come.” Mary spoke softly to her friend, motioning for Aurella to join her at the window.

Aurella took caution as she walked across the room, with each step expecting to be overwhelmed with anger, sadness, and grief. The emotions never came. A calm acceptance took their place, but disturbing all the same.

“Mother and father have sent me.” Aurella said. “The display will be beginning shortly.” She stood a foot away, and Mary embraced her.

“I owe you my appoliogies. You lost your brother, and I have locked myself in my room. I’m a horrible friend.”

“You owe me nothing. You lost your husband, you have every right to lock yourself up.”

Aurella was relieved to find her friend in better spirits but she was also very concerned.

“How is Alysa? She was so close to her father.”

Mary turned to look back out onto the hills with their waist high grasses and flowers in full bloom. “She is well enough, I don’t believe she truly understands what is happening. She hasn’t seen him since his body was returned. To her he is still just away.”

Alyssa was only two years old. She knew her niece wouldn’t really understand death just yet. She was more concerned that the child would be upset by her mother’s behavior.

Aurella walked away from the window and sat down on one of the two chairs at Mary’s breakfast table.

“How are you doing? Truly?” she asked.

Mary sighed. “It took me a few days, but I will be fine. I’m not sure about Alysa’s fate and that has me concerned.”

“What do you mean?”

Mary’s face showed its first real signs of life at the question, she joined Aurella at the table. “Cade had confided in me that your father was to name him his heir to his Collective seat. If the other united family ever produced a son, that meant Alysa could become the mother of the heir that would become the united ancient family seat. As of now they have seven daughters, our other hope was to have a son, to ensure that we had a child to offer for that union if they never produce a son.”

“I don’t understand the problem. If they produce a son, Alysa can still unite with him.”

“I doubt the Collective will approve. Who will hold her seat until she is of age if something were to befall your father or prevent him from being active?”

She would never understand the appeal to join the Collective. But she did know her brother had always aspired to be a seat member, and she also knew Mary couldn’t hold the seat for Alysa. Mary was born a Mindtalker. She was not a Feeler. Mary’s father Wyman already held the Mindtalker seat, and her brother, Julian would succeed him as his heir.

“I don’t understand how this plan of theirs is supposed to work. If the Feeler and Mover seats are to be filled by a heir that is of two ancient houses, wouldn’t the Feeler and Mover seats be no longer their own?”

Mary shook her head. “No, once the final seat is created by the heir to all four houses, the Feeler and Mover seats will revert back to another adult heir who is of pure blood.”

Aurella was glad Constance had already had children, and hoped her father’s seat would go to one of them and not to her or any of her children. She had no advice or words to help sooth Mary’s worries at the moment.

Aurella stood, “We should probably go get Alysa and head down to the hall.”

Of the five children to survive birth, Aurella and her oldest sister Constance were all that remained now that Caderyn had died. A third child, Ameline, had died as a small child, and the youngest of the children, Clare, had gone missing on her way to visit Constance in Abingalon three years ago. There has never been any trace of what happened to Clare, but most believe she is no longer living. All but Aurella and their father.

It had taken three days for her brother’s body to be brought back home, and another two for the household physician to prepare his body for display.

Aurella hated funerals. She could still feel energy coming from the body no longer living. Dead energy and living energy are not the same. Dead energy is cold, sinister even, it pulls at you and tries to wrap itself around you to take you to whatever depths the dead go. She wondered if it was what was left after the emotion leaves. The dead don’t feel.

The past five days had been extremely difficult for Aurella. Mary, her brother’s widow, had taken the news terribly. She had hardly left her bed. Aurella’s parents left the task to her to get Mary up and prepared for Caderyn’s funeral.

Their home was different than most of the ancients’ homes. Her father had built it out of wood set on a stone foundation, preferring not to live within the stone manor house his father had left him. Houses made of stone walls were always cold and dark. The wooden walls allowed the builders to create larger windows for the sunlight to shine in. It also meant summers were very hot inside.

The bedchambers for the members of the house were all on the second floor of the house. Mary’s room, was only a couple doors down from Aurella’s, yet she managed to make it take a few minutes to arrive.

She tapped on Mary’s door. No response. She hesitated a few moments longer, knowing the moment she entered the room she would be overwhelmed by Mary’s emotions. So far, she had managed to hold herself together, she wasn’t sure she could continue to do so once she exposed herself to her closest friend’s feelings.

She found Mary, not laying in bed as she had been told she would be found, but standing at her window. Even from the doorway, Aurella could feel the humidity in the air. Mary, her hands placed on the window ledge, her body slightly tipped toward the opening, seemed to be trying to mentally escape.

Aurella tapped on Mary’s open door, in an attempt to let Mary know she wasn’t alone. Mary shifted her body back, but remained facing the outside, facing freedom from the day’s events to come.

“Mary, I have no words to help you, but…” Aurella started.

Mary turned to her face her oldest friend, resting her backside on the window ledge. Aurella noticed she was already in her funeral gown. It was a plain white linen gown that puddled slightly on the floor. A silver chain belt had been hooked around her waist, a union gift from Caderyn. She wore no other decorations.

“Come.” Mary spoke softly to her friend, motioning for Aurella to join her at the window.

Aurella took caution as she walked across the room, with each step expecting to be overwhelmed with anger, sadness, and grief. The emotions never came. A calm acceptance took their place, but disturbing all the same.

“Mother and father have sent me.” Aurella said. “The display will be beginning shortly.” She stood a foot away, and Mary embraced her.

“I owe you my appoliogies. You lost your brother, and I have locked myself in my room. I’m a horrible friend.”

“You owe me nothing. You lost your husband, you have every right to lock yourself up.”

Aurella was relieved to find her friend in better spirits but she was also very concerned.

“How is Alysa? She was so close to her father.”

Mary turned to look back out onto the hills with their waist high grasses and flowers in full bloom. “She is well enough, I don’t believe she truly understands what is happening. She hasn’t seen him since his body was returned. To her he is still just away.”

Alyssa was only two years old. She knew her niece wouldn’t really understand death just yet. She was more concerned that the child would be upset by her mother’s behavior.

Aurella walked away from the window and sat down on one of the two chairs at Mary’s breakfast table.

“How are you doing? Truly?” she asked.

Mary sighed. “It took me a few days, but I will be fine. I’m not sure about Alysa’s fate and that has me concerned.”

“What do you mean?”

Mary’s face showed its first real signs of life at the question, she joined Aurella at the table. “Cade had confided in me that your father was to name him his heir to his Collective seat. If the other united family ever produced a son, that meant Alysa could become the mother of the heir that would become the united ancient family seat. As of now they have seven daughters, our other hope was to have a son, to ensure that we had a child to offer for that union if they never produce a son.”

“I don’t understand the problem. If they produce a son, Alysa can still unite with him.”

“I doubt the Collective will approve. Who will hold her seat until she is of age if something were to befall your father or prevent him from being active?”

She would never understand the appeal to join the Collective. But she did know her brother had always aspired to be a seat member, and she also knew Mary couldn’t hold the seat for Alysa. Mary was born a Mindtalker. She was not a Feeler. Mary’s father Wyman already held the Mindtalker seat, and her brother, Julian would succeed him as his heir.

“I don’t understand how this plan of theirs is supposed to work. If the Feeler and Mover seats are to be filled by a heir that is of two ancient houses, wouldn’t the Feeler and Mover seats be no longer their own?”

Mary shook her head. “No, once the final seat is created by the heir to all four houses, the Feeler and Mover seats will revert back to another adult heir who is of pure blood.”

Aurella was glad Constance had already had children, and hoped her father’s seat would go to one of them and not to her or any of her children. She had no advice or words to help sooth Mary’s worries at the moment.

Aurella stood, “We should probably go get Alysa and head down to the hall.”

The Collective took a full week after the funeral before calling a meeting. The morning the request was received, another message had arrived from the border of the Shadow Lands. The moment Aurella heard, she forced her way into her father’s council room.

“What does it say? Do they know who killed him?” She shouted to her father, as a guard tried to push her back out into the corridor without actually touching her.

Caderyn shook his head and half grinned at his daughter. “Let her be Albert, she won’t be going away anytime soon, not even if you carried her away.”

Aurella half jogged to her father’s oversized meeting table that took up most of the small room. He stood on the other side.

“I haven’t actually read the message yet.” He said. “Part of me never wants to.”

Aurella relaxed her body, pulled a chair from the table and sat down. She reached her hand out to her father, “let me then.”

Caderyn stared at his daughter, gripping the rolled message tighter to his chest before hastily extending it out to her.

“Sit.” She commanded him.

Aurella read the message to herself. Again, nothing made any sense, it was the Shadow Keeper’s report of what had taken place and the results of their inquiry. She read the message for a second time, flipping the parchment over hoping for more, to no avail. She set the message down and looked up at her father.

“They know nothing.” She said. She began walking around the room, with no destination in mind. “Cade had only just arrived to the second meeting. He still sat on his horse, and a fated arrow was shot from within the Shadow Lands.”

Caderyn sat a still as a statue, processing the information, Aurella felt his confusion, it matched her own. “Fated arrow.” He whispered to himself.

“The arrow is one from their lands. But why? It also says that by the time we receive the message they would have returned to the Shadow Lands. They do not know who shot the arrow, or why, but they consider the issue resolved.”

“I am to bring their response to the Collective meeting, and this is all I have to bring as a resolution? No penalty for the man, who murdered my son!” he began to shout.

Aurella maneuvered her way around the large table and took her fathers arms, “Fated arrows are not shot by men. What would you have the Keepers do? Seek out every fatemaker within the Shadow Lands and do what to it if they were able to determine it was responsible?”

Caderyn gaffed and finally sighed as his anger was once again replaced with confusion.

“The question we need to be asking now is who benefits from Cade’s death. Fatemakers rarely act on their own. Who had the ability to summon one and for what purpose.”

“No one benefits.” Caderyn insisted. “The only one whose life will change great enough from this is yours.”

Aurella froze. “How so?”

Caderyn again sighed, and retook his seat gesturing for his daughter to do the same.

“Cade and Mary’s union was never the preferred union suggested by the Collective. Only because Cade had wanted it and because I fought against the other option, did their union become.”

Aurella didn’t speak, only tapped her finger tips on the table, waiting.

“The Movers and the Seers have their union, and seven offspring, all girls. It is necessary for the Mindtalkers and the Feelers to have a male offspring from their union. As you well know, Alysa is not a son.”

“I am still not seeing your point. The Movers and Seers are still having children at a rate of one per year.”

“Yes, but the wife is getting older, she was already older than her husband. What are the odds that after seven daughters a son will be born, and be born strong and healthy?” He asked her.

“Good I would think. She is not that old yet, and still well within her childbearing years.” She replied, still tapping her fingertips.

A cloud had overtaken the sun, casting ominous shadows within the room. Aurella felt the full weight of doom coming down on her. She knew the union would be between the Mindtalkers and the Feelers. Constance had married a merchant of no ancient lineage. Clare was gone. And that left her. She was not even sure she ever wanted to unite with anyone. She was perfectly content being alone and helping her father run the household.

Mary had two brothers. Giles was a good five years younger than them, leaving Julian, Mary’s older brother by two years. They both despised him.

“And you believe this meeting the Collective has called has less to do with finding Cade’s killer and more to do with planning the next union? My union?”

Caderyn nodded in agreement. “It is for a good purpose. The people of Tirdaoi are suffering more and more from all the fighting nonsense going on. There has to be some way to stop the families from continuing these petty fights.”

“And how exactly is going against our laws and creating mixed offspring on purpose supposed to stop all this nonsense and make life better for the people?” Aurella slammed her fist down on the table.

“The Collective believes if we have members who are of more than one family, that their ties and connections to each would help with resolutions, and it isn’t easy to vote on matters with an even number of members. That extra vote alone would solve many issues before they have the chance to escalate.”

“I still do not see how one seat can create a better life for, the people.” She said

Caderyn put his face in his hands, Aurella could feel his frustration. “There is a power struggle going on between the four families. It was getting worse every year, until we agreed on this arrangement. You were still quite young when we agreed to do this.”

“Why did you allow Constance to choose her own husband then?”

“She is far too old to unite with Julian or Giles.” He said shaking his head. “I believe that is why Clare disappeared, she feared being forced into a union with Giles.”

“Giles is not the problem. Julian is! You know Mary insists he had Viola poisoned after she didn’t become with child within three years of their union.” She stood and pounded her hands onto the table, her face turning red. She never spoke to her father like this. She never spoke to anyone like this. “You wish that fate on me? You want to hold yet another funeral for yet another child before their time?” she shouted pointing toward the cemetery. “You think creating an offspring that has the abilities of all four ancient families that life will truly be better for the common people? All you are doing is creating a king. The one thing our government despises.”

Aurella tried to calm herself down. She knew it wasn’t her father who was behind all of this nonsense. He was only one vote, there was nothing she could do to change the other three. She sat back down. “And what happens to the rest of the mixed offspring? The ones that aren’t chosen to fill a seat?”

Caderyn shrugged his shoulders. “Nothing, they get to live their lives like anyone else I guess.”

“You guess.” Aurella laughed. “Girls that present with more than one ability are either murdered or sent off to the priestesshood. The parents of mixed children are tortured and murdered for creating them, and you guess these children that aren’t chosen to join the Collective are going to be able to live their lives normally?”

“I will vote against the proposal, but I am only trying to warn you of what is to come. The rest of the Collective will vote for the union between you and Julian. If I refuse, we will lose our place. I will most likely be imprisoned, leaving you and your mother without a place to live and no way to get by. If Constance and Leon took you in, they will lose everything they have as well.” He hesitated. “What would you have me do?”

Aurealla stood and walked away, stopping and turning to her father only as she reached the door. “Nothing. I will have you do nothing.”

 

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