Are you into the Rys Rising series? You can get New Religion the third book in this fantasy series for only $0.99 this week at Google Play Books. You'll save 80 percent off the regular $4.95 price. The sale price is active worldwide through Sunday January 18th.
This is the part of the series when the rys Onja and her partner Dacian really begin to remake their world. They conquer one civilization and take it against the civilization ruled by their magical creators the tabre. I tell the story from several points of view. You'll get to partake of an epic clash from all sides.
I open the novel by introducing a new character. He's a teenager named Khage. He's abducted from his village to serve as a warrior in the Onja's holy war. His scenes illustrate the conflict from the point of view of a common person who must survive within horrible circumstances.
Here's an excerpt from Chapter 1. Children of Onja
Khage and his fellow prisoners were hauled to their feet by their handlers and lined up with the group of boys from the village. The boys shivered and whimpered. The strong scent of fear was in their sweat. Tears sparkled on their dark cheeks, and terror flashed from their eyes as each adolescent truly recognized his mortality for the first time.
The boys looked at each other. A few older ones, in spite of their shock, extended comforting words to the younger boys. The prisoners heard the approach of many riders, and Khage looked over his shoulder. From the gates of Lord Opersan’s stronghold issued another two dozen darkly clad outlaws bristling with weapons. Villagers scattered from their path. Khage wondered why none of Opersan’s warriors were present. No one seemed to have even attempted to defend Poto Nor, and a wounding bitterness mauled Khage’s sense of justice. He and his family had given all their labor and loyalty their whole lives to their lord, who now left them at the mercy of outlaws. With his sharp eyes, Khage spotted local warriors watching but doing nothing from the walls of Opersan’s stronghold.
A choking sob ached in Khage’s throat as he realized the brutal realities of his unvalued existence. He was quickly losing the will to fight outright sobbing, but then a startling vision knocked his mind loose from all the horrors. He ceased to feel the noose on his neck or worry about his life.
A woman whose hair looked like fire galloped ahead of the approaching riders. One of her strong shapely arms wound with copper bands and golden bracelets held up a white banner depicting in blue a female between two lightning bolts. The woman stopped in front of the captive boys. Her bay colored horse that matched the red shine of her hair reared, but she stayed in the saddle with ease, as if she were an animal far wilder than her domesticated steed. Khage’s eyes grew dry as he stared unblinking at her marvelous body. She wore a vest of bronze links studded with aquamarines. Only a short skirt trimmed with gray fur covered her hips and left exposed her legs that bulged with smooth superb muscles. Tattoos were bold upon her pale thighs, and Khage imagined how her whole body must be made of that creamy flesh.
Power was written across her face. Khage had rarely seen the uncovered face of a grown woman, except his mother, and never had he seen such raw confidence. This woman terrified him but also caused him an unfamiliar exhilaration. It heated his face and burned through his body down to his loins.
No woman can be like this. She must be the new Goddess, he reasoned.
The woman steadied her spirited mount that still pawed the ground and swished its long silky black tail. She looked over the bound boys, piercing each one with her startling blue eyes. The sobbing and whimpering abated a little as her extraordinary presence distracted the boys from their terror.
The outlaws held back the crowd of villagers. Many people exclaimed at the sight of the red-haired woman, whose shocking lack of a tepa, foreign traits, and audacious attitude cracked the foundations of their reality.
When the woman spoke, her voice was strong and accustomed to addressing crowds. On top of the trauma already inflicted, the boys were astounded to see a woman address a crowd. Khage had never thought it was possible. Women spoke in soft tones and mostly to each other. Loud outbursts were only excusable in extreme events, like the death of a family member.
“I am Loxane,” she said. “High Priestess of Onja. Behold the banner of your Goddess.” She held the white and blue flag forward.
Khage had trouble understanding her words. Her accent was strange, and he was used to his village’s dialect.
“You serve Onja now. Great will be your glory,” Loxane said.
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