the elders of his people that their treatment of Air Elementals is
wrong. His homecoming is met with hostility but not for the reason he
expects. It is far worse.
the one he endured, Zhao must rescue his sister. Even if she doesn’t
wish it. Quickly caught once again in events greater than he can
handle alone, Zhao struggles to prevent a personal conflict from
erupting into a larger battle. But friends are distant, and more than
a few are wrestling with new problems of their own.
“We are looking for three of our people,” Phet said from the back of his horse. “They travel with an infant and one whose heritage is unknown to us.”
“They are here and asked for refuge,” Teyak said without elaboration. He’d been selected to speak for the Nifail, but the youngest chief of the steppes did not stand alone. Three imposing warrior chieftains stood at his back. Zhao, Ria, and Laireag watched as well, using the safety invisibility offered. Safety made all the more secure without Kattan accompanying Phet to potentially sense the use of Air Elemental power.
“It was by my request that you sought them,” Phet argued.
“Yes, we sought them. We never agreed to give them to you,” Teyak said.
Phet shook with anger, unable to answer. “That isn’t the agreement made,” another man answered. “We offered coin for their return. They have escaped just punishment.”
“They told us of this ‘punishment,'” Teyak replied. “We, the Nifail, do not think it is so just. Punishing a mother and father for having an Elemental child is not justifiable.”
“I am surprised to hear that, considering the Nifail do not hold those born with gifts in high esteem,” Phet said.
“That is none of your concern,” Teyak retorted.
“And how we treat our gifted people is not yours,” Phet challenged.
A hiss ran through the Nifail watching the exchange. Teyak glanced at those behind him, returning his gaze to Phet with a half smile. “We disagree. When you hunt your people onto our land and they seek protection with us from you, I would say it has become our concern.”
Teyak’s statement was met with grunts of agreement from the Nifail. The horses of the Tiak danced under the tension of their riders.
“We will go, but we will return tomorrow. Hopefully, you will rethink what you have said this day,” Phet said.
“Go. It would be best if you do not return,” Teyak said with his hand on his knives.
The small group of Tiak turned and galloped through the high grass while the other chieftains clapped Teyak on his back.
“Oh Zhao, what have you started?” Ria asked, releasing his hand.
Zhao let the illusion of invisibility go as he shook his head, too distressed to answer.
“I wonder where they are going?” Laireag asked, gaze remaining on where the Tiak had disappeared.
“It might be best to wonder how many there are. It would, at least, give us an idea of how the fight will go,” Zhao answered glumly.
“That is an even better reason to go. I’ll be back,” Laireag said with a grin. Laireag’s form flowed upward as he transformed into a raven. The black bird winged into the sky, chasing after the riders. Ria’s gaze followed him.
“I was hoping you’d be better, you’d both be better by now. It’s been six months,” Ria said, green eyes sincere. She turned and walked toward the crevasse hidden deep within the encampment of Nifail along its rim.
“I didn’t mean for this! Are you over the war and what happened?” Zhao asked.
Ria paused, turned to speak, and then kept walking. Zhao followed, torn between apologizing and curiosity at what Ria almost said. Finally, she sighed.
“I didn’t see the fighting the way you did. I was on a boat with Ci’erra looking for the Sphere of Fire. I didn’t watch anyone die, not a Priest and not Beite. I only came back in time for the funerals. So yes, Zhao, I suppose I am doing better than you and Laireag, or Darag. I’ve been busy trying to keep the Orders from separating and from the former Priests and Priestesses distrusting Spirit Elementals and the Kith. I built a home too. But I didn’t do anything to help my friends,” Ria said in a rush that left her eyes shimmering with tears.
Zhao pulled her into a hug. “You came now.”
“After you are already in trouble!” Ria said with a bit of a laugh.
the spirit realm and their ancient guardians. But some of the
guardians have left their duties and those that have stayed may prove
as dangerous as her enemy, whose wrath threatens the world. To end an
ancient punishment inflicted on them by the Goddess for their role in
a forgotten war, the Ashanti will conquer this world and that of
spirit to gain power over death.
well as the old, and the last time he saw Lavinia, he tried to kill
her before she stole his power. And he’s been seeking revenge
Friendships are tested as what is sacrificed is more than some are
willing to give. Welcome back to the world of Myrrah and meet the
Elementals of Fire, Earth, Water, Air, and Spirit who shape it. Pick
up book 2 of the Games of Fire trilogy, the Gates of Fire & Earth,
“You said the gate is below the surface?” Lavinia asked Ci’erra.
Ci’erra clasped the Sphere of Fire that she wore on a chain around her neck and nodded. “Deep, maybe fifty yards or so.”
“Where do you think the guardian is?” Rameth asked. Another large bubble erupted near him. He jumped sideways as lava peppered the rocks in scorching globs.
“I don’t sense anything made of fire,” Ci’erra said. “So much for fire sylphs dancing.”
“Niri cannot sense Isha,” Darag said.
Ci’erra cast a glance his way but said nothing when she saw the serious expression he wore. She frowned. “Maybe—”
“Why haven’t you died?”
Lavinia jumped at the sudden voice, loud enough to cast echoes over the hissing fumes and spitting lava pool. But the caldera remained silent in its blaze of heat.
“Fyfthal,” Ci’erra whispered.
“All others who approach my domain die to offer their flesh to me.”
The lava pool bubbled faster, flinging bits of melted stone airward. Lavinia stepped sideways, moving to higher ground. There the air was less noxious even though she moved beyond Zhao’s funnel. From the center of the pool, a black rock bobbed to the surface. Another rocky island appeared, then three more. As a dozen small spikes emerged from the red ooze, Lavinia realized what rose in the volcano. They were horns ridging a massive dragon’s head.
Lava as bright as the flaming orb of a setting sun slid down black scales edged in fire as Fyfthal’s head rose above the boiling surface. His eyes were the color of magma, too bright to stare into. Next to her, Darag swore under his breath at Fyfthal’s size. If Isha was immense, Fyfthal was a mountain next to her.
Zhao, Rameth, and Ci’erra scrambled to join Lavinia on the higher rise of the ridge, though it offered little protection from the monster that approached with blazing eyes and black scales outlined in the glowing red of flames. Their remaining weapons not lost in the fire clanging on rock, Lavinia felt the weight of her sword at her belt and looked at the rising monster before her. At least it didn’t matter the spears had burned. They would have been useless against the fiery creature before them.
“He’s Mhyrah’s chosen,” Zhao whispered in rapid words that were barely audible. “Just like Isha.”
“Why do you not offer yourself to me?”
Rameth looked at Ci’erra and Lavinia with panic in his wide eyes. Zhao kept mumbling to himself, repeating the same phrase, and Ci’erra seemed entranced. Darag kept calm but looked nervous. That scared her the most. Lavinia took a deep breath.
“Isha and Yminnyla sent us,” Lavinia yelled. Zhao jumped a foot.
At the sound of her voice, Fyfthal halted. He cocked his head with its starburst ring of horns. “You speak? What rarities you are. From where in my realm have you come?”
“Zhao, connect with the air,” Darag whispered to the young Air Elemental next to him. “Feel the sky. Center yourself.”
Lavinia’s mouth dried as Darag calmed the only other elemental with them who could transform, who could become a dragon. This was not supposed to be a fight.
“Mhyrah, the Goddess, tasked you with guarding this gate,” Lavinia said.
Fyfthal’s curiosity changed to anger. “I am the only god here!”
Waves of lava crashed against the black shore. Sparks and flaming spray lit the darkness. Darag pushed it away. Fyfthal growled, the sound a rising hiss like a building inferno. He lowered his snout and snorted air as hot as the desert at Darag.
Lavinia’s heart beat double as the creature slid closer. “Ci’erra,” she whispered. “Minna said Fythfal would like you.” Lavinia begged the Fire Elemental to risk her life.
Ci’erra, eyes so wide Lavinia could see their bright blueness in the dim light, scrambled higher up the rim to a large rock. She held out a hand. Fire erupted from her palm. Fyfthal stopped. The motion of the lava ceased as well. Stillness settled like heavy gas across the caldera. The air baked with heat.
The word hissed in Lavinia’s mind with energy so bright it left her sun-blind.
“Zhao.” Darag spoke the one word with a snap.
“Only I control fire!”
Fyfthal snapped forward, spraying lava as he lunged for Ci’erra. Ci’erra held her ground, the fire in her hand arcing to spark and twirl around where she stood with chin thrust high.
“No!” Lavinia yelled as Fyfthal hit the rim wall, spraying boulders and lava with the thundering impact.
The time has come to end their punishment or the world.
cursed by the Goddess Mhyrah with lifespans of less than a decade. To
regain normal lives for his people, Beh’kana, the Ashanti King,
will conquer death by gaining control of the source of all elemental
magic: the spirit realm. Even if he must burn the world to do so.
After all, he already killed his closest friend to gain the Ashanti
each to gain control of elemental power. But now that choice has
propelled her to being the key to stop the Ashanti. She controls the
gates that allow magic into the world. And she must close them or the
Ashanti will cross into the spirit realm and gain power beyond
imagination, enough to enslave or destroy the world they once sought
most desperate. To win needed help, Lavinia has promised a man who
once tried to kill her best friend that she would open the gates and
restore magic again.
enemy the world.
struggle for the power over life and death as well as all the
elements comes to a dramatic conclusion. Can a cruel ancient
punishment be ended without destroying magic or the world? Welcome
back to the world of Myrrah and meet the Elementals of Fire, Earth,
Water, Air, and Spirit who shape it. Pick up book 3 of the Games of
Fire trilogy, A New Goddess, today!
THE AIR GATE
Zhao moved at the same moment as Auyrwayn. His step toward Lavinia became flight as he transformed from man to sea tern to a dragon. Only a twentieth of Auyrwayn’s size, Zhao did not have the massive air dragon’s reach. But he did have maneuverability in the tight space between the cliff and sea stacks that peppered the surf. Zhao caught Lavinia in his talons as Auyrwayn’s wing knocked boulders from the cliff. Jumping upwards in a spray of sand, Zhao dodged a blast of icy wind by diving behind a rock pinnacle.
“Go to the Air Gate.”
Zhao directed his panicked thought to Khodan, packing as many images into the message as he could. Overlaying the promise to see Lavinia to the Spirit Gate and that Khodan was to take Niri and Ci’erra to the Air Gate, was a flash of how close Auyrwayn was to Zhao. There was no time to argue.
Zhao wove a slalom course through sea stacks and beneath arches too small to fit Auyrwayn’s massive wings. Spray lashed against his belly as he careened off a granite pillar, shuddering the rock tower as he used it to launch himself forward. Pulverized stone pelted him as Auyrwayn crushed it in a swipe to grab him.
“How close do you need to be to shut the gate?”
Lavinia clung to his neck where she’d managed to scramble as they attempted to outrace Auyrwayn. Power tingled across his scales as Lavinia called on the sphere again. For a moment, he felt the unbroken length of the sky as it curved from sight. And he felt Auyrwayn’s tempestuous presence far too close behind.
“Closer than this,” Lavinia replied. The tingle faded as did Zhao’s sense of Auyrwayn. “We need to get to at least the next island over and Zhao… you shouldn’t be in the air when I close the gate.”
The sickening flip to his stomach nearly crashed Zhao into the waves. His tail smacked the water as he tumbled. Auyrwayn raced by overhead in a gust of wind, unable to slow his flight so quickly. Zhao ducked talons that burned cold gouges into his scales. He leapt airward back the way he’d just come.
“I can fight him with the sphere the way Behk’sah fought Grakkethi.”
“No!” Zhao risked their lives, but the thought of killing or permanently injuring the Air Dragon panicked him more than the threat. But he couldn’t make it across the open expanse to the next island. At least not in the air. He flicked his wings and raced over the sand and surf to deeper water. “Hold your breath,” he warned Lavinia before transforming once more. As a sea serpent, he dove.
The world slowed. Zhao had never changed into something that swam before. Like a long ribbon, he wove his form deeper. The surface erupted behind him as claws racked the water’s surface. But Auyrwayn did not follow into an element he did not control. They had escaped, for now.
A bubble of air clung to his back as Lavinia used the sphere to create space so that she could breathe. Zhao knifed through the water, midway between surface and bottom of sand, coral reefs, waving sea fronds, and myriads of fish.
“Tell me where to go and I will get us under the gate.”
“I might not be able to close it from down here.” Lavinia whispered and thought. He felt the tug of the Air Gate to its sphere through her and swam faster. Overhead, the shimmering moonlight filtering through the water warped as something flew between him and the lesser moon.
“Auyrwayn follows us. Be ready to close the gate as soon as I leave the water.”
Because of her open thoughts, Zhao felt the tremor of fear that washed over Lavinia. “I can’t do it fast. I might close the gate too far.” Memories of the Fire Gate swept through Lavinia’s mind.
“Yes, you can.” Zhao arced around the island, avoiding the pull of the waves sweeping upward to crash against rocks. “Part of the sphere is in the Temple in the Clouds. You can’t close it too much. Like the Earth Gate, but better because the remainder is not close.” He remembered the glimpse he’d had of Behk’sah holding part of the Sphere of Earth, clutching the pieces in his fist as the gate closed.
“And it isn’t held by our enemy.” Lavinia’s thoughts held shaky amusement. She placed her palm against his scales. “Zhao, thank you.”
He knew she meant for staying. He swallowed fears he didn’t want her to feel. “Thank me when we are back in Solaire.”
the world of Myrrah- full of elemental magic and epic fantasy
adventure with the Rise of the Fifth Order trilogy!
on the same series though! She is the author of the epic fantasy,
adventure trilogy on elemental magic, the Rise of the Fifth Order.
Her newest series is Friends of my Enemy, a military dystopian/ dark
fantasy tale laced with romance. Friends of my Enemy was released in
full in 2015 and is quite the story full of strong characters, tight
plots, and lots of action. Meanwhile, she is working on a new epic
fantasy trilogy, Games of Fire, set in the same world as the Rise of
the Fifth Order. The first book was released in March of 2016.
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