"J. A. Ferguson has written a fantasy to delight fans of quests and romances alike. A truly entertaining read." -Catherine Asaro, Nebula and Hugo-nominated author of The Phoenix Code
Promo Quote 3: "This is one adventure you don't want to miss! There is magic and enchantment along with a heck of a lot of excitement . . ." -Suzanne Coleburn, Reader To Reader
Secrets of the past could destroy their future . . .
The shape of past dreams . . .
Hyndla Shenvirl has no past. Who is she? Why is she taller than anyone else she knows? Are there other beings like her? The chance to answer those questions comes when the Tiria seeks her help in finding allies to fight the Elasians. Hyndla's quest may lead her to the very truth she yearns for, but her journey is doomed if she cannot trust the mysterious man the Tiria asks to accompany her.
The shape of present dreams . . .
Runolf Tocho is haunted by fears that he is the last of his kind. He alone guards the secrets no one else must be privy to. His journey to learn if any of his people survive becomes entangled with Hyndla's quest. He cannot ignore this fascinating, courageous woman, but to fall in love with her might distract him from finding another creature like him.
The shape of dreams to come . . .
To serve the Tiria, Hyndla and Runolf must forge an alliance. Each one has a destiny to fulfil. Only little do they guess that desire will connect them in ways neither could have imagined . . .
Award-winning author J.A. Ferguson lives in Nevada with her husband, children, and a fat cat. She is not sure which is most spoiled.
|Product dimensions:||6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.46(d)|
Read an Excerpt
Hyndla Shenvirl held her breath. She had waited for this moment all day.
Slowly she raised the bow to sight an arrow on the four-legged beast rushing between the trees on a path that would bring the fleet runner within easy range. Hunting had become scarce on the side of this mountain as more weary people came to answer the call to help the Tiria force the Elasians out of Gayome. So many stomachs to fill. So few to hunt when every able-bodied warrior was needed to patrol the forest beyond the holder's house where the Tiria had her headquarters.
The war was going poorly.
Hyndla tried to ignore that thought, but the facts refused to be denied. The Elasians had invaded Gayome more than four seasons before. Winter had waned, come once more, then waned again, and still the Elasians prowled Gayome, their faces with the skeletal tattoos as frightening as a mad dreamsinger's song. The invaders had tried to find where the Tiria and her allies were hiding, but without success.
Yet the Tiria's allies were still too few to confront the Elasians in battle. The Elasians continued to hold the northern half of Gayome, including the northern woods and the section of the Ring Mountains surrounding the city of Teles.
If only the Elasians would return over the Ring Mountains to their own horrible realm...
Hyndla concentrated on the runner, waiting for it to come closer. The war would not be ended today. Today, they needed this meat as well as the hide which could be tanned to make shoes or trousers.
She drew back the arrow, holding her breath. The string twanged like a harp string as the arrow flew through the trees. The runner shrieked out its dyingbreath when the arrow struck it. It took two more steps, then fell into the fresh spring undergrowth.
Hyndla leaped to her feet and ran forward. Once gutted, the runner would be hung in the courtyard of the holder's estate where the Tiria and her allies lived. Then soon, it would be supper. Her mouth watered at the thought.
A screech rang through the trees.
She dropped into the brush, flat against the still cool ground. A forest cat! Its cry was unmistakable. Where was it? Many beasts roamed the forest, but only the most foolhardy would fail to respect the powerful claws and hunting skill of a forest cat.
A flash of golden-brown rippled through the trees. She cursed. The forest cat was headed right toward the downed runner! She jumped to her feet and pulled her knife. She had been hunting too long today to let that forest cat steal the runner she had shot.
She did not hesitate. She might be risking her life, but this was her kill! Let the forest cat find its own supper.
With a screech of her own, she propelled herself into the clearing where the runner lay in its own blood. Her raised knife was ready to cut into the forest cat. Let it learn that Hyndla Shenvirl did not give up what was hers.
Hyndla skidded to a halt and stared at a man who was squatting beside her prey.
"Did you see where it went?" she cried.
The man faced her, his face taut with fury, and his lips drawn back in a snarl. "Where what went?"
"The forest cat. Did you see where it went?"
When he pushed himself up from the ground, she stared. She had not guessed while he knelt that he was taller than she was. It was as if he were coming toward her from a distance at the same time as he stood. She blinked, sure her eyes were deceiving her. Since she had gained her full height just past her 16th summer, she had never seen anyone taller than she was. His ebony hair drifted down upon the shoulders of a tunic shiny from long wear. His deep-set green-gold eyes drew her gaze from the raw, sharp planes of his face. She never had seen a face quite like his, for it possessed a refined savagery that hinted at stronger emotions than those glowing in his eyes.
"I did not see a forest cat," he said.
"If you did, you probably would be dead." She frowned when she saw he carried no weapon other than the small blade in the belt of his light brown tunic. Maybe he had another hidden in his cross-gartered green leggings or beneath the shirt of the same shade that was visible at the tunic's deep neckline. She had learned through hard lessons not to believe that all was as it appeared.
He laughed, amazing her, for the deep sound seemed to soar on the spring wind. "I am woods-wise enough to know that."
"Then you should be woods-wise enough to know that you do not try to butcher another hunter's prey."
Hyndla pointed to the red splotch on his sleeve. "That is fresh blood."
"But not from your beast." He folded his arms in front of him so the bloody spot was directly before her eyes. "Check it, if you doubt me, woman. The only cut into the runner is from your arrow." He gave a snort. "The arrow that might have been in my heart if I had not leaped aside."
"I did not see you."
"I saw you."
"Then you should have seen that I was about to fire on the runner."
"I did not suspect you would let the arrow fly when I was within its range."
Hyndla unstrung her bow and settled it over her shoulder. She must not delay any longer gutting the runner. "The arrow did not strike you, so you can continue on your way."
"When there is a forest cat about?" His question was taunting. "Do you always consign strangers to travel in the path of such a predator?"
Hyndla knelt, drawing out her knife. "Jest if you wish, stranger, but you are not needed here. The meat of this runner already has mouths waiting for it."
"Enough so that no meat will be wasted." She cursed herself silently. By the first song, would she ever learn to hesitate before she gave voice to the thoughts in her head? No stranger should know how close he stood to the Tiria's small band of allies. This man might be an Elasian sympathizer here to spy on them, or worse. The only thing she could imagine worse would be an Elasian, but they could not challenge her height as this man did.
With quick, deep cuts of her knife, she split open the runner and removed the poisonous entrails, tossing them aside. If the forest cat returned, it could have a feast, for the innards would not sicken the beast. She lashed the runner's legs together with a rope she carried in her quiver for such a purpose. Resheathing her knife, she stood, hefting the runner onto her shoulders.
The stranger arched a dark brow. "How far do you plan to carry that beast like that?"
"To where I must."
"I would help in exchange for a share of the meat."
"That is not necessary." The weight of the runner was grinding down into her shoulders, but she refused to show any sign of weakness before this man. He might then try to steal her catch.
"Will you at least offer me some information?"
Hyndla fought knees that were threatening to buckle. "Giving away information now is not a wise thing."
"You speak as one who has suffered directly in the war."
"An easy guess when there must be few in Gayome who have not." She took a step toward the trees.