HE'S COMING FOR THEM. AND THE KINGDOM.
Haegan and Kaelyria Celahar are royal heirs of the Nine Kingdoms, but Haegan is physically crippled. What chance does he have against Poired Dyrth, the greatest enemy the kingdom has ever faced, who wields fire with a power none can match?
Their only hope is forbidden: Kaelyria must transfer her fire-harnessing abilities to Haegan. When she does it comes with a terrible price: Haegan's disability is healed, but only by being transferred to Kaelyria. This act unleashes their father-king's wrath.
Haegan must flee the kingdom alone with two impossible tasks: Find a cure for Kaelyria and stop the coming war with the omnipotent Poired Dyrth.
Book One in the "Abiassa's Fire" series.
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It was said the very soul of the land burned within her. The soul of the fire, of Abiassa. The thought drew Kaelyria Celahar's gaze to the Fiery Mount. She traced its spine in the distance. The charred slopes teemed with reddish-gold lava spilling down into the Lakes of Fire. So beautiful. Forbidding. Compelling.
"'Red, orange, gold, and blue; Reshaped the lands, people, too.'" Kaelyria's breath bloomed over the leaded glass as she recited the ancient rhyme. As the circle of fog shrank, she braced against the heaviness crowding her, sniffling out the joy she once felt at being the heir to the throne. The future ruler of a realm so powerful. "'Now to thrive on holy pyre, They unleash ... Abiassa's Fire.'"
Blackened earth shifted, forced aside by the burning elements that glowed bright against the night-darkened land. Just as she would push aside the darkness pursuing her and her people. Gone were the laughter and merriment that thrived in the days of her childhood. At nineteen, she was an adult, no longer the child who once danced around the Great Pit singing the evensongs with her friends. With Haegan.
Kaelyria lowered her gaze. Hand on her stomach, she drew in a breath as synergy, hot and thrumming, surged against her palm. Answering. Churning. The very essence of who she'd been since Haegan's incident now infused her with the abiatasso that guided her, enabled her to someday rule. But more importantly it existed to protect the people of Zaethien.
Even the midnight sky seemed to shrink, yielding darkness to the territories beneath its heavy cloak. Or maybe they were shrinking because of her intended course — if her connection with the land was as whole as she'd been taught, could it feel her turmoil? The irrevocable path she'd chosen?
Grief anew threatened to strangle her. She closed her eyes. If she did not do this, the fires could go out. The land could die. But if she did, she could die.
The soft voice pulled Kaelyria from her somber thoughts. She straightened, smoothed a hand down her silk-embroidered gown as much to brush away the weighty thoughts as to compose herself, and turned from the window. Across the black lacquered floor, torchlight scampered up the gilded walls and tapestries, casting an odd glow against her handmaiden's young face.
Pulling the silk wrap tightly around her shoulders, Kaelyria lifted her chin. "Is he here?"
Kiesa gave a reluctant nod, no doubt held captive by the fear that shone in her eyes. This was the end, even her maiden knew. "My lady-grace, are you sure you —"
"Bring him." Kaelyria dared not trust herself to hear anyone's concerns or complaints, especially the one who knew her heart better than most. The one who attended her minute by minute. The one who dressed her, laughed with her, and shared confidences.
Kiesa tucked her head and stepped back. Once she'd cleared the threshold, she gave a quick bow and vanished.
One last chance to change your mind. Would Haegan ever forgive her for this? Would Father? And Graem ... The thought cinched a tight cord around her stomach.
A large shape filled the doorway. Cilicien ka'Dur entered, followed by Kiesa. Hair smoothed back, facial hair trim and neat encircling his mouth, he brought with him a chill that defied the roaring fire in the hearth. Adorned in his Ignatieri overcloak and black breeches, he made an impressive figure as he bent before her. When he bowed, the firelight caught the gold threads and streamed down them, striking the rubies, orange sapphires, and — the most prized — citrines stitched into his mantle. Fiery prisms exploded from the gems and leapt around the room.
"Princess, it is an honor." His voice seemed oiled, slick. Though his gaze did not go to the fireworks cast by his bejeweled cloak, ka'Dur could not keep the pride from his eyes, from puffing his chest.
Kaelyria curled her hands into fists, her attention flicking to where Kiesa stood in the shadows, sensing the support of her handmaiden against this accelerant. His appearance had caught her off guard at their first meeting — he was not what she'd expected an accelerant to look like, especially not one of his caliber. Old, gnarled, she'd expected. This ... Even as it pleased her eye, something about his beauty sparked unease in her heart.
With an amused look, ka'Dur strolled her private quarters, considering the paintings, the sofas, the gold tables, and brocade tapestries. "Quite a change from our last place of meeting."
Kaelyria ignored him, steeling herself. "Are you prepared to do this?"
"Are you, my lady-grace?"
Kaelyria walked quickly to the armoire and retrieved the pouch from the lead box. She rubbed her fingers over the velvet. Gems poked through the fabric and rolled against her palm. Half her inheritance, and the gems the least of the price she would pay.
Any price is worth protecting Abiassa's Fire.
And Haegan. He'd have a life of splendor and adventure, just as he'd always wanted. Deserved. Not a life of stone walls, drafty rooms, with a crippled body and a crotchety old guardian. For him, if not for the entire kingdom.
She spun around. Arm extended, she held out the pouch. "Your price, accelerant."
Eyebrow arched, he stalked toward her. Slow. Methodical. With a flourish, she released the bag.
Cilicien lunged and snatched the treasure from the air. Quick, for a man weighted by gems and pride. He could not be trusted beyond what they had agreed.
Watching her, Cilicien tugged the gold drawstring and dumped the blood price into his hand. He ran a finger along the jewels, their perfection capturing the torchlight and tossing colors along the papered walls. "You are sure, princess, that you want to do this? You've heard —"
"I am neither deaf nor stupid." Her voice trembled, but whether fear or conviction mastered her, she could not be sure. "I heard the conditions. Had I not agreed or understood, you would not be here. Time is short. Come." She pivoted on her slippered feet, her crimson gown fluttering as it stirred the air. In the hall, she hesitated at the portrait of two children, her eyes on the boy with wavy blond hair and a smile that rivaled the sun. Her heart ached. Was she doing the right thing?
Kaelyria blinked. She continued down the passage and, lifting her skirts up, she mounted the stairs. At the top, she made her way to a small door. "Quickly. Let me do the talking." She speared Cilicien with a warning look, not moving until he acknowledged her command.
She allowed Cilicien and Kiesa to enter the musty, narrow stairwell huddled in the north corner of the castle. Behind them, she locked the door again, then slid past them both, meeting her servant's eyes. "Kiesa, remain here and watch the door."
Lifting her hem, she climbed the spiraling steps to the Upper Tower.
"You are aware, are you not, princess, that Poired Dyrth is advancing —"
Kaelyria spun and thrust a palm toward the man. Heat blossomed out like a blanket and pinned him to the wall. "Speak not that name again, accelerant, or it will be your last breath."
Cilicien smirked. With a flick of two fingers, he brushed aside her wielding, and Kaelyria flinched as the embers recoiled. "You would wield against the one who has agreed to help you in this scheme?"
Kaelyria swallowed, unprepared for the ease with which he countered her strength. Surprise tangled her mind, but she drew herself up. "You would do well to remember whom you address, accelerant. That name offends House Celahar; it was the son of the Cold One who stole my brother's life."
"I meant no disrespect, princess. We are wasting time. The enemy sits on your doorstep."
Yes, she knew Dyrth was near. She could feel the icy tendrils of his wickedness blowing bitterly against the fires within her breast.
At last they rounded the final corner to Haegan's lonely chambers.
A venerable accelerant stood in the fore-chamber, flame-etched sword in hand. Scraggly beard and hair framed eyes that missed nothing. Though it would seem the brown robe hid a frail body, Kaelyria knew better. Once she had made the mistake of scoffing at the aged man. He'd flattened her and her pride in one fell swoop that left her trembling.
Kaelyria inclined her head, slipped a foot behind herself in a slight curtsey. "Sir Gwogh, forgive this intrusion."
He sheathed his weapon. His eyes brightened. "My lady-grace." Wariness crowded his welcoming expression as his gaze shifted behind her.
"Master," Gwogh said, bending curtly at the waist. "I was not aware House Celahar was given to entertaining someone of your ... notoriety."
Smooth, sharp words. Kaelyria almost smiled at the thinly veiled accusation. Still, she did not need dissension, even between two masters of the Flames. "He is here at my behest, Sir Gwogh."
Confusion ruffled the elder's thick gray beard. He shifted his drab robe. "Forgive me, my lady-grace. I do not understand why you would come, and with ... him. Not at an hour as late —" His bushy eyebrows sprang up. He gasped as understanding seemed to overtake him.
She should have known this could not be hidden, not from one so attuned. Kaelyria forged ahead.
"No, princess! Please do not do this." He rushed her, clutched her arm, propriety abandoned in his panic.
The thick door to Haegan's bedchamber stood ajar. Kaelyria's eyes traveled the twenty paces to her brother's bed. To the frail form cradled by moonlight. Though she visited him daily, the ache never lessened. "He is resting well tonight?" she asked softly.
"For once, yes, he sleeps in peace." Gwogh touched her again. "Please, princess. It was a story, an old legend. This should — cannot — be done."
Awareness of the finality of her actions flared through Kaelyria, pinning her, eyes locked onto her brother. "Legends are born of truth, did you not tell me that once?" Perhaps Haegan would take this gift and become a legend himself. He had it within. At least, he did once ...
"When you were but five, my lady! Wh-when you were champing for adventure and excitement."
She remembered her days of innocence with a sad smile. "Now ..." A light halo wreathed her brother's golden shoulder- length hair. She removed the old accelerant's hand from her arm.
"Now, Haegan must have his own adventure."
"No!" Gwogh cried as she moved past him. "I beg you. Please —"
"Stop simpering, you old fool," Cilicien ka'Dur snapped. "Behave as befits your station."
Surprise darted through Kaelyria, and she saw it on Sir Gwogh's visage, but the reprimand almost seemed deserved. At least, that's what her guilt said.
"Cilicien!" Gwogh hissed. "I will not allow this. He is my charge, and I —"
Light and heat collided in a massive fireball between the two accelerants.
The aged flexed and rolled his fingers as he defended the door to Haegan's chamber. "You know the price!"
Drawing a hand back in a swift retreat, Cilicien drew in a deep breath, his nostrils flaring. He flicked his thumb then thrust his hand like a blade at the aged accelerant.
The blast of heat struck Gwogh's counter wield like a hammer, knocking him backward.
Kaelyria lifted her own hands, stunned. "What are you?"
But the slick accelerant slid his left palm toward her.
Stunned, bound by a band of Cilicien's power, Kaelyria felt a surge of anger. Righteous indignation and fear lent her strength, but not enough. She stood helpless.
Balance compromised by his attack on Kaelyria, Cilicien slid backward along the stone floor, his boots making a ragged scrape as they gave up traction. Closer to the stairs. Closer ...
With a primal growl, he drew both palms back to himself in a momentary withdrawal of his wielding. Before Gwogh could fill the sudden vacuum, Cilicien shoved himself forward with a shout, ducking under Gwogh's line of attack and sending a blue-black wave of heat slamming into the older man.
Gwogh smacked against the wall. His head bounced off the stone. He collapsed in a heap of linen and robe.
The band encompassing Kaelyria vanished. She stumbled but caught herself, hand going to her mouth. "What have you done? How could you —"
"He would have stopped us." Cilicien smoothed back his hair and wiped the small trail of blood at his lip.
"I could have explained," she said, kneeling beside the man who'd tormented her brother with endless Histories and Legacies, who'd comforted him with faithful service for years. She brushed the white strands of hair from his face and fingered the singe mark on his temple.
"He'll live. But we will not if he regains consciousness before the transference is done."
Was she making a mistake? It might not be right in terms of legal wielding, but was she wrong to do this?
"Princess." Cilicien's tone was curt, dark. "Would you have Dyrth steal your gift?"
The words pulled her to her feet. She gazed at Gwogh once more, then eased into the room, crossing from wood floor to thick carpet that softened her steps as she reached Haegan's bed. She lifted her gown and hitched her leg, easing onto the edge of the thick feather mattress.
Haegan's dark blond hair lay against the pillow, silky and the color of autumn fields in the Northlands. Kept trim and neat by Sir Gwogh, Haegan looked ready to attend court. A strong jaw mirrored their father's, but he also had a beauty that not many had the benefit of seeing, since he did not venture outside these walls. Maybe he would capture the heart of a lady, find love, once outside Seultrie. Once free of Seultrie.
Did he look paler than usual? She touched his cheek. All Celahar heirs held the fire within that burned hotter, even those, like Haegan, who did not wield the Flames. Were he ill, his flesh would cool. Not warm as most outside these fortified walls.
No, he was warm. Had he been allowed to grow into the man he should have been, Haegan would've ruled the kingdom with presence alone. Father had loved him so much. Doted on him. Afforded him every pleasure. Until that day Poired Dyrth's foul creatures poisoned Haegan and left him without the use of his limbs.
She drew a finger along his forehead, tucking aside a curl. Her brother, separated by a mere ten months. They'd nearly shared the same womb. Had shared the same toys. The same jokes, same everything. Until that day. She traced across his jaw again, so wishing he could run and laugh. And he would. Tonight. In a few months — before he reached the Falls — he would turn eighteen. He should be whole when he entered manhood.
The cost ... Oh the cost!
"Do you know," he said softly, eyes still closed, "how rare it is to be touched?" Blue eyes opened and fastened on her. "I would know yours anywhere, sister."
Leaning over him, she smiled. "Silly fool. You would know not mine from any other lady's."
"Not true," he said, the words familiar, repeated at nearly every greeting. "Yours holds fire."
It was their joke. Because of the abiatasso, heat within her burned purer and more direct. And it often found escape in tiny aspects like her touch. Especially, for some reason, with Haegan. He could tell hers apart. Always had been able to discern. A lopsided grin worked its way across his face. Then he frowned as his gaze drifted past her. To the skylight. Then back to her. "What ... why are you here? It's past midnight."
The back of her throat grew raw. She drew up her courage and leaned closer. "I have a gift for you."
He chuckled. "Could it not wait till morning? I've been slaying dragons and saving beautiful damsels all day. I need my rest."
She smiled. "A thousand apologies, brother, but some gifts are impatient."
His gaze flicked to her right and hardened. "Who are you? Where is Gwogh?"
Kaelyria touched his lips. "Shh. This is a ... friend. His name is Cilicien ka'Dur. I ... I need him here."
Uncertainty twitched in Haegan's eyes. "Why? Why do we need another accelerant?" Clarity shone in those blue orbs so like their father's. "Kae, something is not right."
Smoothing the curls along his face, she spoke what she had practiced a hundred times in anticipation of his discernment. "You trust me, don't you, brother? Haven't I taken care of you all these years, visited you, loved you?"
"Of course." His gaze bounced again to the accelerant. "Where is Gwogh? Bring him." Such authority.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Embers"
Copyright © 2015 Veronica Kendig.
Excerpted by permission of Third Day Books, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
When's the next one coming, again?? Wonderful, wonderful debut into fantasy by Ms. Kendig!! I've loved all her books thus far, and when I heard she was writing a fantasy book, I was excited! And she does not disappoint! While it takes some time to figure out the who's who (which I've found is normal in her previous series), you get swept along with the characters, wanting to find out more. I fell in love with Thiel, and can't wait to find out more about her and her story. Very excited to see where her relationship goes with Haegan, our hero, as well. And what about the rest of the crew?? You really do get sucked into this world she's created, and I can't wait to see how the rest goes!
I’ve read many of Ronie Kendig’s other books and I have loved them. Yet, I was a bit hesitant to read a fantasy book by her because these two genres are so different. HOWEVER, I must say I was blown out of the water with this book. Ronie Kendig has really captured the realm of fantasy writing. In this story, you will find sparks flying everywhere. You’ll see them between the relationship of Haegan and his father, the Fire King, to Haegan and his relationship with Theil, a girl who just might be the answer to many of his issues. Haegan goes on a quest across the land, with some interesting characters, in the belief it is to save his sister. Unfortunately, this adventure is full of obstacles, and constant battles, as well as mistrust between these characters. Still, there is a hope which grows deep inside of Haegan and drives him forward. He takes each step, longing for things to work out. I truly enjoyed being introduced this new series, and I highly recommend reading the book. Pick it up and start on the adventure of your life.
A fast paced epic fantasy that focuses on a world where fire-casting is a gift from the great Abissa. When a sister switches places with her handicapped brother, she gives him a second chance at life—and a chance to find he has more gifting than he knew. While it is written by a Christian, there is nothing in it that would turn off a nonchristian reader. Very comparable in sharing the message in the way Lord of the Rings does. Content appropriate for 13 and up.
Great Kendig as usual
If there was ever a book to make you fall in love with fantasy and speculative fiction: This IS the book!! Embers is an amazing literary journey through the fiery realm of Abiassa. A princess dares to take fate into her hands when she transfers her health and fire-harnessing powers to her crippled brother, the rightful heir, in the hopes he can be the one to battle their kingdom's greatest enemy. But Princess Kaelyria's sacrifice comes at a high price as the Fire King charges Prince Haegan with high treason. Haegan must flee his father's wrath and find a way to save his sister before Poired Dyrth declares war on the entire realm and sealing the fate of all in it. This is Ronie Kendig's first book in the genre and she masterfully threads a story full of sacrifice, hope, promise, suspense, romance, mystery, and magic, in a way I've not yet read before. This story invites you into a world full of delightful characters who come to life the minute you start reading and travel with them on a mission to help (or hinder) Prince Haegan. I highly recommend this novel for anyone new to the speculative/fantasy fiction genre. This story will satisfy the fans of this genre and will rival the best authors currently in this market. Ms. Kendig's shaped a story that will resonate with the reader long after the last page and will leave you in nail-biting anticipation for what's coming next.
Embers is captivating and brilliant--a fantasy tale that draws you into a world of heat and fire, good and evil. Ronie Kendig delivers a searing tale that will leave you craving more! Siblings, one crippled the other gifted. A enemy who will stop at nothing to wage war. A long forgotten prophecy that will change the course of history. This is the recipe for a fantastic read and Ronie Kendig is the master chef who has brought it all together in Embers. I really don't know where to start this review because I'm simply blown away by Ronie and this book. Not surprising (I love everything she writes) but this was on a whole different level of awesome. The world building, gifts-creation/explanation, and epic fantasy awesomeness coalesce into a tale that keeps you guessing until the end, desperate to find out what the truth is. As I read Embers I was enveloped in the story, wholly there, leaping to new heights and anxious to discover what would happen next. Ronie's writing is flawless! Her grasp of the world was evident in her descriptions as well as the rich details that aid in sucking a reader in. She also crafted a really awesome character in the raqine (I want one) and it's the little details like that that simply amaze me. I also really enjoyed her characters. I felt like the cast for Embers was well chosen and fleshed out. They are vivid as individuals, but they don't distract from the main characters or the plot. The dialogue was also amazing, really conveying the feeling of the world and its people. As for the ending--I won't give anything away, but trust me, you'll turn the last page already wondering where Book 2 is, because let's be honest, we need it NOW. I highly recommend this to everyone! Those who already enjoy fantasy will love it, and those who haven't tried fantasy yet...well, you need to read this! There is action, adventure, romance, intrigue, and enough questions to keep you guessing until the end. Embers is a wild ride you won't soon forget! Originally posed on my blog: http://eahendryx.blogspot.com/2015/12/embers-by-ronie-kendig-review.html --- I received a free copy of this book for review purposes, but was under no obligation to read the book or post a review. I do so under my own motivation and the opinions I have expressed in this review are honest and entirely my own.
I recently took a reading leap of faith and read a book that is far outside my normal literary choice. Although I enjoy fantasy movies, I really had not read a purely speculative fantasy novel before. Knowing that I have enjoyed Ronie Kendig’s military fiction and that I like her writing style gave me the courage to step into this unknown world. I am very glad I did. It took me a little while to get the “lay of the land”, so to speak, as well as to understand who the many characters were and how they related to each other. I read slowly so as not to get confused about plot and relationships. Then, I seemed to hit a point where everything just “clicked”. This new land, although strange and full of fire wielding beings, became an amazing back drop to an exhilarating tale. Some things really spoke to me in this story. One was the vivid descriptions of the lands that the main characters traveled through. Another was the personal growth of the main characters. I also enjoyed seeing relationships and friendships form as Haegan and Thiel journeyed with the other young men in the story. This book has a great combination of action and adventure, and is ripe with symbolism throughout. The story moved quickly for me, once I got my bearings in the new land, and I found myself anxiously devouring the book to see what happened next. I am very excited to follow the continuing saga in future novels. I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I’m so excited for Ronie with this release! For those of you familiar with Ronie’s previous books, you know she’s known for her action packed military novels. Her first release in the Abiassa’s Fire Series though? Fantasy! So excited! As y’all know, I am a bit of a “fan” of this genre. So without further ado… One of the things guaranteed with a novel written by Ronie? Plenty of non stop action. And Embers has just that. With a new and very imaginative world, full of those who understand given powers and those who don’t, Ronie takes readers on a daring adventure and introduces you to a colorful cast of characters – with plenty of surprises in between. I think Ronie did a great job kicking off this series and keeping the reader’s’ attention. I know the last section of the book kept me up way past my bedtime. But hey, it happens right? One more final note? I absolutely love the cover. What’s one of your favorite fantasy novels? (Thank you to the author for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review) Originally posted at http://booksandbeverages.org/2015/10/22/embers-by-ronie-kendig-book-review/
Kendig’s skill in delivering a rockin’ good adventure, laced with a touch of romance, shines in this first installment of her fantasy debut. Her tagline is “Rapid-Fire Fiction” for good reason, and whether she’s writing military thrillers, speculative, or even “plain” romance, she knows how to deliver. If you’re a fan of epic fantasy—or dystopian, or YA—you NEED to read this one!
“Surprising” and “amazing” sums up my first thoughts about “Embers” by Ronie Kendig. But really a lot of “WOWs” are going through my mind right now. I have enjoyed all of Ronie’s books and when I heard she had written speculative fiction, I could not wait to explore the story world she had created. Kendig did not disappoint in this genre; she threw me right into the story – into another world – and kept my attention all along. Fast-pacing and heart racing, “Embers” had me nearly constantly on the edge of my seat. No dull moment will annoy your reading experience. From start to finish, it is a most satisfying read.