Authors: Leslie Ann Moore
Leslie Ann Moore
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Ridan and its logo are copyrighted and trademarked by Ridan Publishing. All rights reserved.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to actual persons, organizations, and/or events is purely coincidental.
Published by Ridan Publication at Smashwords
Print edition available from all major online and retail bookstores
A Ridan Publication
Copyright © 2007 by Leslie Ann Moore
Cover Art by Michael J. Sullivan
Map and Photo by Ted Meyer
Release Date: November 2009
This is the opening tale of what looks to be a great epic fantasy. Fantasy fans who read this author's first published tale will demand Moore adventures in the Soldaran Empire and beyond.”
― Harriet Klausner (#1 Ranked Amazon Reviewer)
Moore's debut novel earned her the 2008 Ben Franklin Award for Best First Fiction and it's easy to see why...For those who enjoy a good, well written fantasy, pick up a copy of Griffin's Daughter.”
― Todd A. Fonseca (Author: The Time Cavern)
Griffin's daughter is imaginative and beautifully written, with elements that parallel events and concepts in our own modern world.”
― Goodnight Nurse, CA (Amazon)
Griffin's Daughter was an awesome read!!!! I couldn't put this book down at all. I loved the dialouge between the characters and the richness and diversity of the characters in the story.”
― E. Hill, FL (Amazon)
Once you start you just can't stop! This book is worth every penny. It had me completely absorbed and thirsty for more at the very end. I can't wait to read the next two! ”
― anihhh (Amazon)
To my family - Doris, Sylvia, and Ted - for their unwavering love and support,to Ed for his invaluable advice and comments, and to Mr. Terry Brooks, whose kind words of encouragement set me on the road to becoming a professional writer.
1 - An Unexpected Invitation
2 - Unwelcome News
3 - The Fire Within
4 - A Veiled Proposition
5 - Her Intolerable Fate
6 - A Story, A Gift, And A Clue
7 - Risks, Regrets, And Resolutions
8 - Escape And Awakening
9 - The Good Son
10 - A Conflicted Heart
11 - Ambush
12 - The Dream Made Real
13 - The Beautiful Ones
14 - Jelena’s Angel
15 - Kerala Castle
16 - A New Life
17 - A Glimpse Of The Future
18 - The Uncrossable Chasm
19 - The Wedding Party Arrives
20 - Homecoming
21 - The Price Of Love
22 - Devastation
23 - Confessions And Heartache
24 - The Temple Of Eskleipa
25 - A New Threat
26 - The Hunt
27 - In Perfect Union
28 - The Coming Darkness
29 - In The Jaws Of The Beast
30 - Ashinji’s Resolution
31 - The Final Hurdle
32 - The True Meaning Of Friendship
33 - A True Family, A True Name
A Spell is Cast, A Child is Born
On the crest of a small hill, a woman stood alone, gazing off into the distance. She was dressed for battle, her once bright armor now grimed with mud and gore. A broadsword hung at her left hip. The woman and the blade were old comrades, having seen many a battle in their time together, but never had they witnessed such a slaughter as this. The unmoving results littered the plain below; grotesque shapes lay twisted in the churned earth, the corpses of creatures too horrible and unnatural to be of this world.
The woman’s hair, unfettered by helmet or ties, streamed out from her head like black banners snapping in the wind. A pall of weariness hung about her, stooping her shoulders slightly under its gray weight. Her pale, still face contrasted sharply with her green eyes, which burned with a fierce intensity, mirroring her thoughts.
How has it come to this? How?
We must succeed, or Goddess help us all.
from behind broke her melancholy reverie. The sounds of an army settling in for the night now brushed against her awareness, like a great beast at her back. She turned.
Highness,” the man said, ducking his head in a quick salute. He was slightly out of breath and clearly agitated.
What is it, soldier?” she replied. She took a step forward to see the messenger more clearly in the rapidly diminishing light.
Lady Junko has returned. The Kirians await you at your tent.”
Her heart slammed against her breastbone as if it would tear itself free and fly from her chest. Terror bayed at her heels.
What if Junko has failed?
Well, then, we are all dead.
Men and women threw themselves from her path, upending plates of food and spilling mugs of hot tea, but yelps of outrage were quickly stifled when they realized who had torn through their midst. She saw none of it. Her vision tunneled down to a single point as all thoughts crystallized into one.
She skidded to a halt in front of a tent that was larger, though no less plain, than its neighbors, and set apart by an open space. Two soldiers stood guard on either side of the doorway. They saluted briskly as she paused for a moment to catch her breath and gather her composure. She closed her eyes and offered a silent prayer to the Goddess.
A soft buzz of voices fell silent as she entered.
A group of people stood in a loose huddle around a camp stool, upon which sat a young woman. The woman rose to her feet, and the entire group bowed their heads in obeisance. A white-haired man stepped forward, his age and great air of authority clearly marking him as their leader.
Princess Syukoe, Lady Junko has returned, successful. We have the ring.”
Syukoe breathed out a long sigh and closed her eyes. She felt as if she would fly apart at any moment, her entire body drawn up tight as a bowstring. She didn’t realize she was swaying on her feet until she felt the steadying hand of Master Iku under her elbow. She put a trembling hand to her forehead.
When did I last eat?
I must sit for a moment,” she murmured.
Master Iku steered her to the just vacated camp stool. She sat, and someone immediately handed her an ornate silver goblet. The clean, sweet smell of her favorite wine tickled her nostrils. She took a long pull and wiped her lips with the back of her hand in a very un-princess like manner, frowning at the grime she saw caked there. She was a soldier as well as a princess, and right now, she felt bone-weary, filthy, and she reeked of the battlefield. She desired nothing more than a hot bath and deep, dreamless sleep, but she knew she would have neither this night.
Master Iku,” Syukoe began.
Highness, we have very little time. Your father…”
Knows, Master. He already knows. Of that you can be sure.”
Despite his advanced age, the Master of the Kirian Society stood straight and tall. The ruby Eye of Lajdala upon his breast, symbol of his high office, gleamed softly in the mellow light of the oil lamps. His long white hair hung in a single, neat plait down his back. Stern-faced and somber in his black robes, nevertheless, he inspired feelings of comfort and safety in Syukoe. She trusted him completely.
My fellows and I must begin the spell immediately if we hope to succeed. There is no time to prepare you. I fear that your strength is depleted after this day’s terrible work.”
I am strong enough. I have to be,” Syukoe replied. “The ring. Let me have it.” Master Iku placed it into her upturned palm. It felt cold, so cold, and yet it burned her skin, searing the flesh without leaving any mark. She could barely stand to hold it, but she could not release it either.
This is my father’s ring.
There is blood on it.
Syukoe looked first to Master Iku, then to Lady Junko. “How did you get this from my father?” she questioned, her voice sharp.
Junko came forward and knelt before Syukoe. She was very young, but her eyes were already hard and sad. “I cut off his finger, Highness,” she replied, matter-of-factly. “I drugged his wine. I’m the only one he trusts these days…or trusted. When he fell asleep, I tried pulling it off, but it wouldn’t come, so…” She fell silent.