Ashael is a hunter-gatherer woman, apprenticed to Bhearra, the healer and spiritual leader of their tribe. The Zanthar are invaders from another world who extend their own lives by stealing the life-force of everything around them.
They were last seen on KalaDene 200 years ago. They have returned, looking for The Vessel, a being prophesied to hold the life-force of the land.
Iwan is a slave to the Zanthar, descendant of those taken as slaves the last time the Zanthar visited this world. He is sent out as a spy, while his mother is held hostage to ensure his compliance.
When Ashael meets Iwan in the forest, neither realise that she is the one the Zanthar are looking for. The fate of KalaDene and all of its people rests on her shoulders.
Purchase on Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ashael-Rising-Vessel-KalaDene-Book-ebook/dp/B01MRCASMU/
EXTRACT FROM THE BOOK!!
Extract – This section comes from the prologue, and depicts events that occurred around 200 years before the main events of Ashael Rising. A mighty battle took place that resulted in the freedom of the Folk and the defeat of the Zanthar.
The sun was high in the sky by the time Daven emerged from the gates at the front of the keep, a retinue of Zanthar and slaves following behind; the only difference between them being their colouring. The leader of the Zanthar was tall and powerfully built. He walked about a foot above the ground, the air holding him up as if it were solid. Sirion gritted his teeth: to use what little life force was left here for such a vain purpose infuriated the filidh. Daven’s skin was so pale that Sirion could see the veins beneath, and his hair was almost white. All of the Zanthar were pale compared to the Folk, but their leader was especially striking. His magic gave him a powerful presence, drawing the eye and the will towards him. Sirion shivered. Even he felt the pull of the man, despite full knowledge of his evil.
‘I am surprised to see you still here, bird man,’ Daven called, halting a short distance away. ‘I told you yesterday: leave now and I will let you go in peace.’
Ezre clenched his jaw but did not waste energy in an exchange of words. They both knew this could only end with one of them dead. Instead, Ezre beckoned and Sirion moved up to his side.
I see you have something that belongs to me,’ Daven said, his voice level though his eyes were narrowed. ‘Very well. I shall offer it as a gift to you, a sign of goodwill.’
Someone behind Daven sniggered, and the mage spun around, glaring at his people.
‘What is your answer?’ Daven asked, turning back to face Ezre.
In response, Ezre lifted his arms and sent forth a blast of power. Daven threw up a shield of wavering energy just in time to deflect the attack, but someone in his retinue was not so lucky. Sirion wondered if it was the same person who had sniggered a few moments ago, who now ran around screaming, engulfed in flame.
Daven responded with his own attack and Sirion stepped back, giving Ezre room to move. They had agreed that Sirion would do nothing until Daven appeared to tire, so he kept his eyes fixed on the Zanthar leader, watching for the first signs that he was faltering.
Back and forth the bristling balls of energy flew, Ezre’s force the same golden colour as his wings, while Daven’s was black as pitch. Now up close, Sirion could see why the Flores had not yet won. Each time Daven sent forth a ball of the crackling, black force, Ezre’s shield absorbed the attack, keeping the rest of the Flores safe; but each strike took a greater toll on Ezre. His shield had started out as a hemisphere of opalescent light, rippling with every move that he made. Now, the edges were ragged, and dull patches were beginning to appear, the golden shield dimming slightly after each assault and unable to fully recover before the next blast hit.
Daven, on the other hand, used his shield to deflect the spells that Ezre threw at him, endangering the other Zanthar and slaves as lightning bolts and balls of flame flew above and amongst his people. More than one of his retinue lay on the ground, moaning in pain.He values their lives as little as ours, thought Sirion.
Ezre thrust out his arm, his spell causing the ground to shake. Many of the Zanthar stumbled or fell but Daven hovered above in his shield, leaving his followers to the danger.
‘All-Mother, hear my prayer,’ Sirion murmured, eyes never leaving the fight before him. ‘These Zanthar before you destroy your land and enslave your people. We Folk have done our best to keep faith during these long years but we are not strong enough to hold the balance. We are dying. This is our last hope. Please, gracious Kala, mother of all, let this work. I beg of you.’
Movement behind Daven caught Sirion’s eye, just as he finished his prayer. One of the Zanthar was circling behind Daven. It looked as though he was trying to get a clear line of sight towards Ezre. He moved into a clear spot and Sirion saw him raise his hands and begin to mouth the words of a spell.
‘Watch out!’ Sirion cried, but before the words had left his mouth, the Flores that had grabbed him last night was soaring over the battle, his midnight-blue wings casting a shadow over the combatants. He swooped down and kicked the would-be attacker in the face, sending him flying backwards. Another Zanthar observer pulled a sword, slashing at those beautiful wings. Everything devolved into chaos as more Flores entered the fight with the Zanthar while the two leaders battled on. No! They were supposed to stay out of it!Sirion thought.
Heart pounding, the filidh watched, wishing he could join in the fight but also terrified now that the time to act was almost upon him. Daven’s movements were definitely slowing, the blasts of power he sent towards Ezre not quite so strong. Sirion realised that the Flores leader was also weakening when he stumbled back under the pressure of a direct hit to his shield.
‘It’s time!’ Sirion shouted, moving to Ezre’s side.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shona Kinsella is the author of Ashael Rising, (Unbound, 2017) the first in her series, The Vessel of KalaDene.
She is also one of the editors of the British Fantasy Society’s fiction publication, Horizons.
When she is not writing or wrangling her three children, she can usually be found with her nose in a book.
Social Media Links –
Giveaway – Win a signed copy of Ashael Rising (Open Internationally)