TOR First Chosen

First Chosen

Just re-released through WordFire Press!

“Tears of Rage is a fantastical gritty series about faith, dedication, fear, and perseverance. A tale for the times we are in, with realistic characters forced to face their own flaws that are just as dangerous as their enemies. Read it.” – Damon Stone, Fantasy Flight Games

“This is really great stuff!” – James Rollins

“First Chosen is brisk and story-focused, driving from one event to the next with a pace that doesn’t flag and populating each scene with vivid characters in high (and sometimes comic) conflict.” – Dave Butler, author of Witchy Eye and The Kidnap Plot

On her twenty-first birthday in in her moment of greatest need, Duchess Julianna Taraen frees Grandfather Shadow, ancient god of vengeance, from his thousand year prison. As repayment for his freedom, Grandfather Shadow names Julianna his high priest. The god does not care that she doesn’t believe in him, nor that it is illegal for any of Julianna’s people to worship one of the five greater gods – the punishment is not merely death, but also the destruction of the her soul. Pursued by followers of the God of Death and Inquisitors of the Kingdom of the Sun, Julianna must come to terms with her new powers, evade her new enemies, and find a way to unite Grandfather Shadow’s fractured people.

“I will accept this one as the full payment,” the Daemyn said. “You can do with the other girls what you wish.”

Men cheered. The women screamed as the Brotherhood of the Night dragged them away. She heard horses riding away and cries of anguish fading into the distance.

Julianna fought against the arms holding her. Death would be a sweet release compared to this Daemyn spilling its seed into her and the horror of birthing its child. Two more men grabbed hold of her. No matter how she struggled, Julianna could not overcome the four men as they forced her to the ground. Once they pinned her down, the creature ripped at her clothes.

“I could make you enjoy this,” it said, and lowered its full weight on top of her. “To want this more than you’ve wanted anything in all the world. More than that pretty lordling with his handsome scar.” Its hot flesh made her feel as if thousands of ants were crawling across her skin. “But I’d rather have you struggle, to have you fight me, knowing that it doesn’t matter. You will bear my child.”

Julianna did fight him. She kicked and pulled against the men holding her down. The Daemyn was right; she could only resist so long. Eventually the Daemyn would breech her maidenhead. Tears streamed out of her eyes, and her thrashing transformed into convulsing sobs. After a few moments, even her sobs lost their power and became little more than twitches. How could any god have damned her to this horrible fate?

“That’s right. You have no hope.”

She lay back, closed her eyes and wished she could die. Her despair woke something she’d only been aware of deep in the night after waking from a nightmare. Those eyes that looked at her from the depths of her dreams appeared in the darkness. Strange words rang in her mind. She didn’t comprehend the words, but she knew speaking them would bring help.

Julianna’s eyes snapped open. She glared defiance at the Daemyn, and spoke the words waiting to escape her for twenty-one years.

“Mina sasta.”

Writing appeared in the air above her mouth. The script was complex, the letters resembling a spider web. Memories came flooding back into her, too many memories for her to sort through, but they were all from before the night of her seventh birthday. She remembered Mother and Father raising her to worship and love Grandfather Shadow, no matter what Kingdom laws dictated.

“You should flee,” the Daemyn said. “All of you, before she can speak again.”

“I think not,” the Night Adept said. “We have a bargain. Do not try to trick me. I know the games your kind play.”

“I only wish to be able to bargain with you again,” the Daemyn replied.

Julianna glanced at the Adept. His eyes flicked back and forth between Julianna and the Daemyn. She also remembered the promise she had made that man fourteen years earlier, nearly fourteen years to the moment.

Father and Mother had taught her to keep her promises, so Julianna spoke more words, words that had been waiting in her soul since the moment of her birth.

“Galad’Ysoysa! Mina sasta!”

Again, words appeared above her in that same spidery writing. This time the words were bigger and glowed pale and gray in the night. Something hidden in the deep dark recesses of her heart emerged from the same place where the words had come from. A weight she had carried for her entire life lifted from her. The world seemed to shift sideways in a dizzying lurch. Julianna’s head spun as if she had stood up too quickly.

“Too late,” the Daemyn said, though it sounded more amused than afraid. “She’s freed him.”

“You there! Adept!” Julianna called.

The Night Adept who had helped kill her mother turned from the words fading from the air and looked at Julianna. She smiled.

“I told you, my father’s god is going to eat your soul.”