Amroth began again, but now a twinkle sparkled in his eye. “On my last mission, though, I finally figured out the way to atone for my mistakes toward you.”
Iren’s brow furrowed skeptically.
“I want to defeat the Quodivar, as you know. The mission I proposed at the feast can do that. However, I have two ulterior motives. First, by bringing you on this mission, I give you the chance to prove yourself to Lodia. If the Quodivar fall because of your aid, you may earn some respect among the people. Second, and far more important, it will give you a chance to avenge your parents.”
“Avenge them? How?”
Looking Iren dead in the eye, Amroth replied, “The night your parents died, the darkness prevented me from determining their killer’s identity. However, the sparks from the clashing weapons and my own battle experience taught me much of his fighting style. I have never forgotten it, for the image of your parents’ murders remains burned into my heart. How surprised I was, then, on my latest mission, when I fought no less than the leader of the Quodivar himself! When I clashed swords with him, I knew. His technique perfectly matches what I saw seventeen years ago. I can’t say for certain, but I suspect that the Quodivar leader killed your parents.”
Iren felt like Amroth had struck him with a hammer. The man who murdered his parents still lived! “Did you kill him?” Iren asked, torn between hope and fear at how Amroth might respond.
“Unfortunately, no. His strength overwhelmed me, and I barely escaped. But I believe you can defeat him. In fact, I believe you are the only person who can succeed where both your father and I failed.”
Iren hugged himself, slowly absorbing Amroth’s words and what the captain hoped Iren would accomplish. He couldn’t do it. He couldn’t fight. He had never even held a weapon. After hearing Amroth’s tale, though, he already knew his answer. Firmly, he replied, “I’ll see you at the stables an hour before dawn.”
Amroth gave the slightest incline of his head, then rose and opened the door a crack, listening for any sign of movement. Satisfied no one was in the tower, the captain vanished down the steps.
As Iren sat on his bed, taking in the poor trappings of his life, a sense of direction he’d never experienced came to him. For seventeen years, no one had wanted him. He’d been unnecessary. Thanks to Amroth, all those feelings of doubt and insecurity fled before a new resolve. What did he want from life? For years he’d asked himself that question, never having an answer. Now, for the first time, he did.
From fantasy author Josh VanBrakle comes an epic new trilogy of friendship, betrayal, and explosive magic. Lefthanded teenager Iren Saitosan must uncover a forgotten history, confront monsters inspired by Japanese mythology, and master a serpentine dragon imprisoned inside a katana to stop a revenge one thousand years in the making.
Lodian culture declares lefthanded people dangerous and devil-spawned, and for Iren, the kingdom's only known Left, that's meant a life of social isolation. To pass the time and get a little attention, he plays pranks on the residents of Haldessa Castle. It's harmless fun, until one of his stunts nearly kills Lodia's charismatic heir to the throne. Now to avoid execution for his crime, Iren must join a covert team and assassinate a bandit lord. It's a suicide mission, and Iren's chances aren't helped when he learns that his new katana contains a dragon's spirit, one with a magic so powerful it can sink continents and transform Iren into a raging beast.
Adding to his problems, someone on Iren's team is plotting treason. When a former ally launches a brutal plan to avenge the Lefts, Iren finds himself trapped between competing loyalties. He needs to figure out who - and how - to trust, and the fates of two nations depend on his choice.
"A fast-paced adventure...led by a compelling cast of characters. Josh VanBrakle keeps the mysteries going." - ForeWord Reviews
Genre – YA epic fantasy
Rating – PG-13
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