Thursday Sampler: Alora: The Portal by Tamie Dearen
February 11, 2016
In our mission to connect readers, writers, and books, Caleb and Linda Pirtle is showcasing some of the best authors in the marketplace today. Thursday’s Sampler features an excerpt from Alora: The Portal by Tamie Dearen. It’s a journey into a world where the threat of death awaits around every corner.
As one reviewer said: The author created a fascinating tale of two worlds and a life-bond of true love, transporting her readers into a world where magic works and oaths are real. If you had to choose between living enslaved to evil or enduring incredible pain, could you remain steadfast? I’m not sure I could be that brave.
If one of them dies, they both die.
Bound together as soulmates, something compels Alora and Kaevin to abandon the safety of their refuge for the dangers of Kaevin’s realm.
The soulmates arrive in the midst of a raging battle as Stone Clan warriors defend their capital, an attack made more deadly by the pervasive evil of her father. Alora and Kaevin face mortal danger as they fight against man and magick to preserve Kaevin’s home and heritage.
For Alora’s father will have her allegiance. Or her death.
He almost jumped out of his skin as a voice behind him startled him from his concentrated efforts.
“My name is Bastaeno, and I’m the custodian of manuscripts here at the Craedenza. Do you need some guidance or interpretation?” The kind-faced man gazed down as he spoke, eyeing the stacks of scrolls and parchments splayed across the table in disarray.
“No,” the boy replied, dismissing him without a second glance. “I’m gifted in language, so perhaps I can be of aid.” “No, I’m gifted in language as well, but thank you for your offer.” He continued to
study the scroll with the strange markings, unwilling to admit he couldn’t read the words. “Eh-hem… That particular scroll has yet to be deciphered by any of our scholars, even the most gifted in intelligence and language. Yet you understand the words
recorded?” He hesitated. “No, I don’t, but I can read all of these other scrolls.” He lifted his chin,
glaring in defiance. “That’s quite remarkable for such a young man. How many years have you?” “I have eighteen years.” Bastaeno lifted his brows. “Only eighteen years? You are even younger than I
imagined. So you only came into your major power less than two years ago. Am I correct? And already you can understand these challenging writings? You are extremely gifted, young man. Is your father gifted in language as well? Or wisdom?”
“No, he’s gifted in weapons and strength, as is my brother.”
“How extraordinary. He must be quite proud of you… so accomplished having so few years.”
The young man ducked his head to hide the heat that rose to his face. “Not really. My father believes language isn’t a particularly useful gift because we’ve already learned all there is to know from the scrolls and parchments stored at the Craedenza.”
Bastaeno let out a belly laugh. “Of course he is jesting. After all these years, we are only scratching the surface of the knowledge within these walls. Everyone in Tenavae knows that. And after all, your father approved for you to come and study here, so that must mean he wishes you to grow and enhance your giftedness. Am I right?”
Knowing he’d left on his quest without his father’s permission, he avoided the question. “How did you know I traveled to come to the Craedenza?”
“Glaenshire is a small community, so I recognize you are not from here. Have you traveled far? And have you a place to stay? My wife and I have a small abode, but you are welcome to stay with us while you study the scrolls.”
“You didn’t see my eyes, or you wouldn’t offer such a thing. I am Water Clan.”
Bastaeno squinted at his face in the candlelight. “Blue eyes—so they are! I’ve seen very few Water Clansmen in my days. Well met, young man! Well met!”
His hand was grasped and shaken with such vigor his shoulder protested the assault. “Well met,” he mumbled, extricating his hand. “Although most clansmen distrust one another, we believe differently here. In
Glaenshire, few of us are gifted in weapons or dexterity, and therefore we aren’t prone tobattle one another. Most of us are scholars, gifted in wisdom and language. We learned long ago the color of a man’s eyes is no indication of value or the intent of the heart.”
“Your eyes are grey—I’ve never seen grey eyes.” He noted the man’s appearance for the first time.
“I’m Air Clan, as is my wife. Most of my clan lives very far to the North, in the mountains. Like you, I came to study the manuscripts, but we decided to stay and make our home here. Perhaps you will do the same.”
“No! I’m going back to Water Clan as soon as I’ve learned all there is to learn at the Craedenza.”
“No offense intended,” Bastaeno held up his hands. “I simply wished to let you know you’d be welcome in Glaenshire. For the most part, we’re a very peaceful community where people from all clans have lived in harmony for centuries. Perhaps not as peaceful as Serenshire, but a close second for certain.”
“Serenshire? I thought Serenshire was a myth.”
“No, indeed. I have seen Serenshire with my own eyes. My father took me there when I had but five years.” His eyes glazed as he stared into the dark recesses of the room. “The city of peace. It’s more than a city, in actuality. Beyond the city the countryside stretches as far as one can see.”
“Can you tell me how to find it?” His heart pounded in his chest. This could be the very discovery he needed to finally impress his father. Surely he would be proud when he returned home having discovered the secret location of Serenshire. No one else in all of Water Clan could accomplish such a feat.
“Sadly, no.” Bastaeno shook his head. “It’s quite complicated to enter Serenshire. You can only find it if you’ve been there before. Though you might be standing an arms width from the gate, you won’t see it unless the gatekeeper opens it from within. And even then, your group must be judged worthy to enter.”
“Yes. You must give valid reason for your visit, and your party must represent all of the clans: Water, Stone, Forest, Air, and Sun. So even were you to find the entrance, you wouldn’t be admitted.”
“I see.” He couldn’t hide his disappointment.
Bastaeno patted his shoulder. “Come. The sun dips low, and I know you must be weary after your long travel from Water Clan. Rest at my home tonight, for all of these will be awaiting you tomorrow, exactly the same as today and centuries past.” He waved his hand over the vast archives. “What is your name, young traveller?”
“My name is Drakeon BarVinnasae.” “Vinnasae? Is your father the leader of Water Clan?” His jaw tightened. “Yes, that’s my father. He calls me Vindrake.”