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An imprint of Double Dragon Publishing

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Bequest
Lisa Ann McLean


Our Price: 5.99 USD

ISBN-10: 1-55404-535-5
ISBN-13: 978-1-554045-35-8
Genre:  Fantasy/SF/Medieval
eBook Length:  315  Pages
Published:  January 2008





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From Inside the Flap

To pass from one world into another, what does it take? Courage? Determination? Faith? Love?

Tangea had a premonition that something was wrong with her world, and she thoroughly expected to have her unicorn send her the message she had been waiting for: “Now, Tangea. It is our turn”. When it comes, she tells herself she is ready, that she could handle any obstacle that awaits her. When the obstacle comes in the form of Taynan, however, everything changes. Suddenly, she is not so sure of herself. Suddenly, she is questioning her choices, her loyalties, and—worst of all—her faith. And now, she must begin her journey...

Bequest is an epic fantasy set in a time when history crumbles from the glory of Rome to the scattered chaos of the Dark Ages, a time when the Ylfs, the unicorns, and the rest of the creatures of magic feel their own world splintering and fragmenting, and the last seven unicorns must journey through the world of men and gather at the secret, hidden place where the Angel stands. There, they will work the final spell that will bring all of the creatures of magic to a place where magic still lives. Since her youth, the Ylf Tangea Ash has been trained to protect Silverwood the unicorn for just this moment and she is certain that she is more than prepared. Then the sorcerer Taynan of the Shadows disrupts all of that. Taynan: the one Ylf who—before tragedy had changed him—had once been her closest friend and greatest love. Desiring a unicorn horn to protect himself against the very spell the unicorns intend to cast, Taynan sets himself against Silverwood. This unexpected turn of events suddenly makes Taynan Tangea’s mortal enemy. Shaken and alone with Silverwood in the hostile world of men, Tangea does not feel as prepared for her journey as she had thought. And Taynan will stop at nothing to steal Silverwood’s horn. Nothing—not even the love he and Tangea had once shared. The love that is betraying them both



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Excerpt


Prologue

Night descends in stifling black: black land, black sky -- sunless, moonless, with only dusky, tormented clouds writhing across it.

A cold fear rushes over the surface of the land. Alive, it breathes -- through the land, through the occupants that dwell on it. Dragons, Faery, Griffin -- all can feel the chill cold, can feel the ice of fear touch their souls with the certainty of death. It grips them in a cold steel hand so that every creature, rock, and tree can feel the shiver of it, carrying a knowledge of wrong, of evil, of a sin so terrible a silence of shame that such a thing would take place among them hangs thick as the cotton black that blankets the land.

The hunt ... The hunt ...

The rhythm, the beat, the pulse of fear. Answering this rhythm come the whoops and cries of the hunters -- shadowy figures flitting and leaping through the trees. Answering this rhythm comes the failing gallop of the prey.

He is distinctly equine in form save for the one crystal horn that spirals a full three feet from the centre of his delicate head. Blacker than the night that surrounds him, he twists and turns through the tiniest of forest paths, his mane and tail billowing behind him like great clouds of smoke. His heart is pounding -- a rapid drumbeat to which his hoofs keep time. A slick, white lather streaks his flanks, and large swatches of foam are left on the leaves that whip past him as he runs.

Closer ... they’re coming closer.

For the third time now, fatigue strikes him. A terrible, devastating weakness sweeps over him and through him, spreading from his heart, across his chest, down his spine.

He stumbles. A blue-black tunnel closes around the edges of his vision.

Not again ... not now ... oh, Lord Ylohym.

Wrapped in a cold, dead fear, he reaches deep within -- tries to summon power, strength.

Nothing.

The fear plummets into a devastating despair that saps a cruelly large chunk of what precious little life remains in his failing heart. Bounding sideways, he cuts through the forest -- a wild, zigzag snake through the trees. For a moment, a soft bloom of hope brightens in the black muck of his despair. Maybe ... maybe he had lost them.

Then a dark shadow drops from the trees ahead of him. Several dark shadows.

No! A trap ... a trap!

Momentum carries him forward as his hope dies. Bowing his head so the smoke blue crystal horn that spirals from his forehead is levelled horizontal, he turns his flight into a charge. Bracing himself against the weakness that is hammering through his head, he lengthens his strides as the musky smell of the shadow right in front of him infuses his senses -- the shadow he knows is no shadow.

The impact quakes through his neck, and he feels the muscles in his shoulders quiver as they absorb the force of it. There is slight resistance as his horn penetrates the shadowy form -- which is quite solid -- and the rending death-shriek roars past his left ear as the body slides down his horn and pitches forward across his face. Twisting his neck sideways, he flings the limp body aside. There is a ripping sound as the sharp point of his horn catches and tears through the black garments. He hears the dull thud behind him as he runs on.

A brutal fist slams into his side, through his ribs, into his heart. The force of it drives every ounce of air from his lungs and he staggers then falls hard to his knees. His own impetus drags him a full twenty strides over rocks and branches that rip through his sleek, black flesh, leaving his legs and his right side raw and bloodied. His own cry fails in his burning throat, and he feels a cold hand close around his chest.

Oh, Lord Ylohym.

Blurred now, shadows begin emerging all around him, their victorious cries echoing through the forest, through his head. He sees one shadow draw near, can almost make out a smile on the devious face that looks from beneath a glittering, shining lion’s mane of golden hair. A cruel, triumphant smile.

Ylohym ...

Then a spark ignites deep within him -- a tiny firefly that flits and snaps through his veins.

Power ... the power ... the magic ...

Finally, he feels it: his magic, his power. In a last, bright surge, it spreads through him in defiance of the hunters that now stand all around him. The crystal horn on his forehead begins to glow with purple-red light. The cruel smile on the hunter’s face falters.

The light grows, expanding to a blinding brightness that washes the shadows away in a dome around them so that it looks like day -- brighter than day.

Yes Ylohym ... thank you ... they shall fail.

The power is screaming deafeningly through him and his horn grows brighter ... brighter ... impossibly bright.

The hunters cower into balls, screaming and covering their faces. Some of the bolder of them fling rocks, fling more arrows like the one protruding from the side of the black unicorn they had brought down -- the arrow that the unicorn no longer feels. He is growing, separating. Life is boiling in a furious tempest that is too great to be held in his dying body. Life ... magic ...

The horn -- the magic in it -- screams like a living thing as the brightness burns to white ...

... then the horn explodes into sawdust.

Free ... free!

A rush of energy floods him, and he feels himself rise as though released from chains. Intangible, spiritual -- he lifts himself higher and higher, leaving the shell that had held him in a crumpled, black heap on the ground, surrounded by a circle of smaller bodies, equally lifeless: the hunters.

Again, he feels the rush. He moves -- slowly, at first, then with mounting speed. He swells and blows across the land, ending his time on earth with a final flow across it. A soul-wind crying a voiceless herald to everything it touches:

Seven -- only seven left ...

It is time.