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Fate's Long Shadow - Hardback

Fate's Long Shadow - Hardback

The Practice of Power 1

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Her power was born of a giant's rage. She treads a treacherous path, where a whisper could mean her demise.

Jassae's world shattered when giants ravaged her peaceful village. Instead of killing her, they thrust her into a cage as a precious captive, an unexpected jewel to control the Dark Goddess.

The once-formidable giants are teetering on the brink, their age-old might slowly but surely fading away. In Jassae, a priestess dedicated to a goddess who inspires more dread than reverence, they see a glimmer of hope for survival.

During a night cloaked in darkness and studded with stars, Jassae reads the bone runes, conduits of ancient wisdom. As she holds the bleached fragments in her hands, a prophecy unfolds, foretelling the rise of a mighty chieftain. The giants believe she holds the key to securing the coveted chieftain's throne. The storm clouds of war gather, stirred by the revival of old grudges.

Jassae's survival depends on her ability to harness the power growing within her, a force capable of devouring her mind and soul. If she can leverage her gift to install her chosen master on the throne, she may reach her first century and achieve her destiny as a priestess of the Dark Goddess.

Yet, the path she walks is fraught with danger, and a misstep carries a terrible price: annihilation... and the end of her sorcerous bloodline.

Fate's Long Shadow takes place in a dark setting and is intended for adult readers. Read it as a standalone or as part of a trilogy of interwoven stories.

  • Publication date (original): February 23, 2022
  • Language: English
  • Binding: Hardcover, dust jacket, and two color images
  • Print length: 439 pages

Read a sample.

White smoke writhed into the Yatani’s sacred niche. I inched back from the opening, my feet crushing tiny effigies shaped in beeswax, forms of their ancestors and gods. Offerings of berries and flowers squelched between my toes, their fragrance entwining with acrid fumes. Birch bark tapers singed with iron brands twisted and twirled above me, each taper bearing the name of an ancestor. The Yatani claimed the cliff side niches were sacred, and my mother had not contradicted them. Veins of blackrock—kith, my mother called it—streaked its walls.

All that existed for me shone through the niche's entrance. My mother stood at the entrance, a dark shadow against the growing firelight of the burning village. Beyond her an even greater shadow loomed—a giant twice her height, a crazed, monstrous shape cutting through the smoke. The stars of the Bear and the Owl flickered above his head. Starting with the Bear, I recited the names of the stars I could see. Dalxtera no’Baronaste, then Xal, then Rel. I recited their names like a prayer to focus the mind, as my mother had taught me. The litany lulled me into a sleep-like trance.

The giant’s roar brought me back. I receded into the narrow fissure, pushing past cobwebs and the decaying straw screen the Yatani used to block off the deeper portion of the crevice where they believed the dead dwelt. I wanted to meld with the cave wall and, if I could, disappear forever with their dead. But the rock wouldn’t take me. Instead, it pressed against my thudding ribs, reminding me it wasn’t all a bad dream. The tapers crashed above me from the power of his breath, a frigid wind rattling my bones. He stomped the ground and my legs quaked.

But my mother stood as solid as the mountain above us.

The air cleared for a moment. The glow of a burning longhouse revealed the bulk of him and his grimacing, furious face. With his left hand, he held up a mass of writhing ropes. In his right, he shook a heavy maul. The ropes curled like vines about his thick forearm and massive hand. The vines gripped and squeezed so hard his fingers turned pale. They reminded me of the viper pit kept by the village shaman.

He roared and grunted and barked at her, but I didn’t know his words then. I wanted to understand him and the anger seething in his breast, but they sounded like the crashing of waves in a raging sea storm.

She raised her left hand and uttered what I guessed was a curse in his own tongue. From her lips, the words sounded smooth and sharp, like her dagger.

Enraged, he threw the coils of rope at her feet. His bushy hair shook in the orange haze as his terror-laced breath blasted us. Tears streamed down my face; my body shuddered. But my mother stood ready to fight, her fists at her sides. He pointed at the coils and roared his words. The power in them enthralled me, but I did not understand their purpose. And then I realized he wanted to take her captive. That he intended to bind her with the ropes. He was offering her a way out of an inevitable battle and death. The Dark Goddess's priestess, born of an ageless and powerful people, would not yield. Her pride would not allow her to be anyone’s thrall.

She unsheathed her kithaun dagger in a long arc, cutting a shadowed gash through the dense air. A swathe of blackest night and starlight trailed in its wake.

The giant’s eyes widened as a quavering chuckle escaped his lips. She meant to do battle with him. He looked up and muttered. Lightning rippled like veins across the cloudless sky. He laughed, surprised his god had answered, and raised his mallet. Lines of white light descended toward him, enveloping the iron head of his weapon with crackling power. The air hissed and sizzled like fat on a fire, and his thick arm quaked as divine power surged through him. Without warning—he moved faster than I expected—he swung at her. His hammer whiffed as my mother glided away. The battle had begun.


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