While Reiv, Dayn, and Tyym navigate a web of conspiracy and doubt, Dayn’s sister Alicine struggles with loss and the impending threat of invasion. The king of Tearia has not abandoned his quest to slay them, and his seemingly unstoppable army is nearly through the pass. But when Tyym enters the scene, hope is rekindled. Even Alicine cannot deny the charisma of the mysterious warrior who has wormed his way into their lives, and into her heart.
The game is in play. A traitor is in their midst. Can the souls of Aredyrah hope to defeat a monster disguised as a king? Or will they succumb to a darkness beyond their understanding?
Suddenly a primal scream sounded around them. Dayn jumped to his feet as a band of savage, leather-clad warriors exploded into their midst. Reiv rose at his back, staying close.
Dayn whipped his knife from its sheath. “Stay back,” he commanded.
The warriors halted and glared at Dayn, their arrows notched and spears aimed. Dayn glared in return, and it was then that he realized their eyes were outlined in kohl, similar to that the Shell Seekers wore, only these designs trailed downward from their eyes and along the sides of their noses. Several of the warriors hissed and bared their teeth, making them seem more feral than human. Cat people!
One of the warriors, the leader by the looks of him, took a bold step toward him. He scanned Dayn up and down.
“Stay back,” Dayn said.
Without warning, Reiv was grabbed by a group of warriors. Dayn noticed more had surrounded them from the rear. He reached out for Reiv, but his cousin was already being shoved toward the leader. Dayn gripped his knife. Though he knew he had no hope of winning, if they dared harm Reiv, he would make them regret it.
But then something happened that Dayn had not expected. The moment Reiv was made to face the leader, the man grew strangely alarmed. He reached out slowly and pushed back Reiv’s hood. “R’uachi,” he whispered. The men lowered their weapons, muttering, then grew silent.
Dayn stood still. None of the warriors moved or made a sound. It was as if they were looking at something frightening, or perhaps wonderful. The fire crackled, accentuating the uneasy silence of the campsite.
“Reiv,” Dayn said quietly.
Reiv glanced at him, and from the expression on his face, he was as mystified as Dayn was. “Do you know me?” Reiv asked the leader.
“R’uachi,” the man said.
“What’s he saying?” Dayn asked.
Reiv furrowed his brow. “I do not know. But it sounds like—”
“Ruairi,” Dayn said, realizing. “It sounds like Ruairi.”
The leader motioned to one of the warriors standing close by. The warrior, a young man with hair and skin much lighter than that of the others, spoke to the leader in a tongue Dayn did not understand.
The young man then addressed Reiv. “I am Tyym,” he said. “I know your l’ajue, your language. My chief, Gahiji, asks me to speak to you. To answer.”
“What is R’uachi?” Reiv asked.
“You are,” Tyym replied. “If so proven.”
“Then what, or who, would that make me?”
Dayn leaned closer to Reiv. “This is going nowhere.”
Gahiji glowered at Dayn, or more specifically Dayn’s close proximity to Reiv. He barked an order to Tyym.
Tyym aimed his eyes at Dayn. “My chief says he will kill you if you touch the R’uachi.”
“The R’uachi?” Reiv interrupted. “So it is a title, then?”
“They are one and the same, are they not?” Tyym said.
“Perhaps, but you have yet to explain their meaning.”
“R’uachi, the R’uachi, will unite us to the One.”
“The one what?” Dayn asked.
“That place where all worlds are united.”
“How many worlds are there?”
“That is the question you take from this?” Reiv said.
The chief growled at Dayn, then hissed another command to Tyym. Tyym turned to Dayn. “He says I am to answer only to the R’uachi. You, white-hair, are to remain silent.”
Dayn sputtered with indignation, but Reiv put a commanding hand on his arm. This did not go unnoticed by the leader who aimed another hostile glare at Dayn. “If I am R’uachi,” Reiv said, redirecting the leader’s attention, “what do you wish from me?”
Tyym interpreted the question for the chief, who responded in his native tongue. “Gahiji says that if you are R’uachi, the only question is, what do you wish from us.”
Reiv shook his head. “I wish nothing.”
“N’ho d’Taubastet,” Tyym said to the chief.
The chief scowled, openly displeased by the answer. He barked an order to Tyym, then to his men, who immediately closed in.
“What’s happening?” Dayn asked.
“Gahiji says the red-hair must have t’sei, a test,” Tyym answered. “To determine his truth.”
“A test?” Dayn cried. A spear prodded him in the back, making him jump.
“As I said, white-hair,” Tyym said. “Silence from you.”
The chief swung around and marched into the woods, his men following with Reiv and Dayn thoroughly trapped in their midst.
“Gitta!” Reiv called, reaching a hand toward the horse.
“No fear,” Tyym assured him. “She will be tended during the t’sei.”
“And if I fail the t’sei?”
Tyym shrugged. “Then my chief will have a horse. And you will be dead.”
Meet the Author
Tracy A. Akers is a former language arts teacher and an award-winning author. She grew up in Arlington, Texas, but currently lives in Florida with her husband, three naughty pugs, and a feisty chihuahua. She graduated with honors from the University of South Florida with a degree in Education, and has taught in both public and private schools. She currently divides her time between writing, lecturing, spending time with her family, and costuming at fantasy and science fiction conventions.
Ms. Akers has won numerous awards for her Souls of Aredyrah fantasy series for young adults. As a Florida Book Awards winner, she was acknowledged for her contribution to YA literature by the Governor of Florida during the 2008 Florida Heritage Month Awards Ceremony. Books One and Two of the Aredyrah Series are included in the Florida Department of Education’s 2008 Just Read Families Recommended Summer Reading List. In addition, Ms. Akers has been an invited guest author at major book events and writers’ conferences, a panelist at fantasy and science fiction conventions, and was on the steering committee for Celebration of the Story, a literary event held at Saint Leo University.
The Souls of Aredyrah Series is Ms. Akers’ first series of novels for young adults.
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