Heir of Faxinor [Faxinor Chronicles Book 1]
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by Michelle Levigne
Description: When Andrixine falls ill and spends the winter recovering in Snowy Mount, a community of holy folk, scholars and healers, she never dreams it will be the first step of an adventure that will change her life. But her illness came from a murder attempt, and the same enemy tries to kill her traveling party on the way home. When she seeks a weapon to rescue her mother, she is chosen by the mystical Spirit Sword to lead in the defense of her country, Reshor, against its ancient enemy. First, she must rescue her mother and uproot treachery from within her own castle and family. The friends she gathers along the way become her closest allies and supporters--and she is surprised when friendship with a young warrior turns into something more.
eBook Publisher: Hard Shell Word Factory, 2005
eBookwise Release Date: May 2005
44 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [347 KB]
Reading time: 230-322 min.
"A beautiful medieval tale rich with description of that time period, Ms. Levigne transports you through time so you can travel with Alixine on her quests to save her mother, on to the bloody battle fields of war, all the while fighting her attraction to Kalsan. From betrayal and lies, to treachery and romance, this epic adventure has it all. 5 cups"--Wateena, Coffee Time Romance
"Heir of Faxinor is a beautifully written fantasy that has brought to life not only wonderful characters but a world deep in mystery, devotion and most importantly love. Rhae, Fantasy Romance Writers - A Romance Designs Community Website
"Heir of Faxinor is a very compelling, fast-paced story. It has that touch of the legend of King Arthur that drew me in and held me captive until the final word. This is the first in a series about Faxinor, so I am eagerly awaiting the continuation."--Tracy Farnsworth, Round Table Reviews
"I highly recommend this novel to lovers of fantasy and eagerly await the sequel that is planned for this book."--Kathy Rapp, Millennium SF&F
"Heir of Faxinor is a straight-line neo-Celtic fantasy-romance on Christian themes. The plot is single-threaded and unidirectional, so the reader is not asked to work at sorting out people and events, nor is there much suspense at the outcomes ... Heir of Faxinor is an entertaining read, great for an evening's escapism."--Linnea, Writerspace.com
"GLAD TO BE heading home?" Jultar asked. The white-haired warlord smiled at his apprentice and arched his back. "Or is it just my old bones soaking in the sun for a change?"
"Glad and soaking, sir," Kalsan answered with laughter thickening his voice.
The band of warriors rode their horses two-by-two across the spring-green Kandrigori Plain. Sunshine soaked through thin shirts, warming muscles made tight by a cold winter navigating the mountain range between Sendorland and Reshor. Ten warrior spies were few against the soldiers patrolling the barrier between two unfriendly countries, yet small enough to avoid notice and to find crucial information which ambassadors and envoys missed.
Kalsan frowned despite the luxurious warmth. The two years of spying had been harsh, and he had earned his warrior status ten times over. Soon he would trade his green apprentice cord for the red of an Oathbound warrior in Yomnian's holy service. He welcomed spring, delighted to return home to Reshor—but knowing war approached took the sparkle from the sunshine.
Jultar of Rayeen, the toughest, most cunning of King Rafnar's warlords, had been chosen to lead the spying party. Kalsan of Hestrin, with no hope of ever inheriting the Hestrin estates, had chosen to train as a warrior late in his teens, and he was lucky to have Jultar choose him as his apprentice. He was proud to serve his king and country. However, the news of impending war, which their band carried, dampened his joy. All winter he had warmed himself with memories of the pretty girls he had met on the journey to the mountains. Knowing war approached pushed thoughts of stolen kisses and dancing in village squares far to the back of his mind.
"It's for King Rafnar to handle now," Jultar said, leaning closer to his apprentice so his long, white braids bound with silver and red cord swung in the breeze. He reached out and tugged on Kalsan's thin dark braid. "You've earned these and the right to be named full warrior at solstice. A warrior knows when to carry his burden without stinting and when to lay it down. Lay it down, boy. Rafnar can handle the burden, and Yomnian is able to bear all. Trust Yomnian if you cannot trust the king."
"Yes, sir." Kalsan grinned, knowing his master called him "boy" to tease him. He was twenty-seven and taller than half the seasoned warriors riding behind him. Kalsan reached down and stroked the scabbard of his sword. He was a warrior.
Maybe not an Oathbound warrior like Jultar's band, but someday. Kalsan read the holy writ and prayed and tried to live in physical and mental purity. Two winters of privation had been good training, teaching him discipline and just how much he could live without. Yet he wondered if he would ever attain the spiritual depth to hear Yomnian's call on his life.
What should he become when he took his vows? Simply a warrior, ready to ride out at the king's call? Or a warrior scholar? Or a warrior priest? Could he put Yomnian and Reshor ahead of his dreams of adventure and glory? Perhaps he didn't want to reach the capital because then he would have to choose, and Kalsan had no idea what to choose.
Visions of the girls he had danced with and kissed haunted him during his morning prayers. Visions of a faceless, slim maiden carrying a burning sword haunted his sleep. Was that Yomnian's call, or one of those strange metaphors that only a seer or Renunciate scholar could interpret?
Kalsan shook those troubling thoughts from his mind, even if only temporarily. He glanced over his shoulder, taking in the reassuring, familiar sight of the war band: browned by the elements; dressed in leathers and rough cloth; each man armed, in good health and riding their horses as if man and beast were one.
Behind them lay the mountains, ahead lay the Blue Shadows Forest. They would skirt Snowy Mount with its seers, healers and scholars. They might pause a day to catch up on gossip and get a feel for the thoughts and emotions of the common people before starting down the long spider web of trade roads. Two weeks of hard, fast travel eastward on the King's Highway would take them to King Rafnar in Cereston. Then, Kalsan knew with relief sparkling in his gray eyes—then he could lay down his burden.
* * *
"MY HAIR IS turning red." Andrixine began to laugh, but the rasping in her voice killed her humor. She tossed the long, sun-brightened brown braid over her shoulder and swallowed hard, daring her throat to keep hurting.
Brother Klee had warned her the fever damage to her voice might never fully leave. She hadn't minded that she would never be able to sing because she had never been musically inclined. Laughing was a different matter. Now it was gone, stolen by the threads of pain that ran through her chest and around her throat when she tried to laugh.
Andrixine swallowed hard, feeling the ache become a tight knot through her body. The glorious sunshine and the colors of springtime in Blue Shadows Forest faded. The joy of wearing trousers again and riding her blood bay stallion, Grennel, did not pulse as warmly as a moment before.
Winter had passed in the struggle to regain her health and strength. Andrixine had thrived on the strict exercises and spiritual training Brother Klee imposed on her.
After praying and struggling to think logically, Andrixine knew the healers at Snowy Mount were right; she had been poisoned. But what should she do? Would the enemy continue to strike at her, or someone else in her family? How could she protect them?
"Keep silent," Brother Klee had counseled. "Pretend you suspect nothing and use the confidence of your enemies as your shield and their trap. Gather evidence they cannot deny."
"I will find out, and they will pay," she whispered. Andrixine knew it was petty, but she vowed to enjoy punishing the ones who had taken her laughter.
"Did you say something, dear?" her mother called, leaning out of the canopied wagon. She held four-year-old Alysyn on her lap. The little girl giggled and swatted at Grennel's tail, so conveniently swaying within her grasp.
"Nothing, Mother. Talking to myself."
"Eager to get home?" Lady Arriena Faxinor brushed a pale blue scarf aside, revealing the elaborate braids woven into her golden hair.
"Not half as much as you are." Self-consciously, Andrixine adjusted the single braid hanging down her back to her saddle. Her lack of head covering told the world she was unmarried. Her thin, silver-wrapped warrior braids could not halt the social assault that signal provoked.
Copyright © 2005 Michelle L. Levigne