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A Dark Sacrifice by Madeline Howard

By Madeline Howard

Greater than a century has handed because the effective fight among the wizards and the mages resulted in their mutual destruction, and greater than 40 years because the Empress Ouriána grew to become the Divine Incarnation of the Devouring Moon. Appointing twelve lethal sorcerers as her monks, she ideas the land in darkness endless. but there's a small probability for desire, if one foreordained princess can continue to exist. yet she has vanished in the back of enemy traces, or even a courageous band of heroes is probably not in a position to succeed in her in time. For Ouriána's darkish reign has woken the traditional terrors of legend, and their vengeance can be speedy and all-consuming. . . .

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But as the morning was already well advanced, he shrugged off these speculations as fruitless, shoved some small items into the capacious pockets of his tattered robe, and left the room. First locking the door behind him, he descended, by way of a rickety staircase, six long flights to the street below. On every landing, armies of cockroaches scattered at the sound of his footsteps. Once outside, he set off at his usual ambling pace for the marketplace, where he spent the better part of each day juggling balls, performing minor tricks of conjuring, and (when circumstances favored him) scribbling the occasional horoscope on scraps of paper.

She was so beautiful and good, what did it matter to me who or what she had been before? If I hadn’t already two sons, perhaps my jarls and thanes would have protested more vigorously when I announced I would marry her. ” Sindérian nodded thoughtfully, remembering Luenil as she had been at seventeen: bitter, sorrowful, defiant—reckless of her own safety. It was pleasant to have seen her as she was now, in comely, prosperous, graceful middle age. This one time the Fates had been kind. L eaving the mixed forest of the lower slopes for the cliffs and gorges, the woods of pine, spruce, and fir farther up the mountain, was like riding from summer through winter’s door.

One of the specters lifted a withered hand, and a spiderweb of purple lightning flashed across the sky. The concussion that followed shook the wall under Kivik’s feet, knocking him over; others, not so lucky, were thrown from the ramparts. He could hear them screaming all the way down. Then a section of the fortifications close to the gate began to sway. Those who could flung themselves to safety where the ramparts stood firm; those who could not sent up a wail. Bits of mortar and fragments of flying stone went racketing and tumbling as the wall that had never been breached in a thousand years crashed down, taking more than a hundred men with it.

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