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Titel: The Dawn Star (Misted Cliffs, Book 3)
Einband: Soft cover
Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: With no teacher to guide her, no mentor to discourage her from the impossible, Mel Dawnfield pushed her magic to its limits - and surpasses any expectations. However, she finds that her powers aren't enough to halt burgeoning rebellion within her husband's fledgling realm - a plot devised to strike at the very heart of Mel's family. The lines have been drawn. Mel's mage strength has become greater than any power ever known in the settled lands, but dare she forge her spells into weapons - to protect her people, her husband? For her magic might transform the brutality of war into the birth pangs of a peaceful empire. unless it proves the deathblow to her world. Buchnummer des Verkäufers ABE_book_new_0373802382
Inhaltsangabe: With no teacher to guide her, no mentor to discourage her from the impossible, Mel Dawnfield pushed her magic to its limits ? and surpassed them. Only to find that her powers aren't enough to halt burgeoning rebellion within her husband's fledgling realm ? or a plot devised to strike at the very heart of Mel's family.
The lines have been drawn.
Mel's mage strength has become greater than any power ever known, but dare she forge her spells into weapons to protect her people, her husband? For her magic might transform the brutality of war into the birth pangs of a peaceful empire…unless it proves the death blow to her world.
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Drummer was in trouble. Again.
He had strolled into town earlier today, his clothes covered with dust and his frayed pouch slung over his shoulder. His glittar was packed in his good travel bag, carefully protected by layers of soft cloth.
He soon found the town's inn. In many towns, such inns also served as gathering halls where townspeople could enjoy shows by traveling theater groups, acrobats, dance troupes ? and minstrels.
Drummer smiled. Especially minstrels.
That night, he played in the inn's common hall, on a platform at one end of the room. As he warmed up with his glittar, a few patrons glanced his way, but no one showed much interest. When he launched into a medley of Aronsdale folk songs, some people moved closer to the stage. Several fellows asked him to sing love songs for their ladies, which he obliged.
Within an hour, people had filled the room. Drummer could feel their moods. Glancing at a wooden cube that adorned a post by the door, he concentrated on its shape. It allowed him to create a mood spell that gave his love of his music to his listeners. It was a minor spell, of course; he had never done any of consequence. But it heightened his joy in singing to offer his pleasure to his audience.
The customers seemed to enjoy his singing and his music. The longer they stayed in the common room, buying food and drink, the more the innkeeper beamed. He kept Drummer supplied with ale. The townspeople didn't have many hexa-coins, but they left Drummer other things ? breads and beads and a fine leather pouch. All in all, it was a good night.
He was singing the "Crystal Maker's Lament" when a fiery-haired girl arrived with some other young people. As she glided to a table with her friends, Drummer glided over the high notes of his song:
My heart shatters as easily,
As these vases drawn of crystal, Don't leave me even teasingly, I live only as your minstrel.
He sang the last line to the fiery girl. One of the young men in her group frowned, a big fellow in the homespun garb of a farmer.
Drummer waited until the farmer got his dinner and was focused on wolfing it down. Then Drummer sang a ballad to the girl. He drew out the dulcet notes for her, until her pretty cheeks turned the same color as her tousled curls. The big fellow noticed, though, and started looking irritated again, so Drummer switched his attentions to three matrons, who clucked and chuckled at his song. When they left, they set a hefty meat pie on the stage for him. He grinned and they laughed, waving as they made their way out of the inn.
It was growing late, and Drummer didn't want to strain his voice. He rarely had trouble hitting even the highest notes, but they were the first to go when he tired. He finished his song and bade his audience a pleasant night amid calls of appreciation. As he left the stage, he winked at the fiery girl.
Drummer was upstairs, headed for his room, when a sweet voice called from a recessed doorway. "Gentle sir, you do surely sing like an angel."
He peered at the girl in the shadows, wondering if this was a trick to rob him. He was carrying his glittar, his most expensive possession, and he had his take for the night slung over his shoulder in his new pouch.
"And who might you be," he asked, "so shy and sugar-voiced?"
The fiery girl stepped forward, her blush as becoming now as it had been downstairs. "My name is Skybell, handsome sir."
Handsome, eh? His thoughts softened as he ambled over to her. "Dear Skybell," he murmured. "Why are you hiding up here?" He couldn't resist teasing her. "Do you plan to knock me over the head and steal my possessions?" It wouldn't be the first time it had happened to him. However, he had learned to judge such matters, and he suspected the only thing on her mind was far sweeter than thievery. Smiling lazily, he added, "Or perhaps your nefarious cohorts lurk nearby, waiting to do me in."
"Oh! Never." She was aghast. "I would never do such." Drummer ran his fingers over the strings of his harp, evoking a sensuous ripple of notes. "How can I be sure?"
Her shy smile dimpled her face. "You play with me, sir." He quit strumming and traced the tip of his finger down her cheek. "Such a vision, with cheeks like blossoms and lips that surely men sing of everywhere. Are you playing with my poor, helpless heart, only to break it tomorrow?"
Her eyes widened. "I would never hurt you, truly." She touched a curl of hair that had fallen into his eyes. "You have nice hair. The color is like corn kernels."
"It's to match your skybell eyes." He wasn't much more than her height, so he didn't have to bend his head far to brush his lips across hers.
"Oh." Her mouth opened like a small O.
He smiled, charmed. "Has no man kissed you before? Surely every fellow in town must be wooing you."
"Only you have been so bold." Tentative, she touched his cheek. "You looked so beautiful singing tonight."
He thought of the glowering farmer. "Your young man didn't think so."
"The big farmer with the straw hat."
"Plowman?" Her laugh rippled. "He's not my young man."
"No?" Drummer slid his arm around her waist and pulled her well-curved body against his. "You aren't spoken for?"
"Never." She sounded breathless.
"Then I am a lucky man." He held her close as he kissed her again. A thought in the back of his mind warned that such a pretty girl would be this inexperienced only if she was barely out of childhood, which would make her too young for him. But she was warm and sweet, her body supple against his. Surely it was no harm if he dallied just a little ?
Someone yanked Drummer away from the girl and slammed him against the wall. He found himself staring up, and up, at the man Skybell had called Plowman. The farmer swung a gnarled fist, and Drummer barely ducked in time.
"Hey!" Drummer slipped out of the man's grip and backed down the hallway, raising his hands to placate the giant.
"Stop it!" Skybell cried from beyond Plowman.
The farmhand lumbered after Drummer. Muscles rippled under his worn shirt, and his footsteps thudded on the wooden floor.
Drummer kept backing up. "Listen, I'm sorry. But she can choose who she wants."
Plowman lunged at him, and Drummer dodged out of the way. He held tight to his glittar, more concerned about protecting it than himself.
"Stay put!" Plowman roared. "Fight like a man."
"Why?" Drummer frowned at him. "She doesn't want you. What good will fighting do?"
" Want me?" For some reason, that enraged Plowman even more. He strode forward, and Drummer backed right into a wall.
"Stop this right now!" Skybell had somehow got herself in front of Plowman. "Honestly, Plow, behave yourself."
"I saw him kissing you," he snarled. "You don't even know him at all. No one dishonors my little sister."
Drummer groaned. Irate brothers were worse than rejected suitors. In earlier days, he might have reacted the same way on his sister's behalf, except she was eight years older and had bedeviled him no end in their childhood ? until the day she had wed a prince. He wondered what Plowman would say if Drummer announced that his sister was queen of the country Harsdown and that her daughter had married the notorious despot, Cobalt the Dark. Probably Plowman would pound him into the ground for telling tales.
Drummer spoke in a conciliatory voice. "I have the greatest respect for your sister. I would never dishonor her fine name." He wanted to add, She has a right to choose her men. Women did all the time here in the country of Aronsdale. Staring up at the massive Plowman, though, he kept his mouth shut.
Skybell gently grasped her brother's arm. "We should get home before father starts to worry."
"I'm not done with this puny songster," Plowman grumbled.
"You can finish tomorrow," she offered. "I can?" He seemed confused.
"You can," she assured him. Drummer wished she didn't sound so earnest. But she was buying him time to get out of town.
Plowman glowered and rumbled a bit more, but Skybell soon had him on his way. Unfortunately, that meant she went, too. She glanced at Drummer with a look of apology so sincere he wanted to embrace her. He wanted to live even more, though, so he stayed put. He offered Skybell his most regretful look until Plowman shot him another hard, angry glare.
Within moments, brother and sister were gone. Drummer exhaled, relieved he hadn't been pummeled. He wasn't safe yet, though.
It didn't take long to pack his belongings and settle his bill at the inn. He hated to leave so soon; the audience here had been generous. But he couldn't sing if Plowman flattened him.
Drummer was soon on his way, sneaking out of town in the middle of the night.
Cobalt Escar stood alone. He had sought refuge on a walkway of an onion tower in the Alzire Palace. His palace. It had become his when he conquered this country of Shazire. He had done it for his father, Varqelle Escar. But Varqelle lay in his grave, killed a year ago in battle. The conqueror had been conquered, and he had left his son to rule in his stead.
Cobalt's hair blew across his face and shadowed him from the streaming sunlight. Far below, succulent grasses carpeted the hills and waterways sparkled. Wildflowers grew everywhere, swirls of color in blurs of pink, gold and blue. Spring filled the world with a profusion of life, and it was too much. He had spent most of his life in the spare, utilitarian Castle of Clouds high in the cliffs of his home, where just growing enough crops to feed the staff and animals was a challenge. The wealth of life here mocked his lingering grief. Today, on the anniversary of his father's death, the memories were poignant.
A door opened behind him. He turned as a woman came through the archway. She was a lovely vision with yellow hair, blue eyes and an angelic face. Cobalt wasn't fooled. As a sword fighter, she trained with his best men; as a woman, she could be dulcet one moment and tart the next. People called him Cobalt the Dark, the Midnight Prince, but she was the one he found formidable.
"Greetings of the morning," Mel said.
Cobalt grunted. Then he pulled her over and kissed her. He had to bend down. Although Mel was a tall woman, she didn't reach his shoulders. Her body had slender curves, ample in the right places and narrow at the waist. He tightened his embrace. She was pushing his shoulders, though, and he thought she was laughing. Laughing! Irate, he glared at her.
Her lips curved in the smile that could turn his hardened warriors into clay of the type found on the riverbank after a heavy rain. He was immune to it, of course.
"I'm glad to see you, too," Mel said.
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