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The Last Faoii

By TahaniNelson All Rights Reserved ©

Adventure / Fantasy

Blurb

The faoii have protected Clearwall for generations. With militaristic order and stalwart discipline, these women have reigned in unopposed prosperity. But when the faoii are attacked by the long-vanished croeli, an ostracized nation seeking to reclaim their former glory, only young Kaiya-faoii is left alive. Forced to cope without the long-standing traditions of her Order, Kaiya travels the country in a mission to avenge her sisters and preserve what is left of her heritage. The search brings her not only to dark discoveries and ancient family secrets, but to something she never wanted or dreamed of-- an estranged brother. Fighting against an uncle that has kept them apart their entire lives and forced into a war at the heart of a broken empire, the siblings must evaluate the true meanings of enemy, betrayal and freedom--and the grey areas surrounding each. Coming out in 2017! Pre-order your copy at inkshares.com/books/the-last-faoii

Excerpt 1 (Fight Scene)

“Get your shields up! Watch for arrows from the windows!” Kaiya’s barking orders pierced the hall. She grabbed a longbow from the wall nearby and drew a bead on their attacker. An arrow from the east caught him first and he toppled off the roof. Kaiya grinned. At least some of her archers had made it to their positions.

“How long have they been watching us?” someone growled.

“Probably weeks.” The whisper that drifted back was dark and cool. “There must have been a miscommunication. I bet those girls in Silentbell weren’t supposed to die so soon. We shouldn’t have gotten a warning.”

“That little girl saved our lives.” Kaiya grimaced as she let loose an arrow through another window.

I saw them. Those shadows on the roof across the street. I saw them. And didn’t do a damned thing. It hurt to know that the croeli posted next to her bedroom had been sent to kill her specifically. If their attack had started even a little earlier, they would have killed me in my sleep. And that little girl would still be alive. Kaiya shook the thought away, trying to expel a raw pain that was beginning to draw between her eyebrows. A bronze bell sounded in her ears. It faded more slowly this time. With a scowl, Kaiya released another arrow just as the windows darkened.

A dozen forms blocked the moonlight, crouching in the now-splintered frames. Their ghostly silhouettes were greeted with the chilling battle cry of a faoii army. The shadows showed no fear and offered no response except for releasing a dozen small, steel balls that tumbled from their hands. The room exploded into blue smoke as the canisters hit the floorboards.

In the sudden confusion and safety of the smoke, the ghostly croelileapt silently into the room. But the faoii army held their ranks, blinking the inky blackness from their eyes. As the croeli broke through the mist and reached the formations, they were cut down quickly. And they never even released a scream.

Kaiya chest swelled with pride as her army held the lines despite the disconcerting smog that broke up shapes and sounds. She urged them on and yelled in their shared triumph with every darting shape brought low. Her blade was slick with oozing gore and bodies littered the floor at her feet. The battle cries of her soldiers filled the air.

But the dark shapes from the windows continued to block out the moonlight in a constant stream, and the faoii formations began to break with the enemy’s swift, continuous attacks. Obviously trained for the smoky conditions, the croeli darted unceasingly from the fog to strike before ducking back into obscurity. While their blades mostly only connected with the interlocking shields of the faoii forces, the close quarters of the warehouse made traditional shieldmates ineffective. The line began to falter.

Kaiya spun as a shape darted to her right. She spun again as it came from the left. Trying to keep her back away from the increasingly frightful foes, Kaiya turned, again and again, making her way to the nearest wall. Finally, she saw a clear silhouette and struck out with her yantoii. Its blade caught him cleanly through the middle and came away coated in crimson blood. But too late did she see the second black shape dart from the side. A burning agony sprouted from her ribcage. She twisted towards this new assailant, but a third shadow sprang from the smoke again. Her leg buckled as his kiukli drove into her calf.

Kaiya landed heavily on one knee, still lashing out into the darkness with her flashing blade. They were easier to see now.

“Keep your formation! The smoke is clearing!” Her stout command came out with more strength than she felt she had. But there was the sudden sound of wooden and bronze shields locking into place. She grinned through her pain. These were faoii.

A croeli darted past her to the right, sprinting towards the battle lines. Kaiya lunged from her kneeling position and caught him in the small of the back. He fell heavily and Kaiya’s smile was dark and terrifying as his blood pooled around his still-twitching limbs. Her victory was short-lived, however, as the punctured muscles beneath her ribs shifted, and her vision became only black splotches on a red background. The room wheeled and the blood-splattered floor rose up to meet her.

She fought to regain momentum. To open her eyes enough to see the ongoing fight. It felt like hours passed before she managed, and in her pain, the forms before her began to shift and change. Figures formed and dissipated in the darkness. She shuddered.

Eyeless, chained warriors with broken, detached movements threw themselves against the flowing swords of golden angels. Even with their bound and bloodied limbs, however, their blades tore the angels down with a brutal efficiency.

But her soldiers were still in formation.

Author’s Note: Like this story? Want to get your copy? It’s being published later this year! You can see more excerpts, read reviews, see concept art and pre-order your copy by going to inkshares.com/books/the-last-faoii

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