My newest fantasy novel, Mistress of the Wind, is the true beginning of the Arucadi series, Arucadi being the name of the large continent-nation where the stories take place. My YA novels A School for Sorcery, A Perilous Power, When the Beast Ravens, and Bryte’s Ascent are part of that series. Mistress of the Wind and its sequel, Bringers of Magic, which will be published later this year, are not YA, though they may be classified as New Adult (a new publishing category referring to books written for ages 18-24), but is really intended for readers of any age.
Windspeaker Kyla Cren gathers news from the wind and passes on to her village its warnings about mindstealers, creatures that rob human minds, leaving their victims insensible and helpless. Because Kyla’s parents were victims of mindstealers, the desire for revenge consumes her. The mage Alair has a scheme to destroy the mindstealers, and wants Kyla’s help in carrying it out, but it is dangerous and could be fatal to them both. To persuade her he entrusts to her care a being named Claid, who seems to be a child but is not. Because of Claid, Kyla faces harrowing experiences that endanger her life, but will they be enough to bring her to participate in Alair’s deadly plan?
Here is an excerpt from the novel’s second chapter:
The wind pushed at Kyla’s back, hurrying her along. The Townmaster waited at his front door. “Your report said nothing of a storm today,” he said without inviting her inside. “How bad will this storm be? Are the crops in danger?”
“I don’t know,” she admitted. “The wind told me nothing about a coming storm.”
“What good is a windspeaker who can’t predict the day’s weather? You must windspeak again and find out what’s happening. At once.”
“It’s late, Townmaster. I won’t have much time—”
“Then don’t stand here wasting it! Do what you’re hired for.”
Kyla’s temper flared. “I’ll go, but I won’t be treated like a slave. I expect no more talk of reducing my rations.”
“We’ll discuss that when you return with news.” He stepped back and slammed the door in her face. She guessed that he had gone to watch from behind the curtains of his front window to be sure she left.
She was tempted not to, but the villagers would face a hard winter if the storm damaged or flooded the crops this close to harvest.
No time to go back for her windspeaking smock. The climb up Rial Hill in the rain would take over half an hour, and she’d then have only about an hour before nightfall. She considered whether she should sing the wind right here in town, but decided against it. She could better get the answers she and the village needed by meeting the wind at the usual place.
As she hurried toward the hill, she noted that the wind’s color had softened—a good sign. The wind was flinging leaves and debris into the air in a show of ferocity, but its violet hue signaled a mood more playful than malign.
It eagerly boosted her over rocks, and she had soon climbed high enough to see not only Waddams but also much of Noster Valley spread out below. She saw the frightened villagers hurrying home early from their fields and herding cows into the barns.
The wind was creating a spectacle. Pounding squalls tore at the trees, pushed the Damin River over its banks, and thrashed the tender stalks of ripening grain in the fields below. No wonder people were frightened. Blind to the wind’s color, deaf to its voice, they were terrified of its destructive power.
Time to sing. Her wordless crooning mimicked the whistle of the wind. Her long hair whipped about, rippling like a banner. The wind and rain plastered her clothes to her body. Impulsively she stripped off the wet clothes and stood naked, arms open to the wind.
The wind poured over her, nuzzled her breasts and caressed her waist, thrust its tendrils between her thighs, wrapped itself around her bare legs.
“What a lecher you are,” she cried. “You come drunk and lusty from your plunge over Nine Falls. Take out your energy on me, and spare the poor village.”
The wind reddened. It tore at her, bit at her face, tangled her hair, swirled around her body. She stood firm, legs apart and arms outspread, letting the wind’s power surge through her. Its voice roared in her ears.
It lifted her, not just enough to put a cushion of air between her body and the ground, as it sometimes did. This time it raised her high, high above the hilltop. As if she were a leaf, it carried her through and above the dark thunderclouds, where the sun shone and the air was dry and cold and thin. Terrified at first, her fear slowly changed to ecstasy as the wind rocked and twisted her in orgasmic abandon. She laughed aloud. The foolish villagers worried that she’d give herself to a man and lose her windspeaking ability. What human lover could give her an experience to equal this?
The wind spun her around in a sensual dance, then softly, gently floated her downward, easing her onto the hilltop. “That’s as wild a ride as I can stand,” she gasped. “No wonder I was taught never to ride a storm wind.” She lay on her back and let the wind lave her with warm breezes tender as a lover’s tongue.
The storm was over, the rain ended. The dark clouds drifted away. The wind’s color softened to light rose. Its soothing whispers lulled her into a dream state, so that she almost forgot the need that had brought her here.
At ease, she listened as the chatty wind told of its day’s travels. In brash bursts it reenacted its plunge over Nine Falls, roaring, racing, tumbling, and bouncing like a child at play. From Nine Falls it swept through Martyr’s Pass. With soughs and sighs it portrayed what it had seen in the rocky channel before it swept down on the valley in frenzied storm.
She jerked upright, startling the wind into pale yellow eddies. “Mindstealers!” Her voice sliced through the swirls. “Mindstealers in Martyr’s Pass!”
The wind howled and tugged at her. She wouldn’t be calmed. “When? How many?”
Its puffs and wheezes conveyed the answer. Two mindstealers prowled through Martyr’s Pass. They’d stay there to trap unwary travelers until their grisly purpose was accomplished.
Only two. In the narrow, winding pass two would be enough for a successful ambush. That could work both ways. She could take them, one at a time, by setting up an ambush of her own at the entrance to the pass.
At last! The opportunity she’d dreamed of.
A Giveaway of copies of Mistress of the Wind is currently underway in Goodreads. Go there now to participate in the drawing to win a copy of the novel.