Whew! It’s hard to believe that the re-release of Mistress of the Wind, the first book of my Arucadi series of fantasy novels, is now less than three weeks away. I’m excited to begin the reissuing of my Arucadi novels.
I want to take this opportunity to introduce you to Kyla Cren, the protagonist of Mistress of the Wind. Kyla is the windspeaker for the village of Waddams in Noster Valley, a secluded area of the large country of Arucadi. What, you may ask, is a windspeaker?
A windspeaker is a woman who understands the speech of the wind, sings to the wind, and from it gathers news for her village, news of the weather, of events of which the wind takes note as it passes through the valley, of possible dangers to the village and its people. Unlike other people, a windspeaker sees the wind; its colors signifying its mood.
Kyla is only seventeen years of age, and has just recently been employed by the village of Waddams, where she’d grown up. Her father had been a scribe and her mother an herbalist before both parents fell victims to the dread mindstealers, creatures who steal their victims’ minds. Thus orphaned at age twelve, Kyla had been apprenticed to the windspeaker of a neighboring village but has returned to Waddams on completing her apprenticeship. She is an exceptionally skilled windspeaker, despite being undervalued by the village elders due to her young age.
Here is an excerpt that shows Kyla at work. The villagers are frightened when a sudden wind and rain storm threatens their crops and have sent Kyla to the hill where she does her wind speaking to learn the extent of the danger from the storm:
As she hurried toward the hill, Kyla 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 seemed eager to boost her over rocks and shorten the long climb. She had soon climbed high enough to see not only Waddams but also much of Noster Valley spread out below.
She observed 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 grain. No wonder people were so frightened. Blind to the wind’s color, deaf to its voice, they were terrified of its destructive power.
She turned her back on them and sang, a wordless crooning that mimicked the whistle of the wind. Her long hair streamed behind her; she felt it whipping and rippling like a banner. The wind and rain plastered her clothes to her body. “Take out your energy on me,” she cried out. “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 with arms outspread, letting the wind pummel her. Its power surged through her; its voice roared in her ears. Suddenly it lifted her, not just enough to put a cushion of air between her body and the ground, as it had often done in the past, but 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 changed to joy as the wind rocked and twisted her.
She laughed aloud. The wind caught away the sound of her laughter, spun her around, then softly, gently floated her down and eased her onto the grassy hilltop. “That’s as wild a ride as I can stand,” she gasped, when she could speak. “No wonder I was taught never to ride a storm wind.”
The storm was over: The rain had ended; the dark clouds were drifting away, carrying with them all sense of urgency. The wind’s color softened to light rose. Its soothing whispers lulled her into a dream-state, so that she forgot the need for haste.
Yes, that storm was over, but Kyla will soon be buffeted by storms of another kind, ones that will take her far from her small village and into dangers she never anticipated having to face.
Watch for the appearance of Mistress of the Wind in its lovely new cover. It should become available on January 15, 2019.
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