About the Book
Six years after the events in Present Paths, Jame, a peace arbiter and Emoran Princess, and Tigh, a peace warrior with a notorious past, answer a summons from the Queen of Emoria. Jame and Tigh battle ghosts from their pasts to prevent a mad, vengeful Wizard from unleashing the most powerful army the world has ever seen.
Still atop Gessen, Jame looked around Tigh’s arm at the place she called home. Stricken with another bout of apprehension, she fought the urge to beg Tigh to stop. The only thing that kept her going was how it would look if she showed anything but joy at returning to Emoria.
She had no problem feeling joy and pride as Tigh stared spellbound at the tenable wall of stone. She knew Tigh’s military mind admired the details of it, down to the positioning of the entrance tunnel tucked to one side rather than dead center. It forced the enemy to be cornered with high walls on two sides. The outer bluff wall next to the entrance had pockets of hiding places Jame knew were equipped with arrows and throwing stones.
Argis stopped the wagon, returned the reins to Seeran, and signaled her to wait. She caught Tigh’s eye. Tigh walked Gessen over to her.
“Please do your people honor and let them see you,” Argis said to Jame. “Give them a tale to pass on to future generations.”
“Why is this different from any other time I’ve visited home?” Jame asked, puzzled.
“Your presence gives us more than hope. It gives us the confidence we need to survive this latest threat to our existence,” Argis said.
“I’m not the one they should be greeting as their savior,” Jame said.
Tigh twisted to face her. “Argis is right.”
“No, Tigh. Don’t try to rationalize this,” Jame said.
“If we succeed in beating down these rogue Guards, future generations will sing songs of the youthful exploits of a legendary queen,” Tigh said.
Jame shook her head. “Just one of many ordinary queens.”
“I don’t think so,” Tigh said. “It’s your uniqueness that’ll distinguish you from the other queens.”
Jame put a hand on Tigh’s arm. “They’ll remember us both—if we succeed.”
“Fair enough.” Tigh swung her leg over Gessen’s neck and landed next to a puzzled-looking Argis.
Tigh handed the reins to Jame and gave her a dazzling smile.
Unable to resist, Jame grinned back. She then raised her eyes to the walls crowded with Emorans and was possessed by the wild jolt of freedom she had felt when she rode her pony across the valley as a child.
“Give them something to cheer about,” Tigh said.
Something tickled the child within Jame. The long dormant Emoran princess burst through with all the joyous memories of magical summer days.
Jame danced Gessen off the road into the shallow grasses as cheers filled the hollow with endless cascading echoes. Hundreds of swords flashed in the amber fingers of the dying sun. She resisted the impulse to gallop the restless horse to the city wall and took the time to etch the images and sounds into her memory. She knew this elation would fade back to a mundane reality. All the more reason to treasure this rare bit of joy.
Her feelings of apprehension gone, the Emoran princess, atop a war horse, cantered forward to the endless cheers of her people.