JESSICA THERRIEN

From Imagination To Publication

Monday, December 14, 2015

Monday Morning Sneak Peek - CHAMPION'S DESTINY by Tyrean Martinson


Did a weekend of reading leave you wanting more? 
Sneaking peeks of your newest novel from under
your desk at work? 

For the eternal reader...here is your 
Monday Morning Sneak Peek!

Enjoy.


CHAMPION'S DESTINY by Tyrean Martinson


The Battle

May Be Lost 

Because of a Family Secret.

With distracting attention from a prince and her mentors both in harm's way, will Clara be able 

to trust her team with her family secret as they race to fight the Dark Sisterhood on their terms? 

Champion's Destiny is the third book in The Champion Trilogy, a Christian Fantasy series with a 

strong female heroine and an epic cast of allies and villains.

Clara’s destiny is more complicated than she imagined.




CHAPTER 1 (CLARA)

Light pierced the darkness. The shaft brightened and the dark receded to a high tower of ebony stone standing tall above an ebony fortress surrounded by sea and a desert wasteland. Clara found herself drawn to the tower until she was standing at the top balcony, looking over a giant battlefield on one side and a sea battle on the other side. It was a scene of devastation and she was alone, completely alone.
Clara woke with a start with her hand on the hilt of her sword, which glowed faintly in the dusky darkness before dawn.
An owl hooted nearby in a throaty, satisfied series of sounds. She wasn’t alone. The desert held many creatures despite its barren appearance. Owls, rodents, snakes, and lizards all seemed most active in the space between night and true dawn, and between day and true night.
Clara remembered her early childhood in the Desert Hall of Septily; she would wake early with her father’s prayers and watch her mother go out to scout the edge of the Desert Hall lands. She held onto the memory of her father’s voice, her mother’s hug – hard from her armor and yet soft as she kissed Clara’s cheek. She had to hold onto the memory of them.
Tears slipped from her eyes, and she wiped them away.
She thought of her dream. She hoped it wasn’t a vision of the future. She couldn’t stand to be more alone than she already was; she couldn’t lose anyone else. “Please Lord,” she murmured, praying through the tangle of emotions that she couldn’t quite put into words. “Please.”
A sense of peace passed over her, and she took a deep breath. The Lord seemed to understand her cry for help, even if she didn’t have the right words to say.
Still wrapped in her cloak with her head pillowed by her extra clothes bag, Clara listened to the sounds of the encampment and turned slowly to face the fire pit.
Someone had piled some fresh wood on the fire to prepare for breakfast. Across the new flames flickering up the wood, she could see Liam’s handsome features as he inspected his hands. He held the right one up in front of him, and turned it back and forth, as if amazed by it. He had regained his right arm after the Lord had lifted his curse and healed him.
Clara had been a part of that, but she didn’t really feel responsible for it. The Lord worked through her, when He chose to do so. It wasn’t her power. However, she didn’t quite know what to do with Liam’s obvious interest in her. At first, she thought he had some lingering admiration for her as a healer, or as the Champion of Aramatir. Other people had reacted that way in the past. But, it wasn’t that, or it wasn’t just that. Every time she glanced at him, he seemed to be looking at her. If she had been a normal girl in a normal place and not the Champion about to embark on an attack on the Dark Sisterhood’s fortress, she might have felt . . . something she couldn’t feel right now. She couldn’t allow herself to form that kind of attachment. She turned her gaze away from him.
Stelia sat to the side of the camp, her figure outlined by the swift-approaching dawn. Sharpening one of her knife blades with her whetstone, she looked fierce and sorrowful all at once. Her graying light brown hair was pulled back in severe braids and it seemed that she even slept in her armor, for Clara hadn’t seen her without it since they had lost Dantor to the forces of the Dark Sisterhood and the Drinaii.
Clara was worried about her, and she was worried about Dantor. What must he be enduring at the hands of his captors? And, was he still even alive? They had found no trace of him despite tracking down several groups of the Sisterhood and the Drinaii after the battle at the Healing Caves in the Canyonlands. And now, the trail was cold from three months of waiting through the Allied Council’s deliberations and politics.
The Allied Council had finally routed out the Trader’s Guild spies and sent most of the Trader’s back to Mochant. New traders had stepped forward to take supplies from one country and one place to another, and every trade ship and caravan was supplied with a member of the Triune Halls to “guide them” in the ways of the Triune Halls and ensure the legality of their trading.
Clara took a moment and prayed for Salene and William. They had endured a great deal of nastiness form the Trader’s Guild and had dealt with them fairly. Salene had proven herself as Lady-Protector and William had proven himself as King of Septily. She hoped they would stay back away from the fighting in the coming battle with the Sisterhood, but she knew they wouldn’t. They just weren’t that sort of royalty.
A padded but distinct footfall broke Clara away from her musings.
Klyan, her griffin friend and Wing Partner, had returned from his morning hunt looking satisfied.
Clara rolled out her cloak and stood to greet him, resting her head on his feathered shoulder. He raised his wing and ruffled her hair.
“Did you have a good hunt?”
“We did. Zoreth and I brought down a few of those scarce desert deer. All of the griffins have had their fill and we will be able to go without food for at least a day or two since we only have a short flight today to get into position.”
Clara nodded. She let go of him and started putting on her armor. “I’m glad we get to fly today.”
“Any day we fly is a good day.” Klyan stretched his wings out and then wrapped them in close to his body. “I must take my early morning nap with the others, but I wanted to greet you before Stelia got her claws in you.”
“Thank you,” Clara said. “You have become like family to me, Klyan.”
“And you to me, Clara, as it should be between Wing Partners.” He ducked his head slightly and rubbed the top of her hair gently with his beak.
Clara smiled, and rubbed his cheek. The best part of waiting for three months to put her plan of attack into action had been the Wing Partner Ceremony in Aerland. It had been hard, meeting Adrian’s parents, who had been gracious to her, and his brother, who had been extremely quiet around her, but the rest of the Ruling Seat of Aerland had given her a warm welcome. Klyan’s Wing Partnership had been assured and now they knew they could fly together as long as the Lord willed it.
“Have a good rest, my feathery-brother.” She gave him one last hug and then grabbed her helmet.
Walking over to Stelia, she avoided Liam by the fire. “Forms, then sparring practice?”
“Of course.” Stelia sheathed her knife, and gestured to the small practice ground they had cleared yesterday.
Clara swung her sword through the forms, enjoying the bright swoop of light from her sword as it cut through the air. Faster and faster, she went through the formal forms of Septilian Sword Masters, then switched to the Drinaii forms taught to her by Stelia, and then into street-fighting stances. She loved the balanced feel of the leather-wrapped pommel in her hands, the whoosh of the blade as it swept through the air, and the smell of her own sweat rising on her skin. She smiled to herself a she came to her finally parry position, on guard for any opponent. Not many girls, she supposed, really liked the smell of their own sweat, but Clara loved every element of her sword form and fighting practice.
“Nicely done,” said Stelia form her right. “I think we’re both warmed up enough to spar, and the others will join us shortly.”
Clara sheathed her sword of power and picked up a half-staff as a practice sword. It wouldn’t be the same as a practice sword, but it was lightweight, strong, and fit alongside a pack for long journeys. Plus, Captain Ivailo from Aerland and Perren, the Rrysorrian falconer, had been teaching her how to use two half-staffs as battle weapons.
Stelia and Clara bowed to each other and then tested each other with short circling steps and small jabs. Stelia gave Clara an opening, but Clara didn’t take it, knowing that it was a feint designed to draw her in too close. Finally, Clara took a step to the side and one forward, making a cut with her half-staff towards Stelia’s arm.
Stelia parried and riposted in nearly one motion, beating Clara’s practice weapon to the side and down. Clara jumped back to avoid Stelia’s jab, and parried with a riposte to Stelia’s elbow. Stelia grimaced and started to swap weapon hands.
Even off-handed, Stelia could out-fight most of the other Sword Masters of the Triune Halls, but in the moment that she switched, Clara changed the pattern of her steps, and came in for another strike.
Stelia parried, but the tip of Clara’s staff slid across Stelia’s breastplate.
Stelia used her staff to press against Clara’s blade and came in for a hard strike on Clara’s forearm.
Clara winced involuntarily, and Stelia waved her back. “Enough. I don’t want us to seriously injure each other the day before the real battle. It’s enough to warm up and remind us of our working muscles. Tonight, we will only do forms.”
A tight chuckle behind Clara made her spin on her heel to see Perren, the Rrysorrian ambassador and falconer. He stood just a few feet behind her, resting lightly on the balls of his feet with his hands draped over his hips. He looked relaxed, from the top of his slightly grizzled gray head to the soles of his leather boots, but she didn’t underestimate him. In the last three months, she had seen how he could stalk prey with or without his hawks and fight with a variety of distance weapons, different staff lengths, and even with two long hunting knives. She sometimes wondered at his past, but he didn’t talk of himself much.
“It’s about time you started showing some sense, blade master,” he simply said now, directing his words to Stelia.
“Master Stelia is one of the finest Sword Masters in all of Aramatir,” Clara stated firmly. “She always shows sense with weapons.”
Perren cocked his head at her slightly, as if he were one of his own hawks, measuring her with his eyes. “I meant no insult, Champion. I don’t think it’s wise to spar with weapons the day before a battle, even if you’re the Champion and she’s the finest weapon master of all the known world.”
“He has a point, Clara.” Stelia joined their conversation. She nodded to Perren. “I saw you out of the corner of my eye when we were sparring, frowning at us in that way you have before you start spouting the wisdom of the ages.”
Perren’s lips quirked. “The word of the wise brings healing, Sword Master.”
Stelia shook her head, “But even the fool looks wise when he keeps silent.”
Clara rolled her eyes. “I know you’re both teachers, but I would think that you would both know that the Lord fights our battles, if we would but keep silent.”
Perren nodded. “It is good that the Lord has gifted you both with knowledge and wisdom, as well as strength. I could not follow you into the coming battle if it was otherwise, and I certainly would not let my Prince do so, either.”
Liam walked up and put his arm around Perren’s broad shoulders. “Master Perren, I am the thirteenth prince of a kingdom laid to waste by the Dark Sisterhood and the Drinaii. I hold more consequence as your apprentice and as a member of the Champion’s battle party than I do at home, or as an ambassador to any land.”
“Your family cares for you, and you know it, Prince Liam.”
Clara realized the depth of worry the falconer had for his charge, considering she had only heard him call him ‘Prince’ Liam a handful of times in the last three months. “If staying back and signaling the allied ships and legions is better for you both, than I think you should . . .”
“No,” Liam stepped in between her and Perren, staring down at her with hazel brown eyes. “I won’t leave your side, Cla . . . Champion. You saved me and the Lord called me.” He held out his staff to her, the one infused by crystal that had appeared in the Healing Caves for him. “I will wield this to protect you in the coming battle, and you and my Master Perren cannot stop it from happening. It is my destiny.”
Clara felt like he had punched her in the gut with his words. Adrian had sacrificed himself for her, believing it was his destiny. She had only known him for a day and had loved him in that time. Now, Liam, whom she had been trying to ignore for months now, wanted to die for her, too? She couldn’t let it happen. It couldn’t be his destiny. She wouldn’t let it be. What kind of Champion would she be if young men kept doing her job for her?
“We will see about your destiny when it comes,” she whispered, and then she turned away to walk to where she hoped Klyan lay sleeping. Her eyes were tight with anger and sorrow, and she didn’t want Liam thinking he needed to protect her.



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