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Anvil of the Mind

322 pages5 hours


A romantic fantasy set in an imaginary medieval world where a form of magic known as the Power is accepted in most places, except for the northern Kingdom of Mataram, where anyone showing the least sign of having the Power is exiled or executed.

Centuries ago, what is now known as the Great Emerald of the East was stolen from Chandelar, far across the sea of Fire and Ice, where all the mages fled when they were exiled from Mataram. Legend has it that if the Great Emerald is returned to Chandelar, peace will come to all the known world.

Great Mage Ultan has set a scheme in motion which he knows will take decades to come to fruition. Ultan marries his nephew off to the warrior-queen, Amara of Mataram. Shortly after their second daughter is born, Amara realizes her husband possesses Power and has him killed.

Years later, Sir Durand of Granvey, a spy who works for the Great Mage Ultan, meets Princess Erania of Mataram when she rescues him from freezing to death during a winter storm and nurses him back to health in the great stone castle of Ronach. She falls in love with him, but doesn’t realize that he feels the same way about her, and he quickly leaves Mataram to join Ultan.

To seal a peace treaty between Erania’s mother and Domini Gundiac, ruler of the Dominion, Amara forces Erania to wed Gundiac. She agrees only if her little sister can go into Talier Beguinage in Sapaudia. Uninterested in either girl, Amara consents and will let Erania conduct her sister to Talier because it’s on the way.

At Talier, where she’s learning to control her secret Power, Erania again meets Durand and spends a passionate hour with him, but both know she must go to Gundiac as a pure maiden.

Finally at Arakan, capital city of the Dominion, Erania meets the kindly eunuch, Relthar, and the six other wives. Gundiac proves to be so emotionally removed from all of his wives that Erania can just barely tolerate him. Whenever she’s called to attend him for a night, she hides her true self behind the protective wall of her Power, which she learned to do at Talier.

A new and most unwilling wife is brought to Gundiac. Fan-ti tries to kill him, so he kills her, instead. Erania is horrified, but must hide her feelings.
Intrigues abound in Gundiac’s harem, and soon Relthar is caught up in one of them. Falsely accused of treason, he is publicly executed while all of the wives are forced to watch. Erania is now under suspicion because she tried to help Relthar. She knows she must escape soon, or she will suffer Relthar’s fate.

Using a poppy syrup that Relthar once gave her, Erania drugs Gundiac and steals the Great Emerald, the source of his strength, which he wears bound to his left arm by a golden wire. She flees the palace and rides eastward to the Nalo Mountains, the border between Mataram and the Dominion.

She plans to find the Larak River and follow it downstream to the sea, where she can take ship for Chandelar. She knows she’ll be welcome there, for she carries the Great Emerald. But Erania’s adventures are just beginning. Can she survive the perils of the long journey and find Durand again? Will Gundiac pursue her to retrieve the Emerald? Will Amara find her errant daughter and punish her?

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