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The Whispers of Rings: The Complete Anthology

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165 pages2 hours

Summary

The murder of Jeremi and Victoria Terryn, a prominent and noble couple, shocks the peaceful city of Anastas. In the midst of it all is Josselyn Thorn; a young woman who devoted her life and loyalty to them both. Josselyn finds herself left to die in the dungeons—until Adrien Markov frees her. Using her newfound independence, she travels to the ends of the Kingdom of Rhoryn, seeking the truth.

~~~~~ Excerpt ~~~~~

The Temple of Elwyn housed the coldest, dankest cells I ever had the misfortune of spending time in. A few other chambers at least afforded the luxury of a torch and a bedroll, but the guards had spared me no such kindness. This wasn't the first time I'd found myself shackled to a wall, but it had never been under the pretense of murder. Generally the public prison was found suitable enough for felons of the great city of Anastas. But according to the Elwyn clerics, only the best guarded dungeon would do for a Whisper like me.

I couldn't remember how many days had passed since they'd dragged me from my home and locked me in. After three I'd lost the ability to keep track of time; the guards kept unpredictable shifts, and windows were a comfort long forgotten. Even sleep refused to keep me company. The brutal nightmares tortured me to consciousness. My body succumbed to exhaustion only once- I awoke to a guard shaking me while demanding I stop screaming.

Food was another fond memory; I had nothing to eat from the first day of my imprisonment. Not only did they not bother offering sustenance, I heard it was common for the Temple to poison its occupants before any official judgment was made. The less mouths for them to feed the better.

“Still alive, wisp?” The most recent guard on duty raked his pike against the bars.

I didn't want to respond. My mouth was parched and my patience had long since evaporated. The King's Guard had devised the term after Whispers had become a despised race. A 'wisp;' only a shred, barely human. It was disgusting what they thought of me. All for things beyond my control.

“Answer me!” He didn't wait long before slamming his weapon once more against the door, startling the few other inmates.

“Unfortunately.” The truth was bitter to taste. There was nothing left for me. The damp floor had soaked through my thin clothing, the cold air took every last drop of energy I hoped to preserve, and the metal that surrounded my wrists and ankles chafed my skin until it bled. I wanted to die.

“My lord, wait!” a voice called out. Heavy footsteps echoed from further down the hall, breaking the awkward silence between the guard and I. Visitors weren't common in the Temple dungeon. I strained to look into the darkness without much luck.

“You will give her to me and ask me no further questions.”

“But her trial! She must be judged!”

“I will pay any amount that you wish. Give it to the king, use it for this god-forsaken Temple, I don't care. But you will hand her over to me immediately.” The footsteps stopped abruptly and a tall, strong silhouette of a man appeared before my cell. The few available torches didn't emit enough light for me to see his face. A second pair of feet scuttled quickly to rest beside him. The distant fire glinted off of the gold medallion that signified the cleric's power within the Temple.

“Josselyn Thorn?” His voice was soft; the most gracious gesture anyone had shown me since I'd arrived.

“Yes, my lord.” I decided addressing him as the cleric had was the safest course of action.

“My lady, I need you to tell me if you were Jeremi and Victoria Terryn's Ring.”

I couldn't hold back the tears that overwhelmed my vision. Hearing their names again tore at my heart as painfully as when I'd found them dead.

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