Title: The Children of the Blessing
Author: Perry Morris
When key events prophesied thousands of years ago finally take place, those who lust for power will do anything they must to take control—even if that means killing the children of the blessing. The children of the blessing have never met. Renn wanted to be a farmer and Avaris a warrior, but their birth and blessing set an ancient prophecy in motion that promises to shift the balance of power on he continent of Lemuria. The two boy’s dreams and innocence are shattered by those determined to influence the events to come and seize power for themselves. When loved ones are killed and homes destroyed, both boys must flee from horrifying creatures and powerful magic users. Renn has to cross the continent to reach the safety of Elder Island where he can receive training from the Lore Masters; Avaris decides to follow the evil creatures that have ruined his life to caves beneath the Cragg Mountains where the surviving members of his tribe have been forced into slave labor. The Grand Warlock, Kahn Devin, has determined that both boys will either join with him or die.
Tellio let out a low whistle and rubbed his hand absently over his bald head. “Well, well,” he said. “Where do you suppose they’re from, Kivas?” Kivas, and everybody else in the company, looked in the direction of the big man’s gaze to see a group of tall, beautiful women. They wore far less clothing than other women Renn had seen—a loose skirt, reaching mid-thigh, a cropped, sleeveless top that left their stomachs bare, covered by a sheer, light weight gown that fell just below their knees; their bodies were young, strong, and well proportioned. Their skin was tan, their hair long and full, and their eyes were big—that was noticeable even at a distance. Renn felt himself blush slightly and quickly averted his eyes. He noticed, as he looked away, that Genea was practically glowering at the beautiful foreigners.
“I think I’ll go ask them myself.” Tellio announced, twisting his waxed mustache to a tighter curl. “Care to join me, Kivas?”
“I wouldn’t recommend it.” Everyone looked with surprise at Raven. Renn had almost forgotten the dark haired scout was still with them; he almost never spoke. Tellio hesitated for a moment then asked, “Why not?”
“Watch,” Raven replied as he pointed to a group of Nortian men who obviously had the same idea as Tellio, headed in the direction of the tall, captivating women. Like most Nortians, they were big men with unkempt, dark hair, and full black beards and no mustache. Four of them approached the scantily clad women, and although Renn couldn’t hear them for the crowd, he could tell that whatever the first man said to the women was not received very well. The three women didn’t even acknowledge the foul mouthed man. The big man who spoke grew red in the face, grabbed the nearest girl by the shoulder and swung her around. Tellio—and, oddly, Durham—started visibly at the aggression, and were about to shout across the throng of buyers at the overzealous Nortian, but their mouths dropped open in amazement before either could make a sound. As the Nortian swung the woman around, she let her arm arc with the momentum and hit him across the cheekbone with a knife hand strike. The man, shocked at the sudden attack, stumbled backward, then dropped to the ground as her bare foot came down on his knee.
“Great gods of light!” Kivas exclaimed, “If I didn’t see it I’d never believe it.” Tellio got a grin on his face, however, before he could tease Kivas about a Nortian being bested by a woman the man on the ground pulled himself up and drew his sword. Quick as a flash, the object of his attentions produced a small knife from underneath her light gown, and let it fly. The next thing Renn saw was the big Nortian grasping wildly at his neck as he fell, once again, to the ground.
The companions of the unfortunate man recovered quickly from their initial shock, and warily drew their own weapons. Before anything more happened, however, a small dispatch of city guards surrounded the foreigners and took them into custody.
“I see what you mean, Raven.” Tellio admitted.
Kivas asked, “Who were they?”
“You’re fellow countrymen, of course.” Sela Nadgit said, as he stopped his horse next to the front of the wagon that still carried Danu, Artio and Genea. Genea, Renn noticed, was now beaming with pride, whereas, a moment before she seemed upset at the strange women.
“I know who the men were, Sela, I want to know where those girls came from.”
It was Artio who answered, “Domeria. Probably from the jungle city of Tanith.”