It still needs work, but I think the bones are coming together. I just wish it read more like a story and less like a laundry list.
“Yes, Master. Grant me patience…NOW!”
Bonus points, I finally have a name for Gentyl, Caoimhe. It’s Irish for gentle and pronounced Kee vey. Go figure.
I’ve made the last of the changes for now here, rather than post again. It may still need some work, but for now I am satisfied.
One hero in the family is enough and, unlike her famous aunt, Caiohme isn’t the heroic type. She’s too small, even for a sixteen-year-old, and entirely too accident-prone. Nonetheless, she has always dreamed of joining the elite Horse Guards her aunt commands. Her dreams didn’t include joining forces with Gaerowyn, King Bedavere’s supposedly senile wizard, to solve the mystery of the missing king and his murdered guard.
Years of border wars and skirmishes ended when the Eponians and Talmarands joined forces to defeat a demon army. The fragile alliance strengthened with thirty years of inter-marriages and prosperity, but that’s all about to change.
Erokath, the demon lord, is back and this time he and his caller, Lucine Marrisean, ensure the alliance will be completely destroyed when they kidnap Bedavere and lay the blame on his sole surviving personal guard, an Eponian. Aegis is murdered before he can clear his name. Now the Talmarands are ready to exact revenge on the Eponians in their midst, neighbor or not.
Caiohme’s family enrolls her in an exclusive healing academy after Aegis dies. She’ll be protected there, regardless of her Eponian parentage, even if civil war erupts. Her raw arcane healing talent needs training, but the only training she wants is with a sword. She remains quiet, when the camp commander mistakenly assigns her to the military academy. If she can prove to her family she belongs in the military, hope remains she can one day qualify for the Horse Guards. Prejudice against women, and especially an Eponian woman, in the academy turns her training into a nightmare, but the women form a bond the trainers can’t break.
She’s been given the chance she prayed for and is allowed to stay in the unit, when her captain pleads her case with her family. With hard work and a little luck, she can apply to the Horse Guards in two years. Hard work she can handle, but she’s short on luck. As she finds out when her captain assigns her to the toughest arms master in the company, after she is caught kissing a pirate. The price of losing a duel, and a bet, with the outlaw is higher than she imagined.
She didn’t think it was possible, but life gets even worse when she transfers to a strict unit that views her as an outsider and a traitorous Eponian. They are the first line of defense on a restless border. More dangerous than the border marauders, though, is the Wendt stronghold, home to a reclusive and dangerous religious cult. Her new unit doesn’t accept her until she helps defeat an undead champion, who was resurrected by a Wendt necromancer. His daughter has anguished for years because he wasn’t buried in sacred ground. Caiohme convinces the priests to allow him a sanctified burial and in gratitude, the daughter gives her his sword. With the sword comes the responsibilities of the Bladesinger, champion of the king, but Caiohme is far from a champion.
The sword, known as the Siren Song, is an unusual weapon with the spirit of a famed singer bound to it. Caiohme Most people only know it because it sings to those it is destined to kill, but the spirit is also sensitive to demonic activity. It becomes her ally and teaches her a few new songs along the way.
Gaerowyn is more than a little surprised when he learns the Siren Song has awakened and the new Bladesinger isn’t a seasoned warrior or even a man. The new champion is a girl with red hair, freckles an infectious grin and those unmistakable Eponian eyes. He wonders if the blade is as senile as he acts, but he has to keep her safe until the signs are right to reveal her or the true champion. His new duty almost fails before it begins, when an assassin strikes the girl down as she enters the city.
A charismatic holy man cures the rare and deadly poison from the assassin’s blade and he is summoned to heal King Bedavere’s ailing infant son, when word spreads of his miraculous powers. Lucine’s plan falls into place as Erokath, in his human form, gains the trust of Bedavere’s young queen as her new healer and advisor.
Caiohme doesn’t mind being assigned to Wizard Watch after she recovers. It’s an honor detail and she rather enjoys the old man even if he does have a gift for irritating nobles, botching spells and blowing people up with fireworks. Granted, most people he lights up are spies, but it makes her job of caring for him much more complicated. It also doesn’t get her any closer to joining the Horse Guards.
Things get even more interesting, when he asks her to help him track down leads about the murder of Aegis and Bedavere. She helps uncover a Wendt conspiracy at the arcane academy and finds evidence the murderer is at their stronghold. Three assassins attack Gaerowyn’s home shortly after the spies are arrested. Caiohme and his wife barely escape with the aid of some enchanted jars that attack the killers. They later discover the assassins are Wendt members and a military assault is launched against the stronghold.
The cultists aren’t going to give up without a fierce battle, but they need to be brought under control. Since Caiohme discovered where the murderer is hiding, she and her unit are allowed to join the forces. The women show they are capable warriors and help destroy the Wendt defenders. Caiohme and her unit have earned their place at the military academy. There is still tension between their people, but Caiohme’s finally proven her loyalty and her determination.