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Broken Arrow by Azaria M.J. Durant

By Lauriej

Broken Arrow by Azaria M.J. Durant

Broken Arrow by Azaria M.J. Durant
Broken Arrow
Azaria M.J. Durant

(Darkened Destiny Saga #1)
Publication date: July 29th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
An ancient power long kept dormant stirs in the shadows once more as one boy embarks on a quest to earn his freedom and the freedom of his world!
Magic has turned to myth, the Vaelhyreans of old to legend, and the power wielded by the ancients has long been forgotten. However, with Ealdred, a mere half-breed slave boy, myth becomes real, the forgotten remembered, and the power of legend is reborn within him.
Ealdred is merged into a world of mystery, brimming with deceit, where the remaining Vaelhyreans are in a desperate fight for their very survival. When Ealdred is kidnapped by the power-mongering dark lord Zeldek himself, he must make a choice; to commit his newfound magic to Zeldek’s service or die. But when he meets Bellator, clever yet treacherous servant of Zeldek, an alternative is presented to him: to escape from Zeldek’s stronghold and embark on a quest to find a cursed arrow and free the Vaelhyreans from the spell that keeps their powers at bay.
Yet how can he survive in a world where magic is illegal, half-breeds are hated, and the four countries are on the brink of war?
Goodreads / Amazon
A log in the fire coughs, sending sparks into my eyes and I blink. When I blink, the world changes suddenly before my eyes.I no longer see the sizzling skin of the pheasant and the blackened stones of the oven behind it. Instead, I stand between the brick walls of a narrow, dead-end alley. The ground beneath my bare feet is dirt instead of rough wood and putrid city air replaces the savoury smells of the scullery. A cool, midsummer breeze finds its way to me over the high walls around the alley, caressing my clammy skin, bringing with it the buzz of late afternoon hustle and bustle on the street outside. Yet somehow, I can still feel the heat of the fire on my skin and hear the familiar sounds of the scullery behind me.My attention is quickly drawn to movement at the dead-end of the alley as a beggar emerges from the shadows. He has the looks of a man in his thirties, yet his dirty face is cut with more scars than a warrior twice his age could’ve acquired. A tattered cloak is wrapped around his shoulders, mostly concealing his ratty green tunic and patchwork trousers. An eye-patch covers his right eye. He steps softly, his shoes simple cloth bound around his feet, and surveys the walls cautiously with his good eye. His gaze passes through me as though I wasn’t there. Knotted, dirty-blond hair whips his face as he jerks his head to look up the alley and his lip curls in a fierce snarl.I recognize the beggar at once. Though I haven’t met him in person, I’ve seen him often enough to imagine him a figment of my own imagination. In every city, in every town I’ve ever worked, the beggar has always been there – lurking behind corners, in dark alleyways, in every crowd – and always, always watching me. But he’s never there long enough for me to see him on second glance.This is a dream. It has to be. I survey my surroundings once more and the cool breeze greets me once again. A very vivid dream. Maybe I’ve fainted.Whatever is happening, I seem to have little control, so I decide there isn’t much else to do but accept it.I begin to start forward, my goal to get directly in the beggar’s way, but something binds me in place.A rough, throaty voice rings out from the mouth of the alley, and a shiver shoots down my spine.“Banner!” The beggar whips aside his cloak, putting a hand to the spiked club attached to his belt. An old man limps into view, leaning on a stout, gnarled walking stick. He picks his way along the downward slope, lifting the hem of his drab gray robes clear of his feet.A pointed beard and sleek white hair peek out from the baggy hood draped over his head. His face sags with deeply set wrinkles, and his eyes are narrow, squinty, but there is an authority gathered in the indent of his brow. A beaded braid of leather is tied around his forehead, the tails of which dangle down the side of his face, and I contemplate how annoying that could get over time. There’s nothing threatening about his appearance at all, and I wonder why I shivered at his voice.A sudden chill, obviously. He’s just a friendly old man. Not everyone is out to get me.Recognition dawns on the beggar’s face, and he relaxes his grip on the club. “Ulmer? This is... unexpected, to say the least! Why have you come here?”The old man – Ulmer, I infer – begins to speak slowly. “Listen to me. The boy is in danger. I think it prudent that we get him to safety. Tonight.”The beggar sighs, nodding. “I knew I felt something amiss.”“Your intuition serves you well.” Ulmer glances around, lowering his voice. “Zeldek is coming for him.”As he says these words, a raven screeches from the rooftop and soars into the air, disappearing beyond the thatched peak of the building next to us. Dread washes over me, and I look up enviously at the raven that can fly away so freely. Zeldek.The name sounds vaguely familiar, but it is meaningless to me.“Why now?” Banner’s voice is tremulous, yet resigned. “He could have come for him at any time. What is he planning?”“My source was unclear. Simply that he plans to capture the boy himself.” The old man shakes his head. “I must inform the council of this development. We may not have the numbers to wage war against him, but we can distract him while you get the boy to safety. We will reconvene at this location at midnight. Be sure he is with you then. If Zeldek gets to him first, I fear he will be beyond our help.” Banner nods. “I will protect him with my life.”“I know you will, little brother,” Ulmer says, resting a reassuring hand on his shoulder. “I must be off.”“All speed to you,” Banner returns, lines of worry sinking into his brow.Ulmer pulls the hood down over his eyes and slips into the crowded street outside.No sooner has he gone than I feel a tugging on my shoulders, and I am jerked back into the wall. Next thing I know, I am once again breathing in the heavy air of the scullery, the flames of the fire dangerously close to my face. I stumble backward, my eyes stinging from smoke.  My foot catches on a loose brick in the hearth, and I hit the floor before I even realize I’m falling. All air flees my lungs.When everything comes back into focus, the alley is gone.

Broken Arrow by Azaria M.J. Durant
Author Bio:
Azaria M. J. Durant is a young, passionate writer of fantasy with plans to branch out into sci-fi and dystopian. She enjoys writing stories with action, adventure, unexpected plot twists, and fleshed out characters that challenge gender roles and expectations.
Azaria lives in Atlantic Canada with her family, cats, and dogs, and her big dreams to travel the world. In the moments when she isn’t writing, she is sketching concept art for her stories, participating in community theatre, or curled up with a good book and a bag of mint chocolates.

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