Yorien’s Hand blurb:
The years of Oraeyn’s short rule have been peaceful, but now ominous nightmares plague his sleep and cling to him during his waking hours. When two of his most trusted advisors disappear without a trace and not even the power of dragons can locate them, the fell promise of the king’s nightmares becomes reality.
From the furthest reaches of the world, an ancient enemy stirs. Stretching beyond his crumbling prison walls, this foe seeks to bring life to the darkest of shadows. His army marches towards Aom-igh with deadly intent, threatening all Oraeyn holds dear.
Aided by dragons, and with the warrior Brant and Princess Kamarie at his side, Oraeyn must journey into the wilds of a forgotten realm. Trusting in the wisdom and skill of the enigmatic minstrel, Kiernan Kane, the companions race against time in search of Yorien’s Hand, a relic that may hold the power to save them all.
Jenelle Schmidt grew up in the northern-Midwest. She now resides with her husband and their three adorable children in the wilds of Wisconsin. Jenelle fell in love with reading at a young age during family story-times when her father would read out loud to her and her siblings each night before bed. Her imagination was captured by authors such as Madeleine L’Engle, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Lloyd Alexander. It wasn’t long before she began making up her own stories and sharing them with her family. To this day she enjoys creating exciting adventure tales filled with poignant themes and compelling characters in the fantasy and sci-fi genres.
“We’re losing ground, Sir!” one of the Aetoli warriors screamed to his captain over the roar of the seheowks. The shouts of men could be heard on every side amidst the clash of battle, and the ever rolling, thundering waves of the sea created a steady, deafening rumble. The sand churned beneath the hooves of horses and the clawed feet of the seheowks. “We cannot hold this ground!”
“We must!” the captain yelled back. “If defeated here, we lose our country.”
“Sir, this is a senseless sacrifice of good men,” the warrior called out.
“You are an aethalon. You knew the perils when you chose to serve here!” the captain’s commanding voice rang out above the clamor of the battle. “We defend the border at all costs!”
“At the expense of our lives?” the warrior yelled, gesturing at the troops as he fended off another beast who had leapt onto his horse’s flank. “Would the king truly order such a sacrifice? You know as well as I that we cannot hold our position, and when we are dead, the seheowks will march over our lifeless bodies to complete their invasion. Our people will have no warning and our deaths will serve no purpose.”
“You are dismissed,” the captain shouted over the body of the seheowk he had just slain.
“What?” The warrior stared at his captain in open amazement and disbelief. His sword faltered. A seheowk jumped on what it thought was an opportunity, leaping through the air with a powerful bound. The Aetoli’s presence of mind was the sole thing that saved him, he thrust his weapon up and his sword pierced through the creature’s neck just in time.
“What is your name?” the captain demanded in harsh tones as he pulled his horse back a little from the fray.
“Devrin of House Merle.”
“Courageous hawk?” the captain shouted in disbelief. “You were ill-named, lad, I have no place for a coward in my command, you are dismissed.”
“Sir, you don’t understand, if you would only listen…”
“Not one more word, you are dismissed.”
Devrin glared at the captain and then shook his head in disgust. He turned his roan charger and kicked the horse into a gallop. A haze of red fell across his vision as he rode away from the battle.
“Dismissed as a coward,” he muttered to himself wrathfully. “If the captain would have listened, this task could have been made easier. Well, it’s just you and me, old boy,” the warrior patted his horse’s neck. “Come on, they can’t hold that gap much longer. Yah!”
Clapping his heels to the red horse’s sides Devrin leaned low over his steed’s neck and raced up the hill to where the warriors had pitched their camp. A plan was already formed in his mind, and he meant to put it into action, with or without permission. He knew how to keep the seheowks from crossing through the gap. The Border Patrol needed a better weapon, and Devrin planned to provide it.
“And when this is over I shall call our boy-king to account for every man dead in this fight,” he growled to himself. “Too long has the fate of Llycaelon been ruled by the pride of kings. Too long have good men felt the sting of dishonor because of the House of Arne!”
The camp was set back from the gap, but in clear view of it. Tents and carts were scattered throughout, with small cooking fires dotting the area. Devrin dismounted and raced over to the largest tent. He quickly dismantled it and dragged it to his mount where he tossed it over the horse’s hindquarters in a heap, then he clambered back up into his saddle. The roan danced a little but settled quickly and accepted his master’s odd behavior and the additional burden with long-suffering stoicism. Next Devrin rode over and grabbed one of the long torches that was stuck in the ground and used to light the camp after nightfall. He thrust the end of it into a nearby cooking fire until it burst to life.
Holding the torch high and balancing the mounds of canvas behind him, Devrin raced his horse back down the beach towards the gap and the fighting.
The drums of the seheowks were pounding as he neared the battleground and he knew he must hurry. He tugged on his horse’s bridle, urging the beast to greater speed. The tent flapped and wobbled as they raced towards the battle. Every moment was precious, and Devrin could sense his time running out.
The aethalons were all but defeated when Devrin reached the battleground. The seheowks surged forward, and the aethalons fought and fell where they stood. The great warriors battled desperately, but with a sense of resignation. All hope had been drained hours ago, and the seheowks reveled in this hopelessness. There was an arrogant disdain for their enemy in the seheowk’s every move, as if they knew that victory was near.
Devrin rode up to a weary aethalon and shouted at him. “I need your help!”
“We all need help,” the weary young man whispered back through cracked lips.
“I have a plan!” Devrin shouted, ignoring the man’s comment. “But I can’t do it alone. Come on! I’ll show you what needs to be done.”
“Must… keep the seheowks… from getting through,” the warrior mumbled back mechanically, making no move to follow Devrin’s lead.
Devrin seized on the warrior’s words. “Yes! We must keep them from getting through. I have a plan that will keep them from getting through! Help me with this.”
The man stared at Devrin in confusion. “What?”
“Fire,” Devrin said grimly, “the seheowks are terrified of it. With fire we can force them back into the sea where they belong. But I cannot do it on my own.”
The young warrior’s face lit with sudden hope. “If we can build a pyre big enough…”
“And keep it burning long enough…” Devrin encouraged.
“We might yet win this day!” the warrior finished Devrin’s thought. His eyes lit with excitement and renewed hope. He burst into action as Devrin indicated the mound of oiled canvas, seizing upon the small hope that was proffered.