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It’s the 1200’s, and the small realm of Ilari has had peace and prosperity for generations. That doesn’t mean everyone is happy, however.
Ryalgar, a spinster farm girl and the oldest of seven, has always preferred her studies to flirtation, yet even she finally meets her prince. Or so she thinks, until she discovers he’s already betrothed. Embarrassed, she flees her family’s farm to join the Velka, the mysterious women of the forest known for their magical powers and for living apart from men.
As a Velka, she develops her telekinesis and learns she has a talent for analyzing information. Both are going to come in handy. For she’s continued to meet her prince at the forest’s edge, thinking being his mistress isn’t such a bad deal. Then she learns more about his princely assignment. He’s tasked with training the army of Ilari to repel the feared Mongol horseman who’ve been moving eastward for years, killing all in their path. And, her prince is willing to sacrifice the outer farmlands where she grew up to these invaders, if he has to.
Ryalgar isn’t about to let that happen.
She’s got the Velka behind her now, as well as a multitude of university intellectuals, a family of tough farmers, and six sisters each with her own unique personality and talents.
Can Ryalgar organize all that into a resistance that will stop the Mongols? She thinks she can.
I guess I wanted to impress him. With all my studies finally finished, my life had settled into farm chores, time with friends and family, and time with him. There wasn’t much to share. So ….
“The Velka invited me to join them.” I said it with a defiant glare. Of course, I expected him to respond with “you couldn’t possibly” or “that’s ridiculous.”
Instead, he said “That’s terrific.”
When I stared at him, probably with my mouth open, he added “It’s an honor. I’ve heard they don’t ask many. You’d be great at it, whatever it is they do, exactly. Because you’d be great at anything. And you do need something to do now that you’re gone through all the schooling in Ilari. That knowledge of yours ought to be used for something.”
It was the moment I knew he’d never marry me.
For all the false rumors and silly superstitions people believe about the Velka, the one thing everyone does know is the Velka are not allowed to marry. They cannot even live with a man. Theories vary about what they can and can’t do for sexual relief, but a permanent partnership with a male is out of the question.
“Are you thinking about it?” he asked.
“Yes. I am.” And, as of that moment, I was.
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Sherrie Cronin is the author of a collection of six speculative fiction novels known as 46. Ascending and is now in the process of publishing a historical fantasy series called The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters. A quick look at the synopses of her books makes it obvious she is fascinated by people achieving the astonishing by developing abilities they barely knew they had.
She’s made a lot of stops along the way to writing these novels. She’s lived in seven cities, visited forty-six countries, and worked as a waitress, technical writer, and geophysicist. Now she answers a hot-line. Along the way, she’s lost several cats but acquired a husband who still loves her and three kids who’ve grown up just fine, both despite how odd she is.
All her life she has wanted to either tell these kinds of stories or be Chief Science Officer on the Starship Enterprise. She now lives and writes in the mountains of Western North Carolina, where she admits to occasionally checking her phone for a message from Captain Picard, just in case.
Author Social Media Links:
Author Blog: https://sherriecronin.xyz/
Book Series Blog: https://troublesome7sisters.xyz/