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Yven
Book Two In The Tales Of Dominhydor
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ISBN-10: 1-55404-799-4
ISBN-13: 
Genre: Fantasy/SF/Medieval
eBook Length: 209 Pages
Published: January 2011



From inside the flap

The dream that brought Maladrid and Yven together also tore them apart, but their tale isn't nearly over. When Yven, Queen of the Hohmara, discovers the truth in the story Maladrid left behind, she sets out with her childhood friend, Dordin, to fight the darkness in Lochydor and accept the fact that the man she feels destined to love will never be hers. The second installment in the "Tales of Dominhydor" series reunites the fellowship formed in "Maladrid" and introduces a few new faces, including one that seems a bit too familiar for the Queen's comfort. An arduous journey of strength and emotion, "Yven" brings dream to reality as the battle for Dominhydor truly begins.

Yven (Excerpt)


CHAPTER ONE

The Ages of Dominhydor are defined by incidents of great importance, events that change the world and its children. Such an event is what brought the Third Dawn, when a one-time warrior fell to the smoke and shadow. The Shadaran had invaded the towns within the country of Dorel and slaughtered nearly everyone who lived there, including a Hohmara named Maladrid. In life, Maladrid had never tasted war, but in his dreams, he not only fought the enemies of his people, he conquered them. It was in such a dream that he became a hero of Dominhydor, despite not living long enough to bask in the glory of the distinction. The vision he had on his last day of life was so vivid he was compelled to document it. During his town’s destruction, he feverishly scrawled the words that would soon be known by every Child of Yaliwe.

While Dorel was being ravaged by the Shadaran, the Kingdom of Donir was experiencing its own sorrows. King Lonho and Queen Vetna, sovereigns of the Hohmara, had recently been delivered to Hana, leaving behind a panicked kingdom and a heartbroken princess. Yven had thought the world of her father. And although she believed herself an excelled pupil, when Lonho’s body was carried through the gates of Donir, she frantically thought of all the things she hadn’t learned yet. She knew how to catch her people’s hearts but not how to keep them. She knew how to fight but not yet how to lead. She hadn’t learned all of her mother’s lessons either, but it didn’t worry her as much. She carried Vetna with her, literally. The sword Yven used to fight the Shadara that had commandeered her mother’s body had been changed by the blood that spilled over it. It acquired a new strength, the kind of strength that Vetna herself had always wished to possess. The strength of freedom and self-sufficiency was one Vetna had always coveted in the princess, and in death, she now had it, shining fiercely in her daughter’s hands. It was not the ideal for Yven, but she had little choice in accepting it. So when Dominhydor had lost so many of its sons and daughters in Dorel, it also gained a Queen in Donir.

Yven’s crowning ceremony, though bittersweet, was a grand affair. Many Hohmara traveled great distances to Donir to behold the princess’ ascension to Queen. Her subjects joyfully hailed her as their sovereign, but there was no joy for Yven. The loss of her King and father was extremely painful. She felt his death as if it was her own, and no amount of song or celebration could console her. However, she could not show her sorrow to her people, so even though the farce caused her more suffering, she smiled through it. Captains, cavalry, and townsfolk alike reveled in the festivities and cheered boisterously as Yven knelt before the people as a princess and arose as a queen with her father’s crown sitting heavily upon her brow.

"Today is the beginning of a new era for our people," Yven boomed across the courtyard. "We will no longer sit idly by and allow the Shadaran to control our fates. Yaliwe gave us the strength to fight, and fight we shall. We will not waste the gifts given to us by the Lady of Light, this world being the greatest gift of all. How can we allow Lochydor to destroy what She has given to us? No, my friends, we must never give in, never surrender, and we must never stop fighting for the good of Dominhydor."

The Hohmara cheered boisterously, and as the army raised their swords in tribute, Yven stood as the gleaming pinnacle of them all. The masquerade ball following her crowning coincided with Yven’s desire to hide the raw feelings inside. She welcomed the opportunity to don a mask so she wouldn’t have to feign joy anymore. The ball was a time-honored tradition in Donir after events of great significance. The hall was packed with bodies decorated in fantastical wardrobes and extravagant disguises.

It took time and many hands to maneuver Yven into her costume; she squealed as the laces were drawn closed, and her bodice squeezed her ribs. Swaths of fabric draped her constricted body. Her mask, one side silver, one gold, symbolized her internal duality, and the carven mouth was upturned on the right while frowning on the gilded left. Her vivacious hair was drawn back with pins and poured down her shoulders in thick, scarlet streams.

When the doors opened and Queen Yven was revealed to everyone in the hall, they were audibly awed by her, but their adoration, though appreciated, didn’t quell her lament or make her feel like any more than a devastated child. No amount of "oohing" or "aahing" was going to help her feel like a queen. She needed more than that. She needed action. She always fell into a state of doubt and agitation without it. When she burst into the hall, it seemed as though she was a star exploding from its own magnificence; her presence caused a passionate seizure throughout the room, and although she was grateful for it, it unnerved her. She had become accustomed to the looks of worship from those she would someday rule, but now that "someday" was upon her, she didn’t feel prepared in the slightest.

When the minstrels began to play, she was forced to step into the instrumental procession and join the joyous flow of the festivities, prancing merrily and grasping the hands of the people that skipped past her. She played the part of the leading lady, but she would rather have been hiding in the chorus.

The purpose of the masquerade ball was to encourage the people to recognize the eyes of their masked sovereign. The tradition had started during the reign of the Hohmara’s first King, Sha-we, who was rumored to have powerful magick he used most often in sport. According to tales, he would alter everything about his appearance except for his eyes to walk undetected through the kingdom. Those who could recognize Sha-we by his eyes alone were placed high in his esteem and court. The tradition continued as the first king had intended, but there was also an underlying purpose for the ball. It was a chance for nobles and captains to make a romantic impression upon the newly crowned sovereign.

So as Yven pranced through the hall feeling all eyes upon her, the most detectable were the gazes of men. As queen, she had her pick, but in truth, she had absolutely no interest in such matters. With her parents’ deaths and the acquisition of the throne, she had all she could handle without having to worry about scores of suitors vying for her hand. She still indulged their advances; snubbing them would’ve insulted the individual and the integrity of the masquerade ritual, but her heart wasn’t in it. It was buried too deep in her father’s grave.

Just as the Lords and Ladies were preparing for a galliard, the castle guards clamored into the great hall. The crowd split to allow them a clear path to the queen, but she had to wave them in the right direction before lifting her mask.

"Apologies for the interruption, milady, but there is a matter of great importance that demands your attention," the guard said.

"Can it wait?"

"Not if the Mosecora speak true."

Yven wasn’t grateful for dire news, but she was grateful to throw the mask aside and loosen her bodice. She followed the soldiers out of the hall, but by the time they exited the castle, she was in the lead with Folcir, her Royal Advisor and Captain of the Guard, at her heels. A flock of Mosecora awaited her in the courtyard, and she immediately sensed their distress.

"What can I do for you, my lords?"

"We’re not here to beg your assistance, Queen Yven. I wish we were," one of the Mosecora answered. "We’ve come to bring you grim news of Dorel."

"What news?"

"We regret to inform you that Dorel has fallen. Maci and Donent sustained the worst damage, but Mastice and Sara have suffered great losses as well."

"Fallen to whom?"

"The Shadaran. They conquered the cities by the Syrten first, so luckily, the people of Sara and Mastice had time to evacuate after seeing the smoke."

"How did the Shadaran manage to get to the shore undetected?" Folcir asked.

"It must have been tunnels," Yven said. "A band of Achnora emerged from a tunnel near Rosdin before they attacked my father’s army."

"If you’d like, my clan could deliver a message to the people of Sara and Mastice," the Mosecora said.

"What about the survivors in Donent and Maci?"

"There were no survivors in Donent and Maci," the Mosecora replied sadly.

"Yaliwe bia pico la! What will you do, Yven?" Folcir asked.

"What should we tell them?"

"Tell them I’m coming," she said and marched back to the castle with far more determination than she had going into the masquerade.

The festivities were cut short, and Yven’s soldiers shed their costumes for battle gear. For fear the attacks on Dorel were part of a scheme to draw Yven away from Donir, she left most of her Captains behind to protect the kingdom. Though she disliked traveling across the choppy waters of the Syr Sea, it was the fastest route. Unfortunately, only a few Hohmara were deft at sailing, and even though their most populated cities were on the shores of the Syr, the majority of the Hohmara steered clear of the water. The Syr had swallowed King Sha-we by long before his time, and although it had been proven the cause was a band of corrupted Rani, the Hohmara still feared the sea.

Forged of yaermini and bronze, the royal barque boasted five masts and a figurehead in the shape of a Yaerla. Many of the captains chosen to man the ship had less experience, but they were adequately trained to handle a calm sea; they were not prepared, however, for the storm rising above it. Yven had been dreading the possibility of bad weather, and after two days’ travel, her fears proved well founded when a piercing rain began. Rough winds carelessly tossed the barque and its passengers. The choppiness of the Syr caused many of the least experienced to hide themselves below deck, exhausted and sick and praying for land, but Yven remained above deck with her eyes to Dorel, fighting against the wet malaise that sought to conquer her.

"Everything is going to be all right, Yven. I’m sure the situation in Dorel isn’t as terrible as the Mosecora made it sound," Folcir said.

"What if its worse? Either way, things are changing I can feel it. Everything is going to change."

"Surely not everything."

"You doubt my senses, Advisor?"

"I could never doubt what I cannot fathom. I can’t imagine how it must be to feel the future in my bones. It must be torture for you, milady."

"It is, and I’m not sure I have the strength to combat it."

"If your father was here, he could vanquish your worries with a word. I’m a poor substitute."

"For the first time, I’m glad he isn’t here. I wouldn’t want him to see how I’ve failed our people. I am queen a short time and look at what has happened."

"Yven, such things happened while your father was in power. They happened to your forbearers and will most likely happen to the future Kings and Queens. Lonho was so high in your esteem you never regarded anything he did as a failure, even if it was. After all, it was he who left Donir and your mother to be ravaged by the Shadaran, and it was your return that inspired the people to fight for their lives. Because of you, Donir was saved and restored."

"Are you saying my father was wrong to lead his army to Fircyn?"

"I would never say so."

"What would you say, Advisor?" she asked, and he lowered his voice as he drew close.

"Yven, they’re just commoners."

"Donir was recently attacked as well, and we lost many soldiers in the battle at Rosdin. We’ve lost many without titles but none without names. You were once just a man with a name, Folcir."

"Of course. I thank your father still for making me more. All I meant was that you mustn’t think of Dorel’s conquer as your fault. I knew Lonho well and served him with honor for years, and I’m certain he wouldn’t have blamed you."