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Here is a short sample from the book:
“Maester,” a teenager’s voice broke into his reverie. Marius opened his eyes to find a pair of very green, very direct eyes looking into his. “A dragonrider is here from over the mountains.”
Aenor managed to keep her jaws from falling into a childish gape. She hadn’t put much thought into what the famed Maester of legend would look like, but the man lying at the feet certainly wasn’t anything like she had expected.
This was a fit man in the prime of life! Long and lean, with nothing of the softness of a healer. His navy wool robes had ridden up his thighs to reveal black wool breaches tucked into soft leather boots that lovingly hugged the line of his muscled legs. The man looked more like a warrior poet than a healer who had lived for more than four hundred years.
The Maester swung easily to his feet with a polite smile, the hem of his robes dropping to fall to his knees. Thick black hair waved gently to his shoulders and his eyes were a silver gray. A short dagger hung from the wide leather belt at his waist.
“Norwall warriors don’t cross into Huria without good reason,” he said. “What has happened?”
Aenor blinked and pulled herself together. “My lord, I bring greetings from the Queen of Norwall and a plea for your help. Our prince has been wounded in an assassination attempt and lies at the brink of death. The queen asks for your help!”
The Maester cocked his head. “Warrior, you do know that I’m not welcome in your land, do you not?” he answered.
Aenor nodded her head. “That’s why my dragon and I are here. We have been charged to get you to Miramar and back here in perfect safety. We will protect you with our lives, if we have to.”
A brief flash of irritation crossed Maester’s face. “Warrior, I know the Corp’s reputation but you are no match for the Abida. We are not talking about men or beasts here, but elemental magic. Only a mage would be able to defeat them and I am not at full strength. He inconveniently senses my movements just as much as I sense his.” The Maester fixed her with a stern gaze. “Are there none in Norwall that can serve the queen in the matter?”
Aenor stiffened her back, resenting the implied insult.
“Our healer, Astrid, is a former student of yours and she says that the prince is beyond her reach. The prince’s body is intact but his spirit has departed to the Darklands. Astrid says that she’s seen you walk the Darklands many times and bring back the dying.”
The Maester nodded. “But I’m not the only one who can do so,” he replied firmly. “You should look within your own country for aid. This is not my fight.”
“Is there nothing that I can say or offer to change your mind?”
“This is not a decision that I make lightly. I’m sorry.”
“So am I,” Aenor murmured softly. She moved in a blur of color. The next instant, she was behind the Maester, holding her short sword to his throat. Flax yelled for help. The Maester merely stiffened.
“Warrior, think for a minute! Huria will not stand for this. Does Norwall really need more problems right now?”
“My orders are to get you to Miramar and I will. We’ll deal with the rest later,” she growled. “Now MOVE!”