TJ Amberson hails from the Pacific Northwest. With a love of writing in several genres, TJ strives to provide well-written, age-appropriate, & original novels for tweens, teens, and new adults.
Dark times are upon the land of Nereth. Centuries have passed since the rightful heir to the throne was banished. The people are losing hope in ancient legend, which foretells of one who will rise up, overthrow the evil king and queen, and restore peace. Like all others in Nereth, Edlyn has suffered greatly. Orphaned as a child, Edlyn grew up as the serf of a drunken lord. Now a spirited seventeen-year-old, Edlyn works to buy her freedom while fighting off the unwanted advances of Sheriff Hurst. One morning, Edlyn discovers a young man hiding in the stable. He is fleeing from Sheriff Hurst and inflicted with a sword wound that will surely be fatal without her help. In a split-second decision, Edlyn conceals the young man from Sheriff Hurst and begins nursing him back to health. As the young man's strength returns, Edlyn learns that his name is Maddock, and she is stunned to find that he has come from the mysterious land to the north. Maddock soon comes to Edlyn's aid, rescuing her from Sheriff Hurst. Suddenly declared outlaws, both Edlyn and Maddock must escape for their lives to enchanted Ravenshire Forest and then the desolate mountains beyond. As their adventure unfolds, Edlyn and Maddock discover that their meeting may have been more than chance, for their lives prove bound by a fate that neither of them could possibly have imagined.
Edlyn slowly turned to Maddock. "I presume this is about you."
Maddock did not respond. Wincing, he reached out with one arm to brace himself against the wall while keeping his other hand pressed on his abdomen.
"I could be imprisoned for helping a fugitive, or killed," Edlyn went on frankly, shutting the stable door. "It depends on what you have done."
Maddock found his voice, "I will not put you in danger."
He made another move to leave but swayed and began to fall. Edlyn lunged forward, catching Maddock in her arms. Staggering under the weight of his limp body, she lowered him to the dirt.
"Help me leave. I must get away from here," Maddock begged, attempting to get up.
From the sounds outside, Edlyn knew that the riders were nearly upon them. She also saw that Maddock's breathing was growing shallow and the life in his dark eyes fading. He would not escape those who hunted him. For one moment, Edlyn hesitated, looking between Maddock and the stable door. Then she spoke upward, as if to the sky:
"This young man might be an outlaw, but may the spirits of Ravenshire Forest curse me for eternity if I ever help Sheriff Hurst."