- Noelle Nichols
New Release Guest Post: Shadow's Hand
I used to believe our morals were absolute. I no longer am certain. Shadow’s Hand is the first book in a heroic epic fantasy, inspired by Japan’s samurai and their warrior code Bushido. It’s a story about the makings of a hero and the hero’s sacrifice. If you like characters with strong morals, fast-paced epic storytelling and exploring magic’s morality, you’ll love the Shadow’s Creed Saga. Pre-order: https://amzn.to/2HsaN3H (Paperbacks coming soon)
Excerpt from Chapter 6, The Farewell, Kilo POV
I knelt upon the ground and placed my candle between Zavi and Mia’s swords. Syrane and Shenrae joined me, placing their own candles in the cracks of the rocks. I covered my eyes with my hand, digging my fingers against the side of my head.
There will be no replacing them.
I removed my hand and looked at the mark on the back of my hand. The scar as clear as it had been seventeen years ago. Zavi, Mia, and I, on our first Shadow mission, burned ourselves with the tip of a blade. It was little more than a triangular imprint, but the mark showed our ties. As long as I lived, I would carry them with me.
“Did you ever notice the marks on your parents’ hands?” I spoke, my voice steady, meeting Shenrae, then Syrane’s eyes. “We were about the same age as you when we branded ourselves with a metal knife.”
I stood up, offering Shenrae my hand and nudging Syrane with my foot. “There’s a place not too much higher than here. It’s one of the spots I used to go with Zavi and Mia. I need to talk to the two of you.”
I met Finae’s gaze over Shenrae’s head, and she nodded. I would meet up with her later.
I led Shenrae and Syrane away from those who lingered, circling around the Reikon Tree and stepping between the swords, lances, pikes, arrows, and axes of my fellow Shadows. Their souls were at peace now, but their protection remained. It was the unspoken strength of the Shadows. One never truly was alone.
Leaves fell on my shoulders, and I brushed them off, the fresh air bringing peace to my steps. The Reikon Trees was a sight in any season, but in winter, giant icicles hung from the branches, catching the sunlight and casting rainbows across the frozen waters. I’d brought Finae here, many times, and not just in the wintertime. She had wanted to capture the image on canvas, but I stopped her. Sometimes the only way to experience something was to make the journey for oneself.
Syrane and Shenrae trailed behind me, their solemn footsteps trudging in the gathered leaves. I climbed onto a rock outcropping, the Reikon Tree and crystal waters down below. I sat down on the edge of the rocks and let out a along breath.
“Vaiyene is what your parents fought for and they died to protect it.”
Shenrae and Syrane were old enough to understand a Shadow’s burdens upon their family, but I needed to do what I could to bring them closure. My heart was still numb from everything that happened, but warm enough that I did not wish to cause any unnecessary pain or worry for them. They had not been told why their parents died—or how—or of the reason behind the attacks in Vaiyene.
I wrestled with the consequences of doing so.
If our places were reversed, I would appreciate the truth. But, they were young, impressionable, and Syrane did not have control of himself. Anger would give them purpose, but it would destroy them. The Shadows never sought vengeance. Their parents would not wish for it either.
But knowing Syrane, and his temper, if I do not guide his emotion, it will destroy him. The same as his father struggled against his own emotions.
Syrane and Shenrae waited for me to continue.
They deserved the truth.
Shadow's Hand releases on Kindle on June 30th