Tales of the Crystal
An epic tale of magic and warriors, but more importantly, of flawed human beings overcoming adversity and personal demons to do what must be done.
The crystal, center of civilization, is under magical attack from unknown forces. Crystal Warriors, scattered to the ends of the land by the devastation of the last battle years before are recalled, but they must traverse vast distances against mystical forces not seen for centuries. Can they overcome these forces and their personal demons to return in time to save the Crystal?
Tarina, known as Awiel of the Dance, a sexy and talented Veil Dancer and Crystal Seeress, must traverse the southern desert through a treacherous maze of canyons and bandits.
Naomi - a fierce warrior woman who will remain speechless until she finds the man who brutalized her and killed the Crystal Seeress mistress she was sworn to protect.
Rowan, former Captain of the Crystal Warrior Elite, in the guise of an old woodsman, must be convinced to return from his self-imposed exile.
Macon, a besotted drunkard, must pull himself together to become the powerful Crystal Warrior he once was.
Many others, most of whom are much more than they seem, must overcome tremendous odds and long distances.
Read an excerpt below.
***** I love these characters! What makes this a fun read is the slightly flawed good guys, the babes with beauty, brains and brawn, and the magical characters Thisrena and Ith, the thnake that speaks with a lithp. Recommended reading. ·· J.D. King
**** I was intrigued with the story from the very beginning. . . R.L. Kiser has written chapter one so deftly to reel in readers' curiosity to keep reading. Characterization is superb; both heroes and villains have flaws which also lead to humorous moments. . . the way the plot is developed is fresh, coupled with unpredictable and interesting twists. Kiser's flawless writing style helps keep the plot tight throughout the story as well as maintain a good pacing. On the whole, a satisfying read and a great start for a series. ·· Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
**** This is a good story, full of magic and some very surprising characters and twists... Charming and mysterious characters, magical creatures, and not-so-perfect foes make this a fun read. ·· Patricia Hamill on Goodreads
Where to buy:
Kindle · Nook · Tablet - 151 Pages · $2.99
In the west Tarina traveled non-stop for days, except for watering and feeding her tireless steed. The vast openness of this scrub plain seemed endless. Not even the far distant mountains to the north gave her any perspective. It didn't seem she moved at all. She came upon some hills that would later lead to the canyons. That was at least some symbol of progress. But now she would have to be more alert because danger could lurk behind any hill, especially for a woman traveling alone. Alert. Easier said than done, she had maybe three or four hours sleep total in the past few days.
No sooner had this thought occupied her mind than a man jumped out in front of her at the bottom of the first hill wielding a large curved blade. His war horse stood fast blocking her way to the right. He shouted and waved his hands, which was calculated to make her mount spook, but the big Arabian was well trained. He reared and pawed the air in front of him as expected, but when she dug her heels into his flanks he responded with a surge of power straight forward.
This was unexpected and caught the man off guard. However, his reaction was lightning fast and he grabbed her left leg as she flew by. Fortunately for her she had her knees tucked firmly into the slender saddle and the man was drug along for several feet shouting, “Eyo-eyo”, the equivalent of “whoa-whoa.” He had the good sense to let loose before the big stallion trampled him and he rolled to the side. She pulled the powerful Arabian to a halt, drew her sword, and turned the horse to meet the invader.
He rose from where his roll away from the horse took him, his wrapped headdress askew and trailing over his shoulder revealing a dark face, large brown eyes, and a wide white smile. She raised her sword and started cantering the horse back toward him. He raised his hands, palms forward in a non-threatening gesture and walked back to where he dropped his sword. He picked it up, twirled it with a flourish, and sheathed it at his waist. The fact that he turned his unprotected back on an armed potential enemy was not lost on her. It was a clear invitation to peaceful talks.
His horse trotted up to him, nudged him, and seemed to smile. The big animal gave a horse laugh at his master having been bested and walked slowly toward her. It could have been a twin to the one she was riding.
“I see you have one of my horses,” he said in Iskarbian, the language of the nomadic people she left. “As I recall I lost that horse in a game of fet to a slick caravan leader named Arrat. I rarely lose, at anything.”
“If you are such a winner, it might be best to cultivate you as an ally,” she replied in Ariab, his own tongue as she sheathed her own blade.
He raised an eyebrow and replied, “Is one permitted to see the warrior beneath the veil?” Such a thing would never be asked of a normal woman in his culture, but she pulled a sword and rode like a warrior.
"Perhaps, in time,” was her terse reply. He bowed his acknowledgement. It held more promise than a definite ‘no’.
“As I see, you ride alone. Perhaps you will break bread with us and fill us with tales of the Iskarian.” She knew such an offer was not made lightly. Twice now this man threw offers of peace and friendship. She would be foolish not to accept.
“Your offer is most generous, kind sir. My name is Awiel. Might I know the name of the man who is so generous to one who ran him over with one of his own horses?”
His laugh came easily and his bow a big flourish as he said, “Abdul Hakiem Aria ben Hassan, prince of the realms of Hebia, Arrakiem, and Iskarbian, at your service. Awiel? I have heard of a dancer Awiel whose charms are said to make men swoon and her beauty so great as to make mortal men weep. Are you that Awiel?”
“An exaggeration, I am sure. I too have heard of her,” she said as an afterthought, trying to take away any suspicion of herself. She subconsciously checked the fastening of the dust cloth covering her face.
“I have heard,” he smiled with his eyes as well as his mouth, “that she danced for Arrat, the man who won the horse you ride.”
Her eyes twinkled but she remained silent as they rode together to his encampment close by. She spotted several hidden sentries but said nothing. Her mind was on how best she might use this chance meeting with a prince to her best and most speedy advantage.
That evening over a welcome dinner of roast goat they both gave their versions of how they met. There was laughter and good natured slapping of backs along with accusatory finger pointing and exaggerations. That she was allowed to sit with the men also registered with her. There was one other woman seated with them dressed in desert garb, festooned with weapons, who remained both with covered face and silent, her dark eyes ever roving and alert.
The silent one showed her to a large tent erected for the women. It was a pleated canvas construction, the type centered around a large pole spreading out to six outer poles the height of a man, with flat sides dropping to the ground and pegged there. The ground inside was covered with beautifully woven carpets with lush pillows thrown about randomly. There was a center fire pit with a low blaze surrounded by stone and braziers of hot coals at the far ends. There were baskets of fruits and jugs of fresh water to one side. It was hard to believe all this could be packed for travel in less than an hour and fit on a few pack animals.
The silent one took her place in a corner near the door flap and left Tarina, called Awiel, to the ministrations of the giggling girls, though they called themselves women, who offered to bath her and clean her clothes if she would but recount the tale of how she bested their prince, the best warrior among warriors. She was on the road for days and wasn't about to say no. And she knew how to captivate and control an audience. Near the end of her tale even the veiled silent one moved close and was enraptured. It felt good to be clean again. The scents and perfumes offered her were many and varied. She chose only those that were subtle. She knew not with whom she might have to deal in the near future. There were yet many miles to travel.
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