Raiders of the Dark Coast: Heir to the Blade
A young warrior descended from one of the greatest heroes of all time. Can he live up to his family's legacy, or will he die trying?
Seishin is a serious young man with a keen sense of honor that supersedes all else. His father the head of the most powerful clan in Isandor, Seishin began at an early age to learn the Way of the Shin Tauri. Followed by his ancestors for generations, the Way is a path that teaches one to combine body, mind, and spirit into a martial art. A master of the Way, Seishin’s most renown ancestor wielded the fabled Shin Tauri blade in the most decisive battle of the Thrall Wars.
Seishin was trained in the Way by his Uncle Draigo. The former head of the Isandor Army, Draigo disappeared almost ten years ago, after the assassination of the King. The political turmoil that arose afterwards left the entire country on the edge of civil war. With no where else to turn, the Queen sent Seishin on a quest to find his missing uncle, the only one who could possibly reunite their splintered people.
Seishin’s search led him to the Pirate Coast, a place where he found his one true love and nearly died because of it. As chance would have it, his near death led him to his missing uncle and a reunion with his true love. Unfortunately, that was not the end of his journey for a far more urgent and perilous quest was laid upon the young man’s shoulders. With a demon invasion imminent, Seishin was charged with finding the missing Shin Tauri blade. One of the most powerful weapons ever crafted, it would be sorely needed in the days to come. Yet, the charge came with a price—a choice between love and honor.
How does this tormented young soul deal with the weight riding on his shoulders? Has his choice of honor cost him the thing dearest to his heart? The events that unfold in Raiders of the Dark Coast explore Seishin’s inner turmoil and the dangerous lengths he will go to in order to further the quest bestowed on him. Here is an excerpt where we first meet the young Shin Tauri warrior:
Seishin sat quietly in the hall outside the Queen’s audience chamber. The room itself was lavish to a fault. A plush gold and purple carpet lay across the center of the floor. Tall lancet-shaped windows lined one wall opposite a rather large hearth. Elegant chandeliers hung from the ceiling, the brilliant rays of the midday sun reflecting off their crystalline prisms.
Floor length tapestries hung between the windows, each inscribed with the heraldic of Lanfor, a rearing gold dragon on a background of royal purple. Various portraits decorated the walls. One in particular was a large mural that depicted a knight in pure golden armor. The knight sat astride a golden dragon facing off against an entire host of enemies.
Seishin had spent these last few days seated on a bench opposite that mural, waiting for his turn at an audience with the Queen. A variety of folks waited there with him, along with two soldiers that guarded her chamber, and a secretary seated at the desk beside them. To date, none of those waiting there had been allowed in to see the Queen.
This unexpected delay had taken its toll on Seishin’s nerves. He just had to meet with her. He had traveled too far and given up too much only to fail now. If he did, everyone he ever loved would be lost in the terror that was about to descend upon their world.
In the midst of his exasperation, the words of his uncle came to him unbidden. Patience is a gift. Do not fight it. Only then will you see what it has to offer.
Seishin took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. As usual, his uncle’s words were cryptic. Despite that, he resolved to be more patient, though he was beginning to doubt it would gain him his audience.
Not five minutes later, the outside doors to the hall swung open. A curious group of strangers strode through them led by one of the sky riders that he had seen patrolling the city. Behind the rider came three blonde ladies. Garbed in a shimmering bronze dress, the first carried herself quite regally, despite the fact that she looked to be no older than Seishin himself. The second appeared to be a young teen in black leathers wearing a decided smirk on her lips. The last was a little girl in a cute white pinafore with the biggest dimples he had ever seen.
A grim-faced, muscular young man with short brown hair and a sleeveless blue longcoat followed the three ladies. After him came a slightly older gentleman dressed in a bright red officer’s uniform. His long brown hair did little to hide the man’s stoic expression. A brunette priestess in pristine white robes accompanied the officer. She had an almost angelic air about her that put Seishin oddly at ease.
A pair of elves were the last to enter. The first was an extremely handsome fellow with jet black hair dressed almost exclusively in white. His sandy-haired companion had a boyish face and wore an outfit strikingly similar to the pirates from down the coast.
The Queen’s secretary rose from his desk, and came forth to greet these strange newcomers. The sky rider gestured to three blonde ladies. “The Greymantle sisters are here to see the Queen as requested.”
The regal young lady cleared her throat and addressed the secretary. “And our friends as well.”
A pained expression crossed the secretary’s face. “I’m sorry, but I was only told to present the Greymantle sisters to the Queen.”
The young lady folded her arms across her chest, her tone adamant. “Tell her majesty it is either all of us, or none of us.”
“None sounds good to me,” the teen in black leathers commented, her smirk widening ever so slightly.
The secretary hesitated, his eyes flickering from the regal young lady to the sarcastic teen and back again. Finally, he gave them a curt nod. “Very well, I will ask.”
He turned his attention to the sky rider. “Captain Cloud, accompany me if you please. I’m sure the Queen would like to hear your report.”
Cloud frowned for a moment, then shrugged. “Alright, but there’s not much to tell.” He followed the Queen’s secretary to the doors to the audience chamber. The soldiers let the two of them pass, then closed the doors after them, and resumed their guard positions.
A number of folks rose from their seats and went to complain to the soldiers. Seishin knew at that moment they were wasting their breath. None of them were ever going to get in to see the Queen. Despair threatened to overtake him, but once again his uncle’s words came unbidden to his mind. The river always finds a way. If it cannot flow in one direction, it will seek another.
A closemouthed laugh reverberated in the back of Seishin’s throat. Most of his uncle’s metaphors involved rivers. Yet, the thought gave him an idea. Unfortunately, it meant he would have to divulge the purpose of his mission to outsiders. After a moment’s deliberation, Seishin decided he had little choice. He rose from his seat and approached the lady at the head of the strange entourage.
Seishin clasped his hands together in front of him and spoke to her in a soft voice. “Excuse me, miss.”
The young lady’s attention had been focused on the leather-clad teen. She now turned to face Seishin. “Yes?” she said, her expression somewhat guarded.
Seishin executed a low bow. “I am Seishin Kazari of the Kingdom of Isandor.”
The young lady eyed him for a moment or two, then curtseyed in return. “Vestiralana Greymantle of the Glittering Isles.” She motioned toward the teen and little girl. “These are my sisters, Rukastana and Mayattari.”
Rukastana gave him a curt nod, her green eyes filled with distrust as they bore into him. Mayattari, on the other hand, curtsied as well, a dimpled smile across her cherub face. “Pleased to meet you, Mr. Kazari.”
The little girl’s smile was infectious. Seishin found himself kneeling down and grinning back at her. “Just Seishin, please.”
“Say-shin.” Mayattari repeated his name slowly. She locked eyes with him, her tone suddenly quite serious. “I like the way that sounds.”
The little girl was positively delightful. “Thank you,” Seishin responded, keeping his tone equally serious.
“Ahem,” Vestiralana cleared her throat. “What can we do for you, Seishin?”
Seishin cast a quick glance around the room, but almost everyone else was still busy hassling the guards. Keeping his voice low, he explained his mission as succinctly as he could. “I was sent here by the Wizard Aldurin to see the Queen on a matter of great importance. The fate of the world may hang in the balance.”
The elf in white eyed him dubiously. “Aldurin, the wizard from the Thrall Wars?”
“Would he even still be alive?” The officer in red added, his arms folded and his expression even more skeptical than his elven companion.
“Yes, and yes,” Seishin answered both questions.
The officer still looked skeptical, but the elf in white pressed his lips together and nodded. “It is possible. Aldurin was an elf after all.”
The priestess moved up next to Vestiralana, her pale blue eyes fixed on his. Seishin could feel her reaching out with her aura to probe his own. It felt almost as if she had Shin Tauri training, much like himself. He forced himself not to resist. If he were to gain their help, he needed to earn their trust first.
The priestess probed him for a few moments. It was not an unpleasant feeling. Interestingly, she did not guard herself in turn. Seishin got the distinct impression of a good and kind soul, though also one marked by adversity and hardship. Once she was finished, the priestess placed a hand on Vestiralana’s arm. The two women exchanged a glance, the priestess giving the young lady a simple nod.
Vestiralana’s shoulders visibly relaxed as she returned her gaze to Seishin. “You said the fate of the world might hang in the balance. Can you elucidate further?”
Seishin took another quick glance around the room. The guards were still arguing with some of the more irate folks. They seemed to be getting nowhere. Gulping down any residual misgivings, he answered her question. “According to Aldurin, demons from the Abyss are staging another invasion into our world.”
Seishin paused, sweeping his eyes across the group to gauge their reaction. Strangely, none of them seemed surprised in the slightest. Though not the reaction he expected, he pressed on, nonetheless. “Aldurin charged me with finding the Shin Tauri blade. It will be sorely needed in the days to come.”
“Why you?” the officer in red asked, his arms still folded across his chest.
Seishin met the man’s gaze evenly, but hesitated before answering. He had asked himself that very same question when Aldurin laid the task upon him. He felt ill-qualified to handle such an important quest, but Aldurin had insisted. In the end, Seishin gave in, but it had cost him dearly.
Seishin drew his shoulders back and swept his eyes around the group. “It is because I am a direct descendant of Tibarn Kazari, the last known wielder of the Shin Tauri blade.”
The sandy-haired elf elbowed his fellow elf in the shoulder. “Like I said before, the Shin Tauri blade would come in handy.”
The elf in white fixed his friend with a hard look. “Shh, Donnie.” He then spun his gaze to Seishin. “If that’s the case, what are you doing here in Lanfor? Isn’t the blade back in Isandor?”
Seishin grimaced. “I only wish that were true, but that is a falsehood propagated by the leaders of my clan. In truth, the blade disappeared with Tibarn not long after the Thrall Wars.”
A few gasps escaped the group. “Well that doesn’t bode well,” Donnie exclaimed.
“That still doesn’t answer the question why you are here in Lanfor,” the officer in red pressed.
Unexpectedly, the priestess turned about and punched the officer in the arm. “Let him speak, Pallas,” she said angrily.
“Fine,” Pallas spat back at her without flinching.
Seishin felt somewhat heartened to have this total stranger stand up for him. He gave her a grateful nod before going on. “Aldurin received a message from the Queen saying she might have a way to find the blade. Unfortunately, I’ve been waiting here for days, and am no closer to getting in to see her.”
Seishin ended his speech with a heavy sigh. It felt good to vent his frustrations to someone. The real question now was would it do him any good.
A number of side conversations erupted within the group. The elf in white argued with his friend, Donnie. The priestess and Pallas exchanged words with each other. At the same time, Vestiralana and Rukastana seemed to be locked in some sort of silent exchange.
It all suddenly stopped, however, when the door to the Queen’s chamber suddenly swung open. The entire room fell silent as the Queen’s secretary stepped out into the hall. His eyes fell on Vestiralana and he called out to her. “Her imperial majesty has agreed to see the lot of you.”
Shocked expressions spread across the faces of those gathered around the guards. Seishin knew it wouldn’t last long.
Seizing the moment, Vestiralana ushered her friends forward. After the last filed past her, she grabbed Seishin by the arm. Her grip was surprisingly strong. “Come along if you wish to see the Queen,” she told him simply. Seishin didn’t have to be told twice.
The guards pushed the rest of the folks back as the group of travelers filed though the double doors. The secretary held up a hand, however, as Vestiralana approached with Seishin.
Vestiralana met the secretary’s gaze evenly. “This one too,” she told him in a no nonsense tone.
The secretary opened his mouth to object, then apparently thought better of it. “Fine,” he said with a simple shake of his head.
Seishin breathed a sigh of relief as he followed the strange group in to see the Queen of Lanfor.
We'll have to stop there. If you'd like to read more about Seishin, ebook and print copies of Raiders are now available at multiple book stores. In the coming months, I'll share a few more excerpts from Raiders and an audio clip from the soon to be released Princess of Lanfor. I'll also present the promised teasers on what happened after that epic cliffhanger at the end of Protectors of Penwick.