TITLE: Spirit Weaver
When the man she loves unexpectedly disappears, Lora abandons her post in the army and sets off alone into enemy territory to search for him. This brash choice not only turns her own king against her, but awakens the desperation of an oppressed people who become convinced she is destined to save them from tyranny. Soon Lora finds herself captive to a deep prophecy she doesn’t believe, but if she refuses to accept her place as a leader, she will have little chance of saving the man she set out to find.
The most unusual thing about the figure standing alone on Orac’s pass this late in winter wasn’t that she was a woman. It wasn’t even that she carried a curved saber sheathed at her back, mottled bronze hilt engraved with the swan of the king. The most unusual thing about her wasn’t a thing that could be seen at all.
She thrust her ski poles into the knee-deep snow, raising a mittened hand to shade her face from the sun’s intense failure to warm the air. Staring past the wolverine ruff of her parka hood, she gazed down the slopes to the evergreen forests rolling out with the gray-green hue of the king’s Honor Guard.
Now that she was here, she felt the fear turn her gut into clenching coils—like a snake consuming itself. The snake twisted at the thought of what she might find in the valley below, twisting tighter at what she almost certainly would not find.
Yet she had to know what had become of Gaern. She could feel the empty place at her core where the fastbond had once burned with the steady glow of a sheltered candle flame. Gaern was the only other person who even knew that place could be filled. But now…
That’s why I’m here, Lora thought.
She looked out again, searching for the smoke-haze of Elendir rising up through the crowns of the distant conifers, though she knew all signs of her village would be hidden beyond the valley’s bend.