Thursday, September 27, 2018

Sneak Peek: The Sage's Reign by Shakyra Dunn with Giveaway

The Sage's Reign
The Final Lesson Book 2
by Shakyra Dunn
YA Fantasy

Eternal night looms over Adrylis.

After her Grimoire is lost to the Order of Helix, Leilana is left to prepare herself in a newfound way before her return to the crown city of Linmus to help reclaim Prince Remiel's throne. One by one, countries lay burning at their feet. Magic is on its last legs, but the Orb of Concord is within their reach.

From the opposite spectrum, the mastermind awaits, playing puppet-master as they march to their doom. Time is against them as the final moonless night looms above. The final test from the Warlords of Old has finally come into play.

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Six moonless nights passed, and time etched away like a pen to paper. Six
months in the dark. One by one, regions fell at the hands of the Order of Helix,
and all that Prince Remiel’s party could do to quell the ordeal was train
themselves further and prepare for the war at their doorstep, all the while
keeping updated through Leilana’s radio and occasional travel.
Rem pushed open the slightly ajar door, tucking away his neck-length
scruffy dark hair. “Leilana?”
Leilana was planted in the center of her room with shut eyes, mumbling
charms in the Minsuran tongue, incense illuminating the room in place of
lanterns. Uh oh, she was in one of her zones, which meant that his timing was all
wrong. Filling any free space around her were open notebooks, every page filled,
and Rem didn’t want to overstep his bounds to approach her. One solid misstep,
or even a word out of context, and she was sure to chew him out. The last thing
that he wanted was to aggravate her. Solus was always better at handling these
She remained perfectly still, her lips continuing to move at a timed pace,
her voice hushed and hollow beneath the crackling wood of the incense. She
wasn’t going to hear him if he called her name again, so he would have to rouse
her the hard way. He stepped off of his right heel and planted a single toe rather
than his foot over one of the nearby books, bringing his left leg over to bypass
the remaining paper-bounds. He attempted to keep his footsteps as slow and
purposeful as possible, not wanting to risk her snapping out of her fixated stupor.
“You don’t have to sneak, you know.” Rem flinched at the address in fluent
Sentience, cutting through her unwavering concentration. She didn’t open her
eyes, but she did lower her head as if drifting between slumber and waking from
a long dream. “Is something wrong?”
“Not wrong at all. I think it’s something you can use to your advantage.” He
held up his index finger. “Two things, matter of fact. Gale got wind of where we
can find Lunious through his-” Leilana’s eyes snapped open, a guttural snarl
rushing past her once pursed lips. Rem nearly fell on his back out of fear alone.
Her vengeance was festering for months, but now it was in full bloom. “P-Please
don’t shoot the messenger.”
Leilana cleared her throat, tucking some loose strands of her lengthening
wavy hair behind her ear. “Sorry. What else is going on?”
“You remember that little hint you told us? Solus and I started putting
pieces together about places in Adrylis that fit the mold. It has to be someplace
recently impacted by magic, particularly fire. Maybe the ash from the flames
causes it to rain down.”
“But that wouldn’t be a permanent occurrence.”
“I wasn’t done explaining.” Leilana nearly scoffed but decided to withhold
her disdain. “Solus had another idea—what if we overlooked something on your
map? The only places remaining that could involve smoke would be towns that
have a lot of mining. It would explain the idea of ash always falling, and maybe
those people get covered in the flakes when they’re working or whenever ash
from the mines spread, which would add up ‘cloaked in shadow,’ since it’s the
same shade.”
Leilana’s lips parted. Mining. How had she not considered that? There were
farming towns and shrines, and even reserves scattered all over the landscape,
and yet mining towns never came up anywhere in her mind. Maybe it was her
overanalytical thinking that everything in scriptures had to be sentimental. It
made perfect sense. The fates sure did love toying with her head, it seemed.
“We’re going to find my grimoire, scout out as many places as we can with
that description, then we’re going to find our Orb of Concord, end the war, get
on with our lives.”
“Good plan! Great plan!” He collided his fist with hers, and she giggled at
the enthusiasm. “Got in all of your meditation for the day? Solus wants to get
things rolling while it’s still early out, and Gale’s got our breakfast all packed.”
“I think I’m prepared enough,” she replied. Resting on her bed was a long
metallic staff, freshly polished, basking under the morning glow. She could see
dust on the nightstand and assortment of books drifting about, but now that the
time to move on had come at long last, there was little left that she wanted to
accomplish in terms of cleaning up after herself.
With a sweep of her hand, the flames burning the wood-scented incense
promptly ceased to exist, a puffy haze of smoke left to fester in the room. Rem
inhaled the aroma, far used to the sensation. She stepped towards the nightstand,
clasping her hands around the staff. The bearings were rough on her hands,
tearing into her skin the harder that she grasped the weapon, but she was well
trained—the pain had gradually minimized to a dull ache rather than outright
“Are you sure you don’t want one more lesson before we get back out
there?” Rem’s face was reflecting into the metal, his confident expression
carrying her mind into a comforting place. Leilana couldn’t help but smile. He
always did get antsy when change was coming.
“I’m in the middle of one,” she replied. “I don’t want to tack on too many
side-missions knowing that. I’m one step closer to becoming a Warlord, and this
task will prove worthy in showing me how much loss has affected my skills.”
“Well, that loss is going to strengthen you, and all of us as well.” He
glanced back when he heard his name and he rested a hand on her shoulder
before gesturing towards the door. “I’m going first. Sol’s calling me. Try not to
slow me down, yeah?”
“I don’t plan to.”
As Rem departed, she allowed her gaze to waver over the surroundings she
had familiarized herself with for the last six months. Six grueling months of
working to the bone, coming to understand that magic and power can only be
formed with her own two hands, ending in the place where they began. The staff
in her hands was a symbolism of growth. She could be of better use with two
forms of attack, even after she retrieved her grimoire. Her time had come.
She decided to change clothes after going through the wardrobe in the
corner, settling with her white uniform blouse underneath a black vest, dusting
off a knee-length tan skirt. She wiggled her toes around her tanned flats, satisfied
with the feel. Afterward, she stepped into the hall, where Sien, Solus, and Rem
were awaiting her. All three of them stood near the door.
“Took you long enough!” Sien stated. On her back was a bow and a quiver
filled with arrows, her long red hair braided in two pigtails hanging past her
shoulders. She was dressed in an ankle-length tanned dress, her boots concealing
her legs. “We were worried that you were thinking of backing out!”
“There’s no way that I’d turn down this kind of opportunity.”
Solus chuckled, his tied shoulder-length hair practically bouncing with him.
“Happy to hear it.” He rested a hand on his dark brown pants, the sleeves of his
baggy shirt slightly overlapping his arms. “I was hoping that you would keep the
faith.” Rem was bouncing in his spot, a big grin plaguing his face. “All in good
faith and all that, can we go now? Please? Pretty please?”
“All right, all right,” Solus laughed, patting the boy’s head. “We’re going.
Gale and Luna have given us their regards in advance. All that we need to do is
set off. We will return here, someday. For now, we finish what we have begun.”
“Rula!” Rem called, “We’re leaving! Are you coming?” From the kitchen,
Rula came running, his tail swishing back and forth.
“Actually, I’ve decided to stay here with Lulu and Gale,” he explained.
Rem raised an eyebrow. “What? Seriously?”
Rula lowered himself into a position where it appeared that he would
pounce, and when he did, Sien caught him in her arms. “Luna says that when
Lancett is done taking care of the initial work in Linarus, she wants to go back to
help gather people to the city. Once everything is in order, I’ll be able to return
home to the mountains. I don’t want to be too far away.”
“Well, I guess if you’re sure, we won’t stop you.” Sien rubbed the young
Dirionus behind his elongated ears, and Rula graciously tilted his head to the
“You were a big help to us,” Solus stated. “We are grateful to you,
Rulakinja. Best of luck to you. Your master would be proud of you.” Rula was
gazing at each one of them as the words reached his ears before he covered his
eyes with the fuzzy limbs. Sien giggled at the embarrassment he was showing
You guys are too much!” Rula proclaimed. “Stop picking on me!”
“Aw, no one’s picking on you,” Rem replied, patting Rula’s head. “We just
want you to know that you’re loved, no matter what.”
Then you don’t think I’m just some monster?” Rula whimpered, staring up
at Rem.
“If anything, I’m a monster too.” Rem bore his teeth, holding up both arms
before chomping his teeth down. “A big scary Bloodlinch with spooky powers!
Grr!” Rula pounced forward, hitting his face with his tail, causing Rem to falter.
Leilana and Sien couldn’t help but laugh. “Rude! Very rude!”
Monsters aren’t all bad if you’re one then!”
“All right, all right, enough of the fun. We’ve got to get moving,” Solus

The Final Lesson
The Final Lesson Book 1

"Trust none but yourself."

Leilana Erovina's got a bid for power as she takes the final test to become one of her realm's Warlords. As such, she sets out to travel the lands of Adrylis and log magical totems from respectful folk with only one hitch—no ancestral help. The quest is a pilgrimage to learn the basics of human nature. Some would call concepts like gentleness and passion fables of the heart.

In another perspective, war brews in the kingdom of Linmus, throwing Adrylis into chaos. Prince Remiel Vesarus finds himself in exile, vengeance on his mind for those who tore his life asunder. His attendant Solus Brenner at his side, they plan on restoring their kingdom against all odds.

Fate has drawn these two parties together. Conjoined at the hip, the traveler, prince and right-hand will learn the old saying of magic: "It always comes with a price."

Shakyra Dunn can't stray away from the impression that there is always an adventure around every corner! When she isn't playing the role of the Creator, she is marching through the worlds of her favorite video game characters or taking drives around her city to see the sights. Born in Chicago, Illinois, she currently resides in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, striving to experience more than the little town.

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