At a random inn, in a random town, right in the middle of Tzedek…
KARINA: (clothed in a purple dress for the first time in a while, her dark hair hanging in a long braid, sits on a platform next to Tristan) Greetings, great readers! Welcome to the Three Kingdoms. I apologize that I am not in Aletheia, where I could welcome you properly. For now, we shall have to endure this lesser hall as I endeavor to answer questions.
TRISTAN: (looks rather uncomfortable as he fidgets in his formal dark pants, forest green tunic, and golden sash, but the way he sits shows that he is protective of Karina) I don’t know why we had to dress up for this.
KARINA: You will have to forgive my friend, Tristan. Our journey has been long. We are wearied, and there is still so much we have yet to accomplish.
TRISTAN: Which is why we should not have stopped for this.
KARINA: (ignores him) You see, I am a Prophetess of the Creator and Queen of Aletheia—though neither is in the realm of what I expected or trained to be. I have been charged with collecting the sacred Armor of the Creator in order to defeat a most foul ancient evil who is using the Warlock King to infect this world.
TRISTAN: Why’d you have to go and mention my brother? (mutters) At least you didn’t marry him.
KARINA: (giving him a confused look) He is the whole reason we are on this quest! (looks back to the crowd) I see many of you are confused. Let me start at the beginning.
When I was just a small child, my father was exiled from Aletheia for betraying his brother—King Pistis of Aletheia. We retreated to Soter for a time, until my parents were both killed by men who are yet still unknown to me. I was placed on an orphan train where I traveled the Three Kingdoms, until they too came under attack.
After suffering for days in the northern forests of Soter, the royal healer of Aletheia found me, near death, and brought me back to the royal house. He nursed me back to health and then took me on as his apprentice. I enjoyed learning the healing arts, and the king—my uncle—never seemed the wiser.
Until he was on his deathbed.
While I cared from him in the absence of the royal healer, he revealed that he had known who I was for a while. And, since he had no children of his own, I was the only heir to his thrown! Talk about having the air sucked out of my lungs. I could not even respond!
Before I could even take on the mantle of queen, a servant of the Creator appeared and proclaimed me a prophetess and gave me a quest. The Three Kingdoms was being invaded by an ancient evil that wanted nothing more than to destroy all the Creator had done. I was to travel to the 3 temples to collect the sacred Armor of the Creator.
TRISTAN: At least she would try. Until I kidnapped her.
KARINA: (a small smirk adds humor to her smug expression) Indeed. You should share a bit of your history.
TRISTAN: (groans) No.
KARINA: I am sure these gentle readers would love to know why you would kidnap the Queen of Aletheia, haul her back to the Warlock King—your brother—and then end up helping her to escape and complete the first leg of the quest.
TRISTAN: See, now they know.
KARINA: (another sigh) Tristan Lemur is the second son of the former King of Tzedek. His brother, Faramos, killed their father and took his place. He rules the kingdom with an iron fist and the threat of the ancient evil. Tristan was his bounty hunter and assassin.
TRISTAN: I only took that position so that I could remain close to my brother in order to avenge the death of BOTH of my parents.
KARINA: (nods with wise understanding) But he came to realize that vengeance was not his to take.
TRISTAN: Not exactly.
KARINA: What do you mean?
TRISTAN: I originally followed after you only because I thought I would have a better chance of achieving my goal on your side. Had nothing to do with realizing anything other than my own incompetence.
KARINA: You are not incompetent. I think, well, Faramos was your brother, the last of your family in the Three Kingdoms. I imagine it was hard for you to comprehend removing that connection, no matter how evil he is.
TRISTAN: I don’t think you quite understand the depth of my hatred.
KARINA: (furrows her brow, but clears her throat) Regardless of his reasons, Tristan ended up helping me through the first part of the quest in Aletheia. Without him, I may not have survived! Now, we have just finished our harrowing journey through Soter. I cannot reveal more about that experience yet.
TRISTAN: I’m just glad to be done with the deception and pretense of that kingdom. At least Faramos is up front about his evil ways.
KARINA: He is not! He tried to garner a betrothal from me in order to take my kingdom! Under the name of peace.
TRISTAN: (grunts) Well, at least I know who Faramos is and what he is about. You just had to find out the hard way.
KARINA: It was not that hard.
TRISTAN: (looks to the back of the room as an elf with pale skin and raven hair flings the door open) Rashka says we need to go. Faramos’s scouts have been spotted in the area.
KARINA: (wavering smile) Well, thank you for listening to the story of how we got came to grace this town. Well, at least the story of how we came to be on this quest. The Honored Scribe says you can read the beginning of our actual journey in Armor of Aletheia and continue on with us in the latest story Sword of Soter, just out this week!
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Our Story Title: SWORD OF SOTER
Sacred Armor Trilogy – Book 2
Our Story Genre: YA Fantasy
Our Story Released: SEPTEMBER 26, 2019
CONGRATULATIONS ON THIS NEW RELEASE!
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The Author of Our Story: RALENE BURKE
Whether she’s wielding a fantasy writer’s pen, a social media wand, or a freelance editor’s sword, Ralene Burke always has her head in some dreamer’s world. And her goal is to help everyone #SHINEBeyond their circumstances! Her fantasy novels are available on Amazon.
When her head’s not in the publishing world, she is wife to a veteran and homeschooling mama to their 3 kids. Her Pinterest board would have you believe she is a master chef, excellent seamstress, and all-around crafty diva. If she only had the time . . .
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WHERE can the book be purchased?
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SWORD OF SOTER.