Sandie Bergen, Author

Tyrsa's Choice: Book 2 of The Jada-Drau

 Available now at Amazon and Barnes & Noble!  Excerpt below!

    

‘…the Jada-Drau must go to the marble throne. It is there the choice will be made. Be it also known, once the choice is done, it is final. All that is not chosen must be destroyed. One will choose. Twelve will guard. One will rule over all.’

 When Lord Cenith was unexpectedly married to the illegitimate daughter of Saulth of Bredun, it was only the beginning of his problems. Teaching her to talk and to trust him had been difficult enough, but when she exhibits abilities no one should have, his life takes a strange turn.

His worries increase when the enigmatic Lady Violet sends Daric, Cenith’s councillor and friend, to steal an ancient, prophetic scroll from Lord Saulth’s castle.

 When the gods become involved, events turn deadly. Once the prophecy is revealed, it leads Cenith, Daric, Tyrsa and the Lady’s Companions to a destination with a fate that none of them could have predicted.

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Warning! This Book Contains Adult Content. Not recommended for children!

 

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Excerpt from Chapter One!

Capturing Snake proved no challenge, not after the torture he’d suffered. Daric simply rode up beside the assassin, pulled him off his feet by the back of the old shirt they’d given him, and tossed him across the front of his saddle.

The man yelled about ‘freedom’ and ‘border’ and other things Daric ignored. Every now and then Snake’s legs twitched. The damage done to his nerves the week before still bothered him and watching him try to walk across the scrubland of western Bredun had been quite entertaining. Daric wished the pain could last forever, but that would mean letting the bastard live and that couldn’t be allowed.

Nightwind thundered east over the ridges of the rocky scrubland and onto the green plains. The sun shone warm, a pleasant break from the rain that had almost flooded the entire principality of Bredun. The horse’s hooves still sent up a spray of water from time to time. Nonetheless, the trip was pleasant, disturbed only by Snake’s mutterings.

After an hour’s ride, Daric slowed the bay to a canter, then a trot, cooling the horse. A short walk brought them to a copse of small, mixed trees that proved an ideal spot for what he had in mind. He guided Nightwind into a small clearing with a brook trickling near it. Leaving Snake where he lay almost unconscious, Daric removed the rope from his saddle and tossed it at the base of a sturdy elm. He measured several lengths, cutting them with his dagger.

Snake cried out when Daric hauled him off Nightwind and tossed him on the ground. He let him writhe and moan for a few minutes before dragging the assassin to the tree and propping him against the trunk. Too groggy to resist, the man sat while Daric looped a length of rope under his arms. Holding the ends of the rope and moving behind the tree, he reached around and hauled Snake to his feet. He tied the rope at the back, then brought both ends forward and bound the assassin’s hands. Soon, Daric had Snake tied at the waist, knees and ankles as well.

Snake roused enough to continue his verbal barrage. “What happened to mountain honour? Lord Cenith promised me my freedom!”

Daric turned his back on the assassin. Striding to Nightwind, he removed the saddle and bags and set them near the center of the clearing. The blanket he hung from a nearby tree branch. Turning his attention to Nightwind, he took his time brushing the horse down; removing a few mats and burrs from the bay’s mane and tail. He also spent it completely ignoring Snake’s protests.

“You’re doing this without Cenith’s permission aren’t you! Why? I told you what you wanted! I signed that document!” Snake struggled against his bonds, to no avail. “Can’t I at least sit down?”

Leading Nightwind to the stream, Daric let him drink his fill then tied him opposite the glade from Snake to graze. Now he allowed time for himself. Scanning the clearing and nearby brush, he found rocks to form a fire pit. Long days of sunshine had dried enough twigs to allow him a fire. Another search provided him with bigger branches to keep it burning.

“What are you doing? You can’t kill me. Your lord promised me my life!”

While water heated for tea, Daric found part of an old fallen tree to use as a seat and dragged it over by the fire, placing it so he could keep an eye on Snake without looking at him directly. He stretched out his legs and rubbed his right thigh. It had been split to the bone years ago by a Syrthian soldier and ached from time to time. His fiftieth birthday lay only a few months away and sometimes he felt every one of those years. Daric ate a cold but delicious meal of roasted beef, cheese, a couple apples and a chunk of fresh bread, all provided by the women of the station at the base of Eagle’s Nest Pass.

“What about me? Don’t I get anything to eat? I’m hungry too, you know.” Snake wriggled and squirmed.

Daric allowed himself a smug smile. Snake’s legs had to be hurting from the nerve damage he’d suffered when Daric tortured him several days earlier.

The smile disappeared as Daric stared at the fire, stretching his aching fingers. Had it only been ten days since he’d cut them on an assassin’s sword? Only ten days since he’d held Kian while his son breathed his last? It seemed just yesterday.

He hadn’t told Elessa everything he’d planned for this trip. His wife knew about Saulth’s scroll and that Tyrsa had asked him to retrieve it. That worried her enough. She didn’t need to know about his slide into the darkness of his old mercenary life. In the days since Kian’s death, he’d thought and dreamt of only one thing.

Revenge.  Violence feeds violence and I am a shining example. No truer words had he spoken that night with the men who would become Tyrsa’s Companions. He’d told them a valuable truth, but he’d also spoken a lie.

“Daric.” Snake sneered his name. “All the tales of your honour and courage are nothing but chaff. Lies borne down the mountain by fools and churls. You have no honour and neither does Cenith.” The assassin spat, but Daric sat too far away.

Killing his mother’s murderer had been worth it. The long years spent learning how to kill; the satisfaction of watching life leave the man’s eyes while he was bound and gagged in his own tent, his blood splattered on the walls, the blankets, the fancy clothes Daric had cut off him; the knowledge that the man would never hurt another woman again; the resulting two months in prison was all worth it...for one, brief, instant.

“Shival will have her revenge on you!” Snake struggled against his bonds. Pointless. “She won’t just drag you to Char, she’ll burn your soul personally! And those of your wife and children, too! From what I hear, you’ve whelped enough of the brats to keep my Dark Lady busy for an eternity!”

Daric glanced at Snake. Another of a similar ilk. Violence feeds violence. If Saulth hadn’t hired Snake, Kian would be alive and Daric wouldn’t ache with the burning need for revenge. Only now it wouldn’t take fourteen years to accomplish. Of necessity, the merchant’s death had been brutal, messy and quick. Daric could take his time with Snake. He pulled out his dagger and sharpening stone.