Chandrea ~ The Averill Series
The Return of the Avatar Queen
by Marlene Wynn
Chandrea Averill thinks she’s just like any other normal young woman. But, on the day of her 23rd birthday, her life changes forever.
Surrounded by magical creatures, dangerous sorcery, and insidious political intrigue, Chandrea desperately wants to return to Earth and the only life she’s ever known. But, the longer she stays, the more she realizes that she may be the only one with the power – both magical and political – to save the people of Lyrunia. Will she find the courage to remain and fight for her home world?
~ Prologue ~
The assassination changed everything.
On the day Crown Princess Chandrea Averill was born, the entire Kingdom of Averill celebrated. The streets of Cellia, her capital city, were overflowing with people honoring the birth of the new heir. Food and drink were plentiful and the mood of those gathered was joyous. Songs and laughter echoed gaily off the walls of the great stone buildings.
Those in the know speculated on what powers the crown princess would eventually develop, as no female born of the queen’s lineage ever had the same powers as those who came before her. The form and strength of the magic varied from female to female, but – without fail – magic was present in some form.
The merrymaking went on for hours into the night, and all at the Llireva Palace celebrated. Wrinkled old men sat in the corners, smoking their pipes and spinning grand and fanciful tales of the Averill family. Small children gathered at their feet, listening raptly to tales of magic and bravery. Gaily dressed dancers spun and swirled as the eager audience clapped to the rhythm. Jewels glittered and gleamed in the warm candlelight as they moved, dazzling the eye.
As the night eased into the early morning hours, those who should’ve retired long ago still remained. Sleepy-eyed and =yawning, they nevertheless continued with the celebration even as the moon set on the horizon and dawn approached. Drinks were handed out generously, and drunken, happy people roamed the palace. Staggering about, their laughter filled the hallways of the grand palace. Guards became lackadaisical about their duties, laughing and drinking with their friends as they came wandering by.
This made the attack on the Llireva Palace and those inside exceedingly simple.
The assault was ruthlessly calculated and seamless. Having been there for hours, posing as drunken guests, the invaders easily overtook and dispatched the inebriated guards. Thousands of the enemy swarmed over the palace, slaughtering all in sight, whether guest or staff. Swords and knives flashed in the candlelight, and terror-filled screams filled the warm night air.
Taken completely by surprise, the guests and staff were easily overcome. Some tried to fight back, but were ruthlessly cut down where they stood. Stepping carelessly over the bloodied bodies of the dead, hard-faced officers ordered their men to look for the king, queen, and the newly-born crown princess. The enemy soldiers scattered, each keen to be the one to find the royal family and draw first blood.
One loyal servant – Adelaide – was tasked with caring for the new crown princess while the queen recovered. Like the queen, Adelaide was a powerful sorceress, and served in the capacity of royal advisor and friend to the queen.
After giving birth, the queen had been exhausted and was resting peacefully in her chambers, while the king attended to her. Princess Chandrea was in the nursery, being cared for by Adelaide. So, when the assassination of the king and queen occurred, the princess was nowhere to be found. Enemy soldiers then spread out in search of the newborn.
Unknown to the intruders, in the days prior to her birth, protective spell webs had been cast by Adelaide and the queen in the hallways of the family wing. These spells prevented unauthorized access to the nursery by causing an agonizing death. The magic also alerted the creator of the spells of anyone entering the space. Unfortunately, the queen had been too wearied and depleted from giving birth to act upon the warnings that had been sent by her spells, and thus, she and the king soon perished. But Adelaide was not at such a disadvantage. As the assailants crossed her protective spells, she was alerted immediately by their piercing screams as the magic seared the flesh from their bones.
Adelaide quickly picked up the baby, and with an urgently muttered spell, opened a hidden passageway known only by the royal family and their most trusted advisors. Slipping out of the nursery, she turned and sealed the door with a wave of her hand, eliminating any chance that any marauders lucky enough to have a sorceress strong enough to penetrate the defensive spells could follow.
Rushing down the stairs, holding the princess close to her bosom, she finally reached the bottom. There she entered the back of a large cave. Moving quickly forward to the front, she found herself looking out at the dark expanse of the Averill Bay, named after the royal family who ruled the bordering land. She turned and gently laid the baby in a small depression in the rock, sat beside her, and allowed herself to momentarily succumb to her grief and fear. Adelaide knew that for the invading soldiers to have gotten as far as her protective shields, they would have had to defeat the queen first— and she would have been in no condition to fight them off.
Sitting quietly for a few moments to collect herself and her thoughts, she was able to form a plan of action, and to gather the resolve for what she knew would be required from her.
Taking a deep breath, she stood and faced the now-orphaned crown princess lying on the rocks. Adelaide knew without a doubt that if this tiny child were killed, all hope for Averill, and the surrounding kingdoms and cities that made up Lyrunia, would be lost. The freedom and peace they’d known under the reign of the Averill family and the Triad would make way for a dark and violent time. Above all else, Princess Chandrea must survive not only this night, but also grow safely to adulthood so that she could take her rightful place on the throne.
Raising her hands into the air, Adelaide urgently weaved them back and forth as she cast her spells. Many hours passed as she chanted through the night, knowing that in the palace above her, an intense search for the princess was being conducted, and that she and the baby could be discovered at any time. Her voice grew hoarse and her arms weary, but still she labored on, until, finally, only one more spell needed to be cast.
Sweat-soaked and exhausted, she reached down and picked up Princess Chandrea. Expecting that this would be the last time she held this dear, tiny child, Adelaide cuddled her close for a few moments. Then, looking at the precious little wrinkled face, she gazed directly into the princess’s eyes, and cast her last spell.
Bright, white light blazed forth from the infant, transforming the cave into a dazzling, glittering chamber. Princess Chandrea slowly rose from Adelaide’s hands until she hung suspended in the air. The soft blanket covering her fell unnoticed to the floor. Adelaide’s hands moved in harmony with her voice as she chanted the final spell that would transport the crown princess from Itova—the world into which she’d been born—to another one. The only place that she would truly be safe until she reached adulthood and her powers had fully manifested.
Air swirled madly about the infant and the light grew brighter and stronger. Then, with the sound of a massive thunderclap and a final burst of brilliance, the crown princess vanished.
Hosted by: Xpresso Book Tours
Hosted by: Xpresso Book Tours