QSFer Chisto Healy has a new queer fantasy book out, Women of Avaron book 1: The Guardian.
A battle to avenge the past is also a fight to protect the future.
Twelve years ago, Marista, warrior for the royal guard of Avaron, was given the sworn duty of protecting her fallen kingdom’s infant prince, Derrin. Marista was hidden away with the prince while her people fought and died at the hands of the Vorcan raiders.
Now… Lord Vorcan is hunting them to eliminate what remains of his enemy. With no one to oppose him he could replace the Lands’ many cultures with a one world dictatorship ruled by his own iron fist. Avaron lives on in Marista’s heart and now she has more than a fallen kingdom to fight for. Derrin is no longer just her king, he is her son, and she will do anything to keep him safe. This means taking on slave traders, pirates, and the Vorcan Empire itself, and this is just the beginning. All of the Lands are about to discover that there is no greater fight than the one driven by love.
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Marista chewed on her nail while she watched Derrin getting dressed with less of a sense of urgency than she desired. She looked over at the old woman beside her. “How long do we have?”
The Oracle just gazed at her with eyes of sadness and shook her head.
Marista felt stressed, unsure of the right thing. She didn’t know where to take the boy, how to keep him safe, if her days of practice would be enough to protect him. She tapped her foot. She wanted to scream at the boy, to rush him, but she knew it would only upset him and delay them longer. Children took patience. She thought of her Pa’s gentle face when she had swung her sword too close to her mother’s breakables. There was not a trace of anger in those deep brown eyes.
Marista felt the Oracle’s stare and turned to face the woman once more. Those clammy old hands grasped her face. She saw the fleeting image of a boat of traders passing by the channel that led to this lonely mountain. Then she was released.
“How do I know they’re friendly? What if they won’t take us?” Marista asked.
The small elderly woman reached up a frail finger and pointed to the sword on her back. Marista cracked a crooked grin and nodded at the woman.
Then Derrin was standing before her shyly, looking even smaller than he was. “Do we have to leave?” he asked. “I don’t want to.”
Marista clamped a hand down on his shoulder. “Sorry. I know, but there is no choice, unless you’re in a rush to join the stars in the sky.”
The boy shook his head. Marista handed him a true dagger that stayed sheathed to her leg. His eyes widened. It looked like a short sword in his small hand. “It’s not wood,” she told him. “Be careful with it, but use it if you need to. Understand?”
“Yes,” he told her. The look in his eyes told her he was indeed on his way to manhood. Sometimes he seemed so much younger than his years, and she felt responsible for it. He had no one to socialize with other than her, and she tended to baby him with her protective instinct. At least he didn’t act spoiled. He knew how to share. She would have to see how he acted once she got him around other people though.
“Why do people want to hurt us?” he asked, trying his dagger out on the air.
“We’ve talked about it before, Derrin. We can talk about it more on the way, but we need to move.”
Derrin planted his foot on the ground. “I know we’ve talked about it, but I still don’t understand it. I haven’t done anything to anyone. I haven’t even met anyone.”
Marista huffed. Her shoulders sagged. “Sometimes, you have to pay for things your parents did or didn’t do. Sometimes, you need to finish battles that were started before you were even born. Sometimes, people will love you or hate you just because of the blood in your veins. Understand?”
Derrin scrunched his face. “I guess, but it still doesn’t seem fair.”
“Life never does, my…” Marista stopped herself before she spoke the word son. It was instinctive. She bit her lip and silently apologized to Queen Azallan. “Let’s move.”
Author of twisted horror tales as well as innovative science fiction and epic fantasy stories. Chisto is a genre author with an unstoppable imagination who writes 7 days a week and tries to write at least one story or chapter every single day. It’s his biggest passion. The only thing that means as much as his writing is being a dad to his awesome kids. He also dabbles in art and music and being an interesting person. His fiance refers to his dog as his other girlfriend. His baby refers to him as urrrrghhaaaa. People that know him share the opinion that he’s a little crazy and he doesn’t necessarily disagree with them. It makes for good art. He loves hearing from people that enjoy his work. He loves networking and connecting with authors, artists, publishers, agents, and readers. He is living his dream and recommends that you go live yours and be your best self. It’s the key to happiness.