Title: The Son of Dark (Book 1, The Darksome Thorn)
Genre: YA Fantasy, Sword and Sorcery
Author: Jeremy Higley
Publisher: Class Act Books
A thousand years ago, the wizards of the Nynsa failed to follow the prophecy of the Darksome Thorn, and now the greatest evil of their time has survived into the next age.
Now, the Darksome Thorn has revealed a new prophecy, and the very evil they failed to kill is working to use that prophecy to his advantage.
Forces of evil run rampant in the land of Duskain. Ancient powers are stirring. A greater darkness is imminent…
…and Skel, the foster son of an elephant herder, finds himself caught in the middle of everything. Will Skel’s newly developing powers be a help or a hindrance…
Marga pointed to the south. Zar didn’t turn, but he heard a gasp of recognition from Skel.
“Aja-aja,” he said with concern. “Three of them, about two miles away.”
Zar sighed in trepidation. The aja-aja were rare, enormous snakes prowling the Eltar plains, preying on elephants and any herders foolish enough to attack them. They had three heads each and stocky, powerful bodies to match, and could grow to over forty feet long. They killed and then predigested their prey by spitting streams of corrosive poison from their mouths.
“The aja-aja will be no problem,” he bluffed, staring into Marga’s eyes. “I have two magic-users with me now, a wizard and a Phage. They’re perfectly capable of dispatching a few overgrown snakes.”
“If so, then I’ll simply have to wait longer to be reunited with my precious one,” the Wyvern said, eyeing the flattened snake corpses around her.
Something inside Zar began to burn like a fuse at the words “precious one.”
“You knew her before, I presume,” he continued, his voice much quieter. “Before you kidnapped her, I mean, and took over her mind.”
“She was mine to take,” the Wyvern retorted through Marga’s lips. “She was always mine to take.”
The last words hissed from Marga’s mouth like a challenge. Zar’s fingers wrapped around his sword’s hilt. He wanted nothing more at this moment than a way to strike at his enemy, but the Wyvern was far, far away.
“If you want her,” Zar said, “you’ll have to kill me.”
“Too risky,” the Wyvern replied. “You crave nothing more than to die for her. To kill you might break my grip.”
“If you don’t kill me she will never truly be yours,” Zar said. He walked to within an arm’s length of her. “As long as there’s breath in me, I will always be fighting to free her.”
“I’m sure you mean that,” the Wyvern said. “Once you’re dead, there’s nothing to stop me from singing her back to me.”
Jeremy Higley was born in California but now lives in Arizona. As of 2016 he’s a graduate student working on a master’s degree in English. He’s also an instructional aide at a local elementary school, a novelist, and a contributing editor for a nonprofit student success company called LifeBound.