Fantasy of Fire (The Tainted Accords Book 3)

By: Kelly St. Clare

Book Three of the Tainted Accords



Acknowledgements

I’m continuously surprised by how different each book is to write. But the people who help me bring these stories to life remain constant.

To my husband, Scott. It still feels rather strange to be calling you husband. But I hope to have a while to get used to it. Thank you for your encouragement, your hugs, and your support.

To my beta readers. You guys are so much fun! I always look forward to hearing your thoughts on the book. You take my work to the next level and your comments have only cut me to my very soul like five times … Here they are (in no particular soul-cutting order): Jill Meroiti, Philippa Cox, Frances Lindsay, Kelly Lindsay, Catherine Irvine, Ashlea Lawry, Chelsey Dean, Callan Dean and Kate Roband.

Then to the big guns: thank you to Melissa Scott, who continues to content edit my novels; Akira, who takes my stick-figure drawings and turns them into ah-muh-zing covers; to Robin Schroffel for copy editing; and to Joseph Murray for formatting.

These are the guys and gals who add the bells and whistles. Thank you all for your hard work!

And of course, multitudes of thanks to my readers. Meeting you guys and hearing your thoughts on The Tainted Accords is one of the best parts of the author bizzo (in my opinion).

– Kelly St. Clare






Chapter One


An army is halfway to Glacium.

And not just any army—it belongs to my mother.

The only reason Mother’s army hasn’t been able to slaughter hundreds of Bruma in their sleep is because it takes a month to travel from Osolis to Glacium by foot. Even with this distance, Mother still may have been successful, if not for an unexpected warning I’d received.

I rise through the Oscala, the wings of a Soar strapped to my back. The floating islands I dodge between form the treacherous pathway between the two worlds that the Tatum’s army currently marches upon. I follow an Ire boy named Jimmy, who flies ahead of me. Our flight from the castle in Sector Six, where I left King Jovan and Olandon, has been frantic.

Because every second the army draws nearer.

The history between Bruma and Solati is bloodied and unrelenting, but for the last one hundred years we’ve managed a tentative peace. It was written in the accords that every three years, a peace party of twelve would travel from one world to the other. This party would seek to refresh negotiations and ‘strengthen bonds.’ When I was the innocent Tatuma of Osolis—next in line to rule—I believed this actually happened. Things had changed. I had changed. Now my eyes were open to the taint of the accords.

My mother, the Tatum of Osolis, has been planning her invasion of Glacium for quite some time. She hid this, acting the part during the peace delegations for revolutions. And had the relationship between our worlds remained tenuously peaceful, she might not have showed her true face just yet. But the murder of one of Glacium’s princes and my subsequent kidnapping provided the Tatum with an opportunity—or rather, an excuse to invade, too good to pass up. Now we knew Mother’s attempts to negotiate were merely a farce, designed to distract the king while Mother sent her army to attack.

An entire year has passed since my abduction from my home in the palace of Osolis. After Prince Kedrick’s murder, the eleven remaining peace delegates from Glacium stole me away to be tried before their king. They’d believed me to be guilty of Kedrick’s murder. During our journey through the Oscala, they found the opposite was true. I’d loved the prince of Glacium, and his loss devastated me. Apart from a select few, he’d been the only person who was aware of the abusive treatment I received from my own mother. He remained in my heart as the first person I could be completely open with. A dear friend.

Tracking his murderer became my sole purpose as I struggled to cope with Kedrick’s death and my own past. While attempting to find his assassin, I survived months in the fighting pits of the Outer Rings, only to discover a hidden community of mixed people, tucked away in the highest of the suspended islands of the Oscala. This place was called the Ire.

Now, the Ire folk are my only hope of stopping the army.

One thing binds me to the people here. It took a full sector after Kedrick’s death to discover the truth myself; to understand the cause of my mother’s hatred and the reason she’s made me wear a veil my entire life.

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