**Hey everyone! Thanks for stopping by Karin's Blog Tour for her Novel, Eolyn, presented by Bewitching Book Tours! I want to thank the Author for writing and sharing a Guest Post with you all. Also, there is a short excerpt provided and a Tour-Wide Giveaway, so check it out below :) **
Karin Rita Gastreich
Publisher: Hadley Rille Books
Number of pages: 325
Word Count: approximately 118,000
In a land ravaged by civil war, the Mage King Kedehen initiates a brutal purge of the Magas.
Fleeing his wrath, Eolyn, daughter of the last of the Magas and sole heiress to their forbidden tradition, seeks refuge in the South Woods. There she meets the mysterious boy Akmael, and forms a friendship that thrives on shared magic. Destiny leads them down a tortuous path of love, betrayal and war, until one day the Maga Eolyn takes up arms against the new Mage King.
Must Eolyn slay the man she loves in order to free herself and her people?
The answer lies in the extraordinary magic she commands, and in the hidden power of a Maga’s heart.
“Vigorously told deceptions and battle scenes. . . with a romantic thread." – Publishers Weekly
By Karin Rita Gastreich
In one of the early scenes of my novel, the girl Eolyn and the boy Akmael argue about magic and warfare.
"I don't understand how magic can be used in war,” Eolyn says. “Magic should create, not destroy."
Young Akmael, a warrior at heart, takes it upon himself to prove otherwise. Mage warriors maneuver in ways that defy gravity, he points out. They can also alter the path of flying objects.
"A skilled mage warrior detects the fears of his enemy and turns them to his advantage. A mage warrior trained in High Magic can use his staff to invoke a death charge."
Despite Akmael's best efforts, Eolyn is unconvinced.
Eolyn’s challenge to Akmael, made at a time when their friendship is still young, expresses an essential part of her nature. For Eolyn, magic and death will always be at odds; one should not be used to invoke the other.
Nonetheless, wartime magic has long been a tradition in the Kingdom of Moisehén.
According to legend, the first mage to become a warrior was Caedmon. Some traditions claim Caedmon was a descendent of Aithne and Caradoc; others give him a separate heritage. But all records agree he was a contemporary of Vortingen, the warrior chief who established the line of kings to which Akmael belongs.
As you may remember from a previous post about High Magic, the discovery of magic by Aithne and Caradoc led to a division among the gods. This division would, generations later, manifest itself in a bitter war between the People of Thunder, who saw the use of magic by humans as evil, and the People of Dragon, for whom magic had become a central part of their lives and culture.
It was in the darkest time of this epic war, when the People of Thunder had all but annihilated the People of Dragon, that Dragon appeared to Caedmon in its true form and showed him how magic could be used on the battlefield.
This revelation turned the tide of the war. Caedmon formed an alliance with the warrior chief Vortingen, and together they defeated the People of Thunder, securing extensive territories in which magic would be practiced for generations to come.
Ever since that time, Moisehén has sustained a class of Mage and Maga Warriors, who protected the kingdom until Akmael's father Kedehen assumed the crown and the Magas rose up against him.
As a result of that civil war, the tradition of warrior magic in Moisehén imploded, leaving no maga warriors and only a handful of mage warriors in its wake. Akmael and his tutor Sir Drostan are among the very few left who conserve the traditions of Caedmon.
Eolyn's own mother, by the way, was a maga warrior who fought against Akmael’s father Kedehen. Her name was Kaie, and she appears briefly in the first chapter of Eolyn, but she dies long before she can begin to teach Eolyn the craft.
Years later when Eolyn becomes High Maga and returns to her people, she will meet the enigmatic Khelia, a woman warrior who, although not trained in the strict traditions of Moisehén, has learned through other means how to use magic on the battlefield.
Despite the influence and friendship of these remarkable women, Eolyn will remain firm in her conviction that magic should not be invoked for war. Circumstances will nonetheless force Eolyn to use her extraordinary powers to defend against her enemies on the battle field -- and the greatest opponent of all will be her one time friend, the Mage King Akmael.
Short Excerpt From Eolyn
Akmael set the jewel on a polished oak table, next to the ceremonial mask he had confiscated from Eolyn when they had brought her to him as a prisoner. The silver web sparkled under the flickering light of the torches, and the folds of her mask seemed to waver with the shadows. After a careful search, Akmael found what he sought: a coppery strand of her hair, glowing with her magic and still bearing traces of her exquisite aroma. With a quiet invocation to Dragon, he wove the hair into the heirloom of his mother, snaking it tightly through the intricate mesh. When he finished a sudden white glow flashed through the medallion, fusing the strand of hair to the web and rendering it indistinguishable from the other threads. Satisfied, Akmael stood and lifted the circle by its silver chain. He drew a breath and began a new incantation, one he had worked meticulously by integrating the lullaby of his mother with a spell designed to separate the seam of a Maga’s ward.
Elaeom enem, eleaom enem
Elaeom enem, elaeom enem
As he repeated the verse, the stone walls melted around him and soft loam rose to his feet. The web had taken him to a forest, ancient in aspect though illuminated by energies very different from the South Woods. The pale light of the new moon filtered through the canopy. A breeze shifted restless against the trees. He thought he could feel Eolyn’s essence on the wind, but she was nowhere to be seen. Disappointed though not deterred, Akmael lifted the medallion to try again. Just as he spun the web to begin his invocation, a soft rustle in the underbrush detained him. Eolyn appeared a few paces away in the shape of Wolf, her true identity betrayed by the full spectrum of her magnificent aura.
Akmael caught his breath and held very still. The Gods must have favored him, for she did not at first detect his scent. Stepping into the clearing, she searched the leaf litter with her snout, her awareness focused on some favored smell emanating from the damp earth. Her coarse gray fur blended into the shadows. The faint moonlight glinted against her black eyes. She continued oblivious to him, until in a sudden shift of attention she paused and looked up. She sniffed at the air, her muscles tensed. Her ears turned in Akmael’s direction. She growled then bolted into the forest.
Calling upon the shape of Wolf, Akmael charged after her.
As a girl, Eolyn had been a swift runner. As a wolf, she seemed impossible to catch. She hurtled through the bushes, managing with nimble turns a rough terrain unknown to Akmael. Branches caught at his fur and scratched his snout. Tangled roots threatened to trip his paws. More than once she gained enough distance to lose sight of her, yet Akmael kept tight upon her scent and did not give up. His muscles began to burn. His tongue hung limp from his jowls. He panted hot clouds into the air as he pushed his limbs to move faster and faster.
Without warning the undergrowth disappeared. Akmael skidded into a small clearing. The she-wolf paced a confused circle in front of him, her whimpers soft and high pitched. A steep wall of rock had cut her flight short. Upon sensing Akmael, she swung around to confront him and bared her fangs in a vicious snarl. They stalked each other, heads low and tails ominously still, quiet growls and sharp barks building in a tense duet. Eolyn sprang first, striking his shoulders and digging her claws deep into his fur as her teeth sought his neck. Akmael twisted his throat out of her reach, forcing his snout underneath her muzzle, leaving her snapping at his ears instead. Again he ducked his head, barely avoiding the tearing hold of her canines. He had never seen Eolyn so intent on drawing blood. Wedging his paws up through her hold, he pushed against her muzzle and spread his claws over her face. With a sharp yelp, Eolyn stumbled back, breaking their grapple. Recovering her balance, she lunged low, fangs flashing in the moonlight. Just as her jaws snapped shut, Akmael reared up on his hind legs, leaving nothing for her to take hold of. Coming down upon her back, he caught the nape of her neck with his razor sharp teeth and forced her decisively to the ground.
Eolyn went very still, though her muscles remained tense. After several moments she tried to shift her position, scooting a few inches along the ground. He tightened his grip with a low growl, sending a clear signal that the strength of his muzzle could break her neck. Again she paused. He felt her pulse against his jowls, rapid and strong. The intensity of their conflict had left her fur warm and damp at the roots. Her rich musk rose about him in waves, saturating his senses to the point of dizziness. His loins tightened with need. Every instinct of Wolf was urging him to claim her right then and there. Was such a thing possible, he wondered. Did the Mages and Magas of old partake in the pleasure of the Gods even when they shape shifted?
Eolyn’s muzzle sank between her paws. Her ears twitched and she whimpered quietly. Her pulse slowed. The tension drained out of her haunches and into the midnight earth. Interpreting this as a sign of submission, Akmael loosened his hold and stepped away.
In an instant, Eolyn rose to her feet, resumed her human form and kicked him full in the stomach. The force of her strike surprised Akmael. He hit the ground with a yelp, and the shape of Wolf deserted him. His hand went instinctively to where the blow burned against his side.
“You have lost nothing of your strength and skill,” he said, “but don’t you think that move was a little unfair?”
About The Author
KARIN RITA GASTREICH was born near Kansas City, Missouri. After living and working for ten years as a tropical ecologist in Costa Rica, she recently returned to her home town and is now a Professor of Biology at Avila University. Her past times include camping, hiking, music and flamenco dance. Karin's fantasy novel EOLYN was released by Hadley Rille Books in May, 2011. The companion novel, HIGH MAGA, is scheduled for release in 2013. Karin’s short stories have appeared in Zahir, Adventures for the Average Woman, 69 Flavors of Paranoia, and A Visitor to Sandahl. She is a recipient of the Spring 2011 Andrews Forest Writer’s Residency.
Visit her at the blog for Eolyn, http://eolynchronicles.blogspot.com and at Heroines of Fantasy, co-authored with Terri-Lynne DeFino and Kim Vandervorthttp://heroinesoffantasy.blogspot.com
Blog for Eolyn: http://eolynchronicles.blogspot.com
Blog Heroines of Fantasy: http://heroinesoffantasy.blogspot.com
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