They said Taminy-a-Cuinn was a sorceress, and that she drowned in the Meri’s Sea seeking a station denied her by tradition and nature. One hundred years have passed and Taminy has walked out of the Sea and back into the land of the living for a purpose only she knows.
Some call this a miracle—some call it a diabolical plot. Will the truth be known before Caraid-land is torn apart?
From Chapter One
There was no moon. Yet there was light—laid out upon the surface of the water like a stole of palest green. No, not on the water, beneath it—within it—as if the very nature of water had been transmuted.
The old man writhed upon his couch, struggling to turn his head away from the vision, desperate to close his eyes to the dream, but dream eyes are forever open. That brilliance—he had seen it before with physical gaze, a young man, then, at the end of a long Pilgrimage. But on this shore stood a girl, waiting for a favor from the Divine, a favor to which she had no right.
Usurper! She lingered to commit heresy.
The radiance of the water grew and held out ethereal arms to the one who waited. They stretched toward the shore, wave-borne, beckoning. The girl moved closer to the water, closer, until it kissed her toes, until her face caught the brilliance of the waves and reflected it back, mirror bright. Her dark eyes glittered with it. Even her hair, blending into the mahogany night, was woven with emerald threads.
The Inhabitant of the waters called and the girl answered, stepping into the waves’ embrace.
To your death! cried the old man’s soul, shivering. To your death, Meredydd-a-Lagan!
But the girl did not die. Transformed she seemed to him—not flesh upon bone, but light upon light. She melted into the liquid glory, her hair fanning out on the waves in banners like sunbeams. The spectral luminescence that wrapped her was mottled now—pale green, dappled with amber, the hues fusing to a whorl where they pulsed and wheeled.
Through eyes that would not close, the old man watched as the amber and green whirl clotted and sundered, drawing at last apart. An eternity the waves lapped, muted, at the shore, trailing gleaming foam along the colorless sand. Then the girl reappeared, rising from the Sea, dripping glory from her naked body. Clad only in the glittering jewels of salt spray, she waded ashore, a luminous green stain spreading in her wake.
Her brow! He must glimpse her brow. Did it bear the Kiss? Had the Meri accepted her? He strained incorporeal senses toward the girl and found himself gazing into her face. The face of a stranger.
The Sea ceased its whispering as the girl stepped ashore, blinking eyes the color of the waves she quit, shaking back a mane of flax.
He knew her, yes, he was certain of it. But he could recall no name, no circumstance. Dread gripped him in cold claws and shook him.
Fear her, it whispered. Fear that hideous beauty. You thought Meredydd-a-Lagan a Wicke; meet this, the Cwen of Wicke.
The old man whimpered in his sleep. A cool hand came to caress his brow and his wife’s voice petted his ears.
“Ealad … Ealad, do you dream?”
I die, he wanted to answer, but had no voice. Instead, he nodded.
“Poor soul,” she murmured, stroking the sweat from his face. “I wish I could lift your burden.”
The Osraed Ealad-hach took his wife’s hand and pressed it between his own. If all women were like this woman, he would dream only pleasantly of things that augured well.
We hope you have enjoyed this sample of Taminy.