Aegis Series

Magic Aegis

Wings ePress
2005 Dream Realm Award Fantasy Winner
Golden Wings Award
1st novel in Aegis Series.


Centuries ago the witch Chloe cast the Aegis spell binding four men and their descendants to protect her homeland, Kaereya, from invasion. Unfortunately, turmoil often comes from within. Now, long after the Aegis families have died out, terrible dreams of what might be afflict Vesper, but when needed most the magic needed has been lost.

From Fallen Angel Reviews: 5 Angels & Recommended Read. ~ Vesper’s handfasting to Drew awakens her seer talent and transforms her life. Vesper is shunned as the bastard of the housekeeper. One night out of anger, humiliation and pride she accepts Drew’s token. Suddenly she is torn from everything she knows to live among Clan Montoren as Drew’s wife. Drew Montoren has loved Vesper from the first time he saw her. Knowing she is terrified and bewildered by the abrupt change in her life, he asks her for one year. Determined to win her over, he begins a campaign of love. Raymond Aurelias discovers that he has a daughter via a letter written by his deceased wife. After the untimely deaths of two wives and sons, he fears for his daughter. Instead of contacting her, he sends his most trusted servant to protect and watch her.


Rhobin Lee Courtright deftly intertwines the poignant tale of two lovers overcoming pride and obstinacy within the heart wrenching reunion of father and daughter. In a kingless land, besieged by treachery, a father seeks to shelter and know his daughter while a young Aegis romances her. Magic Aegis is a gripping, stunning tale of overconfidence, duplicity, fickleness, and the courage to change. Magic is gone according to history: a legend, a story, yet someone is killing those with magic in their families. Maybe magic exists, but belief is required before it dies. I could not put Magic Aegis down. Rhobin Lee Courtright cleverly wraps the reader in a saga of love, heartache, growth, and magic lost and found. I eagerly await her next story in the thrilling world of Vesper, Drew, and Raymond.

Reviewed by Dena

An Excerpt from Magic Aegis:

Quillon, waiting for Duke Aurelias, had just entered the vestibule in time to watch the tableau with the clansmen, without time to divest himself of cloak and hood. The girl’s distress didn’t alarm him. An unwilling Handfast was neither unknown nor unheard of even among his own people, let alone these strange tribes of the far north. He had come in to speak with the clansmen about their horses. The duke always looked for good stock. In his inspection of the animals, he found the fine leatherwork of the saddles impressed him as much as the horses.

He heard the girl, heard her low spoken words and stopped in shock. He saw her and took a step forward. The young clansman threw a defiant look in his direction, and Quillon realized his mind played a trick on him. Recognition was impossible. With awareness of a situation in progress, he stepped back into the shadows and watched the young suitor bundle his prize and leave. The taller man looked as unhappy as the girl, surely the signs of an inauspicious Handfasting.

Even as the trio rode away, a Kennetsurean woman entered the vestibule carrying a cloak. Quillon took another step back in surprised recognition, which drew her attention.

“The clansman, have they already left?” she asked, searching the shadows to see his face.

“Yes, mistress.” This sudden trip finally fell into a pattern and Quillon reeled with the implication.

“With the girl?”

“Yes.”

“But I have her cloak. It is so cold and they have so very far to go.” She stood there, but he had nothing to say. Giving up, her face aged in resignation. She wrapped the cloak around herself and exited into the rainy night.

“May the night swallow you, harpy bitch,” he said after she left, his fury overcoming his well-developed sense of precaution. Never did he think one from his own province would betray their calling. With another dumbfounded thought, he nearly took out after the clansmen, but his duty to the duke stopped him. Reflection on the incident told him what he imagined couldn’t be true.

The duke didn’t leave until the end of the celebration. Then, rather than join his hosts in their carriage as they bid, Aurelias rode back as he had come, on his horse with his armed men around him.

“You saw her?” he asked Quillon as they rode.

“Yes, and recognized her. Recognized her... mother. I didn’t believe it.”

The duke didn’t speak until they dismounted in the covered portico of his host’s house. “Tomorrow I leave. I wish you to stay and investigate this matter. Find me the facts on this woman and her daughter.” He slapped his reins against his saddle, spooking his mount into a side jump. One of the outriders grabbed the horse’s bridle near the bit and calmed him. The duke apologized to his man and let him lead the horse away. He turned to Quillon. “Tell me if this town harbors a murderer but do not raise any suspicions of yourself, for I do not want her to fly to some new spot.”

“And the girl?”

“I can make no move yet. With the threat this recent attack signifies, it is too dangerous.”

Change

Wings ePress
2008 Dream Realm Award Finalist Fantasy
2nd novel in Aegis Series



Her mother demanded two things of Tyna… that she never expose her true nature, and that she never enter Cygna, the land of witches. Now, her mother is dead and her sister has abandoned her. To save her trade caravan after a disastrous attack and fire, she must break every prohibition. Once inside Cygna’s borders, Tyna learns it is the one place where she could be her true self. The cost is high: her freedom and self will; but if her presence is discovered, escape may be impossible.

An Excerpt from Change:


The flaming brand heavy in her hand, Tyna took two steps and thrust the short length of wood into the carefully built structure. Dry kindling quickly ignited. Like a replay of the life it consumed, the fire remained hesitant at first. Small nascent flames crawled in pale transparent lines along pine branches to suddenly crackle with the energy of young life. Air caught and twined the glowing currents in endless possibilities and eddies that eventually whipped into a crescendo of radiance, engulfing the pyre. She imagined she saw her mother writhing within, as she had before the fever claimed her. The image was so strong she nearly called out.

“Your mama is now at rest.” The cleric patted her arm and left.

At rest? Mama never rested. She caught herself up, hearing Naomi’s curt reply to calling her 'Mama'. “I am Naomi, owner of a caravan and mother of two girls, but still myself. You will call me Naomi.” Her words backed her strong Kernite belief that the Holy One was everyone’s parent; his followers were all brothers and sisters, meant to work together but maintain independence. Tyna murmured an answer to her memory. “I am sorry, Naomi, but you will always be my Mama.”

Nor would Naomi have approved of the funeral service, but no Kernites homesteaded in the surrounding area. At least the Holy One’s words given by the cleric provided Tyna comfort.

Her workers spoke their condolences, then left for the caravan’s campsite. Tyna remained. She watched the flames until the conflagration died and only embers remained. There would never be reconciliation with Kissre. She had sent messages, but her sister had neither come nor sent word. She should have been here, should have helped, should have made peace and said goodbye. Now her chance was gone. Death never waited on personal choice.

Jebe stood nearby. A man hired by her mother to lead and protect the caravan. Unreliable, stout, middle-aged Jebe, who needed frequent hygiene reminders and memory prods about life’s niceties. He covets your caravan. She put the thought aside as inappropriate.

As the fire ebbed, Jebe urged her home. They walked along the icy riverbank to the painted and merchandise-festooned wagons of Naomi’s trade caravan, grouped on the fringes of a small hamlet. Jebe helped her step onto the back door step of her wagon and waited while she lit the lamp hanging outside the door. He bid her goodnight. She watched him walk away.

Stepping into the wagon she looked around the interior. Fresh awareness of her loss brought tears denied during the funeral. Her mother’s work gown hung next to hers. All their small necessities of dress and personal adornment intertwined within the small space. But Naomi was gone, and continuing the caravan fell to her. A gust of wind blew out the lamp. She closed the wagon’s door. Sinking onto her narrow bed, she listened to the wind. Eventually rain poured over her wagon, drumming a soft, slushy rhythm on the roof, broken later by the hard rap of hail.

Acceptance

Wings ePress
3rd novel in Aegis Series


A Family Divided… responsibility and duty drove mercenary Kissre Pierce to find her sister in Cygna, the land of witches. Her journey to assure her sister’s safety pits sister against sister, country against country,and forces Kissre to face her own frightening nature.

From Fallen Angel Reviews -- 5 Angels.

Kissre Pierce sets out on a journey to Cygna to find out if her sister, Tyna, is there of her own will. Not only is Kissre a mercenary but she is also a Colonel in the Kaereya’s Royal Guard. She has been very faithful in her service. Cygna is her land of birth and seldom welcomes strangers, but she feels she has a duty to locate her sister. She and Tyna have not always been on the best of terms, so Kissre begins to dread the trip. After she finds Tyna, she has no idea she will have to endure rebuke and shame. Not only does she have to encounter a visit with her sister, but she soon bonds with Dovel and they begin a relationship, at first mostly out of interest. Now that she is in Cygna, things begin to happen in her life where she feels trapped. Can she finally confront her past and accept a second chance before she ends up losing everything?

Tyna needs to find answers. She loves and adores her sister, Kissre, but doesn’t understand her reasoning for disliking their mother so much. Other unanswered questions rise as to why Kissre prefers being a mercenary by trade when she could live in Cygna and find a creditable life.

Acceptance is truly brilliant with all the legends of another time combined with betrayal, antagonism and finding that second chance that many so often miss. I could feel the emotions that Kissre was experiencing as she faced many obstacles. The way she only wanted to be loved brought tears to my eyes. I enjoyed the mention of the legend of the black swans during their celebration of Spring Rites. The characters all blended well to enhance a wonderful story. Ms. Courtright undeniably knows how to spin a tale that captivates. The style of her writing painted a picture that seemed so life-like as it captured the pages. It was like being in a magical fantasyland the way that Ms. Courtright depicted the scenery. She is a very expressive author and I look forward to more of her fascinating stories.

Reviewed by: Linda

An excerpt from Acceptance:

Unobserved on a footpath high above the river valley, Kissre pushed wind-blown hair from her face and watched the wagons below her. The wind squalled down the valley’s walls with a cold wail and the sting of icy air. It came at her from ever-changing angles, pushing her both forward and back, urging her to any direction. Ever obstinate, she remained immobile.

Her mother’s caravan wove through the rutted path along the river’s edge. The ox teams appeared cantankerous in the erratic wind. She recognized the single outrider, Jebe. He scouted the route, but for him, muck and mire created a more imminent danger than any covert observer.
Always dangerous, Seer Pass worsened at this time of year. Receding high spring waters allowed uncertain travel along the rocky track strew with boulders dislodged from the gray cliffs by winter’s ice.

Bother pulled against Kissre’s rein-filled hand, signaling his restlessness. He stomped, digging a hoof into the gravelly soil, then shook his head with a spine-bouncing shiver that ran down his back. When she held him at a halt, he gave a deep, nostril-blowing snort, and heaved his sides in a sigh of resignation.

From Bother’s offside Fudge yawned with a funny dog sound. Even sitting, his shaggy brown head reached well above her stirrup. Catching her gaze he wagged his tail. Both animals reacted to her procrastination. A glance showed the lazy roan packhorse stood behind Bother with eyes closed, apparently asleep and unfazed by the wind.

Her eyes returned to the wagons. Naomi still employed Jebe as guide. Kissre huffed her contempt. He rode ahead of the three wagons checking the terrain, but never looked up, never noticed anything above his restricted view.

Naomi and Tyna were down there; her mother and sister. The anticipated family reunion did not engender felicitous expectation. Only Tyna’s plea in her last letter had brought Kissre this far. A visit put off far too many months by the requirements of duty, plausible excuses, then sheer evasion.

“I’m a coward,” she told Fudge. The huge walnut-brown dog rose to his feet. His lean Gazehound body stood poised to move and his whip-like tail waved, oddly dissimilar from his shaggy coat. It hit Bother on the flank. The horse sidestepped from the buffeting with a low nicker of warning and a hind foot lifted in threat. Fudge’s tongue lolled, smile-like, from a mouth hidden beneath an umber moustache.

Switching the reins to her left hand, she reached down to caress the wiry fur muzzle. His rough tongue licked her hand. Grimacing, she wiped her hand on her leather-covered thigh. Bother snorted at her shifting, off-center weight, so she stroked his wheaten neck in apology.

“Facing an army in the field is easier than meeting my ‘gifted’ sister and Naomi.” Thoughts of heading back into Kaereya flitted among possible alternatives. Bother sensed her indecision. She felt him tense through the saddle. His head bobbed and twisted, pulling at the bit. He wanted to go.

Kissre sighed and urged her horse down the steep embankment. No sense in putting off the inevitable.

Legend's Cipher

Wings ePress
Companion short story anthology to Aegis World
4th novel in Aegis Series
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Magic makes you different, makes others look upon you with suspicion. Many think those having such strangeness are dangerous, threatening, and also somehow undeserving of such a 'gift.' What Bertok had not related when the bishop gave him this mission was his greatest, most buried secret--he possessed such an unnatural ability. Now he must use his magic against others, expose them, and hope he will not be caught.