THE PROPHECY (from Riever’s Heart):
Aryk stumbled back from Tzigana’s bed. Horror chilled his very bones. His recurring nightmare had come to pass. Joro lay dead in a pool of his own blood. A raven-haired woman with the mark of the Hand stood over him, blood dripping from the sword in her hand. His sword. His blood. The very sword Aryk now carried, which Joro stood to inherit. The sword which would one day lead Joro to his death, at her hand—this tiny babe lying in her mother’s arms.
The future he’d determined to thwart by seeing to it Joro never picked up a sword. The wars must cease afore Joro turned six. That future started here. Now. With the birth of her.
“Piroska.” He all but hissed the name. The inflection gave it the weight of a curse.
Verdeen shot him a startled glance. Wolf’s face darkened as the queen’s arms tightened around her daughter, enough to draw a mewled protest. “What’s wrong?” Verdeen grabbed Aryk’s arm. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
“Nay.” Valkyn’s voice shook. “A witch.”
“Aye,” Tzigana retorted. “The most powerful eya in ten generations.”
“Every night I prayed this day to never come.” Aryk clenched his fists. “That she’d never be born.”
Wolf’s entire body tensed as Tzigana hissed, “Take it back, you riever bastard.”
“I’ll not. She kills my son,” Aryk raged. “I’ve seen it, night after night. Him lying gutted at her feet like a fish, killed by his own sword. The Hand of Destiny mocks me with seeing her living face—one brown eye, one green eye and the red Hand that wields my son’s doom. All I seek to prevent—negated by your witch-daughter’s birth. Your joy heralds my greatest sorrow. I can’t share in it.”
PIROSKA – Heroine…or Villainess?
one brown eye and one green eye—a red birthmark in the shape of a hand on her right cheekbone
the most powerful eye (witch) in ten generations, with the power to summon lightning
destined to kill Joro with his own sword???
daughter of Shamaru queen Tzigana and Shamari king Berend/”Wolf”
She comes from the blending of two different worlds –
the travelling gypsy native Shamaru
& the more recent immigrant Shamari, stationary builders of stone
Piroska was born in the cliffside castle of Ravenscroft, the ancestral home of Von Berend, the Wolf
Ever has she been forbidden to visit Isadorykja, the Isle of Ice, the village of Svaaldur at the foot of Widowmaker Mountain – by decree of Daq Aryk, the Isadorykjan king
son of Daq Aryk and the Isadorykjan woman Dagmar,
Joro is a proud, able warrior to rival his legendary father
Trained as a daq, his father’s heir, he chafes at the restrictions place on him, to never set foot in the land of Shamar, by the mutual decree of Daq Aryk and Von Berend (two men bent of thwarting the prophecy by never having Piroska & Joro meet)
Bur the Destiny Hand can’t be thwarted…or circumvented…
Enter the seeress Jana (Tzigana’s cousin):
“The sword you carry—the sword of a daq, of a king,” Jana continued. “He will one day carry it, wield it. The kingship as well as the sword.”
“But she kills him.” Aryk glared down at her.
She rolled her eyes and glared back, her exasperated expression clearly relaying she thought him a simpleton. “A witch has no need of a sword to do her slaying. Not an eya with the power to summon lightning. Aye, you saw the warrior Joro die. But did the man die with the warrior? When is a sword more than a sword? When is a man more than a warrior?”
Let the chess match begin!