Read Griffin's Shadow Online

Authors: Leslie Ann Moore

Griffin's Shadow

 

 

Griffin’s Shadow

 

 

Leslie Ann Moore

 

 

Smashwords Edition

 

This book and parts thereof may not be reproduced in any form, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying, or otherwise—without prior written permission of the publisher, except as provided by the United States of America copyright law.

Ridan and its logo are copyrighted and trademarked by Ridan Publishing. All rights reserved.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to actual persons, organizations, and/or events is purely coincidental.

Published by Ridan Publication at Smashwords

Print edition available from all major online and retail bookstores

A Ridan Publication

www.ridanpublishing.com

www.leslieannmoore.com

 

 

Copyright © 2009 by Leslie Ann Moore

Cover Art by Michael J. Sullivan

Map and Photo by Ted Meyer

Release Date: November 2009

Praise for Griffin's
Shadow


In her sequel to Griffin’s Daughter and the second title in her trilogy, Moore introduces a deeper conflict on a grand scale. Her strong male and female characters and their abiding feelings of love and honor bring a sense of true heroism to their struggles against their obstacles.”
― Library Journal

 


[N]onstop action and sympathetic characterizations. Moore’s narrative drive and suspenseful plot twists will leave readers eager for the conclusion to this intricate and appealing tale.”
― Publishers Weekly

 


GRIFFIN'S SHADOW is [a] superb tale that will have the audience wanting more from Ms. Moore.”
― Harriet Klausner(#1 Ranked Amazon Reviewer)

 

 

To my family and friends, both old and new.
You make it all worthwhile.

Table of Contents

 

PART I

Prologue

1 - Daughter Of The Griffin

2 - Departure Day

3 - A Face In The Night

4 - Sendai

5 - A Secret From The Past

6 - Questions And Answers

7 - The Search Is Over

 

PART II

8 - The Woman In Red

9 - The Veil Is Lifted

10 - The Weaver’s Tale

11 - Two Blessings And A Curse

12 - Ascension Day

13 - Dark Ambition

14 - A Question Of Loyalty

15 - Danger In The East

16 - Toward A Dark Horizon

17 - Raging To The Heavens

18 - Betrayal

19 - Shattered

 

PART III

20 - Captured

21 - No Choice But Surrender

22 - The Heart Of The Empire

23 - The Grieving Season

24 - The Power Of A Name

25 - Ashinji’s Choice

26 - A Gladiator’s Life

27 - The Key To The Conspiracy

28 - Allies And Enemies

29 - A Vision, A Tale, And A Plan

 

PART IV

30 - Birth Day

31 - Duplicity, Concealed

32 - A Secret, A Threat, And A Surprise

33 - Blood Feud

34 - Race Against Death

35 - A Declaration Of Love

36 - The Longest Night

37 - The Whirlwind

38 - A Reason To Live

39 - Bid For Freedom

40 - The Chains Are Broken

 

About the Author

Prologue

High above the broken spires of a ruined fortress, an eagle soared. His wings, black against the cerulean of a cloudless sky, cast a swift-moving shadow on the glittering snowfield below.

A snowshoe hare instinctively flattened itself to the frigid ground as the shadow glided across its path. A little fox, robed in her fur coat of winter-white, trotted along from bush to boulder, stalking the hare, keenly aware of her rival floating overhead. She paused in the shadow of an outcrop, nose twitching, and licked her lips.

The eagle had spotted the fox but had already dismissed her as inconsequential. Long before she got within striking distance of the hare, he would swoop down, snatch the prey with his razor-sharp talons and take to the skies again, leaving the fox with nothing but frustration and an empty belly.

As he prepared to strike, the eagle felt a cold tendril of energy tickle the edge of his mind. Before he could process the meaning of this strange sensation, the tendril lashed out and seized his consciousness.

With brutal efficiency, the tendril ripped away the eagle’s awareness, and as the magnificent bird plummeted, lifeless, to the ground, an ancient entity flooded the vacated skull with its own rapacious mind.

Freshly re-animated by the will of the Nameless One, the eagle broke its fall, pulling out of its death dive to rise steeply into the air once again.

The fox, sensing her rival had backed off, closed in on the prey, pounced, and with a snap of her jaws, broke the hare’s neck. She lifted her head and yipped in triumph, then scooped up her prize and trotted off toward the safety and warmth of her den. She and her children would sleep with full bellies tonight.

With a flap of his wings, the eagle banked sharply and sped southwest. Three days later, his withered carcass dropped from the sky and a raven rose to take his place. Two days and nights of flying brought the raven to the walls of a great castle standing guard over a thriving city. It, too, died before reaching the goal, but many more ravens called the castle grounds home.

Another bird leapt into the air and circled the castle precincts, searching the ground with sharp eyes until it spotted the thing its master needed. The raven landed at the edge of a great expanse of gravel and scooped a small shiny black stone into its beak.

This should do
, thought the Nameless One. He sent his small slave winging back to the rooftops to wait for the one it had been sent to find.

It did not have long to wait.

 

Chapter 1

Daughter of the Griffin

My father is Keizo Onjara, King of Alasiri!

Jelena Sakehera stared at Lord Sen, her new father-in-law, uncertain that she had heard him correctly.

Surely Father-in-law is mistaken! I can’t possibly be the daughter of a king!

A tide of conflicting emotions surged through her—elation that she at last knew her sire’s name, dismay that her existence could prove troublesome for him, fear that he would reject her outright, and hope, yes even hope, that he just might accept her, despite everything.

The Sakehera family had gathered together in their private sitting room, to share the evening meal and discuss the day’s events. Tomorrow, the entire family would quit Kerala Castle, ancestral seat of the House of Sakehera, to journey west to Sendai, capital of Alasiri. War with the Soldaran Empire threatened the elven homeland, and the king needed his great lords and generals in the capital so planning for the defense of the country could begin. As Commanding General, Lord Sen’s place on the King’s Council was second in importance only to the king’s brother, Prince Raidan.

The final days of the month of Kishan heralded the end of summer; even as fall approached, the daytime heat remained oppressive. Only after the sun had set did the air cool down to something close to tolerable. With the darkness came gentle breezes—full of the fragrances of honeysuckle and night-blooming jasmine—that ruffled wall hangings and caressed sweat-damp skin.

Jelena and Lord Sen sat apart from the others, on padded stools near one of the open windows. Briefly, she looked away from her father-in-law to glance around the room at the rest of the family. Lady Amara, her mother-in-law, lounged on her favorite couch, reading aloud from a book of children’s stories to her twin daughters Mariso and Jena. Lord Sen’s Heir, Sadaiyo, and his wife Misune, huddled together on a bench at the far end of the room, completely absorbed with one another. Ashinji—Jelena’s heart always skipped a beat whenever she looked at her husband—sat cross-legged on the floor mats, talking to his sister Lani.

Jelena sucked in a breath, struck once again by amazement at her turn of fortune. That she had been taken in by this family and accepted as a daughter, still felt too good to be true, and yet…

Here I am, a former kitchen drudge…whose father just might be the king of the elves!

“I don’t know how my old friend’s path crossed that of a human girl’s, or how it all led to the making of you. The evidence is all circumstantial, and I could still be wrong,” Lord Sen continued. Jelena refocused her attention back to her father-in-law. “But I don’t think so. I know that ring. Only members of the Onjara family wear the White Griffin.
Onjara
means ‘griffin’ in ancient Siri-dar. Yours is actually a copy of the official Ring of State the king wears. All children of the sovereign are given non-magical copies to wear as signets. Keizo wore the ring you now possess before he ascended the throne. The fact that he gave it to your mother must mean that he had very strong feelings for her.”

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