10 ‘Magical’ Plants

Today’s tour host is Michelle Louring, who will be sharing a guest post from me about how to write about nameless characters. I hope the post is helpful to fellow authors.

10 ‘Magical’ Plants

Today, we know that myriad plants have healing properties. We see it as science or nature, but ancient humans saw magic in these plants, which were used not only for magical rituals, but also for healing purposes. It’s beyond me why more natural remedies are not used in treating today’s ailments – with no harmful side effects, as is the case with modern drugs, one would expect these natural treatments to be the first choice. Sadly, it’s all about the money, and drug companies cannot make money from plants everyone can grow in their gardens at home, which is why, I believe, plants with ‘magical’ healing properties are downplayed, not mentioned at all or used to create pharmaceuticals.

Let’s take a look at some of these ‘ancient’ plants, many of which you may not have realised are so useful to humanity.

1. Mandrake_blog1. Mandrake
The mandrake plant’s roots and berries were once used as an anaesthetic or painkiller, but, by the Middle Ages, it was used solely in the practice of magic. When worn as an amulet, mandrake was believed to bring wealth to the wearer or make soldiers invisible to their enemies. German troops in World War 2 believed this too, and wore mandrake around their necks. It didn’t work, of course, as is evident by the fact that Germany lost the war, but perhaps that was because the cosmic Powers That Be deemed the Nazis unworthy of such aid.

2. Willow_blog2. Willow
Willow bark was used by the Ancient Greeks to ease rheumatic pains, and chewed by the Ancient Egyptians to relieve headaches and fever. Modern research discovered that the bark contains salicylic acid, which led to the development of aspirin. Perhaps modern medicines can be stored for longer than uprooted plants and do not need the care that living plants do, but I still think natural is best and we should all be chewing willow bark instead of popping an aspirin each time we have a headache – assuming, of course, the plant grows in your region. That said, there are myriad plants that can ease the same ailments, so, if we looked hard enough, I’m sure we would discover that each region is home to at least one such plant.

3. Aloe_blog3. Aloe
The aloe plant, which was believed to protect one from evil, can also be used to treat skin conditions such as bruises, sunburn or rashes, and the sap is known to ease haemorrhoids and have positive effects on the tonsils, gums and eyes. Pulverised Aloe leaf also stops some wounds from bleeding.

4. Pomegranite_blog4. Pomegranate
In ancient times, pomegranates were symbols of fertility. In modern times, we know it has high antioxidant, antibacterial and antiviral properties, and is believed to decrease inflammation.

5. Tamanu tree_blog5. Tamanu tree/laurelwood
Ancient humans treated the tamanu tree as sacred and a gift from nature, and believed the gods secreted themselves in its branches. Today, the seeds’ oil is believed to regenerate tissue, and it’s thus used by many cosmetics manufacturers as an ingredient in skin creams. The tamanu tree’s leaves can be used as an inhalant to treat vertigo and migraines.

6. Vervain_blog6. Vervain
Vervain was a sacred plant to the Druids, who used it for healing, divination, purification, ritual cleansing and consecration, amongst other things. The Romans used it on altars to honour the goddesses Diana and Venus, King Solomon is said to have used it to cleanse the temple, Ancient Druid priests used it for sacrifices, and sorcerers used it in spells. It was also worn around the neck to ward against headaches and venomous bites, and for good luck. Vervain has aphrodisiac qualities and its medicinal uses are almost countless. It can be used to effectively treat fevers, ulcers, bladder afflictions, muscle spasms, headaches, bowl pain, haemorrhoids and rheumatism, and many more ailments.

7. False Unicorn_blog7. False Unicorn Root
False unicorn root has been used by Native Americans and trained midwives for hundreds of years. Ancient humans wore it around their necks for protection when pregnant, and to restore balance and inner peace, believing it to contain powerful magic. Today, we know that it strengthens and normalises the reproductive system, and can also bring relief for ovarian pain, ovarian cysts, menstruation, morning sickness, symptoms of menopause, infertility, digestive problems and water retention.

8. Wormwood_blog8. Wormwood
Ancient humans used wormwood to counteract poisoning by toadstools, hemlock and sea dragon bites, and to call on the spirits of the dead. It has great medicinal value, and can be used to treat fever, appetite loss, gall bladder and liver disease, worm infections, intestinal spasms, an upset stomach and general pain, and can be applied to the skin to heal wounds and insect bites.

9. Basil_blog9. Basil
Jewish folklore has it that basil gives strength to those who are fasting, while European lore sometimes states that it represents the Devil, and African lore claims it protects against scorpions. In Europe, it was placed in the hands of the dead to ensure a safe journey to the afterlife, in India it was placed in the mouth of the dying, and in Ancient Greece and Egypt it was believed the plant would open the gates of Heaven for the dying. It’s known to eliminate phlegm, strengthen the stomach, reduce stress, alleviate asthma, help treat diabetes and promote digestion. In vitro studies have determined that basil oil also has potent antiviral, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, and that it might be a good treatment for cancer.

10. Cannabis_blog10. Cannabis
I’ve saved the most controversial ‘magical’ plant for last. The Ancient Chinese saw cannabis as a symbol of power over evil, and believed that the plant enabled one to see devils and communicate with the spirits. They also used it to treat malaria, constipation, absent-mindedness, rheumatic pains and general pain. In Africa, it was used as an antiseptic, and to relieve haemorrhoid pain and restore appetite. The Germanic peoples believed the goddess Freya lived inside the plant’s flowers and that ingesting the flowers would fill them with a divine force. Many believe that even Jesus of the Christian Bible used cannabis oil to heal and relieve pain. Today, it’s been proven that the Cannabis plant can be used to treat a variety of ailments – in fact, almost anything that relates to the body’s cells not being in the state they should be. Its medicinal uses include appetite stimulation, pain relief and prevention of infection, and it can also be used to treat epilepsy, rheumatism, glaucoma, arthritis, ear infections, muscle spasms, migraines, depression and mood disorders. In fact, until around 1937, most muscle ointments, corn plasters and fibrosis poultices were made from cannabis extract, and it’s believed that even the anointing oil Jesus used contained cannabis extract.

Have you used any of these plants to treat an ailment and, if so, what were the results?

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Extract from Wizard of Ends, Book 2: Dark Creature by Vanessa Finaughty

Today’s tour host is Sandra Ulbrich Almazan, who will be sharing a character interview with Wizard of Ends’ MC, Lashlor Leaflin. I hope you all find it interesting!

Wizard of Ends, Book 2: Dark Creature
Extract

Wizard of Ends, Book 2_BlogThe back of Lashlor’s neck prickled. The horses’ odd behaviour stank of magic.

He sighed. “If the horses refuse to walk, we’ll have to go on by foot.”

Most of the men groaned at the thought of having to carry all the supplies themselves.

“Or I can go on alone,” Lashlor offered.

“Forget it,” Amkesh said. “The king warned me you might suggest that and ordered me to forbid it.”

“You cannot forbid me from anything. I’m not one of your men.”

“I can if what you do goes against a direct order from our king.”

Lashlor glowered at the captain. “Fine. Whatever. Let’s get moving.”

They had barely made it around the bend in the canyon when an inhuman wail cut the silence. The soldiers drew their swords, but no enemy appeared for them to impale upon the sharp blades. The wail came again. The soldiers scanned the canyon walls, most jumping when a third wail came, this time from seemingly among them.

Lashlor gave a choked laugh. “It’s just the wind.”

“How sure are you?” Amkesh asked.

Lashlor was fast growing tired of being asked that. “I sense no presence here. Do you?”

The others shook their heads, and Xain said, “But we are not magic users. We cannot sense presences the way you can.”

Lashlor shrugged. “Well, you see nothing and no one, and I sense nothing and no one. Therefore-”

One of the soldiers near Xain stumbled onto his hands and knees, as if he’d been shoved.

“No one, you say?” Xain muttered, whirling to find his comrade’s attacker.

Another two soldiers stumbled, one falling to his knees.

Lashlor closed his eyes and used more power than usual, but still, his inner vision saw nothing.

Then he noticed it…

A faint green glow in the air, invisible to most human eyes.

“It’s a disruption field,” Lashlor said. “That’s why I sense nothing.”

“Do we need to flee, wizard?” Amkesh asked, spinning on his heel as something unseen pushed him.

Lashlor looked around. So far, no harm had been done, a few bruised egos aside. However, no matter how playful they were, most spirit creatures eventually grew bored with these sorts of antics and became violent.

“I think that’s a good idea,” he replied.

~

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Lashlor Leaflin’s Bucket List

Today’s tour host is Independent Bookworm, with a guest post from me about how to write original fantasy creatures. I hope fellow fantasy authors find it helpful.

Lashlor_smallLike any of us, Lashlor Leaflin, the MC in Wizard of Ends, would love to do certain things before he dies.

So you can get to know him a bit better, Lashlor has agreed to share the top five things he would like to do before he moves on to the next world, in no particular order:

1. Discover an easy and fast way to remove curses – one that cannot backfire.

2. Ride an alkat – a horned, friendly sea creature – so he can experience the freedom it enjoys.

3. Make the world in general understand and accept that magic should never be used for frivolous things.

4. Write a book about his life experiences to enable whoever reads it to avoid making the same almost fatal mistakes he has made in the past.

5. Climb all the way to the top of the Teldin Mountains – a mountain range bordering the Land of Ends and the unknown land beyond. Countless have tried to make it all the way to the top. All have failed. It is a challenge Lashlor cannot resist indefinitely.

What’s top on your bucket list, and what’s preventing you from ticking it off the list?

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Get Simon Ludgate’s The Accidental Wizard for FREE – TODAY ONLY!

Today’s tour host is Richard Foland, with a guest post from me about real-world attempts to use magic. Enjoy!

Smashwords author Simon Ludgate has joined the Wizard of Ends party! For today only, you can download The Accidental Wizard from Smashwords for FREE!

Grab it while you can! Enter the code FM47Z on check-out to claim your 100% discount.

Accidental WizardA journalist and documentary director, Simon Ludgate has written a diary of how he ‘woke up’ to the existence of the Angelic Realm through his growing ability to photograph orbs. His journey to date, jump-started by the traumatic death of his mother, a famous healer, is recounted as a very personal and frank diary.

Since 2004 when Simon visited Indonesia after the tsunami, he has filmed accounts for major broadcasters of every earthquake and tsunami which have followed. The mystery and wonder of the Universe has slowly opened up to him and he documents his extraordinary findings through his diary and 125 fascinating photos he has taken which tell a story about who we are and why the angels are so desperate to make contact.

The Accidental Wizard is an explosive revelation about the meaning behind our lives, the connection between the spiritual and the scientific and what is in store.

Happy reading, and please remember to leave a review if you enjoy the book :)

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Extract from Wizard of Ends, Book 2: Dark Creature by Vanessa Finaughty

Today’s tour host is Alex James, with his review of Wizard of Ends, Book 2: Dark Creature. Enjoy!

Wizard of Ends, Book 2: Dark Creature
Extract

King Lanaran exclaimed, “Here it is!” He read from the book. “A person cursed with the form of a dark creature can be saved, if the one who attempts to undo the curse is more powerful than the one who cast it.”

“So we must find a magic user more powerful than Assassa.”

Lanaran scowled. “I only know of one.”

“What if a few other magic users link their magic? Wouldn’t that work?”

Lanaran thought for a few moments. “Perhaps.”

There was a warning at the bottom of the page, saying that the curse could be worsened if the instructions were not followed exactly or if the magic user was too weak. Lashlor’s warning rang in Lanaran’s mind. Was it worth the risk?

Narraki showed no signs of dying of rabies, so it seemed Elmadra’s protection spell would keep her alive until old age claimed her. It could be that the spell would also protect her from the curse becoming worse should the magic users fail to undo it. Then there was the possibility that Lashlor, Captain Amkesh and the others would never return from the Mountains of Eclador. Was waiting for them worth the risk?

Lanaran dropped his head into his hands, then looked up at Axim. “I must try. Let’s summon all the magic users in the kingdom.”

Lanaran refused to consider the fact that, even working together, the kingdom’s magic users had not been able to thwart Assassa. Elmadra’s spell would keep his beloved safe, as it had done up until now. It had to.

~

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The Ancient Book of Thoth

Today’s tour host is Louise Blankenship, who will be sharing a character interview with Queen Narraki Dragonsbane from Wizard of Ends. I hope you enjoy it!

The god ThothThe ancient Book of Thoth is one of the most controversial ancient manuscripts to date. The collection of Ancient Egyptian texts believed to be written by the god Thoth is called the Book of Thoth too, but it is not that to which I refer now… the ancient spell book that many believe to be a myth is of far more interest, IMHO (in my humble opinion).

It is said the spell book is first mentioned in an Ancient Egyptian story and its first two pages contain knowledge that enables an understanding of animals’ language and immortality, and allows the reader to perceive the gods, whom are usually hidden from mortal eyes. The original Book of Thoth, allegedly written on papyrus, apparently says that mankind is ‘halfway between the angels and gods’, and has a special role in creating objects of beauty, much like the gods. The book is said to hold the secrets of the gods… the key to vast magical power that enables the reader to enchant even the earth and heavens. Some believe the Book of Thoth is an ancient alchemists’ manual, some say its spells can predict the future and others believe it to be three separate books.

There is an Ancient Greek version of the Book of Thoth, which, to the best of my knowledge, no longer exists; at least, not in its entirety. Occultist Aleister Crowley also wrote a Book of Thoth, which includes a tarot deck invented by Crowley, who claimed that Thoth himself dictated the book to him. It’s not surprising that it’s associated with the tarot, as many believe this comes from Ancient Egypt and that the original Book of Thoth is a set of tarot cards rather than a book or papyrus. Another text, The Emerald Tablets of Thoth, has supposedly been translated to reveal the author as none other than a priest-king called Thoth from the mythical city of Atlantis. These tablets are said to be 36, 000 years old and are claimed to contain a recipe to create a Philosopher’s Stone for use in transmutation. As far as I know, none of this has been verified.

It’s generally believed that Thoth was a scribe to the gods, but some say the Ancient Egyptians believed that, without Thoth’s words, the gods would not exist. Several ancient texts say that Thoth wrote something of great scriptural importance that would eventually be discovered by someone of his bloodline. Were those references to the ancient spell book?

The Book of Thoth is believed to be buried in the City of the Dead with Prince Neferkaptah; however, to date, no one has found a trace of it. Some believe it lies beneath the giant paws of Egypt’s sphinx, and others believe it could be among the thousands of Ancient Egyptian papyrus texts that are still in the process of being translated. What we do already know is that some of these texts refer to the Book of Thoth; however, the magic referred to in these texts is not magic as we understand it. Instead, it’s said the book holds the key to understanding the world as it is rather than seeing into the future – a means of making sense of unseen things such as the seasons, illnesses, and day and night. These ancient texts also refer to spells in the Book of Thoth, but, again, not magic spells – rather, they could more accurately be called prayers. The texts do, however, make reference to man being ‘halfway to god’, which concurs with the legends. There is also mention of the Masonic ritual of death and rebirth, but no mention of the original papyrus Book of Thoth or tarot.

Only one thing is certain: unless the original Book of Thoth is discovered, no one can know for sure what lies within its pages.

Many believe that, if the Book of Thoth was discovered, it could enable us to once again live in a pristine world. However, all Ancient Egyptian stories about the Book of Thoth could accurately be called warnings, as those in the stories who find the book also find tragedy and pain. It is said that anyone who dares to read the Book of Thoth will be punished by the gods, for the gods’ knowledge is not meant for humans.

If the magical Book of Thoth exists and you discovered it, would you read it and why?

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Get Legends of Origin for FREE!

Today’s tour hosts are Marcie at To Read or Not to Read and Kelly at Kelly Smith Reviews. Go and take a look at the great features these ladies have put together for the tour, including a review for Wizard of Ends, Book 2, and a guest post from me. Comments are welcome, as always!

To celebrate this month’s release of the first two books in Wizard of Ends, I’m giving away Books 2 and 3 in the Legends of Origin series (Book 1 is permanently free). The offer is valid for today only, so grab your copies without delay! (Discount codes below.)

In his search for the origin of the human race, Liam MacAskill travels to another planet and comes face to face with the Devil himself. He’s driven to claim sanctuary from the monks and nuns at Tridor Monastery, where another stranger to the land lies in a coma.

Liam teams up with Arthean, a Tridorian monk with a dark past and a heart of gold. At first glance, the two seem to be polar opposites, but are they really that different? Together with the monk’s Ilanenorian friends – a strange race of people who live above the clouds – Liam continues his search for the source of everything, which he believes will be found in the Garden of Origin. However, Sah, the power-hungry ruler who hunts Liam, searches for the garden, too. The race is on to see who will get there first and if Liam can survive long enough to fulfil his goal.

On the run, with traitors in their midst and death-breathing dragons on their tail, it’s anybody’s guess if good will prevail or if the amnesiac Devil who possesses Liam’s friend, Joshua, will gain the upper hand. Will Liam find the Creator he seeks? Will the Ilanenorians’ Earth Magic and the winged ryokin’s aid be enough? Will Liam be enough?

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Legends of Origin, Book 2, Orion's HarvestersTwo months after Liam MacAskill’s return to Earth from Tridor Monastery, a portal opens in Orion’s Nebula, and a continent-sized spaceship emerges. It heads for Earth, where it hovers over Africa. Shortly thereafter, a second alien species comes through the portal. Then impossibility becomes reality – the second species steals Earth’s sun.

The first species, the T’Acan – or Harvesters, as some call them – seem friendly enough, but Liam suspects they are omitting something about their reasons for visiting Earth, which seem lame to him. It doesn’t take Liam long to discover what… They have to be stopped, but how to stop an invincible enemy?

Air force and military attacks have no effect on the T’Acan spaceship, but Earth has a secret defence not even the military are aware of – a powerful weapon that harnesses ley line energy, kept hidden by warrior monks since humanity’s beginnings. It could save Earth when even nuclear weapons would fail… but will it be enough to drive the T’Acan harvesters away, and will the untested weapon work the way they hope?

Will Liam succeed in aiding the warrior monks’ efforts, or will he merely create more casualties? Is Liam’s friend, Jack, right to distrust the little blue alien they meet on the T’Acan ship, or is Liam’s trust going to be betrayed again? As Liam races against time to warn Arthean that Tridor’s Earth may be in the same danger, even he isn’t sure he’ll make it in time.

Use the code BP37Q to get it for free from Smashwords today only.

Legends of Origin, Book 3, Creator SpeciesLiam and Arthean are trapped on a Harvester spaceship, hunted by the crew, when the rescue mission to save the mysterious Lenora Fairen goes horribly wrong. The ensuing events bring to light some disturbing information about the Harvesters – and their creators – and cause Arthean’s previously unfaltering faith to waver.

Information is scarce about the Vorsors, the species that created the Harvesters. However, the fact that a species as aggressive and bloodthirsty as the Harvesters are afraid of them is reason enough to worry Liam and his friends.

Unlikely allies are formed and new enemies made as Liam and Arthean embark on a new quest – saving their galaxy from the Vorsors.

Use the code YC54A to get it for free from Smashwords today only.

I hope you enjoy Legends of Origin. Please don’t forget to leave a review if you have time; I appreciate it.

Are wizards and magic up your alley? Take a look at my new fantasy adventure series, Wizard of Ends:

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JUST RELEASED! Wizard of Ends, Book 2: Dark Creature – ONLY 99C FOR TODAY ONLY!

Today’s tour hosts are Katharina Gerlach and Kelly Smith. Katharina is sharing a guest post from me about modern science and ancient magic – one of my favourite topics – and Kelly’s Wizard of Ends review blew my mind. I visualise what I write. It plays in my mind like a movie and I write it. To have a reviewer who doesn’t know that say it was like a ‘mini-movie in your mind’ is one of the biggest compliments I’ve ever received. Also take a look at Carlyle Labuschagne’s review of Book 1 – another lovely review!

Hot off the press!

Wizard of Ends, Book 2: Dark Creature has just been released! Today only, readers can purchase Dark Creature for only 99c! From tomorrow, it will be $2.99, so grab it today!

 

Wizard of Ends, Book 2_BlogEscorted by soldiers of Ends, Lashlor sets out to find an old flame, Rune Arcana, the only person who can help to remove the curse placed on the Queen of Ends. Lashlor believes that Rune currently resides in the Mountains of Eclador – a place from which no one has returned in all of recorded history. She could refuse his request. She could be dead. Lashlor and his companions could meet the same fate.

If they do not brave the mountains, however, Queen Narraki will remain in the form of a rabid creature of darkness… forever.

Forever is a long time, and King Lanaran fears the Wizard of Ends will not return. Ignoring Lashlor’s advice not to meddle with the curse, Lanaran employs other magic users to attempt to undo the dark magic.

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Extract from Wizard of Ends, Book 1 by Vanessa Finaughty

Today’s tour host is Nicholas C. Rossis, who will be sharing a guest post from me with five tips for new writers. I hope the tips help some fellow authors.

Don’t forget that, for a limited time only, you can get 13 fantasy and science fiction books for only 99c! Head over to iBooks and take a look at Doorway to Destiny.

Wizard of Ends, Book 1
Extract

Time seemed to slow and the scene grew hazy. Lashlor blinked. He sensed it. Without doubt. Assassa and Thorona were afraid of him. They must perceive the magic flowing through his veins, but a sorceress as powerful as Assassa had no reason to fear a lesser wizard like him, who’d had almost no practice at magic in recent years. Thorona’s magic was weak, so she would give him no trouble, but Assassa…

Lashlor took a sharp breath of fright as Thorona flicked an energy bolt at him. Chilling war cries filled the air as Lashlor flung up his hands in reflex. An arm’s length from his face, the bolt vanished with a pop. Something yelped and a woman shrieked. Lashlor turned to the sounds. Captain Amkesh had wounded a beyeni and the king struggled on the ground, trying to hold back the beyeni straddling him. The wounded beyeni’s eyes filled with hate and it leapt at the captain, who also fell. Both the queen’s guards were down, one already dead. She cast panicked glances between the king and beyeni as she backed into a wall.

It was now or never.

Lashlor took a steeling breath.

Ignoring the survival instinct that urged him to flee, he focussed on the thunderclouds Assassa had conjured. A teal mist dropped down like a curtain, falling between Queen Narraki and the three beyeni that advanced on her. The first creature reached it and sniffed, drawing back with a yelp as its nose came into contact with the magical mist.

That should keep those beyeni busy for a while.

Lashlor clenched his hand and made a vicious twisting motion, and the beyeni that ripped chunks out of the unconscious – or dead – king slackened and fell on top of its bloody victim. A similar motion saved Captain Amkesh from certain death just as a beyeni sank its teeth into his neck.

Something tickled Lashlor’s arm and he turned his head to look. Thorona stared at him, disbelief warping her aura. A beyeni limped away, towards its mistress, its tail between its legs. A glance around showed no other magic users. Who, then, had cast the spell to protect him from the beyeni’s attack? Clearly, someone so powerful that even a beyeni was afraid to anger whoever it was – and he hadn’t thought it possible for a conjured creature to disobey a command or feel fear.

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For tomorrow only, you can get Wizard of Ends, Book 2: Dark Creature for only 99c at Smashwords! Watch this blog for the publication announcement tomorrow, or pre-order it now.

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Get Alianne Donnelly’s The Royal Wizard for FREE – TODAY ONLY!

Today’s tour host is Juneta at Writer’s Gambit. Juneta will be sharing an author interview with me – hop on over and take a look.

Smashwords author Alianne Donnelly has joined the Wizard of Ends party! For today only, you can download The Royal Wizard from Smashwords for FREE!

Grab it while you can! Enter the code XV26R on check-out to claim your 100% discount.

1. Royal WizardThe kingdom of Wilderheim stands bastion between the world of humans and the Otherlands. It is ruled as much by people as it is by creatures Other and as such, it must always have a wizard at the right hand of its king. Nico has seen three generations of rulers sit the throne; he knows he will not see the fourth. Desperate to find a worthy apprentice, when Nia appears like a godsend in his path he wastes no time taking her under his wing as his last sworn duty to the young king Saeran.

But Nia and Saeran have many trials ahead of them. With destinies converging toward an inevitable battle for power, countless lives hang in the balance, including theirs. As love brings them together, so strife tears them apart and as the balance between justice and magic shifts, the royal wizard and her king get caught in a maelstrom of colliding forces. Nothing is ever as it seems with a trickster hiding in the shadows. When the gods begin to play, mortals tremble…

Happy reading, and please don’t forget to leave a review if you enjoy the book :)

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