Malia crested a rolling hill and stopped just before reaching the summit. Near the Big River, which flowed to her left, the bones of a dead dragon curved through the spring grass. On the other side of the rushing, wide river lay more bones. Their riders had been gathered into massive pyres and burned, but the dragons had been too large. They’d been burned where they had fallen when the magic barrier rose around the valley.
She had done this. She’d pulled the magic through her hands, and the Jeguduns’ hands, and repaired the shattered barrier. She’d killed thousands of Maddion men and their dragons.
And she couldn’t remember it at all.
She rubbed at her forehead as if that could shake loose the thick fog that hung around those particular memories. Anything that had happened to her in the seasons leading up to the Dragon War was gone. Vanished, as if she’d never lived that time. When she looked at her brother, Vedran, standing a half-pace behind her, it was as if he’d grown into a man overnight. He’d gone from a pesky, scrawny boy who left frogs in her sleeping pallet, into a braided man, carrying a hunting dagger at his hip, a bow and quiver against his back, and a dragon’s tooth on a leather strap around his neck.
Then there was the man who walked on her other side, also slightly behind. Enuwal, the healer. He’d prodded her on after she came out of the long sleep. All winter he’d given her work, both physical and mental, pushing her until she felt a semblance of normality. And now, proclaimed healthy, she was on her way home. She could return to her training to become her village’s next clan mother. She’d have to start over, or nearly so, but then again, almost everybody had to begin anew after the war, all because of the Maddion tearing down the magic barrier protecting their home.
About the Book:
Malia returns home the hero of a war she can't remember. The valley burning under the Maddion's invasion, the fate of her late husband, the way she resolved the long-time distrust between the Taakwa people and the wolfish, winged Jegudun creatures--all of it has been erased from her memory. Malia hopes to resume training as her village’s next clan mother, but when the symbiotic magic that she and the Jeguduns used to repair the valley’s protective barrier starts to consume more and more of her mind, she's faced with the threat of losing herself completely.
A powerful being known as "the changer" might hold the solution to her vanishing memories. But the Maddion's new leader, Muvumo, also seeks the changer, hoping the being will cure them of the mysterious illness killing off his people. Meanwhile, Muvumo's bride hopes the changer can bring about a new era, one in which she and the other Maddion women no longer need to hold onto their greatest secret.
About the Author:
Rebecca Roland is the author of the Shards of History series, The Necromancer's Inheritance series, and The King of Ash and Bones, and Other Stories. Her short fiction has appeared in publications such as Nature, Fantastic Stories of the Imagination, Stupefying Stories, Plasma Frequency, and Every Day Fiction, and she is a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop. You can find out more about her and her work at rebeccaroland.net, her blog Spice of Life, or follow her on Twitter @rebecca_roland.
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