Children of Sirphan


Book Cover: Children of Sirphan
Part of the Prophecy Six series:

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Nightmares come alive as Liora and the new Six face their greatest fears and fight their way back to reality.

The last of the snow has melted away to the spring rains when Liora’s visions of the white-haired girl returns. Tormented by the death of her people and conflicted with trying to find her place among strangers, she must figure out who she is before she can figure out who she must be.

Being pulled in different directions by her guardians and by her visions, it is up to Liora to find the truth in illusions and discover her role in the Prophecy Six.

This young adult fantasy series is an escape from reality into a well-developed world filled with conflict, adventure, and realistic characters. Follow Liora and the other members of the Six on their journey by visiting the official Prophecy Six Series website or liking the Prophecy Six Facebook Page.

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Excerpt:

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When they arrived at the third level of the castle, Liora was led to a large room which seconded as a study for the Sisters of Mercy. The walls were lined with various portraits of men and women, some of which wore the signature cowl of the Sisters. There were heads of animals hanging on the wall above the tall windows which overlooked the garden and riding grounds. A large stone fireplace rested on the far right side of the room with tall shelves. Most of the lower shelves were empty of books, while the others – conveniently out of reach of her mentor – were still lined with texts.

In the center of the room rested a wooden easel. Marcia coaxed her to stand before the easel. The blank canvas sat before her. There were four cups of paint, a small cup of water, and three brushes of varying sizes.

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The woman hadn’t stopped talking since they had entered the room. Liora had stayed quiet, not wishing to say something that would upset the Detress, although all Liora wanted to do was leave. The thought of tidying Caldor’s room was more appealing than staring blankly at the empty canvas listening to what brush to use. It soon passed the hour point as the woman still droned on about mixing paints and having patience. The more the woman talked the more the girl’s patience waned.

When she heard that she had to take a painting class she thought she would be painting not being lectured. All Liora wanted to do was paint without rules. That’s how she drew back in Morza.

Taking the larger brush, Liora stared into the empty canvas before her. Naygu had always given her guidance. Her nana had trusted her with drawing the diagrams that now rested in the manifest. She had even drawn the Mor’s homestead as a gift for Revris’s mother when Naygu mentioned how much Nya loved the detail in the diagrams. There had always been a plan to follow but the Detress did not give her one.

“Paint how yah feel,” Marcia sang, moving around the girl and easel. The woman’s dress fluttered behind her, while a pursed smile was on her lips.

“I feel like I don’t want to do this,” Liora grumbled.

“Awe, come on now. No bitter tongues. Look at the canvas. What do yah see?” Marcia rested her hands on Liora’s shoulders.

“A blank canvas.” Liora dropped the brush into the sapphire paint. She wanted to be studying medicines or learn skills that could help her survive in the world. She wanted to take more political courses, or herbology classes. She wanted to learn how to train gryphons and use a weapon.

“All right,” Marcia sighed, tucking a curl behind her ear, “a different approach then.”

Marcia walked over to the bookcase across the room. It took her but a moment to find the book she was hunting for as Liora recognized the padded leather cover. Druce liked the pictures in that book. Famous sketches of places across Gaitan were hidden within the pages. Liora took the book, glimpsing at it before glancing back up to the woman who now had her arms crossed under her chest.

“Flip through and see if yah find something yah wanna paint,” Marcia hummed, spinning the girl around to face her in the direction of the padded chairs on the other side of the room.

Liora didn’t want to look at picture books but if it would stop the woman from lecturing her on the rules of painting she was willing to sit by herself. As she sat down on the padded velvet chair with ankles crossed and book open to the middle seam, Liora peeked back to see Marcia at the bookshelf as if contemplating what she could read.

With a sigh, Liora stared down at the pages before her. The charcoal sketches were ink-pressed onto these pages, an invention from those at the University of Calin to the East. They had called the contraption the Mechanical Scribe since they started making several copies of books in the same amount of time it would take to write one out by hand. Many were happy about the invention. Others – specifically the skilled scribes – were not.

Flipping four more pages, Liora paused in turning another page when something caught her attention. A sketch of a shoreline covered with pebbles called to her. Fishermen were on the higher plateaus leading up towards what appeared to be a large stone wall.

A white haired girl in a baggy brown tunic stood on a rocky shoreline, a grey stone in her hand. Laughter from the other children who ran along the wooden walkways of the village danced through the air. The girl turned at hearing the children call to her.

“Freak!” They called.

A tear rolled down the white haired girl’s cheek and with a scream of frustration the grey stone splashed when hitting the white rushing river.

Someone rested a hand on Liora’s shoulder. Her attention shot up from the yellow pages. Marcia knelt before her with knotted brows.

“Are yah all right?” Her voice was soft. Liora’s eyes had been empty when staring at the parchment pages of the book resting in her lap.

“This place...” Liora lifted the book for the woman to see, “do you know where the sketch was made?”

“Let’s see.” Marcia took the book, flipping to the back pages where it noted the artist and name of the piece along with the location. Her finger skimmed along the names until she came across the page number. “White Waters by Wrigglton Moubris… Menk.”

“Menk?” Liora repeated under her breath.

This hadn’t been the first time she had seen a white haired child. The girl she had seen with the white hair was the same one from her dream right after reviving the prince prior to winter. The only difference was in this vision the girl wasn’t wearing the sapphire blue dress.

“Did yah see something, Li?” Marcia rested a hand on the girl’s knee, noticing Liora’s steel eyes glance at her before shaking her head.

“I don’t… I saw something but I don’t know what.” Liora reached for the book the woman had tucked under her arm. “Can I have a few more moments?”

“Of course,” Marcia passed the girl the book, “just not too long, we need to put down a sketch before the end of class.”

Liora rested the text back in her lap. She flipped back to the page that had jotted the vision. It had felt like she had been standing on the rocky shore seeing the girl be teased by the other children of the village.

She ran her fingers along the inked image. There was no child on the shoreline in this picture, only the fishermen on the upper landings with the baskets strapped to their backs. It was possible she was seeing a memory of someone who had read the book previously or the artist who had created the piece.

No. Liora narrowed her eyes. This was more than a memory; what she had experienced was something else.

Taking a deep breath, she closed her eyes for a moment forcing herself to focus on the images that had triggered in her mind. That shoreline and those fisherman… what else had stood out?

“Freak!”

The harsh choir echoed in her mind as she felt a ping in her chest. Why had they called the girl that? She appeared normal enough, although she was fairer in colour than those of the village. White hair was strange but not enough for someone to be deemed an outcast.

The sun baked her back while she listened to the rushing river to her left. There was chatter from the people on the wooden walkways of the village raised above the shoreline encase the river swelled over the protective wall that helped funnel the water away from the buildings. The girl stood before the wall, her face hidden from Liora’s view. The group of children ran towards them.

Liora stood closer. This girl wasn’t from Demor and she wasn’t from the other villages Liora had visited. Someone like this girl would have stood out.

One of the larger boys in the group gave the white haired girl a shove into the wall. Liora hurried to stand between them but her presence did nothing. She was invisible.

Turning to face the strange girl, Liora could see the burning glare in her tear filled lavender eyes. Her cheek bruised and the shoulder of her tunic torn.

“Why am I seeing you?” Liora asked, knowing no one would answer. “Who are you?”

“Lesson is over.” Caldor’s voice broke the image as Liora’s head shot up at hearing the old sage’s voice. “It is my time with my apprentice.”

Caldor wandered over from the set of doors on the right side. He didn’t appear as disheveled as he had that morning with his hair now combed and robe pressed. He hurried towards her as she stood from the chair. The book she placed on the seat.

“There’s ten minutes left,” Marcia interjected, turning to face the small man with crossed arms. “We haven’ even got a sketch down.”

“Not my problem now, is it?” The sage smirked, leaning back on his heels to look up at the robust woman. “Come, my girl. I will be teaching you useful skills like natural antiseptics and fungi.”

Liora dusted the front of her dress, hurrying to the old sage’s side after hearing what he had planned. Those interested her. Those would help her become a better healer.

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COLLAPSE
Reviews:Marcus Dodd on https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01N7K0W2G wrote:

Another fantastic read. The Prophecy Six series is really picking up steam, and I'm always eager to read the next entry in the series. As always I find myself restless for the next one! Book 2 continues to build on an already realistic world, expanding in really interesting directions, and giving us a rich and unpredictable story. This is a series to follow!


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