In the wake of a catastrophic cataclysm that claimed the lives of both mortals and powerful gods, the remnants of mortal-kind begin to rebuild civilization in the world of Thearus. But, unseen by many is an ancient and evil force that seeks to bring darkness across the land once more.
It is the era of the Ascension of Kings, a period of reconstruction after the catastrophic collapse which saw the death of the gods of the Ascended Pantheon and left the mortals of Thearus to rise from the ashes and begin anew.
But, war, assassination, and betrayal still stalk the land, fueled by the mighty kingdoms and cults born from the fires of destruction, and ruled by powerful demi-gods. And now, the Sanctum Queen, Karayan, seeks to summon her twin patron goddesses, Sabah and Zesiro, onto the mortal plane to cast a shroud of darkness and chaos across the realm.
If these Twin Deities of the Void succeed in returning to the world of Thearus, they will bring an end to civilization and the death of all who live on the land. Now, only a small group of nine unusual heroes stand in the way of the coming malevolence, and the Sanctum Queen’s dark plans.
But, as the unlikely allies’ journey into the realm of an immortal prison known as the Penitent Sanctuary, they must face a terrible choice: free the Twin Deities of the Void and be granted another chance to live again, or face an eternity of tormented existence in purgatory.
“Malone’s storytelling prowess shines from cover to cover without a dull moment, leaving readers eager for the heroes’ fate in the face of an encroaching darkness.”
– Readers Favorite
Chapter One Excerpt
A hearth fire’s light illuminated the chamber to create shadows playing upon the sandstone walls. Siham tracked the darkness between the alabaster pillars set into the four corners of her room.
Just another quiet night in the City of Grand Canals and Heaven’s Gate Guest Wing that overlooked the Golden Mountain. Everything seemed tranquil and quiet beyond her chamber door.
An impulsive flame sparked within Siham Sar Amun’s thoughts. An anticipation that made her hands coil in search of a sword to fall onto instead of enduring another night inside her secluded room.
Each mental glimpse of that moment was so lucid, Siham wondered if they might be actual memories. A sound like wood crackling within a fire ushered her back into reality, and the familiar room in which she sat seemed bereft.
Siham had become an apparition bound to the place of her torment. Dispelling the tension coiled up inside her chest with a deep exhale, her thoughts began to calm. Unable to rest on her bed of silk sheets and fleece-stuffed pillows, she came to sit up on her palanquin.
She watched her recently betrothed: a royal prince born from foreign blood-ties, the ascendant chieftain’s firstborn son on the U’skar Qi steppes, by the name of Sarkis.
Leaning back in a sturdy leather chair, Sarkis rested his head in an open palm, elbow braced against the arm of the chair. Hazel eyes burnt within a chiseled face, flawed like broken granite. A deep scar streaked across his sculpted features like a fragment of lightning, the skin and muscle nearest to the bone having healed. Matte black hair bundled into a lengthened ponytail rested between his shoulder blades.
He found little solace in her chambers, Siham mused. Sarkis looked up without warning, meeting her hazel eyes. Her heart skipped a beat; each breath caught in her lungs from the royal prince’s unwavering gaze.
He smiled, a ferocious aspect to the expression, but nothing violent. A primal and un-tamable soul, Siham thought, like the steppes that had forged him. Yet, Siham found something else in that roguish smile.
An empathy bordering on caring, enough to guilt her quiet protest of their marriage.
Sarkis mirrored her relaxed method of breathing, speaking over the fire’s crackling. “You’ve nothing to speak with me about, Siham?”
“Should there be much to speak about between unacquainted souls, paired without thought for marriage?”
He shrugged, heaving broad shoulders. “Well, you summoned me behind closed doors, remember? I’m here by your request alone. We’ve spent hours watching the evening fade into dusk and again into night, standing still while time continues outside of our chamber door.”
Siham considered a blatant lie. May be a barbed tirade would make him relent? After a moment’s thought, she settled on the simple truth instead.
Her voice resounded throughout the quiet room, loud enough that all of Heaven’s Gate heard the confession. “I would refuse your hand. You’re an honorable man, royal prince, and a noble soul, but I would refuse your hand…”