Toah. Toah. Toah.
Iren Saitosan’s eyes snapped open at the sound of something he almost never heard, yet instantly recognized: the echoes of footsteps on the stone tower stairs leading to his chamber.
Toah. Toah. Toah.
He threw off his tattered blankets and leapt out of the hard bed. Almost no one came up here. Every so often, children would dare each other to see who could climb the farthest up the steps without getting frightened. They considered scaling the tower all the way to the top and knocking on the Left’s door the ultimate sign of bravery.
These steps didn’t belong to children though. They were too heavy, and there was no associated chatter. Those not making the climb always teased the challenger, alternating between goading them on and threatening them with what the evil Left might do to them if they dared to continue. No, these steps came from an adult.
Iren tensed. Since the day King Azuluu had decreed that he must live up here away from “normal people,” no adult had ever climbed the tower.
That was odd. Iren furrowed his brow. The steps were slowing down, as though whoever made them were hesitating. It was probably just some gawker, no different from the children, coming to see the freak, the Left.
The sound of nervous breathing made Iren focus on his chamber door. Whoever had come had made it all the way to the top and now stood just outside. The door was already slightly ajar, just as Iren had left it. He grinned. This was his favorite part. He couldn’t help but glance above the door at the wooden bucket resting precariously against the top of the door and the wall. His little trick always worked on the kids; he wondered if an adult would be stupid enough to fall for it too. Folding his arms, he leaned against the windowsill and waited.
After a moment a loud grunt came from the steps, and then the door flung open as the intruder shoved his way in with a shoulder charge.
The bucket slammed into the man’s head, dumped its load, and then rolled away, rumbling on the stone floor. Its former contents, a full load of water, now soaked the intruder. Across the room, Iren cocked his head sideways and smiled innocently, saying, “Should have knocked.”
The intruder put a hand to his head, feeling for a bruise. “Captain Angustion warned me you might pull a stunt like this.” He started to say more, but some of the water snuck inside his mouth, making him gag.
“That’s smart, Balear, spitting it out,” Iren said lightly. “Do you know how many times I’ve washed my clothes in that?”
Balear’s face paled, then just as quickly reddened as he shouted, “You left-handed demon-child!”
From fantasy author Josh VanBrakle comes an epic new trilogy of friendship, betrayal, and explosive magic. Lefthanded teenager Iren Saitosan must uncover a forgotten history, confront monsters inspired by Japanese mythology, and master a serpentine dragon imprisoned inside a katana to stop a revenge one thousand years in the making.
Lodian culture declares lefthanded people dangerous and devil-spawned, and for Iren, the kingdom's only known Left, that's meant a life of social isolation. To pass the time and get a little attention, he plays pranks on the residents of Haldessa Castle. It's harmless fun, until one of his stunts nearly kills Lodia's charismatic heir to the throne. Now to avoid execution for his crime, Iren must join a covert team and assassinate a bandit lord. It's a suicide mission, and Iren's chances aren't helped when he learns that his new katana contains a dragon's spirit, one with a magic so powerful it can sink continents and transform Iren into a raging beast.
Adding to his problems, someone on Iren's team is plotting treason. When a former ally launches a brutal plan to avenge the Lefts, Iren finds himself trapped between competing loyalties. He needs to figure out who - and how - to trust, and the fates of two nations depend on his choice.
"A fast-paced adventure...led by a compelling cast of characters. Josh VanBrakle keeps the mysteries going." - ForeWord Reviews
Genre – YA epic fantasy
Rating – PG-13
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