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About the Author
Kathryne KennedyKathryne Kennedy is the author of the Relics of Merlin series, and is acclaimed for her world-building. She has also published nearly a dozen short stories in the SFF/Romance genre, receiving Honorable Mention twice in the "Writers of the Future" contest. She lives with her husband and two sons in Glendale, Arizona.
Mahri poled her boat around the base of the sea tree, the bone staff she used as much an extension of her body as her own arms. She ducked beneath a branch, a wide one, the...
Mahri poled her boat around the base of the sea tree, the bone staff she used as much an extension of her body as her own arms. She ducked beneath a branch, a wide one, the limb as straight as the Power of a Seer could make it. The gloom of the evening blackened to inky darkness, the slap of the waves echoed eerily inside the cavern-like arch, and here Mahri chose to anchor her craft.
She flipped her wrist in the pattern peculiar to her bone pole, and it retracted with a sliding hiss; her fingers shook as she slid it into a sheath of octopus skin. She patted the bone grapnel with its length of coiled rope and then dug into the small fish-scale pouch that hung against her hip. Mahri withdrew a small piece of zabbaroot, unsure if it would be enough for her task—she'd never kidnapped a man before, how could she possibly know? With a shrug, she popped it in her mouth and squeezed it with her molars, releasing the bitter drug of Power that shivered through her veins and allowed her to See. The world turned into bits and dots and she closed her eyes for control. The root burned her tongue and she fought the need to gag, then opened eyes that flickered with sparkled light before fading to their normal green hue. With control returned, she'd now only See when, and how, she wished.
A scurry of sound beneath her collapsed sleeping tent reminded Mahri that she wasn't alone. The tiny face of her pet peered up at her from beneath the rugged narwhal skin. The dark prevented her from making out the features, but she knew them so well her mind filled in the details. Monkey-like, with scales for fur and webbed hands and feet, Jaja had the agility of the native tree dwellers with the slippery fluidity of a sea creature. And the curiosity of a treecat.
"Stay," whispered Mahri, her mind reinforcing that command with such mental force that Jaja moaned. Mahri breathed deeply, quieting her thoughts so that they didn't project with the equivalent of a piercing scream. I won't risk you in this, Jaja. I have lost so much already.
She only caught the most basic thoughts from her pet, but he seemed to understand hers with amazing accuracy, especially when she was filled with root Power. He scurried back beneath the tent.
Mahri leaped from her boat, hesitated a second to adjust to a firm surface beneath her feet, then crept along the narrow ledge formed by the base of the sea tree, emerging from beneath the branch with caution. Mahri looked up at the balconies that spiraled around the tree, watching for guards, but not really expecting any. Not around the Healer's Tree. The Palace, yes, and perhaps even the Seer's Tree… but how could she know for sure, being only an ignorant water-rat?
What did they do, she wondered, with water-rats that skulked around the city at night?
She pulled the grapnel from her belt.
Throw them in prison for later torture?
With an easy swing of arms strengthened by a life of poling, she threw the hook up to the first balcony. Or maybe force them into slavery as they did the native tree dwellers?
She tugged, and the rope held her weight. Fear fluttered her stomach and was swiftly followed by the inevitable fury at that cowardly reaction, propelling her up the rope with the speed of a silver-fish.
Mahri crouched, listened to the breeze swishing through the leaves, the soft patter of rain that had just begun to fall, the constant rushing, flowing of the water surrounding the interlaced network of sea trees. She studied the row of carved doors that circled the tree, Seeing beyond each door to the occupant within.
She knew if she went up to the top balconies that she'd find the powerful Master Healers. Here on the lower level slept the apprentices and newly learned. But all she needed was the knowledge, she would provide more Power than all of the Masters combined. Besides, if she stole away with someone of importance they might come after her, and she hoped that if a lowly apprentice disappeared no one would take any notice.
So she chose the first person she Saw snug in their bed. To See into the lock of the door, move the latch from here to there, took a flick of her Power. To See into the center of the Healer gently snoring, and to make those unwilling limbs move to her boat, was a different matter.
For a moment Mahri considered waking the sleeper.
Perhaps the Healer would be willing to come with her?
She crept closer to the bed. She could only make out longish, light hair, a smooth yet masculine jawline.
With a flash the memories of a past she'd tried desperately to forget overwhelmed her, of another Healer with long, pale hair. But hers had been arranged in artful layers of braids and pearls upon her head, and she'd stared at Mahri as if she were some swamp creature that had oozed out of the slime.
"You truly expect me," she said, one eyebrow raised in delicate disbelief, "to get in that piece of scrap you call a boat, travel into the swamps to heal a fever-ridden village of water-rats? And blindfolded, no less?"
Mahri narrowed blazing green eyes. If this woman only knew that those "water-rats" provided the city with more zabbaroot than a year of production from the root farms, she'd be begging to go with her. And that Mahri herself was a smuggler; who defied the Royal's decree that they possess and distribute all the zabba, on the pretense it presented too much danger for the common citizen. But to Mahri's thinking, the only danger lay in lack of knowledge, and the Royals hoarded that more surely than the root.
"Without a blindfold," growled Mahri, "I would have to kill you." Then she almost slapped her hand over her mouth. She spoke the truth, for the safety of the village lay within the secrecy of their location, but it needn't have been said. She never could control her temper. The Healer's face flickered with sudden fear, then feigned annoyance. "Use one of your own Seers then."
"They don't have the knowledge you possess, as you well know."
The woman rose, presented her back to Mahri, and flung over her shoulder, "I can't help you."
Mahri clasped her hands together, her lifemate's agonized face in her mind, and the cries of their child, the once-perfect little hands twisted in agonized deformity. She swallowed her anger, and her pride.
"Please," she whispered. "Is there no one that would be willing to help?"
The woman hesitated, her posture slumped briefly in response to the desperate appeal in that voice, and then too quickly stiffened.
"No one," she replied, then slammed the door behind her.
The Healer on the bed snorted and rolled over, bringing Mahri back to the present, knowing she was mad to even consider asking for help ever again. Brez and her little boy, Tal'li, had died—even the thought made anger and guilt burn anew—and she'd become a Wilding herself. But the fever had only hidden, to return with a vengeance to strike again that same village and the only family she now had left.
And although this time Mahri had the root tolerance she still needed the healing knowledge. She could See the effects of the illness, could treat the symptoms, but couldn't be sure of the Pattern to cure the disease itself. Only one trained to know the normal body cells could detect the shape of a virus in time to destroy it before it could mutate again.
Her eyes sparkled and she Saw into the Healer's mind, traveling the path that controlled muscular movement, manipulation at least possible with the person unconscious. Mahri lowered her face to his, could almost feel his breath on her cheeks, when a soft knock on the door made her concentration slip and her heart stop.
"My lord?" whispered a man's voice as the door opened a crack.
“Beautifully written, it’s almost alive in its vividness.” - Book Chick City
“[Kathryne Kennedy’s] ability to create new worlds that are...
“Beautifully written, it’s almost alive in its vividness.” - Book Chick City
“[Kathryne Kennedy’s] ability to create new worlds that are realistic and believable with characters of immense depth astounds me. ” - Once Upon a Romance
“I was totally blown away by Kennedy's imaginative use of flora, fauna and geology. She certainly knows how to set a sparkling scene.” - Bookfoolery and Babble
“This fantastic romance is simple, clean, and a nice light read for anyone who wants something different than the everyday paranormal romance.” - The Bibliophilic’s Book Blog
“Lots of vivid scenes that will have you in awe as you escape to the magical world Kennedy has created in Beneath The Thirteen Moons. ” - The Book Faery Reviews
“Beneath the Thirteen Moons is a delightfully entertaining blend of fast paced action and tender emotion, interspersed with plenty of humor and breathtaking intrigue.” - CK2’s Kwips & Kritiques
“Lush scenery and lots of romantic heat... Kennedy has amazing world building skills ” - Debbie’s Book Bag
“An absolutely beautiful fantasy world... a magical treat.” - Reviews by Martha’s Bookshelf
“With dazzling descriptions, nonstop action and searing romance, Kathryne Kennedy's Beneath The Thirteen Moons thrusts you headlong on a dangerous journey in an extraordinary world brimming with wonders and treachery.” - Linda Banche Romance Author
“Kathryne Kennedy's imagination is amazing... Her beautiful writing and superb world-building have captivated me.” - Queen of Happy Endings
“Pure magic... A world is filled with wonders.” - Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell
“One part paranormal, one part magical, one part romance and one hundred percent delightful good reading! ” - Cheryl’s Book Nook
“Kennedy has created one of the most detailed, fabulously rich cross genre stories I've read in a very long time. ” - Star-Crossed Reviews
“Kennedy has created an amazing and original mythology. ” - That’s What I’m Talking About
“[Kennedy] has a stunning imagination and is able to bring all her ideas and concepts to the printed page perfectly... Magic at its best.” - The Good, the Bad and the Unread
“Incredible, amazing, fantastic... I can't wait to see more from this incredibly talented author.” - Rom Fan Reviews
“A romance that will take you on a colorful 3D journey through some very vivid scenes of rare beauty and ugly, dangerous reality.” - Yankee Romance Reviewers
“Kennedy has another winner on her hands and her talent for words brings to life characters you can believe in and is what makes the happily ever after so powerful. ” - The Long and Short of It Reviews
“A fast-paced, elegantly written romance that reads almost like the best of fairy tales: the characters stay true to their original characterizations even as they learn and grow throughout the novel.” - Fresh Fiction
Length: 6.875 in
Width: 4.1875 in
Weight: 6.40 oz
Page Count: 384 pages