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Monday, May 25, 2009
The Temple of Fyre by Janet Lane Walters
The story began with a large fire opal that had belonged to my grandfather. Since opals are the birthstone for October, there is a sort of fall theme here. As a child I liked to look at the opal for the colors of fire were deep inside. White, yellow, orange and red. Once I noticed a thread of blue. One day when I was looking for an idea for a new story, I thought of the fire opal. What if, a writer's magic words. What if there were gems called fyrestones that could be used in magical ways. Thus the land of Fyre was born and then I needed a story to go with the idea. A temple and a rebellious young priestess came to mine. Then she needed an opponent. Who better than the chief priestess, a woman consumed with a desire for power over everyone. Still, every heroine needs a hero. Who could be a hero for this young woman? What if the stones were rather rare and it took a special man to be a stone seeker. I had my hero. Her name was Ria and as I looked at that name, I rearranged the letters and he became Ari. Of course in the story there had to be a quest of a sort. What if there were blue fyrestones but these fabled gems could only be used by a couple who were bonded in body, heart and spirit. Thus the pieces of the story came together and I began the tale of the rebellious priestess and the stone seeker who became lovers and had to fight against the priestess to save themselves and their land.
Ria huddled beside the bushes near the wall of the Temple of Fyre . How long had she lain here? Hours? Days? She had no notion of how much time had passed since the duel with Malera. Ria’s memories were filled with the confrontation, the stoning and the strident case of the carrion crows. She’d expected the birds to attack. Instead, they had used their beaks to drive her through the hedge where the thorns had torn her caftan and the flesh of her arms. Once beyond the hedge, agonizing pain had driven her into darkness.
Her body ached from the blows of the rocks and the slashes of Malera’s flail. Tears welled in her eyes. She could no longer be one of the priestesses who called fire from the opaline crystals.
Hunger gnawed in her gut. Fever from the poison of the thorns flowed through her body. She wrapped her arms around her middle. What would she do? She had succeeded and called fire. She had blended the flames raised by the other women. Malera’s choice of a task had been wrong. So was the punishment the chief priestess had meted.
Ria had been unable to destroy Gydon for its failure to pay the tithe. Malera was evil. How could women, children and the elderly plow the fields and bring in the harvest? Ria shuddered. To sell children to the slavers was wrong. Though she’d been treated with care by those grim, swarthy men, she’d seen how the others had fared.
The scuff of boots on the stones of the path drew her toward the place where she’d broken through the hedge. A man strode toward the temple. His clothing was dusty and rumpled. A hunger different from her need for food arose. He carried fyrestones in the pouch dangling from his belt. The first of the seekers had arrived, but what he carried could never be hers. Malera would buy all for the temple.
As he drew closer, her breath caught in her throat. Though unkempt, he was handsome. Tall and lean, with muscles honed by labor and sun darkened by the sun. Like hers, his hair was rich with the colors of the fyrestones.
Her body tingled with awareness. For him or for what he carried? He paused beside her hiding place and stooped to examine the stone. She tensed. Would he discover her and drag her to the temple where Malera waited?
The Temple of Fyre
Janet Lane Walters
New Concepts Publishing
available via download New concepts publishing, Fictionwise: Excellence in eBooks, free eBooks, eBooks for Palm, Pocket PC, eBo