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The Weave of Fate

The Weave of Fate

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The Weave of Fate

5/5 (1 évaluation)
223 pages
2 heures
Jun 7, 2019


Abandoned by some, forgotten by all...

Chapter I: The Weave of Fate

Tucked away in a forgotten part of the world and forsaken by their leaders; those left to stagnate within the crumbling walls of Wyvern’s Rest bear witness to the encroaching shadow. As the glory of the city gives way to chaos and decay, life creeps on for those left behind. A young servant, bound to the routine of the only life she’s ever known, Ava labors to find any semblance of solace:

          The suffocating stillness of small talk.

          The hollow echo of unhappy laughter.

The occasional sea breeze from the docks is the only reprieve from the sweltering reality of a life unlived--and whispers of the possibility of more. While the old tavern plays host to grand dreamers, it remains a static prison for a girl with dreams of her own. It is only when eyes are fixed to the horizon that allow the unexpected - and the evil - to slip in.

As darkness descends, it offers young Ava a terrifying truth: that this world is far bigger than just what lies beyond the walls - and infinitely darker.

          Beware the crimson carriageTrust no oneFind the truth.

For something sinister approaches, and more than just fate is at hand.

Dragon-Touched - Season One

  Book One - The Weave of Fate

  Book Two - Ageless Fury

The Mists of Kel Doran is a serialized, epic fantasy series, developed in the style of a long-running tv series. Each 'chapter' builds upon the story, like wooden blocks, toward an epic, seasonal goal. If you like the structure of shows like Game of Thrones or Stranger Things, you'll love Mists of Kel Doran! The Weave of Fate is the first book in the Dragon-Touched Season. If you're new to the series, you've come to the right place!
With deep world-building, engaging plots, and intense, regular, binge-worthy installments, the time for serial, epic fantasy has arrived. Now, if you're ready...enter the mist.

Learn more at: mistsofkeldoran.com

Jun 7, 2019

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The Weave of Fate - S.L. Matthews



Title Page

Map of Kel Doran

The Weave of Fate

About the Author


To my loving family, without whom the world of Kel Doran would have never left my imagination.

To my amazing wife, who pushed me to worlds I never could have imagined.

And to my incredible kids, who taught me to never - EVER - stop dreaming.

Province of Ventera

Interactive Map

Tap to view zoomable, interactive maps of the Mists of Kel Doran Series.

| Prologue


Dusk settled over the ancient Forest of Valshyr. After four long days, the eager moon had its turn in the spotlight, cresting the hills to impose its will upon the still evening sky. Ordinarily, the animals of a forest would eagerly greet the birth of a new night, to worship this heavenly newcomer; however, this was no ordinary forest, and this was certainly no ordinary night. Tonight, the air would be still, and the forest would be quiet, as it had been for nearly a thousand years.

The forest floor ebbed and weaved through an aged valley, its rolling hills filled with one thing…ash. Mountains of decayed life blew across the primeval site, cloaked in a blanket of gray waste, while colossal, blackened spears jutted forth from the hills. The final remains of these towering oak trees stood watch over the vale, their shadows etching jagged scars upon the land. The vast forest was once home to storied civilizations. Now an ocean of barbed vestiges, this forsaken land laid barren, twisted—and broken

A spectral fog leeched throughout the ashen remains, molding to the valley’s sensual curves in a sickening embrace. This blanket reflected the light of the moon, while it sucked the light from below. Within this fog, darkness grew. Shadows were deep and the moon whispered grave thoughts. Where once lived the great Forest of Valshyr now lived—the Mist.

Nestled within the forest, in the heart of the mist, stood triumphant, jeweled towers and the broken skyline of an abandoned citadel. Remnants of a great city crested the ashen dunes, stalwart against centuries of relentless, dust-blown indifference. Giant walls encompassed these ruins while wide streets wound through the wreckage, a conduit of blackened ash through a crippled city.

Higher, the moon rose. A sinister shadow lurked through the broken streets, emerging from the mist and snaking along the stone walls of an ancient cathedral. Along this shadow, a woman walked, her withered, pale skin echoing the ghostly glow of the new moon. She staggered, stumbling through a slanted void. The ancient, elegant frame had not held up to its years, both of the woman and of the doorway she now occupied.

As she crept across the floor, darkness captivated the room. A breeze whistled across the shattered rafters, and the moon cast long shadows of a new night, but the center of this broken city was corrupt—and silent.

The woman lumbered toward a dais at the far end of the chamber. Her shadow crept past rows of petrified, collapsed pews, basking in the glow of the newly born moon. Even without the light of the moon, her figure cast a deep shadow upon the land; yet in this broken structure, a sharper shadow emerged. A wicked net snaked across the unholy floor. The malevolence in the mist confirmed that the being was no woman…not any more.

Atop the raised floor stood a coarse, rock altar. Its sides were rough and porous, worn to a finish over untold years. From this altar, the mist gathered. Thick fog surrounded the rock as an unseen breeze played its haunted melody.

As the female form lurched forward, the air smoldered in a sickly, yellow glow. Within moments, the light was blinding. No longer able to gaze upon it, her eyes burned and her soul ached. Her body was no longer hers to control. She wanted to look away, to end the torment.

She could not.

Through no effort of her own, her feet pressed forward. Her eyes sizzled and a slow, steady stream dripped down her face. She wanted to cry out in terror, though the ability had long since passed.

Her body thrust downward. The ancient stone shattered as her knees struck the floor, followed by the unmistakable sound of splintered bone. Blood pooled into the cracks while the woman’s eyes remained fixed and unmoving. Her heart beat to a merciless rhythm, yet the torture endured, revealing no signs of pain, agony, or free will. The amber light pulsed before her eyes, now as empty as the starless night sky.

The mist swirled. A dense fog wrapped around the altar and the woman held captive before it, spinning into a vortex of sickly sweet light. When the mist settled, the outline of scars, scales, and teeth materialized beyond the rock. A deep voice boomed from the inhuman visage and echoed throughout the cathedral.

You have done well, my fallen angel. The words resonated within her bones, their tone gristled and broken. The woman, in full reverence of the being before her, became aware. She endured the absence of sight and the numbness in her legs. She sensed the unholy air and the unnatural silence of the cathedral. Her face, however, did not show pain. It did not show confusion, remorse, or guilt.

It showed terror.

Th-thank you, my L-Lord, she muttered, bowing toward the swirling mist. Her arms trembled, and her lips quivered as the featureless face absorbed every ounce of fear.

You have served truly, and faithfully, the face continued. As such, you shall be rewarded.

The woman relaxed, even as fear ripped at her heart. She opened her mouth, but no words would come; instead, the mist grew tighter. It enveloped her body and pressed upon her form, a cocoon of shadow and moonlight. The mist swirled faster until it bound the woman in a sinister vortex. Her meager trappings flung free to expose the wrinkled skin of a feeble woman.

Her eyes contorted while a torrent of sick, yellow energy consumed her. A calm overtook her expression, and her face relaxed. Within moments, however, the sedated expression washed away. The mist culminated around her wrinkled flesh and had nowhere else to go—but in.

She dropped her head, flung out her arms, and let loose an earsplitting scream. The mist pressed through her mouth, nose, ears, and blackened eye sockets while her arms remained fixed, pinned by the energy as it violated her prone form.

As the agony intensified, her wrinkles receded. Her skin tightened and muscle tissue reformed from within. Wrinkled flesh gave way to soft, toned tissue. Flattened breasts reshaped into firm, supple mounds. Matted hair lengthened into a long, flowing mane. Teeth regrew to form jagged, malicious blades. Her skin tone darkened, twisted from a silken white to a polished onyx.

The mist mercifully diminished, giving way to the penetrating silence of the cathedral. The blackened, toned body of a young woman descended and came to rest on the cold stone, a crouched, shapely figure before the stone altar. The mist settled into the fractured stone as it leeched its way into the streets of Valshyr.

The young woman gasped for air. Her ribs pulsed. Jagged fingernails scraped against the stone as her hands forged a tight fist. Small nubs formed on her forehead and a ridge chiseled across each shoulder. The nubs lengthened into sinister points while the ridges distended into long, arm-length appendages behind her kneeling body.

When the pain subsided, the polished onyx figure became aware—aware of her transformation, aware of her power, and aware of the face that studied her from beyond the altar. She also became aware that, after several terrified minutes of blindness, she could see.

She opened her eyes to discover loose figures of light swimming through the mist, figures forever bound to the land. As they swirled throughout the cathedral, they took on the shapes of men and women, their faces suspended in disbelief. The young woman looked upon the figures with a child-like curiosity.

She held up her hand and surveyed each slender finger. Her sickly, golden eyes sharpened to examine her elegant, toned arms. While she studied her new body, her lips curled into a faint, sinister grin. With her eyes fixed on the back of one hand, she struck out to the side with the other and grasped a shimmering figure by the neck. 

The young woman drew her fist tighter to reveal the devilish nails of pure, blackened hatred. She squeezed harder. The spirit twitched violently, then grew limp, dissipating like snow upon the warm ground. Her smile grew and her eyes narrowed. She stood, her full, imposing form brought to bear before the rock altar and the twisted face.

The long appendages across her back unfolded to reveal majestic wings of smoke and shadow. Her jeweled eyes were focused, and satisfied. The ancient voice boomed through the remnants of the cathedral and the bones of his onyx apprentice.

With duty comes power, it said, as a father to his enthralled young daughter. With absolute duty comes absolute power.

Dust fell from the stone walls while cracks chiseled through the ancient rock. Timbers crashed into the broken stone floor as the voice echoed throughout the fossilized holy site.

The young woman remained silent. She acknowledged her master and brought her legs and feet together. She drew her body to a perfect line and bowed her head. She brought a fist across her bare chest, held for an exaggerated moment, then released.

The voice echoed again, felt more than heard: This world will burn, my apprentice. And you will be the torch of damnation.

The face dissolved. A torrent of air swept the mist through the ruin’s crumbled windows. When the last remnants leeched into the streets of Valshyr, a whisper of evil echoed.

Rise Kryxys…take your place as the harbinger of extinction.

|  Chapter I

Into Darkness

A twisted, gnarled twig set poised on the end of a small bow. Its tip was sharpened to a wicked point, carved with deadly intent, while small feathers tickled Dari’s nose. He held his elbow high, hearing his father’s repeated instruction in his head.

Back straight. Elbow up. Tight grip. Breathe, Dari whispered, replaying every lesson he’d ever received, all in preparation for a single moment—this moment.

He let loose a long, slow breath, squeezed one eye shut, and lined up his prey. Dari gasped as the majestic beast came into view. Through a lush meadow, nestled against the backdrop of sharp hills and rolling bluffs, the antelope grazed. It ducked through fields of wildflowers, under the shadow of towering, highland grass. It perked its ears and lifted its nose, testing the brisk morning air for hints of danger.

Dari held his breath.

Sweat beaded on his forehead and his arm quivered in anticipation. He suppressed the pain in his stomach and the intense hunger that woke him night after night.

You can do it, Dari, came a light whisper, as soft as the morning breeze.

Dari mustered the smallest of grins, flashing a glance to his older sister. Elan stood watch nearby, concealed in the shadow of a collapsed stone wall. Layers of dust caked across her cheeks, her freckled adolescence blending seamlessly with countless hungry years on the street.

He didn’t know why she had to come. This was his hunt, his first prize. Their father had already taken Elan on plenty of hunting trips, though never this far from home. The antelope rubbed its antlers against a nearby boulder, eliciting a dull rumble that echoed through the grass. Dari’s eyes widened—it was huge. His chest tightened, muscles tensed. His heart pounding, he peeked at Elan, comforted she was by his side, though, of course, he would never tell her.

Elan motioned toward the magnificent animal. She crouched low, withdrew an old hunting knife, and gave Dari an eager nod. He raised his elbow, straightened his back, and took aim.

The antelope lowered its bony antlers and gave a gentle tug on a clump of grass, revealing shattered, red cobblestone. Behind the animal stood a broken brick wall, once home to a bustling inn. Beside the inn lay a collapsed roof and a rusted anvil, still rooted into the ground.

The young hunter stared down his prey, grazing in the Outer Quarter of Wyvern’s Rest. His bowstring strained under the tension, his arm quivered, and his pulse raced until the final, merciful release. The twig fluttered through the air, tumbling end over end before falling into the grass a few feet away.

The antelope snapped its ears to attention while a piercing whistle streaked across the old square. It bolted as an arrow exploded through its chest, raising high onto its hind legs, then collapsing to the urban wilderness.

Dari’s heart filled with pride, and his mouth fell open in excitement.

I got it, Papa!

Elan sprinted from the shadows. The young girl bounded through the grass, unable to contain her excitement.

We got one, Papa! We finally got one! Elan’s wavy brown hair bounced with her through fields of red and orange flowers. Her head disappeared, but her voice continued to resonate off the city walls and collapsed stone buildings.

Dari threw his bow and sprinted toward his father, a smile beaming across his face. He tucked his scraggly hair behind his ears and raced into his father’s outstretched arms.

You sure did, said the hunter, tucking his bow behind his back. Dari studied his father’s green eyes and crooked smile. He saw the tears of joy wash away layers of dust and the long scar that cut across his face. Dari smiled back, knowing a full meal and a good night’s sleep awaited them for the first time in weeks.

His father gave an eager, heartfelt embrace, yet his eyes drifted toward Elan and the shadows that danced along the old street.

Come, Dari. We must be quick. Let’s get your sister. With a nod, they stood up and hiked through the abandoned square to collect their prize. Crumbled stone lined the old roads, now home to acres of highland wilderness. Dari’s gaze wandered to the nearby bluffs. Other than the city walls, he found it hard to see where Wyvern’s Rest ended and the highlands began. A horrible scent drifted through the air, and Dari snapped a hand to his nose.

People actually lived here, Papa? he asked, his

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  • (5/5)
    I received this book as a LibraryThing review copy. I read it on the basic Kindle. The land is broken, and a ruler of Wyvern's Rest went mad and destroyed the city either very thoroughly and within the memory of many people of middle to old age, or a long time ago and people are long-lived and nature has taken back the city over time. The time span may be explained in a book to come. Broken into sets of three chapters - the events occurring at around the same time, over little more than a "day" we follow the fortunes and mostly at this stage of the series, the misfortunes of Taryn and his brother Cooper - who may or may not be a pirate. Ava who has been bought and used as a sex slave - yet may be a woman to be reckoned with in the future, and Camille - a girl of eleven, from a noble family, coming to Wyvern's Rest for the first time when the small convoy she is in is attacked. The writer fills the story with deep, colourful descriptions, : " Ava slammed her mug onto the table. She glared at Thibold, who fumbled the folded note into his lap. Taryn followed the maze of fractured cracks in the glass to Ava's slender fingers. The raised skin on her wrists and arms were twisted, dark ink, and elegant tapestry etched into her flawless skin. The mark of a slave."Up to this time, Ava appears to be just a woman drinking in the tavern with the two brothers and one of their friends, now we learn of her status. Well written indeed. This books is filled with crafted descriptions of the misfortunes of the three principal characters - it is as bloody as any fantasy war book, and some - a very few - honest true war stories, yet each blow, each cut, each fall, each loss of innocent lives builds the character of the three, each one is learning about themselves, is being given a chance at a new - different life, a life that we will have to wait and see if it will be a good life or an evil life. Is it possible to emerge from an abundance of horrors and retain the essential you, the good, kind, innocent you? Putting on my other 'hat', the editing hat, this book does need a little editing, but not as much as most self-published works. Attention to detail, perhaps reading the work out loud to see where the natural breaks are in the structure of the paragraphs will improve the reading. A very few spelling errors, No continuity faults that I could find, and a structure that made me want to read just one more chapter means that Mr S.L. Matthews has the makings of a cult series. I for one cannot wait to read the future of the peoples of Kel Doran. Well Done.