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Falcondance (The Kiesha'ra: Volume 3) Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

PROLOGUE HERE WE ARE, among the lucky ones who live in times of peace, in times of hope and dreams and laughter. Here we are, in the glimmering Wyvern's Court. Yet my dreams are not of the slate walks and marble plaza of my home. They are not of the velvet floor of the nest, of the exotic serpents' dance or the haunting melodies that can be heard at all times from the southern hills. Nor are they of the glint of sunlight on soaring wings, or the smooth hum of avian voices. Ahnmik. That is the city of which I dream. Ahnmik, the falcon land of which I have learned so much and so little all at once. My parents refuse to speak of the land in which they were born. They have accepted this avian-serpiente world as the only one they will ever have. But Lillian has painted my dreams with images of a city that glitters with magic. She speaks hesitantly of her homeland, because she knows that my parents' crimes will forever keep me from the island, but each word twines around some part of my heart. I will always be loyal to Wyvern's Court, but how can I fail to think about the tall white arches that are said to be created not by any creature's hand, but by pure strength of will? How can my nights not hold roads that sing a melody no voice or instrument can produce? Ahnmik. Of course I have learned of the city's namesake, the god so powerful that even those who laugh at myths fear to call his name in vain. Ahnmik is shown in art as a white falcon, diving through sky and sea alike, and his domain is power. It is control. It is magic. The serpents of Wyvern's Court worship Anhamirak, the goddess who grants free will, and they fear Ahnmik. The falcons, however, believe that Ahnmik has a gentle side, just as the serpents' Anhamirak has a violent one. Ahnmik is the one who can grant sleep, and silence. When whatever nightmares plague my mother's sleep have become too much, I have heard her call to Ahnmikand I have seen my father's look of horror. Long ago, the serpiente and the falcons made up one civilisation. They worked and worshipped together, until something caused the two sides to clash, and the falcons were driven out of the land. Serpiente history books say that Ahnmik's followers practiced black magic, endangering the falcons and the serpiente, and were exiled for that reason. Lillian always shies away from the subject of the conflict, saying only that history is easily distorted by years, and by the teller. As a falcon raised in Wyvern's Court, I do not know what I believe. I try to base my decisions on facts, but what facts are left from a fight that occurred thousands of years ago?