New roles. New rules. No margin for error.
Zezilia Ilar joins the sept son’s entourage as a defender. Her growing Talent ability makes her a target for the Elitists, and her gender makes people question her competence. She must protect the sept son. Any mistake could be fatal.
Hadrian Aleron always knew his beliefs would cause trouble, but he didn’t realize how much. Rebels are rising. He could lose his title, his position, and if he’s not careful, his life. As the assassination attempts grow bolder, Hadrian must rely upon his young defender and their shared faith in the Almighty to keep him from faltering.
Rachel Rossano lives with her husband and three children in the northeastern part of the United States. Homeschooled through high school, she began writing her early teens. She didn’t become serious about pursuing a career as an author until after she had graduated from college and happily married. Then the children came.
Now she spends her days being a wife, mother, teacher, and household manager. Her evenings and free moments are devoted to her other loves, writing and book cover design. Drawing on a lifelong fascination with reading and history, she spends hours creating historical feeling fantasy worlds and populating them with characters who live and breathe on the page.
It took three days to walk Zez through the steps of permanent defense raising to the extent where I felt she understood and could attempt her first. Part of my unease came from the fact Neleck had given me weeks of exercises, lectures, and study before he allowed me to try my first. We didn’t have weeks. We had days and too few for what we were trying to accomplish. I did take comfort in the fact Zez was my confidant again. Unlike Korneli, she didn’t pester. She also didn’t lecture like Errol. She simply listened, asked questions, and gave me her honest opinion. It was refreshing after two days of being on my own. Korneli was, unfortunately, right. She was already entrenched in my life and stress whether I liked it or not.
Her dark grey eyes were framed by constant dark smudges from lack of sleep. The smile that could brighten my moods came out less often, and when it did, it only glimmered in a pale reflection of its previous shine. She still had her spirit. It would appear at moments when I least expected it. A gesture or facial expression would remind me of the child I had met years ago in the high king’s gardens.
“Am I doing something wrong?” she asked, flooding my mouth with the taste of mint.
“No, you are doing just fine.” I quickly averted me eyes from my study of her face. “I am sorry. I just haven’t been sleeping, and I tend to stare into space as my brain wanders.”
She nodded. “So, are you ready?”
I glanced around us. The moonlight was so strong that I could clearly locate all of our party scattered around our resting place. We would be starting our nightly journey any minute, but not until I gave the signal. I sent a warning that we were not to be disturbed to Renato and Korneli and then turned my attention back to Zez. “Not really, but I doubt I ever will be.”
She smiled. “I am going to begin.” Closing her eyes, she withdrew into her mind. I carefully watched her progress with only my eyes.
It was strange how out of practice I had become at observing people with just my normal senses. Perhaps it was because I used my Talent-senses constantly and was hardly ever without them. Either way, I quickly became frustrated just scrutinizing Zez’s facial features. They gave away nothing about what was happening beneath them within her mind and heart.
I see Gal Gadot playing my heroine. Zezilia Ilar is tall and athletic in build. She carries herself well, with an elegance to her stride and demeanor thanks to the watchful guidance of her strong-willed mother. However, she has a playful, active side which stems from growing up with six older brothers. Not inclined toward the more feminine duties of housework and cooking, she tends to enjoy the outdoors, nature, and activity. Even though this is her desire, she still takes to studying easily and proves herself to be quite and eager learner as she learns to master her new found talents in sending (telepathy) and mass moving (telekinesis) abilities.
My hero could easily be played by Luke Evans. Hadrian Aleron is an intense young man of purpose. He tends toward kindness when not distracted by weighty concerns. As a youngest son groomed from young age for public office, he doesn’t have all the usual self-preservation skills of his elder brothers, but he makes up for that by being very proficient at his job, which is overseeing and supporting all the talent users in the peninsular nation of Pratinus.