Child of the Loch (release date November 5, 2012), by Elizabeth Delana Rosa
Blurb: 23 year account, J.J McDonnell has spent her life trying to be normal and hide her gifts, but all dreams of normalcy are dashed on her 24th birthday. A handsome guy shows up on her porch with a marriage edict and news of the grandfather, that she never met, has died. Her world is about to change forever. J.J must make the perilous journey to the Loch and take her place on its throne, with no idea what is expected of her and dark forces closing in at every turn. Will J.J. be able to accept her destiny or will she stopped before she can?
The King lay in the large, downy bed inhaling his last, sallow breaths; he contemplated his kingdom’s future, which hung in the balance. His heir was needed or the kingdom would meet their disaster. He looked out the bay window shrouded in red velvet with golden cords. His once fertile lands were now brown with decay and smelling of putrid compost. The land told the tale of his illness better than any edicts or long speeches. The King was dying and taking the land with him. It suffered with him in his illness.
The King would prevent his people’s demise at all costs, even if meant breaking the laws that he himself wrote in the Scroll of Decree. The King knew he must send his fastest messengers to the far west, riding past the borders of the Kingdom of the Lochoan lands. The journey would take the messengers further than anyone had ridden in the last years of King’s rule. Only one, whose very name was outlawed in the land, had made the arduous trek that had traveled through all the lands of many allies, as the messenger was about to do now. The forbidden one’s journey had blazed a trail of tears and sadness to the borders at Engliss Outlands far beyond the pale, pink, rising sun and the blue rain clouds of the Loch, but these messengers’ journeys would be bring hope and light to a barren land. It was time to gather the allies. It was dark times like these in which the King’s enemies could strike, when his beloved Loch was at her weakest.
Even now felt the people’s pain as acutely as his own. The King squeezed his almond shaped eyes tight against the physical pain. He was so ravaged by the illness that no one would recognize him, a ghost of his former self. Now, only his amber eyes were a distinguishable sign of his pure royal line. The bevy of relatives had already gathered fighting for what was left of his kingdom. He heard their disappointed thoughts from time to time. They hated him for his tenuous grip on life. Their ochre shaded eyes, we a variety of colors with only undertones and shadows, showing their royal lineage was of the distant past, that could only be verified by a scroll of lineages. Though they warred to be the chosen heir, they would never do, the land would not replenish with their hard hearts and diluted blood lines. They held no love or bond to the land, not like a true “child of the Loch.
The King had a direct heir someone whose veins were filled with the unpolluted blood of the first Queen, whose curse of a connection to the land became a blessing to her descendants. The heir would heal the land and hold proof that none other would do. The entire line was blessed with unnatural beauty and gifts that were not apparent in any other clan of the Loch.
He rolled side to side in agony cursing his murderer again. The King’s pale, lined face contorted as tremors took him. The land suffered with him with an earthquake that knocked vases off petal stools and pictures from their places on the stone walls. His clumps of salt and pepper hair fell from his inflamed pink scalp and pustules of rot spoiled crops leaving nothing edible. While the fever blisters popped oozing water and lymph into jaundiced eyes, shut tight; flakes of pasty skin peeled from his dry lips and the trees withered bearing bitterly poisonous fruit.
Even now he knew that these final hours were passing with prejudice. The slow, steady decline of the once strong King was highly unexpected in the view of the long lives of his predecessors. They flourished for many lifetimes because as they were steward of the land, the land was steward of them. Rumors flew about the kingdom blaming the loss of the Loch’s only heir. They knew that the King’s broken heart still bore the weight of the Queen’s death by the hand of the General of the Turlinds, the greatest enemy of the Loch. However, no one from the chief physicians to the peasant apothecaries could begin to fathom the true reasons of the King’s illness. Test after test drew the answers needed. It was not grief that had stolen the spry King’s health but poison from magic of darkness or herb of the vine that took its hateful vengeance upon the King’s body.
There was no antidote of herb or spell. The cure for one could cause another to slaughter him more rapidly and excruciatingly. It was well known in the land that the long list of poisons or black magics in the Loch that caused the King’s symptoms would all end horribly with the much-loved King cold and maimed in his grave. He would be unrecognizable to all who knew him and no hope of recovery. The King’s death warrant was signed, sealed and awaiting its hour of designation. The King was a slave in his own body, mastered by the unnamed venom that flowed throughout his skeletal body.
The King’s endured every moment of the physical pain of his illness without complaint, but it was the heartache that was unbearable and made him cry out to the God of his forefathers. He longed for the days when he ruled with his beloved Queen and his son, a shadow of them both.
The King could not escape the thoughts of his beloved son, a mirror of himself when he was healthy. Both men were hard-headed, amber-eyed and so unforgiving of each other, that it seemed that there never could be reconciliation. What transpired could not be undone and the Prince was far away in presence, mind and spirit. For this, the King waited, begged, and prayed for death to come and sweetly end his pain. He needed it to release him from his bonds, but not before he brought mercy to the Loch and her people.
Imminent death has a way of boomeranging the thoughts of a life once lived and regrets harp like old women. The King again reflected on the hard truths that brought him here. He dwelled on the perpetrator of this horrific act of treason that would leave his kingdom heirless and without a future in its wake.
“My heir is gone and I’m to blame,” galloped through his departing mind.
Where had the time gone? It had been far too long since he last saw his boy, a man now, with a grown child of his own. A grandchild he had never seen face to face or held in his arms. How much had he missed in his arrogance and how could he get the rightful heir home in time to take the crown before the Loch was through?
Again, he stole a hard look outside his door that was flanked by relatives. The King laughed bitterly at their pettiness. Only a true heir would do.
He fingered the photos in his ashen right hand and stroked the cheek of the young, dark-haired woman with his thumb. Another spasm grabbed him rigidly. In his left hand, his grip tightened on the scroll marked in the family seal pressed into black wax crushing and crinkling the paper written in a shaky hand. The King was fading and he felt the last of himself disappearing into obscurity, soon he would see his ancestors and his God. No magic good or bad could touch him in the Land of Light.
The King called for another page, one who would go to his most trusted and truest friend, Chian, the Sovereign of the Ogres in the Western Wood. There was no time for single journeys to be made. They would all travel through the Western Wood, but death waited by his beside, so he sent his riders to the lands of the Elves, Dragons and Merpeople. They would guide his heir when he could not.
The King pressed the photo and the scroll into the final page’s solid, strong hand and his grasp fell weakly from the page’s wrist. The young man gathered his bounty, bowed low and ran for the door. He mounted the waiting horse and set off for the Western Wood at a dash.
Barely conscious the King urged himself on, garnering the final bits of his strength. He only needed to be strong enough for his son and the hope he carried with him to make it back to the Loch. The King would set it right, even if he never lived to see the outcome. The race for the crown was on.
“Come quickly, my son, for you hold the key to the future of the Loch,” he thought as he faded into the black, praying for his trusted pages’ safe journey and quick return. The King’s gurgling breaths could be heard throughout the castle and every subject loyal to the kingdom wept for the King’s impending death, mourning without hope for their dying land.
Reviews from Goodreads:
Heather Alexander rated it
Heather Alexander rated it
Wow, this short book packs a ton of punch. Josephina is heir to the throne of Loch, a land of magic, mythical creatures, purity, and ferility. She is the halfling child of the son of the king of Loch and a human and has been living in our world her hole life. On her birthday a man named James, from Loch comes bearing a scroll that states she is to marry him and become the queen of Loch as her grandfather has died. Along the way she finds betrayal and love and brings together groups allied to her as well as enemies trying to thwart her. This book has mermaid,dragons, ogres, nymphs, elves, etc. It was fantastic and I can't wait to read more. I hope this is a continuing saga, as I absolutely loved the characters and the story and I want more!!!!
“Are dreams real? What message do they send? Child of the Loch grabs your mind by the throat as it takes you vicariously through the eyes of Josephina in quest for the truth. An outstanding piece of work. You won’t be able to put this one down—diabolical entertainment!”
Karen Vance Hammond, Author of Shoe Marks a paranormal inspire by true events which took place in Texas.
I have always been a writer. When I first learned to write in Kindergarten, I wrote about pigs who "groo" wings and became "butterfys." I knew way back then that I would have a love affair with writing. It over took my life and has been a constant companion. Now over 20 years later, that love flows over into writing blogs, reviews, poetry and fantasy novels.
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