Rise of the Temple Gods: Heir to Kale
by K.L. Bone
Map illustrated by Raven Quinn
Genre: High Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, YA Fantasy
“Fear to the fearless. Hope to the hopeless. Mercy to those who hate you. Death to those who love you. That is your destiny, Princess of Kale, Princess of Koloso, heir to both.” – Prophecy of the Kalian Twins
In the land of Kale there lies a delicate balance between the powerful Temples and the rulers from an ancient, royal bloodline. The Temples are ruled through combat, determined by a series of tournaments. Of these tournament champions, sixty are chosen to become Defendants, an elite team charged with protecting the realm from all enemies. Selection to this team is considered the highest of honours and leadership of the team is decided only once every thirteen years.
Princesses Mariana and Ameria, twin daughters of two such champions, are taken as children to separate, yet equally powerful Temples. Through years of rigorous training both are educated in the arts of combat, swordplay, and the ancient traditions of the Temple Gods. Both eventually obtain the rank of Kalian Champions with the expectation of one day serving upon the coveted Defendant Team.
Then, not long after their seventeenth birthday, the childless King declares that one of the sisters must succeed him as the future Queen. As the race for the throne begins, the sister’s long standing rivalry intensifies, leading both upon a dangerous path that threatens not only their lives, but the fate of the very kingdom.
Unbeknownst to the twins, this treacherous path to the throne is the elaborate collaboration of an ancient prophecy and two creatures charged by the Gods themselves ensure it comes to pass. As primeval powers awaken, the two sisters must struggle to learn the truth behind the prophesy and search for a way to change their inevitable fate.
Rise of the Temple Gods: Heir to Kale
The two men rode through the hills in silence. The sun had long ago set, yet no stars appeared in the darkened sky. A ferocious wind howled through an unnatural fog which had surrounded them throughout their ride. “There’s a storm coming,” one man whispered to the other. “Something is wrong.”
“You are not going to spout off more superstitious nonsense, are you? I’m not sure I can stand it again.”
“Superstitious,” he exclaimed. “If it’s superstitious, then what, by the Gods, are we doing here?”
“Shh,” said the other. “Do you want some passerby to hear you?”
The man lowered his voice and adjusted his cloak, pulling it tighter against the cold. “It’s not the passerby we should be worried about,” he said, once again in a whisper.
“It’s impossible,” the second man said.
“Then how do you explain it? We sent nearly twenty men after each of them. Twenty of the best fighters in the land, and yet, the twins survived. How do you explain it?”
“Dumb luck, I suppose. They said one of them came out of the woods with help.”
“So in other words, the princesses were lost in the middle of the Dark Forest and happened to run into a random group of fighters good enough to take down our warriors at the exact moment that we orchestrated our attack?”
“The defense team found them, you know they found them,” the second man said. “They found them just in time and saved them. Sheer dumb luck.”
“Both of them?” The first shook his head. “No, it’s the legend. You know it’s the legend. Why else would they have wanted us to order an attack on the princesses?”
“Quiet!” the second man shouted. “They want them out of the tournament, that’s all. And when we reach the temple, we will take care of this ourselves. I don’t want to hear another word on this superstitious…” His horse came to a sudden stop.
“What the?” He kicked the horse with his heel. The horse started walking backwards. Beside him, the other man’s horse reared, tossing his rider to the ground.
“They’ve heard us!” the man on the ground said in a panic. “They’re coming!” His horse turned and raced back the way they had come, disappearing into the mist.
“Quiet, you fool. No one’s here. No one.” The sound of thunder roared through the night. The second horse started to thrash, forcing the man to fight to keep his seat. The horse rose, pawing the air once, twice, the man was losing his grip; the third time, he fell to the ground next to his partner. His horse vanished as quickly as the other. “It’s the storm,” the first man said, but his heart was racing. “Just the storm.”
Yet even as he stared, something moved in the darkness, something darker than the moonless night. The thing was shifting in patches, with no fluidity to its movements. His partner was kneeling on the ground, shaking with fear. “They’re here!” he screamed.
“Move, you fool! Run, this way!”
The other man did not move. “You won’t outrun them,” he whispered. “And they show no mercy.”
A glint of light shone in the darkness, like a reflection of a single, sinister flame. Lightning lit the sky. Both men screamed. It would be the last sound they would ever make.
K.L. Bone is the author of the dark fantasy series, Tales of the Black Rose Guard. The Rise of the Temple Gods fantasy series. And a stand-alone sci-fi novel, The Indoctrination.
Bone has a master’s degree in modern literary cultures. An American, she is currently living in Europe working toward her PhD in Gothic literature. She wrote her first short story at the age of fifteen and grew up with an equally great love of both classical literature and speculative fiction. Bone has spent the last few years as a bit of a world traveler, living in California, London, and most recently, Dublin. When not immersed in words, of her own creation or studies, you’ll find her traveling to mythical sites and Game of Thrones filming locations.