Leythe Blade by Jaye McKenna
Book Release Date: October 26, 2015
Cover artist: Chinchbug
A Guardians of the Leythe Universe story
Jaye McKenna is here to reveal her gorgeous new cover for Leythe Blade, a new story in her Guardians of the Leythe Universe series. Luckily for us, a mini interview ensued. Welcome, Jaye.
- Fans who’ve read more than one of your series have noticed that they actually all tie together. You recently posted a timeline on your website, but could you talk about how the series fit together? How does Leythe Blade specifically fit in with the others?
The Guardians of the Leythe series, which at the moment contains only two books: Human Frailties, Human Strengths and Human Choices, take place in the earliest period of Aion’s history that I’ve written about so far, a thousand years or so after humans first arrived on Aion. These stories take place in the Westlands, the lands west of the mountain range called the Dragon’s Spine.
Burn the Sky takes place a few hundred years after the Guardians of the Leythe stories, in the years leading up to the first cataclysmic event in Aion’s history, the Wytch War, a conflict between the Westlands and the Kingdoms of Skanda. The story is set in Altan, a small mountain kingdom located east of the Dragon’s Spine.
Leythe Blade takes place perhaps another thousand years after that, when the Wytch War is a distant memory and the Middle Kingdoms have arisen in the lands that were laid waste to during the Wytch War. Leythe Blade takes place in the Middle Kingdoms, and I have a fantasy trilogy planned that takes place only a few years after Leythe Blade. The characters from Leythe Blade all have important roles to play in the Kingmakers trilogy, so you’ll be seeing them again.
The Guardians of the Pattern series takes place some six hundred years after Leythe Blade, after a second cataclysm has pretty much destroyed the population of Aion.
- How many more books will be in the Guardians of the Pattern series?
The Guardians of the Pattern series will be six books long, so there are three more to come. Wildfire Psi, book 4, should be out in early 2016.
- Will there be a sequel to Burn the Sky? Who will be featured?
Yes, the Burn the Sky sequel is my next project. I have already outlined the story and I’m planning to write the first draft for NaNo (National Novel Writing Month) in November. This story will feature Kian, Garrik’s close friend from Burn the Sky, and you’ll be seeing Garrik, Ilya, and Prince Jaire again, as they all have important roles in this story. It will take place in the late winter/early spring following the events of Burn the Sky.
Sasha is a healer forced to take on the role of a warrior when his clan is attacked. Trapped in his caravan, the only weapon he can lay hands on is Ryka, the sword that was once wielded by his great, great grandmother. To Sasha’s horror, the blade takes control of his body and turns him into a ruthless killer. Worse, Ryka sets in motion an irreversible process that will bind them together for life — if he can survive the bonding.
Jace is a mercenary soldier, charged with protecting his commander’s brother, Eredwyn, on a journey through the Middle Kingdoms. When Eredwyn’s sometimes-prophetic visions lead them to the dying Sasha, Eredwyn insists that they must save him.
As Sasha struggles to come to terms with Ryka and his need to avenge his clan, Jace finds himself torn between his orders to protect Eredwyn and his growing feelings for Sasha. Can Jace walk the fine line between duty and desire, or will Sasha’s plans for vengeance lead all three men to their deaths?
Jace’s cheeks burned until he was nearly halfway to the lake, and the words he’d said to Sasha wouldn’t stop bouncing around in his head.
I’d like to see you dance, Sasha.
Where the hell had that come from?
No, he knew where it had come from. Right from his heart, without passing anywhere near his brain. He would like to see Sasha dance, but he’d never meant to say so, and certainly not within Sasha’s hearing. The young man had quite enough to deal with as it was.
Still, it pleased Jace to see him beginning to take an interest in things. The air of grief was still there, but since the day they’d taken Sasha to the massacre site, there had been a subtle change in him. He’d started to help with some of the chores, and even joined in when Jace and Eredwyn talked, offering the occasional quiet comment.
Sasha still whimpered in his sleep, though, and Jace wished he could wipe the sadness from those mesmerizing violet eyes, and put a real smile on Sasha’s face.
No, he couldn’t deny — not to himself, at least — that he would very much like to see Sasha dance. And laugh. And he’d most definitely like to see the man smile…
Shaking his head, Jace continued on down the path until he heard something large moving near the shore. He stopped, crouched down, and peered through the underbrush. In the spaces between the leaves, he could just make out a light-colored shape by the water’s edge.
He crept forward and breathed a quiet sigh of relief when the shape resolved itself into a horse, not a soldier or a predator. The white mare stood with her head lowered to drink. Her mane and tail were rough and tangled, but there were a few scattered braids and beads left in both. An Ajhani horse, then, which meant she belonged to Sasha.
“Easy, lady, Easy.” Jace used the same soothing tone he used when speaking to Rakki as he approached her. “I’m not going to hurt you.”
The mare turned her head and gave him a look that Jace chose to interpret as sorrowful.
“Been out here on your own for too long? Would you like to come back with me, pretty one? I can get you fed and get all these dried weeds brushed out of your hair. Come on.”
She snuffled at Jace and allowed him to guide her down the trail toward the shelter. In the stable, he settled her in the empty stall next to Rakki and prepared some feed for her. After she’d eaten, he brushed her down and groomed the tangles and remnants of beaded braids from her mane and tail.
“That’s better,” he said as he stood back to look over his handiwork. “You look like a proper lady now.”
When Jace entered the shelter, Eredwyn looked up from his seat on the floor, where he was sorting bundles of herbs. “That was quick. Did you find us some dinner already?”
“No, something better than dinner. Come, Sasha, come see.”
Sasha gave him a questioning look, but got slowly to his feet. “What did you find?”
“I’ll show you.” Jace led him around the back of the shelter to the stable.
Sasha’s face lit up when he saw the mare. “Dena!”
A long string of soft, lilting words followed. Jace understood none of it, but the mare apparently did. She nickered softly, and when Sasha drew close, she hung her head over his shoulder. Sasha put his arms around her neck and reached up to scratch her, fingers tangling in her blond mane.
“I found her having a drink on the shore,” Jace said. “I wondered if you two might know each other.”
Sasha turned his head toward Jace, still smiling. “She was my Da’s favorite. He’d ride her up and down the caravan line, making sure everyone was all right. She’s the sweetest of all of them.” He frowned then, fingers still working the mare’s mane. “I don’t suppose you’ve seen any more of them?”
“No, I’m afraid not.”
“She would have been tied separately. Da—” Sasha stopped for a moment, and Jace saw his throat working. “He… he kept her by the wagon when we were camped, in case he needed her in a hurry.” He turned back to the mare and murmured softly to her in Djhara.
Jace hung back, taking the opportunity to observe the man. Sasha was slender, and not particularly tall, although he was perhaps a finger’s width taller than Jace. It was his coloring that fascinated Jace, though. The golden skin, violet eyes, and pale, silver-blond hair were an unusual enough combination to make him worth a second — and perhaps a third — look.
Unaware of Jace’s scrutiny, Sasha continued crooning softly to the mare. Jace could have listened to the sound of that deep, husky voice wrapping around those lyrical sounds for the rest of the day.
He didn’t get nearly that long. All too soon, Sasha pulled away from the horse and approached Jace. “Thank you, Jace,” he said softly. “This… it means so much to me. Thank you for bringing her to me.”
Mesmerized by those beautiful eyes, Jace could only stare. When he realized he was staring, he looked away quickly, face flushing. “I… what else would I do?” He swallowed hard, then added quietly, “It’s good to see you smile.”
Sasha didn’t say anything, and when Jace looked up again, his attention was on the mare.
“With her along, we won’t need to limit our baggage quite so much,” Jace said, more to fill the silence than anything. “Maybe… maybe you can pack some of those pretty clothes you set aside this morning.”
When Sasha turned his head and gave him an unreadable look, Jace muttered a curse under his breath and fled.
He should have just kept his mouth shut, and wished he had.
About the Author
Jaye McKenna was born a Brit and was dragged, kicking and screaming, across the Pond at an age when such vehement protest was doomed to be misinterpreted as a “paddy”. She grew up near a sumac forest in Minnesota and spent most of her teen years torturing her parents with her electric guitar and her dark poetry. She was punk before it was cool and a grown-up long before she was ready. Jaye writes fantasy and science fiction stories about hot guys who have the hots for each other. She enjoys making them work darn hard for their happy endings, which might explain why she never gets invited to their parties.