After days of eating Thanksgiving leftovers, I gobbled up Amazon's Cyber Monday deal and finally bought my first tablet, a Kindle Fire! I've been entering Kindle giveaways for months, but to no avail. Now I am climbing the trees in anticipation of it arriving. I already know what free book for Kindle I'll be downloading first - Rys Riding, Book I by Tracy Falbe. She's giving it away to celebrate the completion of her Rys Rising series. She's also offering one winner a $25 Etsy gift card to her Perfect Pages shop and all four of the fantasy eBooks - scroll to bottom of my post to claim your chances.
Tracy also organized a Feel Real Fantasy blog tour in celebration and my blog is today's stop! I am honored to introduce you to Ajel, fleshmender of the frontier.
Age: Early 20s
Physical appearance: Sandy hair, brown eyes, average build
Special skills: Healer and surgeon
Magical items: A warding crystal
She is a trained fleshmender from a long line of fleshmenders. She lives on a remote farmstead and is an important part of her tiny community that lives under constant threat of savage attack. Her healing skills give her a high status despite her youth. She is married to Duvek, a burly bearded man who is fearlessly determined to establish an independent life in hostile lands. Ajel also loves the open prairie where they live, but they are a childless couple. To find out if she is barren or not, she seduces a young militiaman when he’s fighting savages in her area.
Although she meant the tryst merely for reproductive purposes, her relationship furtively continues during recurring hostile invasions. She never intended to have an ongoing affair but she finds herself unable to resist the temptation of her passions while living in constant danger.
Author’s feelings about the character:
Ajel is an important supporting character throughout the epic. Because my stories involve a lot of combat, I need characters that can help the wounded, and her surgical skills are often needed. She also presents a woman who tries to control the men around her. She wants to harshly box her lover into his limited and secret role in her life, but unruly feelings on both sides complicate the task. Meanwhile she clings to her traditional values and remains devoted to her marriage despite her adulterous behavior. This paradox enlivens her subplot and lets readers consider the contradictions in human behavior because people often try to have their cake and eat it too.
From Rys Rising: Book I
Ajel poured a cup from the kettle and blew on the pale green tea. A simple gesture from her told Cruce to sit Rayden up for a drink.
“For the pain,” Ajel murmured, tender as the best mother, and held the cup to his lips.
After Rayden was settled back into his blankets, he became drowsy and no longer squirmed feebly beneath the bloody cloth Cruce pressed against his head.
Ajel strung thick black thread onto a glistening sharp metal needle.
“What metal is that?” Cruce asked. It did not look as bright as silver, but it seemed precious.
“It be of tabre making. They call it loter. They not be sharing its crafting with humans, but we fleshmenders have a relationship with the Nebakarz in Kahtep, and they make these fine instruments for us,” Ajel explained.
“Do you think Rayden will need a tabre healer?” Cruce asked.
Ajel shook her head confidently. She traded places with Cruce and brought an oil lamp close to Rayden’s bloody head. She eased away the bloody cloths that Cruce had been pressing against the cut. The bleeding had slowed to a weary oozing of red.
As she began stitching, perfect concentration drew her face into a scowl. Her fingers worked precisely without any sign of squeamishness. With so many people in the house, it grew hot and stuffy and sweat shone on her forehead. Cruce obligingly obeyed her terse commands to cut a thread or move the light.
When she was done, she finished cleaning the blood from Rayden’s face and hair. Although sleeping fitfully, he appeared restored to life except for the angry cut swelling against the perfect black stitches. The cleaver of butcher Death had been put away this time.
After wrapping Rayden’s head in clean cloth, Ajel sat back and the serious mask of a fleshmender slipped away and she was a young woman again. Tired and a little frazzled, she rubbed her eyes and looked wearily upon militiamen hunkered on the floor.
“I’ll get you a drink,” Cruce offered, glancing around for the water jug.
“Kind of you,” Ajel murmured and pointed to the work table tucked beneath shelves of pans, dishes, ceramic jars, and racks of cooking utensils.
Cruce spotted the water jug and rose stiffly from the floor to get her a drink. It was the least he could do after she had applied such amazing skill to his friend. He found a drinking gourd and placed it under the spigot. When he gave her the water, she drank it done with obvious thirst.
She thanked him but Cruce shook his head. “No, Good Wife, thank you. I was very worried for Rayden. But I’m not any more,” he said.
A lovely and well-practiced veil of modesty slipped over Ajel’s face. “You be welcome, warrior of Nufal. Your efforts to be protecting us settlers are appreciated,” she said.
Sudden and sick concern for her twisted in Cruce’s gut. Her small home upon the plains jutting into the domain of brutal savagery was so vulnerable. “You will go to the village in the morning, right?” he asked.
The subject seemed to disgruntle her. Instead of answering, she glanced at Duvek without any wifely tenderness.
“Don’t be worrying about me,” Ajel reassured him and got to her feet.
Tracy Falbe invites you to give her characters a chance to feel real to you. The Rys Rising fantasy series is driven by magic, passion, bravery, ambition, conquest, and defeat. Rys Rising: Book I is a free eBook and hopefully your gateway to an epic reading experience.
Start reading Rys Rising for free at the Feel Real Fantasy Blog Tour page and enter the prize drawing below by December 15, 2012. I look forward to seeing what magical power everyone picks - so don't forget to leave me a blog comment!
a Rafflecopter giveaway