Free Fiction: The Sacred Flame

As we all settle in to social distancing, shelter-at-home, quarantine, and/or lock-down there is much to process each and every day. I find myself turning to stories when I need a respite, and I will continue to offer my own stories here, free, for anyone who is likewise turning to story to offer respite and escape.

Here is the first Band of Lyra story, with Tahana on her first epic challenge.

TheSacredFlame_cover_web

On her first mission since her ordainment, priestess Tahana, disciple of the goddess of joy, travels to investigate an abbey gone silent.

The small abbey, taken by bandits, her fellow sisters hostage.

Can Tahana’s faith and magic save the day?

The Sacred Flame” by Jamie Aldis and its sequels, are published in Beginnings: A Collection of Short Stories.


The Sacred Flame

by Jamie Aldis

THE CRISP AIR of early spring tickled her cold nose. Tahana smiled up at the radiant yellow sun beaming in the deep blue sky. The hint of warmth in the rays danced on her cheeks, fending off the lingering cold of the snow that still clung to the rocks and shadows of the mountain pass. The towering pine trees smelled so good she breathed deeply. The green of them filled the world, their tall cones reaching high above to the soft fluffy white clouds.

A red-feathered cardinal took flight from a low hanging pine branch as she passed. Birdsong filled the morning as the chirping conversations of unseen birds rustled branches far overhead.

She paused in the splash of warm sun and took a drink of cold water. The clean mountain spring water tasted of minerals and leather but eased her dry throat. The higher she walked up the mountain, the thirstier she became. Her water skin held plenty to make it the last few miles to the abbey, though she knew her radiant goddess Lyra would grant her the blessing of creating water if she needed it.

The hard packed road that switched back and forth up the mountain was softening into crusty mud where the joyous light warmed it. Her sturdy brown leather boots kept her feet dry and warm. Once she arrived at the abbey she would need to polish them free of the weeks of travel that clung to them.

She took another swallow of water then smiled again into the warm rays of the sun. She pulled her grey woolen cloak close around her, settled her heavy pack onto her shoulders, and headed back into the shadow of the mountain as the road turned. The air was colder in the shadow, and the snows were more persistent. Spring was coming, but winter still held sway where the sun had less dominion.

She hurried along to keep herself warm, and to finally reach her destination. The abbey, she had been told, lay just beyond the tree line, high on the mountain. Centuries ago it had been a guard tower to protect the mountain pass for some long vanished kingdom. If she had known she would be traveling here she would have read up on it. The old fort now gave shelter to her fellow sisters of Lyra and she was eager to meet them and conclude her first mission as a full sister.

Tahana had been ecstatic when she had been tasked to travel to the remote abbey and find out why the sisters had stopped sending correspondence to the mother temple. Her very first assignment, and she was eager to do well. The trip had taken her weeks. She would undoubtedly find that it had been a late season storm that had delayed correspondence, and that the sisters in the abbey had already written long ago. Still, it was the kind of assignment often given to new sisters to accustom them to being in the world as a cleric of Lyra and sharing the holy blessings of joy. Some would find it not to their taste and would live in a temple, or even abbeys like the one she sought.

Tahana had thrived on her journey, loving every minute of it, even the sore muscles that miles of walking had brought her those first days on the road. She had met so many kind people, in her travels.

The world was a beautiful place.

She felt called to do the work of the gods—to bring about the changes they are constantly working in the world. Tahana would carry Lyra’s Joy across the land and show everyone the beauty and joy of the world.

She rounded the final bend in the switchbacks of the mountain path. Large granite boulders blocked her view ahead, but the towering pine trees opened up to show the wide blue sky and cotton clouds. She quickened her pace.

The boulders, lodged deep into the ground by a centuries old landslide, ended abruptly and Tahana saw the small stone abbey. Indeed, it did look like an old fortified bunker. It could only have held a few score men when it was built. Local legends she had heard in her last stay at an inn a few nights ago said only a dozen men was enough to hold this pass all winter, in the great wars that were so old no one remembered who fought them or why.

The sisters had planted a vegetable garden on the sunny side of the building, though it had not yet been tilled for the spring. The cages that would support the abundance of the harvest were lopsided and forlorn in the flat, untended patch. A few wooden outbuildings had been built neighboring the primary stone fort, making the area look more like a living settlement.

“Get moving!” A man’s harsh voice growled.

Tahana snapped her gaze to the sound, and saw a tall hairy man shove a white robed sister into the stone building. The sister whimpered in pain. Her traditional robe was stained and the hem was ragged and ripped. The man had a scruffy beard. A short sword was stuffed into an ill-fitting sheath at his hip. His leather clothing was worn and slashed from old battles. She could smell his foul body odor from yards away. In fact, it seemed to be getting stronger.

“What ‘ave we ‘ere?”

The stench grew into a shadow that blocked the warm light of the sun. Tahana looked up and blinked against the backlit form of another man above her. She could see only his unkempt hair as a glowing ring of fire around his head, and the crossbow he pointed at her. He stood high above, on the tall boulders to her right.

“Looks like another one,” said a third man as he jumped down from the boulders onto the path behind her. He landed silently. With an alarming gracefulness he drew a short sword.

Tahana sprang forward to run the ten feet she needed to reach open ground. The steep mountain-side fell at a harsh angle to her left, the towering pine trees testament to the angle of the dangerous drop off the edge of the narrow path.

“Now, ‘ere do you think yer goin’?” A large man chuckled as he stepped in the path in front of her, his accent thick and strange. The shadows of the rocks gave his skin an odd grey hue.

Tahana skidded to a halt, looking frantically at the ruffians who surrounded her.

“Lyra shield me!” she shouted, pulling from her pocket a small piece of parchment she’d written holy words on when she set out on her journey. She shoved the small piece of parchment back into her pocket as a shimmering field appeared around her. As long as she kept her focus, it would aid her. She had thought she might need protection from winter hungry animals, not bandits who attacked clerics of joy in peaceful abbeys. Her goddess was with her, regardless of her lack of preparation.

The backlit man on the boulders above shot his crossbow, the string twanging in the crisp morning air. Even the birds had gone silent. The bolt veered off-course just as it passed through her shimmering shield, and barely missed hitting her. He was a frightfully good shot. Even the magic of her faith could not protect her from a perfect aim.

The man behind her began to slowly advance, waving his sword menacingly.

Tehana’s heart pounded in fear.

A quick glance at the man in front of her—he blocked her path. He was a brute. He stood with bulging muscles, his arms crossed. He wasn’t moving. He just stood about five feet in front of her, smirking as his companions began to close in on her.

“Water, joyous Lyra! Make rain!” Tehana cried out to her goddess as she splashed a few drops of water from her water skin onto the ground. Rain began to fall in a small area, right over the heads of the men behind her. The string slipped out of the cross-bowman’s hands as he was attempting to reload. The swordsman slipped, having to pause his advance to catch his balance on the suddenly slick rocks of the path.

Tehana had never used that spell for anything other than watering a garden, or filling her water skins. She was amazed it worked.

Her rain would not delay them long.

She quickly slid off her backpack, pulling free her warhammer, tearing the strap that held it in place. Her shield, with the triple six-pointed star symbol of her goddess, slid onto her arm as she kicked her backpack away from her feet. She kicked too hard, and watched her pack roll over the side of the path and down the drop-off.

Warhammer swinging, Tehana screamed as she rushed at the man in front of her. She surprised him and landed a hearty blow against the brute’s chest, just missing his head. He did not retreat, as she had hoped. He roared, uncrossing his muscled arms, his fists swinging for her. She blocked with her shield, stumbling back to catch her footing after his massive blow. With a shock, she realized that his grayish skin was not a trick of the light, and she gasped as the sun lit his face when he stepped up to swing at her again. He was a half-orc.

Behind her the splashes in the rain and the irritated curses of the other two men told her that they were again coming for her. With a deep breath she focused on keeping her shimmering shield in place. It would make it harder for them to hit her.

She swung at the half-orc, landing a hard blow on his head, which made his punch swing wild and miss her. She spun just in time to block the swordsman with her shield. She kicked him back as another crossbow bolt barely missed her.

She tried rushing the half-orc again, this time slamming her warhammer into his groin. If she could just get around him, and into the open, she might be able to escape. He grunted and fell to the ground, completely blocking the path.

With a curse she ran and leaped over his body. The sharp bite of a sword slashed across her exposed back. She lost her concentration and the shimmering magic shield collapsed.

She arced over the groaning body of the half-orc, her mad leap nearly had her to freedom.

The half-orc reached up and grabbed her ankle, just as a crossbow bolt slammed into her shoulder from behind. Her arm went numb and her warhammer flew forward out of her grip. The half-orc yanked her down.

She smashed into the ground.

The warm sunlight kissed her face just as she lost consciousness.

* * *

Tahana’s head throbbed, aching with every beat of her own heart. She lifted her arm and cried out in pain as her broken ribs screamed fire into her lungs. A strange rasping moan escaped her lips.

“She’s awake!” a hushed and worried whisper sounded very close.

Tahana blinked her eyes, trying to focus through the pain.

“Be still, child, you are quite injured,” a sister of Lyra whispered into Tehana’s ear. Her warm, comforting hand pressed gently on Tehana’s shoulder.

“You were near death when they threw you in here, but we managed to stabilize you.”

“Thank you,” Tahana rasped.

The effort of speech caused excruciating pain. She blinked in the small, dark room. The walls felt very close, and there was only a small sliver of light from under the door. She lay very near that sliver of light. The ruffians must have dropped her on the floor like a sack of potatoes. She could hear them clomping in the room on the other side of the door, and talking with each other, but her head hurt too much to be able to focus.

“Where are we?” she asked, wincing at how much it hurt to speak.

“In the storage room of the garden shed,” the sister near her said. Tehana could hear a few others breathing in the tiny space.

Ignoring her broken bones grating against each other, she lifted her arm to her neck. Around her neck was the simple chain. She nearly cried with relief. Gripping the triple star pendant in her hand she muttered a prayer to Lyra for healing. Her goddess answered her. Relief flooded her body with warmth and the pain vanished as her bones knit cleanly and her head stopped pounding. She took a slow, deep breath, reveling in just being able to expand her ribs.

“You healed yourself!” The sister next to her gasped.

“Lyra has graced me with healing ability, yes.”

“But you didn’t pray first!” the sister said.

“I have a talent for it,” Tahana replied. “Now let’s see about getting out of here, shall we?”

She shushed the sister as she opened her lips to speak again. Tahana peered through the gap at the bottom of the door and listened.

“I’m just sayin’ ‘e should just kill ‘em and be done with it,” the half-orc said, his strange accent easy to distinguish.

“No. Boss said we might get ransom for ‘em, and I ain’t doin’ nuthin’ ’til he gets back,” said the crossbowman.

“I still say ‘e should kill ‘em. Starting with that little-un.” The half-orc shuffled around the room his big feet clomping past a pile of supplies. Tahana recognized her shield and warhammer among them.

“You are just mad she smashed your balls and now you can’t sit down,” chuckled the swordsman.

“They are big as grapefruits!” said the half-orc.

“You wish!” laughed the swordsman. “We sit tight for Boss and he’ll decide. This is a big score for us, when that caravan comes through. For now, we follow orders, and hold the fort.”

The ruffians fell silent, devouring bowls of grub with grunting gusto. Tahana sat up and looked around at her fellow sisters. There were three of them in the tiny room and they slumped with defeat.

The sister who had seen her heal watched her with wide, awe-struck eyes.

How long had they been captive? It had been months since the mother temple had a letter from this abbey. There were supposed to be twelve sisters in residence here.

“I’m Tehana,” she whispered quietly. “The temple sent me to see how you fared.”

The woman farthest from her snorted and said, “Fat lot of good you are doing.”

“I’m going to get us out of here in no time! Lyra is with us,” Tehana said.

“Lyra ain’t been here in months. She’s abandoned us.” The woman’s bitterness made the other sisters rustle and hang their heads even lower.

“She most certainly has not abandoned you. I’m here to do her work, now aren’t I?” Tehana said. “What are your names?”

“I’m Rose, and this is Myrtle and Ivy,” said the sister who had seen Tahana heal.

“Ivy,” Tahana said to the quiet one who kept her eyes on the ground , “what happened here?”

The sister, not much older than Tahana herself, had eyes swollen with tears from long crying.

“They came across the pass just before the last big storm,” Ivy said. “Said they worked for the supply caravan that comes across every spring, and were sent to see if the pass was clear yet.” She started to cry again.

“The storm came that night,” Rose said. “We sheltered them, as we do for all. By the time the skies cleared, they had killed most of us.”

“A few tried to escape,” Myrtle said bitterly, “to send for help. But they killed them too. They aren’t even buried!”

“How many of them are here?” Tahana asked.

“Four, at the moment,” Rose said. “The one who leads them left a few days ago to get more. They plan to stop the spring caravan.”

“Which will starve out half this region for months, until the harvests start ripening,” Ivy said.

“We shall stop them, then.” Tahana said confidently. “We will leave tonight!”

“That’s impossible,” Myrtle said, “we can’t possibly overtake them.”

“Of course not,” Tahana said. “They are trained fighters! Do any of you have weapons training?”

They all shook their heads dejectedly.

Tahana nodded. “We shall sneak out while they sleep!”

The sisters fell silent, so Tahana began to plan their escape. She did have her holy symbol, but very few supplies. The bags of fertilizer in the room they were locked in would not help them much. Her parchment, and the shield of protection she could summon with it, was still in her pocket. She intended to avoid combat, however, so that was less useful to her.

The sun fell, which she could only tell by how the light seeping under the door dimmed and began to flicker with the fire in the hearth. The temperature in the room dropped as the icy cold of night gripped the land. Ivy shivered and the four sisters huddled together to keep each other warm.

Tehana began to sing the hymns of the mother church. She had no particular ability at singing, but the sounds comforted her. She had a mission here, now. She would not falter. After a few bars, the other sisters joined her. They were on their third hymn when the half-orc shouted.

“Shut up in ‘ere, or ye won’t be gittin’ any food tomorrow!”

The sisters hushed instantly. Apparently the thieves withheld food often, judging from their emaciated bodies. Tahana was really beginning to dislike that half-orc.

She settled in to pray to her goddess for the gifts she would need later this night.

* * *

It must have been past midnight when the men were all sleeping. The crossbowman was supposed to be on guard duty, but the dark and quiet night had him dozing, slumped on the table. The other three were in their pallets in the main room. Tahana wondered why none of them slept in the sisters’ quarters in the main fort. That would have made sneaking out much easier.

She gently shook the sisters awake. There was almost no light to see by, so she could only grip their hands to give them courage. It had taken a fair bit of convincing to get them to agree to even try to leave. She swore to them that Lyra was on their side, and would help. Myrtle remained negative, but even she eventually decided to go.

“Are you ready?” Tahana whispered. The sisters answered by standing and facing the door. There was barely enough room for Tahana to stand.

She whispered her prayers to her goddess, and felt the sharp points of her holy symbol as she tucked it under her shirt. Lyra answered. The ground beneath them trembled with a small earthquake.

The sisters gasped in shock.

While the earthquake rumbled, she carefully lifted the latch on the storeroom door. Opening it just a tiny crack, barely could she see the main door of the wooden building.

She whispered her prayers.

The door to the outside flung open, startling all the thieves awake. They jumped to their feet, weapons ready—just as she had hoped.

One more whispered prayer, and from outside it sounded like the rustle of bushes and the clatter of weapons from an imminent attack.

They all rushed out of the building.

Grabbing the nearest sister’s hand, she ran out, pulling them behind her. Their plan depended on speed, and stealth.

She ran out the door, into the black of night, blinking in the brightness of the starlight. The smell of fresh pine filled her with joy. She pulled the sisters the direction opposite where she’d cast her noise spell. She stopped—pushed them forward while she listened into the night at the thieves who were shouting at shadows, and not finding the threatened attack. The sisters ran on, following the line of the big stone fort, the cool starlight lighting their way, Their tattered white dresses were easily visible against the dark stone.

The sisters rounded the far corner of the building, out of Tehana’s sight. A sharp crack of a stick echoed in the night, followed by a small cry of pain.

“They are escaping!” the swordsman said. He was too observant by half.

Tahana ran the length of the stone building, aiming for the tree line the sisters had said was relatively flat, compared to the cliff that had edged the path the other direction. She turned the corner.

One sister had fallen, and another was trying to help her stand. Was that Rose who had fallen and Ivy was helping her? Myrtle bravely stepped in front of them, standing between them and the thieves who were running toward them from the other side of the building. The crossbowman stopped and aimed at her.

“Lyra protect her!” Tahana shouted.

She clutched the bit of parchment in her pocket. Myrtle turned and saw her just as the light surrounded her. Her eyes widened in shock as the bolt the crossbowman fired at her warbled as it hit the shield of light that Tahana had cast to protect her.

Ivy helped Rose stand up. She cried out as she put weight on her leg. A crossbow bolt slammed into Ivy’s head. Rose screamed and fell as Ivy collapsed dead next to her. Myrtle shouted, enraged, and ran toward the crossbowman.

A sound behind Tahana spun her around just in time to see the half-orc’s fist slam into her face. The last thing she could see before blackness claimed her was the ground coming fast at her.

* * *

“That was stupid,” the crossbowman was saying to Myrtle as Tahana came to consciousness.

“This one ‘ere’s awake!” the half-orc said. His thunderous voice was so close she could smell his foul breath.

She gagged on the amount of blood in her mouth. The beast had broken her nose. She could barely see out her swollen eyes.

“Lyra will help us,” Myrtle said to the crossbowman, but she was looking at Tahana. “Now let me set Rose’s broken leg.”

The crossbowman waved permission, and Myrtle knelt down by Rose, who was unconscious on the floor. She worked swiftly and set the bone. Rose, mercifully, remained unconscious.

“And you,” said the crossbowman, “we found your little secret, so no more out of you.” He held up the silver chain and pendant with Tahana’s holy symbol. He slipped it into his belt pouch with a chuckle. “You get to stay out here with us, so no more funny business!”

Tahana tried to speak, but she just gurgled with blood and pain. The half-orc laughed. She rolled over to give him a rude gesture, which made him laugh even more. But there, behind him, on the floor was her shield. From here, she could clearly see the triple stars of her goddess emblazoned on the front of her shield.

She let herself fall limp. She needed to rest, but her goddess had come through for her yet again. It was surprisingly easy to fall into sleep, despite the throbbing of her face, and the smug conversation of the thieves.

When she awoke it was daylight. The first thing she did was see if her shield was still facing out. It was. She prayed fervently, her lips whispered for healing, as her face throbbed. She hoped there was enough blood coating her skin, that the thieves would not notice she had healed.

She heard the rustling of skirts behind her, and turned to see Myrtle was holding Rose, who had been stricken with a fever in the night.

Myrtle looked up at Tahana and smiled.

“I have been blessed with the Sacred Flame of Lyra,” she said.

“No talkin’!” said the half-orc who was standing in the open doorway. The sharp light of early morning made him only a silhouette in the door.

Tahana could hear a conversation outside.

“He’s coming this afternoon,” said a voice she did not recognize. “They are a few days ahead of the caravan, so orders are to start setting up immediately.”

This afternoon!

Tahana looked at Myrtle, who had also heard the conversation. The woman looked serene. Sacred flame, she had said. She must have found her faith again.

“I am ready,” Myrtle said, mouthing the words soundlessly. “Pray and prepare.”

Tahana turned back to see her shield when it dawned on her—Myrtle must be talking about the sacred flame of divine wrath. Tahana had completely forgotten Lyra gave gifts beyond the divine joy and healing that were Tahana’s specialty.

This afternoon more men were showing up. Tahana did not have much time. But she had faith on her side. She prayed.

The messenger told the bandits they were to prepare the fort for the boss and the coming men. The messenger and one of the thieves was to hire more crew from the town Tahana had last stayed at a few days away. They would “mop up” any from the caravan who got through the ambush being laid for it here on the pass.

That meant the Boss and his extra men were coming from the other direction. That was useful information.

Here, now, there were only three thieves guarding them.

At least until the Boss and his big band arrived this afternoon.

The half-orc sat back down at the table, and was playing a knife game with his fingers. One of these days he’d chop his fingers off. The remaining two ruffians, the crossbowmen and the swordsman, were preparing the main fort for the arrival of their boss.

This was their best chance.

She caught Myrtle’s gaze and nodded.

A radiance like flame descended on the half-orc. He was so engrossed in his game that he failed to dodge. Pain seared through him—he screamed. Tahana snatched her shield and warhammer from the pile.

Beating her goddess’ triple stars emblazoned shield with her hammer, she shouted a prayer and sent it to Rose who gasped awake from the sudden healing she received.

The half-orc stumbled to his feet, and knife out, he came at Tahana. She blocked with her shield, his rotten breath puffing into her face.

Behind him Myrtle again sent the flames of pain down on the half-orc. He managed to dodge, but that gave Tahana just enough time to cast her own sacred flame. He screamed in pain, rage filling his eyes. The brute was unaccustomed to magical attacks.

Myrtle hit him again. He screamed.

Tahana swung her warhammer and smashed into his face. See how he liked having a broken nose. He fell to the ground with a thud. The sudden silence revealed the sound of running feet.

Tahana stepped into the doorway, her shield up, her hammer ready, and she cast as soon as she saw who was closest. The crossbowman was just twenty feet away. Tahana prayed to her goddess.

“Smite this evil who has killed your devoted followers.”

A flash of light streaked from Tahana and hit the crossbowman squarely, his dodge coming just moments too late. He fell dead to the ground.

Myrtle came up behind her, helping Rose who was barely limping. Her leg was mostly healed, and the fever had clearly left. Rose held onto the doorframe. Myrtle grabbed a fire brand from out of the fire and set the sleeping pallets of the thieves alight. The flame swept through the room with shocking speed, the wooden floor catching the fire, and the room began to fill with smoke.

Tahana stepped out into the light of the morning, the warm sun on her face.

“Praise to Lyra!” she shouted.

Myrtle and Rose fell in behind her, their steps hurried to keep close to her.

Tahana beat her shield, “Face me if you dare!”

She found the swordsman standing where she had first been ambushed by the thieves. The close quarters would favor his weapon over hers.

Without hesitation she called down the flaming light. She could hear Myrtle behind her doing the same. The swordsman was fast, but not fast enough to dodge two strikes.

Tahana rushed him, slamming into him with her shield before he could raise his weapon. He grunted, then ducked her hammer blow. He rallied and tried to stab her exposed flank.

She dropped her shield, catching his arm. She ripped down, his hand dropped his sword, numbed from her blow. His eyes caught hers as her hammer swung down on his head. He crumpled to the ground.

Tahana grabbed his belt pouch and ripped it off. She wanted to dig out her pendant, but she did not know how long they had until reinforcements came.

“My pack is down there,” she said to her companions. She pointed at the steep cliff over which her backpack had fallen in her first fight. “Keep walking, and I’ll catch up once I’ve got it.”

Myrtle nodded. “Hurry up. We’ll shout if we see anyone coming.”

Tahana carefully climbed down, holding on to the tall trees to keep from slipping. Just a few bare feet from the edge was her pack, hung up on some low branches. Relieved, she pulled it on. The strap that held her warhammer was broken, but mending it would have to wait until she had rested and prayed for her goddess’ help with it. She had asked enough of her goddess for one day.

She climbed back up, surprised to see Myrtle and Rose still there. Myrtle was watching the path carefully, but Rose was tending to the swordsman.

“He wasn’t dead,” she said. “I couldn’t let him die.”

Tahana smiled and nodded. “We must go now, though, before the rest of them arrive.”

Rose nodded, and stood. “He will not die, now. His friends can take care of them.”

Myrtle snorted her opinion of that, but said nothing.

Together the three of them hurried down the switchbacks out of the mountain pass. Rose barely limped, her leg mostly healed. Above them the birds sang in the blue skies and warm spring sunlight. Tahana had two days of food in her backpack. Not much when split between the three of them, but it should be enough for them to get to town. She knew she would be able to create water once she rested some, so that was no concern.

Behind them, rising in a pillar above the tree tops, they could see the smoke of the garden shed burning. The fire must have spread to a few other out buildings. Hopefully that would give a warning to the unsuspecting caravan.

A few hours had passed, and they paused to rest deep in the tree line. Even the rising smoke could not be seen through the canopy anymore.

“Thank you,” Myrtle said. “You brought Lyra back to us.”

“She had never left you,” Tahana said. “She just needed us to know there was a mission here for her work to be done.”

“Yes, thank you for saving us,” Rose said.

“Of course,” Tahana replied, “but that mission is done.”

“What do you mean?” Rose asked.

“I will stop those thieves,” Tahana said. Her green eyes glittered with fervor. “This region must be saved. That caravan must be saved. Lyra’s Joy will not be felt here if those supplies cannot get through.”

“You intend to go back?” Myrtle asked. She shook her head in disbelief.

“Yes, of course.”

“They will kill you!”

“I think not. But first, we must get to town.”

Tahana did not add that she intended to stop that messenger from recruiting more men. She did not mention that she intended to find good men of her own to stop what was happening. Lyra had clearly given her this mission, and she would stop at nothing to complete it.


Copyright

THE SACRED FLAME

Copyright ©2016 by Jamie Aldis

Published by Valsaga Publishing LLC

Cover Design copyright ©2016 Valsaga Publishing LLC

Cover art copyright © Photowitch | Dreamstime.com

This story is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental. This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.

Jamie Aldis Patreon

Special thanks to my Patreon supporters. I couldn’t keep doing this without you!

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