“I am Agartes Allaicras. I do not let minor details escape me. I saw the rest of them, didn’t I? She called me, spoke to me. Yet Urthen told me she was dead hours before I got there. What did she die of, ka-eng? Tell me, if you know so much.”
“She was cut down, like the others.”
“She was whole. I saw.”
“Perhaps.” The ka-eng paused. “Her soul may have hung back, waited for you. They are allowed to do that sometimes. You saw her spirit.”
“I felt her in my arms.”
“You must have held her before. You were remembering, but you had one foot stepping into the other plane. One does not forget the taste of water or the smell of air.”
His eye stung. He stubbornly wiped it and looked up at the sky. “I hope you’re right,” he murmured.
“My master Goche says that you possess a strong connection to the agan. Have you not had other such experiences in your youth? Seen things or manipulated elements you otherwise shouldn’t have?”
“When I met Goche twenty-five years ago, at the ridge near Vildar, some things did happen. But I’ve always thought it was him all along. He wanted to make a hero out of me and got that. So forgive me if I am more suspicious of him than I normally am.”
“He wants nothing, hero, but what he has always wanted—peace throughout our land. Believe me. That I came at such an unfortunate time…”
Agartes snorted. “Unfortunate? You have a funny way of expressing yourself.”
“Ka-eng, I don’t have time for this. I need to find my sword and sharpen it. I have an arrogant Dageian king to kill and no reason to hold back any longer. If I am alive by the end of this war, come to me. Maybe I’ll have time to entertain you then.”
“Goche tells me that if you do not control your agan, it can wreak havoc through the land. He knows everything that has been happening here. He has heard of what you were planning. You speak of winning. If that happens, then good. But you have seen Dageian handiwork in your own household. Their arts cannot be met by sword alone and we do not want their presence in the Kag anymore than you do.”
“Piss on that.”
Nobody else knew the name his mother gave him and he had not heard it in years. He looked up with a start.
“This agan…” he began, his mind turning. Reaching. He tried to remember what his mother’s hair smelled like, realized he couldn’t. He couldn’t even remember her face. He could still hear the laughter in the courtyard, could still remember the timbre in Aldeti’s viol and the way the candles flickered each time he kissed them good-night. One never forgets the taste of water or the smell of air. But water and air is…only water and air. He could remember the feel of his infant child in his arms twelve years ago, but could he hold on to everything for the rest of his life? They were all irrevocably behind him, now.
About the Books
Series Title: The Agartes Epilogues
Author: K.S. Villoso
Genre: Epic Fantasy
It has been years since his brother’s accident. Kefier was only just beginning to live a normal life–at least, as normal as it could get for a mercenary from a run-down town. And then an errand goes wrong and he finds himself holding his friend’s bloody corpse. Already once branded a murderer, he is pursued by men he once considered friends and stumbles into the midst of a war between two mages. One bears a name long forgotten in legend; the other is young, arrogant Ylir, who takes special interest in making sure Kefier is not killed by his associates. The apex of their rivalry: a terrible creature with one eye, cast from the womb of a witch, with powers so immense whoever possesses it holds the power to bring the continent to its knees.
Now begins a tale with roots reaching beyond the end of another. Here, a father swears vengeance for his slain children; there, a peasant girl struggles to feed her family. A wayward prince finds his way home and a continent is about to be torn asunder. And Kefier is only beginning to understand how it all began the moment he stood on that cliff and watched his brother fall…
Enosh, apprentice to one of the richest merchants in the Kag, is secretly heir to a broken line of mages. Because of The Empire of Dageis’ quest for sources of the agan–the life-source that mages use for power–his people have been reduced to scavengers, his culture diminished to a speck in the wind. For more than ten years, he has helped raise a conjured beast to use as a weapon against the Dageians. But Enosh’s plans are falling apart. A powerful enemy has escaped and Enosh needs to capture him before he reaches Dageis. His quest is further complicated after he finds himself used as a pawn by Gasparian nobles.
On the other end of the continent, Sume, daughter to a Jin-Sayeng hero, must return to her roots to save her country and bring honour to her father’s name. To do this, she must befriend a prince and understand the terrible, corrupting nature of power and the reason her father was driven to walk away from it all those years ago…
Meanwhile, Kefier, Enosh’s agan-blind brother, is forced back into a life of violence. As he struggles with the notion that hands, once bloodied, never stay clean for long, he finds himself occupied with an unexpected burden: his own brother’s daughter.
The battle at Shi-uin has left scars. The rise of Gorrhen yn Garr to power seems unstoppable. As nations fall, the lines between love and duty become blurred and Kefier, Sume, and Enosh must learn to live with the choices they have made.
K.S. Villoso was born in a dank hospital on an afternoon in Albay, Philippines, and things have generally been okay since then. After spending most of her childhood in a slum area in Taguig (where she dodged death-defying traffic, ate questionable food, and fell into open-pit sewers more often than one ought to), she and her family immigrated to Vancouver, Canada, where they spent the better part of two decades trying to chase the North American Dream. She is now living amidst the forest and mountains with her family, children, and dogs in Anmore, BC.