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A War For Magic

A War For Magic

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Prince Trystan Renauld doesn’t believe in the ancient power that once helped his kingdom thrive. 

Now, it’s been twenty years and crops fail to thrive, the earth no longer connected to the ones it once served. 

With war on the horizon, Trystan must do anything he can to prepare his people. Even if that means following his sister on a hunt to find the lost keepers and restore a power that might not be real. 

Main Tropes

  • Lost Magic
  • Friends to Lovers
  • Forbidden Romance
  • Fade to Black
  • Quest
  • Warrior Princess


A thrilling fantasy adventure perfect for fans of George R.R. Martin and Brandon Sanderson. 

Some prophecies aren’t meant to come true. 

Prince Trystan Renauld doesn’t believe in the ancient power that once helped his kingdom thrive. The tales say that on the day of his birth, the Tri-Gard, legendary keepers of the magic, stripped it from the very earth and then disappeared, leaving the people to suffer in a dying land. 

Now, it’s been twenty years and crops fail to thrive, the earth no longer connected to the ones it once served. 

With war on the horizon, Trystan must do anything he can to prepare his people. Even if that means following his sister on a hunt to find the lost keepers and restore a power that might not be real. 

Rissa has always known two things. She is in love with Davion, her father’s ward, and no one can ever find out. 

When it becomes apparent the kingdom needs her for more than an advantageous marriage, she takes the chance to break free of her chains. 

The Tri-Gard is out there. She knows it is.

Along with her brother and Davion, she’s determined to find it. 

But, the greatest danger doesn’t come from the enemy amassing on the border. It’s been among them all along. 

Dive into this epic fantasy romance with unique worldbuilding, engaging characters, and an impossible love story where good and evil are sometimes the same thing.


He wasn’t going to lose this fight.

The sword sliced the air missing Trystan’s ear by a split hair. Lurching to the right, Trystan whirled just in time as the second attack came. Raising his heavy broadsword, it collided against his attacker’s blade with a metallic clang, stunting the blow. The contact reverberated up his arm, into his shoulder. He grimaced in pain as sweat beaded on his brow, threatening to drip into his eyes.  He didn’t dare take the time to wipe it away. 

His opponent was skilled and eager, already bouncing back from the jarring blow. The Prince’s numerous years of practice took over. Bending his knees, he straightened his back to keep his hips aligned with his shoulders. This fighting stance was ingrained and he did it without thought. His instinct to stay alive.

The steel blade glinted in the morning sun as it thrust his way again and again. The prince parried the attempts, slapping the edge away with ease. A tiny grin of victory escaped as he deflected blow after blow. His attacker was tiring, he could tell. Victory was near. Deciding to end this fight, Trystan delivered a powerful low slash to his opponent’s abdomen. The other swordsman evaded it easily enough, but it knocked him off balance and he hit the ground with a loud grunt. Trystan’s blade hovered above the man’s chest, a mere inch from his heart.

“Concede or I will run you through.”

His opponent knocked the blade away and leaped to his feet with a nimble backwards roll. 

Feinting hard to the right, Trystan fell for the ploy as his nemesis attacked from the left and the hilt of his blade connected with the Prince’s ribs. His opponent took advantage of the slight stumble. The Prince’s feet were swept out from underneath him and he crashed onto his back, his sword flying out of his grip.

The point of a blade was thrust under Trystan’s chin, against the vulnerable hollow of his neck.

“You concede?” The shadow above him growled as it blocked out the sun. The two men stared at each other, breathing heavy from their exertion. 

Finally, Trystan grinned as his head fell back to peer up at Davion in amusement. “Quite impressive, my friend.  Avery would be proud. You are in fine form today.”

Davi held a hand out to the prince and pulled him to his feet, clamping a friendly hand on his shoulder. “Either I’m improving or you’re slipping in your old age, Toha-to-be. I bested you in no time. Hope you’re not too exhausted, else those fine maidens over there will be sorely disappointed.”

Davi nodded to the two pretty young maids who’d been watching their match with wide-eyed admiration. They giggled behind their hands in response to Davi’s flirtatious wink and one even had the gumption to smile back at him and drop a little curtsy. They straightened abruptly when they heard the irritated voice from the other side of the courtyard.

“Millie, Jalis, you’re both needed inside.” 

The girls scurried away as a slender redhead in a sky-blue dress gracefully descended the stone steps into the courtyard. Her hair glinted brightly in the sunlight, matching the blaze of censure in her moss-green eyes. With the chastised girls out of her view, Princess Rissa’s disapproving glance settled on the dark-haired Davi. 

“Truly, Davion. Can you not go a day without flirting with the maids?”

Davi’s smile grew wider, not the least bit concerned at Rissa’s wrath, and flung his arms out to the sides in jest. “I could, but why deny them the pleasure of all this?”

Rissa’s unladylike snort of exasperation belied her regal bearing as she crossed her arms. “Careful. Your head swells bigger as we speak. Soon you will not be able to lift it.”

“Then I shall enlist the aid of the maids, Princess. I’m sure they would be more than happy to help me carry it around.” 

“Sadly, you speak the truth. They do seem to find your appearance undeniably appealing. No doubt once you have charmed them into being alone with you, you break the illusion by opening your mouth and allowing your idiotic words to flow out?”

“Oh, trust me, Princess,” Davi’s grin reeked of mischief as he leaned on his sword and winked her way. “When the maids do find themselves alone with me, we are too otherwise occupied for conversation.”

Trystan laughed out loud at this, but his sister was not as amused. The flippant comment only appeared to increase her exasperation. Her irritated gaze moved to Trystan. “I’m glad you can find time to laugh, brother, since I’m here on behalf of the King. He’s summoned you to his quarters. If I were you, I would not make him wait.”

Swirling her skirts, Rissa pivoted on her heel and stormed away. Trystan watched his sister depart with a knowing smile. “Davi, why do you love tormenting her?”

“Because it’s so much fun.”

* * *

Trystan felt many eyes on him as he marched down the marble hall with Davion by his side. His heavy steps echoed off the stone walls, but he seemed to be the only one who could hear the pounding keeping time with the rhythm of his heart. All other sounds dissolved into the cacophony of daily palace routines. 

Only it wasn’t like any other day at the palace. He hadn’t expected to be summoned so soon.  If he’d known, he wouldn’t have practiced so hard with Davi. He was well aware the dukes and other various nobles had started arriving the day before, keeping the staff busier than usual. There were more people to feed, rooms to sweep, linens to clean. Extra nobles meant more guards walking the halls, their servants cleaning armor and sharpening swords. No, it wasn’t just any day. It was the last day before their beloved prince gained his birthright. The day Trystan moved one step closer to the crown - to be prepared to step in if anything were to happen to his father. 

And he smelled like a lathered horse. 

He’d been having fun only minutes before, but a weight had settled in the center of his chest ever since Rissa had summoned him and it wouldn’t ease up. He knew what tomorrow meant for him, but something told him today would be important as well. 

A maid scurried to a stop in front of them, dropping the basket she’d been carrying.

“Your Highness,” she gasped, dropping low and fanning out her skirt to hide the once clean and folded linens that now lay wrinkled at her feet. She dipped her head, her long blond braid falling over one shoulder.  “I’m so sorry. I didn’t see where I was going.”

Davi glanced at him and chuckled. 

“It’s fine,” Trystan said more harshly than he’d intended. His nerves were getting the better of his manners. 

“Let me help you,” Davi said in his easy tone. “Don’t mind the prince.  Even royals can have sticks up their asses. Theirs are just made of gold.”

She met his eyes across the basket they were both piling linens into and gave him the tiniest smile before straightening up and hefting the basket into her arms. She gave one more final dip and then hurried off. 

Davi turned back, still chuckling to himself and met Trystan’s glare unflinchingly. “Come on.” He clapped his friend on the back. “Your father is waiting.”

“For me.” Trystan started walking again. “I don’t recall him summoning you.” 

Davi shrugged. “Everything is open to interpretation.”

“No, it’s really not.” 

Davi didn’t turn back and Trystan didn’t make him. If truth be told, having his friend at his side helped ease some of the Prince’s nerves. He knew leading the kingdom was his destiny, not Davi’s, but he felt like a brother, like he too was a prince and heir, making Trystan feel less alone. 

The halls grew quieter the closer they came to the King’s quarters. It was a more isolated and protected part of the castle. When they were children, Trystan, Davi, and Rissa hated these parts because they felt official, formal. They’d much preferred the stables, the kitchens, or the training yards where people would talk to them and teach them. 

Down this way was the council hall, a room which had always been secretive and off limits to those not on the council, including the realm’s only prince. They passed by its door and stopped in front of the two guards standing outside the King’s office. 

The wooden doors were pushed open without hesitation revealing the King standing with his back to them as he looked out the window onto the woods below. 

The two young men waited patiently until the King turned. “I don’t remember summoning you, Davion.” He leveled him with an unblinking stare. 

“Sire,” Davi began. 

“No, it’s not open to interpretation.” 

The corner of Trystan’s mouth twitched, but he hid his smile with a cough. Davi bowed with a sigh. If it were anyone else, Trystan knew his father would chastise them, but Davi was a favorite of his and he could get away with just about anything. 

The door thudded to a close upon Davi’s exit, and Trystan almost choked on the stifling air as he moved to stand beside his father at the window. 

“How are you holding up, son?” The King put a hand on his shoulder, squeezing lightly. 

“I’m okay,” Trystan grunted, shrugging off his hand. “I can handle it.” 

“You’re about to become Toha. It’s a lot of pressure whether it’s your rightful position or not. That is why you don’t come of age until you’ve passed twenty winters. Do you know what being the Toha means?” 

“Of course, I do. I become head of the army, the symbol of strength across the kingdom.”

“Trystan.” He locked his eyes onto his son’s. “You become the symbol of hope.” He paused to scratch his chin and regarded his son thoughtfully. “The Toha is more than a general, more than a soldier. And that is why only a prince can hold the title. Tomorrow, when the sun is high, you will pledge to be the people’s protector, their warrior for justice, their light in the darkness.”

Trystan didn’t know what to say in response and his father sighed. “There’s still much you don’t know. Come, the council is waiting.”

“The council?” Trystan’s eyes grew wide and he glanced down at his sweaty shirt. Even the prince was usually kept from the council meetings and this was how he’d arrive at his first one?

“Tomorrow you become more than a prince. A Toha must know his kingdom and all happenings in it.”

The two guards fell in step behind them as they left the room and walked the short distance to the council chambers. 

Trystan’s childhood mind had imagined some grand room with tall tiers of chairs filled with important dignitaries who stood when they wanted to yell, their voices echoing through the room. He imagined chaos amongst nobles who didn’t always see eye to eye. 

Instead, he was led into a circular room with no windows and only the single door. Torches hung along the walls to cast light onto a long, round table with high backed chairs.  The room was bare, simple, unlike the men and women inside of it.

The group of people already present jumped to their feet when they saw them enter. The King smiled wide. 

“Coille,” he boomed. The rest of the group looked unfazed by the King’s lack of formality. It was no secret Lord Coille, the Duke of Aldorwood, was the King’s oldest friend. 

“Marcus.” Lord Coille clasped his hand. “It’s good to see you, even under the circumstances.”

“Yes, even then.”

“Father,” Trystan whispered. “What did he mean?”

“You’ll find out soon enough.”

A small woman who couldn’t have had more than ten years on Trystan walked towards them. “Sire.” She bowed.

“Lady Destan.” The King gave the Duchess of Sona an affectionate smile. She turned her dazzling blue eyes on Trystan and her smile grew.

“My prince.” Her voice was soft and melodic. “I’m happy you have been invited to join us.” 

“As am I, my lady.” He inclined his head towards her.

“Is everyone here?” the King asked.

“We’re missing Lord Eisner.” The King’s brother, Lord Drake, walked up behind them. “But we can start without that old fool.” 

The door burst open and a portly, swarthy-faced man ran in. He pulled a handkerchief from his pocket to dab at the sweat on his brow. “I’m sorry, gentlemen. My daughter has been causing problems again. I swear, show me a compliant woman, and I’ll show you dice that can roll themselves.” 

A few men chuckled uncomfortably. Lady Destan took her seat quietly, her face showing no reaction. Trystan, on the other hand, couldn’t hide the scowl as he looked at the Duke. The kingdom was made up of three realms – Aldorwood, the Isle of Sona, and Isenore. Trystan had always thought they were better off without the last of those and its Duke Eisner. 

“Gentlemen,” the King said, breaking the tension. “We have much to discuss. Let’s get started, shall we?” He looked sideways at his scribe as the dukes took to their chairs and nodded. “We’ve begun receiving reports on this year’s crops and can expect the yields to be down from last year.”

“This is the third year in a row,” Lord Coille interjected. “As most of the kingdom’s farms are in my realm, we’ve been monitoring the situation closely. This year we had record freezes followed by extreme heat; flooding followed by drought.” 

“Our orchards on Sona have suffered as well,” Lady Destan spoke up. 

“What are you all saying?” Lord Eisner asked. “Are you trying to tell me we won’t be getting our shipments in Isenore?”

“Food will have to be rationed,” the King said. 

“It was already rationed.” Lord Eisner stood and leaned over the table. “In Isenore, we’ve been getting our jobs done. Our mines are booming and your iron shipments have been increased. If you think for one minute you can shorten our food supply –“ 

“Sit down, Eisner,” the King boomed. “We all know your mines aren’t as mighty as you say.”

“If food is scarce,” Trystan said, gathering his courage to speak. “Then why are we feasting tomorrow?” 

“It’s an important day,” the king answered.

“What will the people think of us when they see dancing and gorging? It isn’t right.” 

“The people,” the King started, narrowing his eyes at his son. “Will see their prince taking his rightful position as Toha. We must give them pride in their kingdom, in their royal family.” 

“But -”

“Trystan,” the King snapped. “Enough. It’s too late to cancel it.” He looked to Lord Drake who gave him a tiny nod and sighed. “We must keep up appearances. Everything must seem okay here at the palace.”

“Who cares about appearances?”

The King slammed his fist down on the table, making Trystan jump. “The King of Dreach-Dhoun cares.” He unclenched his fist and massaged it with his other hand. “We have reason to believe the King across the border has managed to put spies within these walls.”

“What reasons?” The Duke of Isenore asked accusingly. “Why was I not told of this?” 

“Our troop movements near the border have been compromised as if King Calis himself got a look at our maps. There have been small attacks. He’s testing us. More than a few shipments have gone awry.” 

“None of this is anything new.” Lord Coille scratched his thick beard. “Calis has been one step ahead of us for more than a decade, it seems.” 

“He grows bolder as we grow weak,” Lady Destan said quietly. 

“Speak for yourself, woman,” Lord Eisner snarled.

She didn’t rise to his bait. Her voice was calm, logical. “Of course, we’re growing weaker. Every year we cut food rations. What happens when there are no more rations to cut? We can’t let our people starve. Our world is falling apart. It snows when there should be heat. It’s dry when it should rain. And it’s not only the weather. Rivers have dried up while others have been created right where houses stand. I was only twelve when we lost our connection to the earth – our magic – but I remember what life was like with that bond. The earth took care of us, now it’s dying and threatening to take us with it.”

“Tomorrow marks the twenty-year anniversary of that dark day,” Lord Coille said, forgetting talk of spies for just a moment. 

Trystan leaned forward, wanting to hear more. He knew the day of his birth had been tumultuous for his people. He still found it hard to believe in magic. Everyone who was old enough to remember told stories of the time when anything was possible, but stories were all it was to him, imaginary. 

“I remember it like it was yesterday,” Lord Coille continued. 

“We don’t need to discuss this,” Lord Eisner snapped.

“Of course, we do,” he replied. “We must remember always.” He looked to Trystan. “Now, son, there’s something you need to understand, something young people need to be told, lest it be lost. It’s spelled out in the Realm’s name. Dreach is an ancient word for magic. It was the magic keeping the balance in the world. It came from the earth, but it was only there because of the Tri-Gard.”

“I know all of this,” Trystan said. “My tutors instructed me well. The three members of the Tri-Gard used their crystals to infuse the land with power.”

Lord Coille nodded. “The three were a force for good until they were coerced into stripping the land of its power. Without being able to draw from the trees, the rocks, the very ground we walked on, our abilities disappeared. We were superior to Dreach-Dhoun in every way. We would have won the war. But, to this day, parts of their lands still hold immense power while ours are barren.”

“This is a council meeting, not a history lesson,” Lord Eisner interjected. 

“Oh, do shut up.” Lady Destan winked at Trystan before turning a scowl on Lord Eisner. “The difference between the two realms is in our intentions for the magic. Dreach-Sciene translates into light magic, but Dreach-Dhoun only means dark magic.”

“I don’t understand what this has to do with anything we’re discussing,” Trystan said, honestly curious. 

“Oh, my boy, it has everything to do with it.” Lord Coille leaned back in his chair and glanced at the king who gave him a nod to go on. “Our light magic kept our world in working order. It put clear distinctions between the seasons, allowing crops to thrive. It imbued nourishment into the soil. We’ve survived without it for twenty years, but each year has been worse than the one before it. We’re at the end of our luck, I’m afraid.” 

“Has anyone been sent into Dreach-Dhoun to try to recover what was stolen?” Trystan looked to his father. 

“If it were only so simple.” The King sighed. “In order for power to be restored, the three guardians must be reunited. We know where one of them is.” The King glanced towards his friend, Lord Coille. “He’s in the dungeons of Dreach-Dhoun. The other two are in hiding and we have no way of finding them.”

Trystan still wasn’t sure if he believed, but looking around the table, he saw that they did and it was enough for him. A swell of duty inflated his chest as he thought of his people and his need to save them. “Send me, Father. I will find them.”

“No.” The response was quick and finite. “Absolutely not.”

“I can do it,” Trystan stated.

“We don’t doubt you, Your Highness,” Lord Coille said after a moment of stubborn silence from the king. “But we’re not even sure it can be done. Dreach-Dhoun is not the place for a prince.” 

“There’s no negotiating, Trystan.” The King’s tone was not to be trifled with. “I have other plans for you. We’re sending a contingent of our best soldiers to survey border defenses. Dreach-Dhoun is preparing for something. We need to root out their spies. You will remain here where you can prepare the troops who are about to be under your command. We must be ready.” 

It wasn’t what Trystan wanted to hear, but he was a prince and he must follow the orders of the king. He lowered his gaze to the table, the weight of the title of Toha ever growing. “Yes, Sire.” 

When he looked back up, he met the Duchess of Sona’s sympathetic gaze before looking beside her to where Lord Drake, his uncle, sat smirking. He sunk lower into his chair and listened attentively to the rest of the meeting, feeling deflated and angry.

“Nothing said here today is to get out.” The King surveyed his council. “Not until we find the traitors. Understood?”

The dukes nodded as they trickled out, leaving Trystan with only his father and his uncle. 

“Why was I not told before of the extent of the problems our people are facing? I still think it’s wrong to feast when the people are set to starve.” Trystan clenched his fists down by his sides and tried to keep his tone even. The King may have been his father, but he was still the king. 

It was his uncle who answered. “Dreach-Dhoun must not see us in such dire straits, Your Highness.” 

Trystan blew out a long breath. “And what about what our people see?” 

“Son.” The King tried to put a reassuring arm around him, but he moved out of reach. “The matter is done.” 

“Unbelievable.” Trystan yanked the door open and marched out into the hall, almost colliding with Davion. 

Davion stumbled back as if hit and then dropped into a low bow. “I’m sorry, my prince. Next time you’re charging around the castle like a headless horse, I’ll be sure to stay out of your way.” There was a twinkle in his eye as he raised his head. 

“Idiot.” Trystan crossed his arms over his chest and glanced behind him to make sure his father or uncle hadn’t followed him out. 

“Why are you in such a foul humor?” Davi asked. “I thought it was your lifelong dream to sit in with the dull and duller.” 

“I should have you whipped for insolence.”

“Could work, if your father allowed whipping.”

“We could always start.” Trystan shrugged.

“You wound me, your Highness.” He held his hands over his heart and threw his head back. 

“Can you be serious for a moment?”

“What is it?”

“Nothing,” he sighed. “Just a prince following his orders.”

“Well, soon you’ll be a Toha following his orders.” Davi smirked.

“Don’t remind me.” Trystan ran a hand over the top of his head. “I need a drink.” 

A slow smile spread across Davi’s lips. “You’re a mind reader. I’ll bet you some of the guests are in the main hall. I was trying to find Alixa earlier.”

“Who?” Trystan asked.

“She’s the Duke of Isenore’s daughter. We have yet to meet. The rumor is she’s a true beauty, but a wild thing.”

“Sounds like your kind of woman.”

Davi shrugged. “Female is my kind of woman.”

“I’ll be sure to pass that on to my sister.” Trystan laughed, letting it release some of the tension he’d been carrying. 

Davi sighed. “Rissa only likes the familiar. She’s young, she doesn’t know any better.”

“She’s only two years younger than us.” 

“Ri is special, Trystan. You know it as well as I. But she’s a princess. I’d never let myself go down such a route.”

They entered the hall where many of their guests were playing dice, drinking, and listening to the fiddler. 

“That’s a good thing.” Trystan nudged him. “Because it looks like she’s hitting it off with one of the young noblemen who arrived today.” 

Davi followed Trystan’s gaze and when he stiffened beside him, Trystan patted him on the back before going to grab a drink.

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