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A War For Truth

A War For Truth

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Prince Trystan has lost too much. The person closest to him is now gone, leaving him with a vengeful sister and companions lacking any kind of hope. 

When they emerge from the mountains of Isenore, it’s only to be consumed by another battle, another day where their lives hang in the balance. 

This time, their hearts are heavy and their mission seems further out of reach. 

Main Tropes

  • Enemies to Lovers
  • Lost Memories
  • Magic
  • Fade to Black
  • Revenge
  • Quest


Some kingdoms aren’t meant to thrive. 

Prince Trystan has lost too much. The person closest to him is now gone, leaving him with a vengeful sister and companions lacking any kind of hope. 

When they emerge from the mountains of Isenore, it’s only to be consumed by another battle, another day where their lives hang in the balance. 

This time, their hearts are heavy and their mission seems further out of reach. 

Trystan never truly believed in the magic said to come from the earth, but now he hopes that he was wrong. 

It may be their only chance. 

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.


Darkness consumed the world, swallowing up every path that lay before Dreach-Sciene’s prince. He represented everything they hoped for. He’d bring back their light.

Trystan Renauld stood alone. Always alone. The pitch-black night surrounded him. Was it night? Or had he already lost?

A light appeared farther along the road, the small blaze from a ball of fire. It grew and hovered in the air, illuminating the palm that held it aloft. As it moved closer, the face behind the flame became clear. The seer. Lorelai.

Why didn’t it burn her?

“Someone you love will die by your hand.” Her deep voice vibrated from the heavens. “Someone you love will sacrifice their life for yours.” She raised her palm and curled her fingers. The fireball pulsed.  “Someone you love will forsake your name.”

Sweat poured down Trystan’s face. He wanted to run from her words, from the obvious magic she held, but his feet stuck in the quicksand of her power.

“The curse of kings,” he breathed. His body shook. “Death. Sacrifice. Betrayal.”

The seer raised her arm, the light from the fire shining in her pale hair. She threw her head back as her magic shot forward and flames danced along Trystan’s skin. He screamed as they rose toward the sky and swirled around him.

An image appeared among the flames.

“Davi.” Trystan choked as his best friend’s eyes lifted to meet his.

“Trystan.” The voice didn’t come from right in front of him, but from the very air that infused life into the flames. “You promised!”

He shook his head violently as the scene played out before him. As Davi clutched the sword that would crush them all, Trystan fell to his knees. His friend screamed as the blade pierced his flesh and the light in his fierce eyes went out.

Trystan covered his face with his hands, only lifting his eyes when the flames released him and shot past his huddled form. He watched helplessly as they threaded through a village.

“Toha,” someone screamed. “You’re supposed to protect us.”

“Trystan.” Another voice cut through the noise, this one kinder. “My Prince, wake up.”

Trystan jolted awake, sweat soaking through his hair. “Davi,” he said.

The eyes that met his swirled with sadness.

“Lonara,” Trystan said when he finally realized where he was. “Is everyone okay? Have they found us?”

“No, but we should move on soon. It won’t be long before they track Briggs’ magic here.”

He nodded, pushing himself up, so he was sitting. His back ached with the movement and he scanned his body for burns as the dream came back to him.

Why was Lorelai important? Surely she was still at the Dreach-Sciene palace with his father. He stretched his arms out in front of him. Pain was good. It meant he was still alive. That was the one thing the loss of Davi couldn’t take from him.

He glanced around the cave they’d arrived at yesterday. With a shiver, he huffed out a breath. It was cold enough to see the air linger in front of his face. He rubbed his hands along his arms. “I think it’d be better if we stayed here until the cold passes. Knowing Dreach-Sciene, we’ll have a heat wave tomorrow.”

“No.” Lonara looked wholly unaffected by the cold. “It has only been a week since Briggs used magic to pull down the side of the mountain.” She pursed her lips in disapproval. “His magic will remain traceable to those with seer blood for a while yet, but the thread will grow weaker with a little more time. Until then, we must keep moving.”

He nodded. Disappointment shot through him, but he understood. He rubbed his eyes, fighting the exhaustion brought on by the constant danger.

He climbed to his feet and held his hand out to her. Lonara was a small woman with russet, reddish-brown skin and dark wiry hair. She turned golden eyes on him as if to say something and only nodded as she took his hand and pulled herself up.

Trystan watched her hug her furs tighter around her shoulders, wishing he had some as well. She wore traditional mountain dress as she’d been living in hiding in the mountains for many years.

As he stepped to the edge of the cave, his eyes roamed over the snowy landscape. The white powder must have fallen while he’d been sleeping. It gave a false sense of peace.

“Before the magic was gone from these lands,” Lonara began wistfully. “There was a time of year for this. Winter. For months, the cold would encompass the land and dust it with snow. We always knew it was coming and prepared.”

Trystan grunted, resentment stinging his thoughts. Along with the other two members of the Tri-Gard, she’d had a hand in changing Dreach-Sciene forever.

Snow crunched beneath his boots as he walked out. Edric sat near the mouth of the cave deep in thought. He nodded to Trystan.

“Ladies,” Trystan said as he walked up to Avery and Alixa. “Are you healing well, Avery?”

She looked up from where she was sharpening her sword. “Almost good as new.”

She was lying, but none of them had healed well from their battle. Trystan dreamed of Davi every night. He hadn’t taken an arrow like Avery, but he was in no better shape.

“Good of you to finally wake, your Highness.” Alixa’s tone didn’t hold as much of a bite as it had before. The corner of her mouth lifted in a tentative smile. At least she was trying to return to some form of normalcy.

She placed her freezing hand over his.

None of them could be the same after that day. His hand grew slick, and he snatched it back just in time to see deep red blood oozing between his fingers. He squeezed his eyes shut as his breath came out in short gasps.

He hadn’t loosed the arrow that killed Davi. His friend died by his own hand. But he’d done it to save Trystan. He was the sacrifice. Maybe Lorelai’s curse was true.

A hand landed on his arm and he opened his eyes to find Alixa staring at him. He calmed his breathing as her bright eyes held his.

“He may be gone, Trystan, but our mission is still alive. We’ll do it for him.”

He swallowed hard and nodded. With a glance from Alixa to Avery to Lonara, he sighed. “Where’s my sister?”

“The princess went into the woods at the end of the path.” Avery pointed with her sword.

Trystan turned to trudge through the snow to the trees. He should have known. Rissa had an affinity for trees or any kind of life that grew from the earth. She had the Tenelach, a deep connection to the earth, that he used to think was a fairytale. For most of his life, he’d thought that was all magic was. Fancy stories and unrealistic dreams.

Lonara followed him into the trees. He wanted to ask her to give him some time with Rissa, but she looked determined.

Rissa had barely spoken to anyone since Davi’s death. A constant scowl lined her face, marking the anger brewing just below the surface.

They heard Briggs before they saw him. The Tri-Gard member was bent over, drawing something on the ground and mumbling to himself.

“We’re so close,” he said. “Only one more.”

Rissa leaned against the base of a large tree, one leg propped up behind her. Her pale skin seemed paler still against the snowy backdrop, and her fire-red hair blazed bright. As Trystan and Lonara neared, she turned her once bright eyes on them. They’d dulled considerably and Trystan imagined they now matched his own.

For most of their lives, it’d been the three of them—Trystan, Rissa, and Davion. Now they were the only ones left, and it felt as if they didn’t even have each other to hold on to anymore.

She turned her head so she no longer had to meet his eyes. “Are we moving on soon?” Her voice was as listless as he felt.

“Yes.” He stepped forward cautiously. “I’m glad you didn’t go off alone today.”

She shrugged. “Briggs doesn’t expect me to talk to him. He just talks to himself.”

The accusation was plain in her voice, but he didn’t address it. Instead, he walked to look at what Briggs was drawing. Carved into the snow were two symbols. Each was a triangle in a circle, but one was upside down.

“What are these?” he asked, scanning the detailed depictions.

Briggs looked up as if noticing he had company for the first time. “I already explained the first one.”

Rissa kicked off the tree and strode forward. “To me, old man. You didn’t tell my brother.”

Briggs looked confused for a moment before pushing up the sleeve of his shirt to reveal the symbol tattooed on the inside of his wrist. “There are three of them, sigils, that must work together to balance the magic. We need all three to bring it back.”

“Each represents a member of the Tri-Gard,” Lonara explained. “The mark Briggs wears means dark magic.” She pointed to the second symbol he’d drawn. “Mine is light magic.” She pointed to each symbol inside her sigil in turn. “Light. Harmony. Fate. Magic.”

Briggs looked to her in alarm. “We’re missing earth.”

She put a hand on his arm to calm him. “We will get to him.”

He shook his head violently. “Ramsey was in league with the dark king.”

She smiled weakly. “We can’t completely blame him. We too, stole the magic. In the end, it did not matter that we were saving Dreach-Sciene from destruction or that we were forced. Ramsey was protecting his daughter. Love is the greatest force in the world. Greater than hate. More influential than fear. With it, we are flawed. Without it, we are nothing.”

Trystan met Rissa’s eyes. His love for Davi prevented him from fulfilling his promise. If Davi hadn’t taken his own life, it would’ve put the people of Dreach-Sciene in jeopardy. There was no doubt in his mind he would’ve saved his friend at the expense of his kingdom.

Rissa’s cold eyes were too much. Too real. Too painful. He turned on his heel and walked back the way he’d come, his footsteps fading away as fresh powder filled in the evidence that he’d been there, the proof that he’d cared.

Rissa’s grief threatened to pull him under the current of his own despair. Hardening himself, he climbed to the surface until all he felt was an emptiness and a fierce determination.

Because all he had now was this mission. He couldn’t save his friend, his brother. He refused to let his people suffer the same fate. For he was Toha. He was their protector, their light in the darkness. When he had no hope himself, at least he could give some to them.

That’s what he was born to do.

* * *

The light blinded Rissa as it pushed through the clouds and bounced off the clean white snow in front of her. She shielded her eyes with a hand and glared across the landscape before them.

“We should stop here to rest.” Trystan’s teeth chattered as he spoke.

Steam drifted in front of her face as Rissa huffed out a breath. They were getting nowhere. They’d been trudging along in the mountains for almost two weeks. She’d thought they’d have left for Dreach-Dhoun by now, but they had to wait long enough so Briggs wasn’t traceable to every seer.

He’d used his magic twelve days ago and Lona still said the traces clung to them.

Rissa didn’t care. All she wanted was a Dreach-Dhoun soldier to hit.

It didn’t help that it’d been so cold for days. They couldn’t travel far without stopping, lest they freeze to death.

“I’ll get to work on a fire,” Alixa said.

“I’ll help.” Trystan shot a look at Rissa and she averted her eyes.

How could Trystan act like everything was normal? She saw the way he followed Alixa. Davion was dead and Trystan continued to flirt.

Edric dug in his pack as Avery tied up the horses. After the fight, they’d only found three of the horses that had ridden off—meaning Rissa’s feet screamed with every step. But she didn’t stop. She passed Lona and Briggs, who paid her no mind as she continued up the path.

Snow drifted from the sky, catching in her eyelashes. She blinked, and the snowflakes fell to her cheeks where they melted instantly, almost as if they were tears. She hadn’t cried since it happened. Crying meant it was real. It would serve as the final dagger twisting in her gut.

It had happened. Of that, there was no doubt. But there was a difference between knowing someone died and the crushing realization that they were truly gone.

The road bent around the corner before moving farther up the mountain. Rissa stopped and stepped off the side of the road onto the narrow strip between the well-trod path and where it dropped off.

It could’ve been the edge of the world.

The air was hazy with falling snow, obscuring the long drop off the cliff. She imagined there was a road down there or something of the sort. She shuffled forward so her toes hit the cliff. Fear surged through her, but she didn’t move back because it proved she could still feel something.

It was better than the emptiness inside her. She’d tried to fill it with anger. That worked when she didn’t think about it too much.

She closed her eyes as a frosty blast blew her hair from where it stuck to the damp skin of her neck. Her fingers rubbed the pendant at her throat.

“Tell me how to get through this, Mom,” she whispered.

As soon as the words were out of her mouth, she jumped back and whipped around. After pulling her knife free, she threw it at the bank of snow on the other side of the road. Leaping towards where it dug in, she tore it free before plunging it in again. The tip hit ice, the impact reverberating up her arm.

She stabbed it again.

She’d never known her mother, and she focused her anger on that. For so long, Davi had been the sole recipient.

But she couldn’t maintain an ire towards someone she didn’t know. Before long, it came back to Davi as it always did. He’d left her.

She collapsed into the snow, letting the cold freeze her heart.

She didn’t know how long she stared into the swirling sky before Alixa blocked her vision. Her coat was pulled up to cover the bottom half of her face, but her eyes shone with disapproval.

When she spoke, the fabric muffled her voice. “You’re going to freeze out here.” She planted her hands on her hips and narrowed her eyes.

“Go play keeper to someone else.” Rissa’s lips trembled with the cold.

Alixa never listened to anyone. She sat down. “I’ve lived in these mountains most of my life, Ri.”

“Don’t call me Ri.” Only two people ever had—Trystan and Davion—and she couldn’t bear to hear it anymore.

Alixa kept going. “You don’t want to be caught too far from your fire when the sun goes down during a snowstorm.”

Rissa shrugged.

“I’m serious. You’ll die of cold.”

“I don’t care.”

Alixa jumped to her feet. “Rissa Renauld. Get your princess butt out of that snow right now. I know you’re hurting. We all are. That doesn’t mean we can forget why we’re here.”

“Haven’t we already forgotten? All we’re doing is wandering around these mountains.”

Alixa crossed her arms. “I won’t ask you again. Stand up. You will come back to the fire that Trystan and I have put our every effort into starting. I, for one, don’t want to die before we take that bastard in Dreach-Dhoun with us.” She reached a hand down.

Rissa had no more fight in her. She took the hand and pulled herself to her feet before following Alixa back down the path.

Before they reached the others, Alixa stopped. “Rissa, you know I’m here, right? We didn’t exactly start on the best of terms, but I know what it’s like to lose your best friend. My maid—”

“Davi wasn’t my best friend,” Rissa cut in. “Most of the time we couldn’t stand each other. He was annoying.”

“But you loved him.”

Rissa looked away.

Alixa sighed. “If you won’t talk to me, you should at least talk to your brother. You’ve both done your best to avoid each other, but maybe you need him. I know for a fact he needs you.”

Rissa pushed past her. “I don’t need anyone.”

She rejoined the others before Alixa could respond. Avery handed her a tin mug of tea as she sat. The flames warmed her face, but that heat didn’t permeate the skin. On the inside, she was just as cold as she’d been before.

As night descended, a silence stretched between them, broken only by the roar of a mountain cat in the distance. Lona’s sad eyes burned into her as Briggs tried to goad her into conversation. She ignored him and leaned against her pack. As she closed her eyes, she imagined Davi’s laughter cutting through the tension of the night.

* * *

The crunch of snow had Trystan shooting up from where he half dozed beside the fire. He rolled sideways to grab his sword and sprang to his feet just as the sound of clashing swords reached his ears. After running towards the commotion, he came to a stop, the sight before him sending a shock through his system.

Two Isenore soldiers had found their camp, but Lonara fought them fervently. Her magic wasn’t the weapon she chose. Instead, she blocked and parried with a long, thin sword that gleamed in the early morning light.

Her movements were swift, sure, as she moved gracefully.

“Help would be appreciated,” she called to Trystan.

He snapped out of his momentary daze and jumped into the fray.

“King Calis is going to gut all Dreach-Sciene scum,” one of the soldiers snarled.

Trystan grunted as he shuffled his feet and pushed his opponent so his back was against a tree. “All I hear is blah blah, I’m a bloody traitor.”

It was something Davi would have said and Trystan found his smirk dropping.

Lonara knocked her soldier’s sword away and swept his legs out from under him. He landed with a thud, the tip of her sword pressed to the hollow of his throat.

“Are there others?” she asked.

Trystan forced his opponent to drop his weapon and kept him pinned to the tree. After a few moments, the soldier stopped struggling.

“We won’t tell you anything,” he growled before spitting in Trystan’s face.

With his hands occupied, Trystan couldn’t wipe the spittle away, and it dripped down his face as the Isenore traitor grinned.

Trystan slammed his knee into the man’s gut, eliciting a grunt of pain. “How many know where we are?”

The man shouted curses at Trystan rather than giving him any answers.

Suddenly, he went quiet and jerked before he slumped in Trystan’s arms. An arrow protruded from the side of his head.

Trystan let him fall to the ground and wiped his face as the twang of another loosed arrow sliced through the air.  He turned slowly, knowing what he’d find but hoping he was wrong.

“Rissa Renauld,” Lonara shrieked as she stood over the dead soldier at her feet. “What is the matter with you?”

Rissa stepped from where the trees hid her and shrugged as she fingered her bow. “They wouldn’t have told you anything.”

Trystan marched over to confront his sister. “What if we have a whole troop of soldiers after us?”

She met his glare unflinchingly. “They were traitors. They deserved to die.” Her voice was devoid of any sign of life and Trystan shrank away from her. That was not his sister. She wasn’t cold, heartless. Not Rissa.

Lonara shook her head. “I would expect a daughter of Marissa Kane to have something inside her head besides air and anger.”

The sorceress trudged by them without another word.

How was Trystan supposed to help his sister when every part of his soul was broken as well? 

Rissa wasn’t the one who’d broken the promise to prevent Davi’s capture. Trystan put a hand on the nearby tree to steady himself and closed his eyes, trying to rid his mind of the images that plagued him every day. Davi knocking the soldiers away from Trystan. Davi struggling to break free. The acceptance entering his eyes. His pleas for Trystan to fulfill his promise.

“Ri…” He opened his eyes but stopped when he saw her standing over the dead men, not a flicker of emotion on her face.

“We’re going to kill them all.” She plucked at the string of her bow. “Dreach-Dhoun is going to run red.”

He opened his mouth to speak, but no words came. There was nothing he could say to fill the hole inside of her.

“We need to get moving.” He turned and walked back towards the others, leaving behind the girl he no longer recognized.

Where was his sister?

They packed up their few supplies and hit the road once again. The day was slightly warmer than the one before, but the world was still bathed in white.

Trystan blew on his hands and sped up to match Lonara’s stride. Her long-sword was strapped across her back.

“So,” he began. “You can fight.”

She nodded shortly. “How do you think your mother learned?”

“I wasn’t aware my mother knew any of the Tri-Gard.”

“Dear boy, there is so much you don’t know.” She paused almost as if considering how much she should tell him. “Your mother was like a daughter to me. Her death was the greatest tragedy of my long life.”

He scrunched his brow. How could a member of the Tri-Gard think one person’s death was worse than the tragedy she’d forced on the rest of the kingdom? “If you loved her so much, why did you choose a different side in the war?”

It was her turn to look confused. “I fought for Dreach-Sciene. For your mother. I forsook my sacred vow of neutrality to protect her. What happened later—draining the magic—that was forced upon me.”

He was quiet for a moment. “Can you tell me about her? My father rarely speaks of her… almost as if he wants to forget.”

A smile warmed her dark face. “Marcus Renauld would never forget. A love that strong would not fade. I’ve never seen anyone else like Marissa and Marcus. I helped raise the girl, but your father brought her to life. Even though it was for too short a time. They were beautiful.”

He didn’t ask any more questions after that. Trystan had never completely understood his father. There was a part of the man that had always been closed off, held back. Now he realized that maybe that part died with his mother. 

Trystan had very few memories of her. Just the occasional image of a woman who looked very much like Rissa.

Having someone with him who’d known her was almost like having his mother with them, watching them.

As soon as they stopped traipsing across the mountains and found a village, he’d send word to his father. The news about Davi would hurt him as well. He’d loved him as a son from the moment he’d brought him home. But knowing Trystan and Rissa were still okay might bring him some comfort.

That night as the fire thawed the icicles that had grown along his cloak, he sat silently beside his sister. She didn’t speak, but she didn’t move away either.

They’d get through it. Together. And then they’d get their revenge.

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