Mask of the Gods
by Karen Furk
Soul Demons live off the souls of the living.
When Haydan’s home world is invaded by a soul demon seeking an item shrouded in myth and legend, his father evicts him and sends him to safety. His chosen one and warrior should provide reassurance and sanctuary, but neither appears to be working very well. Just when he thinks matters cannot get any worse his scheming grandmother arrives. She has her own plans that appear to involve him, none of which bodes well.
Diego feels confident he has the soul demon under control. Overlooking his devious mother’s involvement, he fails to appreciate that he is not only storm rider elder, but also an elven prince and certain debts are about to become due.
Lavinia worries about her grandson, but also who she left behind in the elven realm a long time ago. Tallin thinks she abandoned him and he is livid. She has everything under control, including Tallin…at least that is what she thinks.
They all need to learn afresh who to trust. With a soul demon on the rampage, an unleashed, angry and betrayed elven king and a long-forgotten mask surfacing, what could possibly go wrong?
The past is about to catch up with all of them. Nothing is going to go as planned because the mask and the gods have other ideas.
Read an Excerpt:
Mask of the Gods starts off world, reaches Scotland and then jumps off into a new realm called Aveyamara that is reached through a portal. This is the part where Lavinia, the grandmother of the main character Haydan, has left him and his warrior in Aveyamara to go to find Tallin. She left Tallin when he was an elven prince, but a lot has changed since she’s been gone. What will he make of her return? Will he welcome her and the surprise bombshell she’s about to announce? You’re about to find out, but Haydan might be in trouble…
The tension of seeing Tallin after thirty years eased as Lavinia’s agitation grew. Tallin had left her pinned to the driveway using magic and gone off cavorting with the blonde faerie. Her fingers numb, she had forgotten Tallin could control the weather with his moods. Clearly her return had made a significant impact in turning his mood sour that afternoon.
Lavinia continued to release waves of displeasure, planning to make Tallin’s afternoon as miserable as hers. Regardless of what he was up to, she could still lay her claim over him. A sense of smug delight filtered through her annoyance at that realisation.
After what felt like eternity, Lavinia heard hooves thudding on grass and in a flurry of prancing hooves, swirling tails and snorting, the horses returned. The blonde faerie giggled and laughed as Tallin’s horse circled hers and he reached for her hand, placing a gentle kiss on the back of it. The look Tallin fixed on the woman indicated he held strong feelings for the faerie. Lavinia pushed her displeasure out, wrapping it around his mind, letting him feel the full force of it.
Tallin straightened his back, before shooting Lavinia a begrudging glare over his shoulder. Turning back to the faerie, he smiled. It was a charming smile, the sort he once reserved purely for her.
“I will see you later, my sweet,” Tallin said.
The faerie giggled, shot Lavinia an evil glare, spun her horse around and took off up the drive. He watched the faerie’s retreat, deliberately ignoring Lavinia for as long as possible, before dismounting and stalking towards her. “You are still here then? I hoped you might have gone.” His expression cruel, his anger didn’t seem to have dissipated.
“Oh I’m sorry to disappoint, but something kept me here,” Lavinia said, trying to pretend his ire didn’t upset her. “I understand your anger, but don’t be cruel. You were never cruel to me.” She hoped open and honest communication would lessen Tallin’s anger, but that usually took time.
His lip curled up in a snarl. “That was before you abandoned me.” He inhaled, his nostrils flaring as his wrath ignited in the depths of his earthy brown eyes. “Do not dare stand there and have the audacity to play the badly treated, vulnerable female routine on me. What do you want, Lavinia?”
“I treated you badly. I owe you an explanation. Please can we talk, inside where it’s warmer?” Lavinia asked, hoping she could coax Tallin into a more amenable mood.
Tallin glared down at Lavinia, challenge in his stare, before his eyebrows shot up into his hairline. “Oh, I am sorry, would you prefer it a bit warmer, a bit of sun maybe? I mean you have not been here for thirty years, what kind of a welcome is this?” Fury and a hint of madness danced in his wild-eyed glare. “Maybe that is why you left, maybe the temperature was not to your liking?” He turned and stalked off towards the house, a few minutes later permitting her release so she could follow.
By the time Lavinia joined him, Tallin had found a bottle of bourbon, poured a glass and launched himself into one of the high-backed leather chairs near the blazing hearth. He surveyed her approach with a displeased look on his face and the glass clutched in the palm of his hand. Swirling the dark liquid around in his glass he brought it up to his face to study it more closely. “So, go on then talk.” His tone had become sulky. “Tell me why you left and waited thirty years before returning. Whilst you are at it, why don’t you tell me who else came through the portal? There were three of you. So whoever your friends are, they cannot hide from me for long.”
Moving across to the other chair, Lavinia sank down into it, finding comfort in the subtle smell of leather that released. “I’ve missed you, Tal. You’ve grown powerful since I’ve been gone.”
With a snort of displeasure, Tallin’s attention moved from the silky liquor and he stared at her over the glass. “I will drink to that, you traitorous little witch. I have grown powerful. I became king whilst you neglected me.” His lips thin, bitterness swirled in his gaze as he stared at her. His mouth turned down at the edges. “Start talking before I find you a cell for the night.”
Placing her palms together on her lap, Lavinia interlinked her fingers. There were so many ways to start the conversation, but nothing could replace the years they had been separated for. The air seemed heavy, the weight of expectation overwhelming her as Tallin glowered across at her. “You live for a long time. In the grand scheme of your life, thirty years is nothing,” she said, finally meeting his cold stare.
Tallin drew himself up. His expression one of utter fury, Lavinia rushed ahead, fearful she would lose her chance. “I had to leave. I know you don’t understand…he looks a lot like you.”
Confusion flitted across Tallin’s face as he sank back and opened his arms out, indicating he waited for Lavinia to elaborate. Her mouth had dried. She struggled to get the words out. “Our son, Diego.”
Tallin’s arms dropped as his body sagged back into the seat. Nothing Lavinia could say would change any of what had happened. Her only hope, as she studied his face for a hint of understanding, would be forgiveness.
His mouth slackened, his eyes widened as he stared at her in disbelief. He leant forwards. “You left me so I would never know my firstborn son?” His quiet tone thrummed with danger. “The one thing I wanted was a son and you thought you would take him away? Tell me, was it punishment for something I had done, or did you hate me for creating him with you?” He paused as though something struck him. “Is he in this realm with you? Did he bring his warrior?” Tallin straightened up, his expression changing to one of triumph. “He is not leaving this realm, now he is mine.”
About the Author:
Karen Furk loves fantasy stories. She has done ever since she was a small, lonely child with an over active imagination. She’s particularly fond of stories that are crammed full of magic, mayhem and magical creatures. Karen’s background in marketing laid the foundations for her writing career which began after a serious bout of depression. No longer able to contain her over active imagination, the stories finally flowed onto a page. She aims to surprise and delight with the characters and worlds she creates. She lives in the North West of the UK with her husband, two boys and a hamster called Rufus (Yes, a girl hamster with a boy’s name. Don’t ask, she just embraces the crazy!). Visit her at karenfurk.co.uk or find her on social media and say hello – she’s on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest under the user name karenfurkauthor.
Social Media Links: