Welcome to the land of Onyxdenn where my new book takes place. Duke Callon Aldithley rules from his castle in Nubbikford. Peace reigns for the most part, but underlying racial tensions make the city unsafe at night for certain people. With the typical court intrigue, life can be dangerous, but add to that a leader who isn’t confident to stand up for what he believes, and even everyday citizens’ lives can be changed.
Meet the characters:
My idea of Arianna at the beginning of the story is in some ways an Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables. With that in mind, here’s the opening scene.
“Arianna Roris, that’s not fair!” Pasha called to her friend. “You can’t hide in a tree!”
“And why not?” Arianna’s laugh rang through the courtyard.
Placing her slender hands on her hips, Pasha planted her feet and glared up at the cypress, her dark eyes hiding among her ebony tresses, in a stance unbefitting a young lady. Blue eyes met chocolate ones and held. Finally, Arianna relented.
“Fine, I’ll come down.”
Disentangling her blond hair from a tree branch, Arianna looked below her and jumped down as smoothly as a cat.
Pasha shook her dark head. “How will I ever explain the state of your dress to Mother this time?”
“Don’t worry, Pasha.” Arianna laid a gentle hand on her friend’s shoulder. “I’ve learned not only how to climb the tree, but how to clean my dresses afterward, so that even Lady Hemma won’t know.”
Pasha chuckled. “That’s what I’ve always liked about you, Arianna. You’ve learned how to take care of yourself.”
Arianna’s Uncle Marcos raised her until she turned ten. At that time, the Rector family took her in as a foster daughter to help train her in the ways of nobility and womanhood. The two families had been friends since Arianna and Pasha were little, because Uncle Marcos and Lord Praus, the head of the Rector family, work together in the duke’s castle.
Arianna first meets Duke Callon on Pasha’s wedding day. Here are her impressions.
Arianna noticed Lord Praus with a man who carried himself with confidence and authority. His dark hair and golden skin told Arianna that he was a Canalvian. The man’s deep baritone resonated with the quartet playing in the background. Arianna didn’t know what to say. His brown eyes, flecked with lighter brown that seemed to shift like the shadows cast by the last leaves of autumn, met hers and seemed to sparkle.
Kenden is Pasha’s older brother. He loves nothing better than to be locked away in his laboratory in the duke’s castle working on his various projects. He also enjoys sticking up for the underdog. He’s a champion for those he loves, besides being a genius inventor.
I always had a love/hate relationship with the original character that became Lord Kakalian. His arrogance irked me to no end, but his comeupance that he received always thrilled me. So, I tried to write those emotions into Lord Kakalian. The reader will discover more about Lord Kakalian from his sons really than from the lord himself. His first appearance in the story is in a council meeting.
Micyjah raised a hand. “Your grace, Lord Kakalian has many tenant buildings. I suggest we place him over housing needs in the city.”
“Very well spoken, Lord Micyjah.” Norval turned to Kakalian. “Are you willing to add those responsibilities to your mining business?”
Kakalian sat back in his chair and fingered his beard. “I suppose I could place several of my middle sons over the mining projects currently. That would free up my time to devote to the housing situation. Does anyone know if we have a shortage or not?”
Nine heads shook, and Callon leaned forward. “I would say that would be your first order of business. Then you can report directly to me on what you find.”
Slender fingers worked their way through Kakalian’s red beard, and a lamp flickered. Someone coughed. “I would be honored to hold the position of city housing director, Your Grace.”
As I said, the reader learns more about him through his sons who are introduced on the first page, but these quotes pretty much sum it up.
In reality none of Lord Kakalian’s brood were pleasant. The lord had ten sons, every one of whom had either inherited or learned their father’s racial hatred and cruelty.
“So far, Lord Kakalian hasn’t committed any crimes. Everything with his fingerprint on it is legal, but that doesn’t mean it’s ethical.”
When Duke Callon divorces his wife and decides on an uncanny way of choosing his next duchess, Arianna’s left with little choice. Faced with the intricacies of politics, Arianna struggles to find her place. Just as she thinks she has her footing, a decree, issued with the blessing of her husband, calls for the extermination of her entire race.
A young innocent girl, a capricious duke, and a decree that will change everything. What will it take to save a race?
Follow along in this one of a kind Steampunk Biblical retelling of an Old Testament classic by Kandi J Wyatt.
Cover and links:
Matt Konar did an amazing job on this cover. He took the ideas I’d gleaned from a young friend and created the castle garden with Arianna, Duke Callon, and Lord Kakalian plotting behind them. I love his watercolor pencil work that he did here.
You can find To Save a Race on the major outlets on pre-order for $.99. The price will go up three days after it releases on March 6th.