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The Portal Kingdom Papers: Dumian Prophecy by Lara Taylor
SUMMARY: A ruler that turns into a wolf. A world governed by women. A man shunned. Can the people of Dumia and their alien allies, the Jurnhey-virat, stop a man scorned from destroying their culture? Ophelia will use everything in her power, including empaths, ani
"Women are, for all intents and purposes, indomitable. It really requires an almost unimaginable confluence of crushing, cataclysmic forces to vanquish a woman."
--Mark Leyner, Earthbonder
Ellurian Throne Inscription
The wolf does not
Lose time in sleep,
Nor on her belly
Does she creep.
The hawk from home
Oft takes flight,
While wolf stays near,
To guard through night.
Unlike the horse,
Not subject to others;
Leader of the Realm
She is Alpha Mother.
Month of the Bear, Day 7
The sky, it is lighter than I'm used to, lighter than it is now. The cloud cover is less, the colors more vibrant. I see a dark silhouette, a black shadow staggering up a hill. The blazing orange of the sunrise is only a blinding streak, hampered as it is by thick, low-hanging charcoal clouds. A storm receding? A storm approaching? I cannot tell. I am paying attention to the figure, who falters, arms flailing. It is a woman. I think she might be sick or injured; she is not moving smoothly. One of her feet slips and slithers from under her. She plants her feet again and again. Finally she stands on top of the hill, her upper body listing a bit to the right as she stares at the sunrise. And then I see, as the light changes, she has not climbed a hill at all but a mound of bodies. One of her feet gives way again before she steadies herself. She is standing on limbs, slipping in blood.
(excerpted, precognitive Reagan Whiteshield's dream journal)
Chord paused in the doorway leading to the veranda and sighed. It was time. He was not looking forward to it, so he lingered, watching his wife work in the gardens.
She looked like a dark and exotic bloom herself, a part of the garden dance, bending and rising like a long-stemmed flower bowing in the breeze. Her thick jet-black hair was pulled up in twisted loops that cascaded and trailed down her back like vines, glistening in the sun. Her large floppy-brimmed hat sat atop her head like petals capping a stem. The apron Ophelia used over her flowing sleeveless tunic and pants looked prim and crisp against her raw beauty. He still marveled, even after a year and a half of marriage, that she was his.
Thrusting his hands into the pockets of his sleeveless over-tunic, Chord sauntered out onto the veranda, attempting to project ease and calm. When Ophelia straightened, placing her hand on the small of her back, he whistled a short low note followed by a long high one. It was the call used among the Alpha Circle of the Wolf Clan, known as the Pack. Everyone in the garden looked up, including Riley, their newly adopted daughter and Lumin, her black mutt of a MoorMate.
Ophelia's face turned in his direction, her hand reaching to slip her thick hair over her pointed ear, as if it were a hindrance to her sensitive hearing. With her other hand, she shielded her sharp eyes from a break in the clouds that brought on a glare. Ophelia took in Chord's posture and his steady gaze as the wind ruffled his thick blond hair.