Latest series update: I have started on the final volume in the series, book 6, The Necromancer’s Daughter.Let me notify you of the batshit crazy one-day special I have on for all books in the series as soon as it is available.
Short story Whispering Willows
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Friends and family on the farm know that Loesie makes up most of the things she says about magic. So the one time she tells the truth, they don’t believe her.
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Johanna is the daughter of a rich merchant in Saardam. As only child and without a mother, she has grown up with notions, such as that she wants to take over her father’s river trade business in her own name. Courtesy of her eastern mother, she has an unusual ability. She sees things in willow wood: whenever she touches wood, it shows her what has happened around the tree or wooden object. Any kind of magic is not common in Saardam, and the Church of the Triune, which rapidly gains influence in the city, forbids it.
While she goes to church, Johanna also maintains a loose network of magic-enabled people. One of those people is Loesie, a farmer’s daughter from out of town.
One day, Loesie comes to town after having been struck mute by magic. She carries a basket made from willow twigs that tells Johanna that a group of bandits with demons is about to attack the city.
But there is no non-magical proof, so she can’t tell anyone or she’d be branded a witch. The time of witch-burnings was not that long ago.
Never mind that the army is still approaching, and there are increasing signs that Saardam’s embattled royal family might have done something that has angered magical forces in the east. Add to this that the royal family seems to have fallen out with the city’s nobility, and that the recent death of the crown princess has left the family with only one heir: the mysterious prince whom no one has seen for years and who has suddenly returned home.
At the annual ball, Johanna’s father has brokered a dance for her with the prince. Johanna just wants to warn people of the impending attack.
After fleeing from the burning ruins of Saardam, Johanna, Prince Roald, Loesie and Nellie have been captured by a group of bandits and are being taken to a place unknown through a forest rife with magic. Loesie, struck mute by an unknown but powerful sorcerer, is behaving increasingly strange. The friends try to escape, but is Loesie helping them or is she a danger to them?
Every step they take through the ghost-ridden forest brings them closer to the duke who is rumoured to be the source of the evil magic, the necromancer whose anger against Saarland’s royal family has lain the world to waste.
Johanna, Roald, Nellie and Loesie have arrived at Baron Uti’s town, finding many Saarlander refugees there. Those people are mostly nobles, loyal to the networks of people with money across the lands. They are unwilling to ask hard questions and wait for handouts from the baron and his family. They are also lukewarm to accept Roald as their king, to the point where Johanna wonders if they are disappointed that her survived the inferno.
The town of Florisheim is steeped in dark magic, and the Saarlanders fall under its influence without realising the hold it, and the Baron, has on them.
The next book in the series. Johanna, Roald and the others return to Saardam. But what will they find and how do they get rid of the usurper magician? And what to they find has been the ultimate reason that people of power have clamoured to gain control of the city?
Saardam is again in the hands of Saarlanders, but now Johanna, Roald and their people have to deal with the reason that everyone has been trying to get control over the port city: the eastern traders and their mysterious ship made of metal.
the eastern trader Li Han has come to Saardam for one reason: to establish a base for their son, Li Fai, to work from. What they want to sell and why is unclear. Do they trade dragon magic or are they selling the iron ships that need no sails?
And how much do they understand of the tensions in the low lands? Because the Baron isn’t happy that the port city is once again in the hands of the royal family he wanted to replace. He’s not the only one who wants the iron ships, and not the only one prepared to go to war for them.
Book 6: The Necromancer’s Daughter
All the stakeholders to the rebuilding of the port city come to Saardam at Johanna’s invitation. With Baron Uti and his magician son Kylian in attendance, it’s impossible for them to get along. Schemes and murder attempts abound. Meanwhile, Saarland’s king is off on his own, not entirely danger-free, projects, and Johanna faces the impending birth of her first child.