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The White Mantle
(Book 1)

     A young woman named Elvira Evenfall has grown up in the ruggedly remote, yet enchanting Falsvik Islands with her grandfather. Her life in a simple fishing village is quaint and serene, but that all changes when a looming threat to the world suddenly invades her tiny corner of it. 

     A swarm of suspicious bats with enigmatic origins known as the Curse, which can infect people through their bites, transforming them into horrible, bat-like monsters, endangers all human life and now is made very real to Elvira and her loved ones. 

     Dark and controversial secrets about her family and identity also begin to surface, and before long, she’s faced with a major decision: to accept the mystical and versatile energies known as aether and assume her role as an Aethaumaturge in order to join the precarious fight for the security of Aerth, or hold onto the comforting life she so loves? 

     This choice is made all the easier when it is revealed that her own parents, who were thought dead, are actually still alive. Elvira’s priorities quickly change to wishing to find and return them home safely. 

     Her decision instantly results in a corresponding new danger though, forcing her to flee from her peaceful village and to Brume, the impressive and imposing capital of the country of Lluminox, where others like her can keep her safe. 

     A host of obstacles and an assortment of characters are met along the way. While she struggles to gain control of her new powers, she also must decipher her similarly new, unanticipated romantic feelings for two separate individuals — one male, and one female. 

     It becomes increasingly clear, through her interactions, that the world isn’t just plagued by a pandemic, but also an elite ruling class of superior people who often exploit the underprivileged and abuse their power. These people, known as Ascendants, are a vestige of the Archaic Era, a technologically-advanced time period from hundreds of years prior that was considered the pinnacle of mankind but concluded with civilization collapsing and the destruction of nearly all humankind, due to the ancient peoples’ malice and selfishness. 

     Let’s hope history doesn’t repeat itself. 

     Join Elvira and crew on this whimsical, wild ride through a retro-futuristic time. Meet humanoid and animal automata, witness powerful, magic-like abilities, and discover the many mysteries awaiting both Elvira and the reader along the way. 

Excerpts from The White Mantle:

Chapter  1

     Weighing her options as the seconds ticked by, Elvira was only partially aware of the fact that she was unlatching the door to the stall Sir Stompy occupied, and then, with a braver disposition than she felt, slipping the bit into his mouth and the bridle over his head, fastening it with slightly-shaky, yet deft hands. 

     “Please,” she murmured beseechingly. “I need your help.” 

     He blew air out of his nose, and Elvira reached up to tenderly pet its velvety fur and coarse whiskers. She blew her own air into that nose of his to calm him. 

     “You’re stronger than the others. I’m fairly certain you’re faster too. You’re Nell’s favorite for a reason. Let me borrow you, just this once, and you’ll never want for apples ever again.”

     If Sir Stompy agreed, he made no indication other than standing sedately with his normally-violently-swishing tail assuredly under control. Elvira glided to his side, positioning herself near his withers, and used the wooden walls of the stall to tentatively climb up to his bare back. He was a few hands shorter than most horse breeds, which made it a little easier to hoist herself up, despite the lack of stirrups, but what he lacked in height, he more than made up for in girth, brawn, and vigor. His legs shifted around slightly at the added weight to his back once she was up, but, to her surprise, he didn’t immediately attempt to buck her off and throw her indignantly to the ground, as she kept imagining. 

     “Good boy,” she cooed encouragingly into his ear, her heart practically beating out of her chest as she summoned what remained of her fortitude. 

     Elvira clutched the reins in a death grip, for feeling the raw power of the gelding beneath her was unlike anything she had experienced, and it took her a good moment to find her balance as she lightly kicked his sides with her heels, pressing him forwards out of his stall. She could feel every movement he made, and she got the overwhelming sense that this was a far more cooperative way to ride that allowed the rider to truly connect on a deeper level with the animal below them. 

     It was also overwhelmingly terrifying. 

Chapter 5

     “And what about the Ascendants?” Elvira countered, as if Nell hadn’t considered that already. “What if I’m caught using aether by someone who’s not a sympathizer? I could spend the rest of my life in a jail somewhere. Even if I’m not reported, and I try to learn to become some sort of local guardian, what will everyone think if I’m suddenly not just Elvira Evenfall anymore? If I’m Elvira, the Aethaumaturge? This is a small town with plenty of small-minded individuals. Not even many technologies are embraced here. What if I’m scorned or shunned?”

     “There are no Ascendants on the island,” Nell disputed evenly. Her bright, green eyes were resolute as she pinned Elvira with them, and she looked more self assured than usual. “And since when do you care about societal acceptance and cultural appropriation? If you make your decisions based on everyone else’s judgements and opinions, then you’re not making your choices for the right reasons.”

     Elvira let out a sound between a sigh and a roaring groan. “I don’t know. I just...don’t know. This is all too much. I don’t think I’m ready for all this responsibility.”

     Nell’s face lightened into an amused smile as she put a hand on Elvira’s shoulder, but unlike her grandfather, the gesture was much more flippant and satirical. 

     “Welcome to adulthood, my friend.”