The Lake of Destiny

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In medieval England, early Christians battle the forces of magic and the dark forests are filled with wolves. Laura, an eighteen year old convent girl, is chosen for a dangerous quest. She must find a magical weapon of mass destruction and keep it safe from war-mongering demon hordes. She has a rival in her quest; Ciaran, a young wizard, longs to possess this instrument of power. They meet by chance and for a time they travel together, helping each other to face the dangers that wait for them on the path. But unknown to Laura, Ciaran is hiding something — or is something hiding deep within Ciaran?

Follow the adventures of Laura and Ciaran as they travel beneath the autumn leaves, through underground tunnels and black caves, and come at last to the hidden vault of the Magician's College, with its deadly guardians.

Read the review by S J Higbee on Brainfluff

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An extract from The Lake of Destiny

She used her sword to hack away at the thick mesh of spider's webs that blocked the entrance. When she had made a hole large enough that she could get through without the sticky strands touching her clothes, she walked into the darkness of the vault. Sheathing her sword, she awkwardly lit the candle she had brought with her, only to have it knocked out of her hand by long bony fingers. She just had time to draw her sword and parry the blow aimed at her head by a skeletal hand. Glowing red eyes filled with malice glared down at her. She aimed for the space below the eyes with the strongest stroke she could deliver with her left hand. The sword did not fail her. It cut right through the thick bones of the spine, severing the skeleton in half. Bone upon bone it fell at her feet.

But the light in the red eyes did not go out. The bones clicked one against the other until the severed halves of the spine found their joining point. With a final click they came together and bone by bone the skeleton started to rise up before her.

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The World Below

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No human has entered the World Below, fabled land of demons, for hundreds of years. For Laura and Ciaran, it is their destination, sought yet feared. To reach it they must travel through the land of Lyonesse, fighting their many foes with sword and magic. On a faraway shore they find the hidden gate to an underground world of demonic magic and monstrous beasts. It is hard to enter and even harder to leave. The schemes of their enemies threaten their happiness, their freedom and their lives. But the greatest danger of all waits for them by the dark stream that flows through the World Below.

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An extract from The World Below

When he saw that ahead of him the passage widened into another chamber, he put out the magic light and crept forward, one hand against the wall, careful to make no sound. When the wall came to an end he knew he stood at the entrance to the chamber. He could see nothing in the blackness ahead. Then he heard a rustle and a scrape. Something was waiting for him in the darkness. Again a rustle; this time he felt the air move, as if something large had moved fast and close by.

Ciaran shouted a word of power as he aimed a blast of magic energy in the direction of the sound. White light flared as the bolt of power rushed through the air. He saw a fierce yellow eye and a great curved beak as the monster was thrown against the rough rock of the far wall. Then the room fell back into darkness and he threw himself sideways as he felt the creature hurl its bulk straight at him. He felt its feathers brush against his arm. Before it could turn and attack again, Ciaran struck with a another magical blow. Again the monster was dashed against the wall and some of its blue-black feathers fell singed to the floor. Still it was not vanquished but raised itself up and flew at Ciaran again, darting at him with the swift sure aim of a bird of prey. With a blaze of light Ciaran struck at it with all the strength of his power. The magical force stopped the bird as if it had struck a wall. It let out a dreadful screech as it fell to the floor. The loud sound made Ciaran's ears ring. It raised a wing longer than a man's arm and flapped it feebly. It gave one more screech, not as loud as before. Then the yellow eyes closed and the great hammerhawk was dead.

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Taliesin's Heir

Cover art for Taliesin's Heir

When a friend of Laura's is killed she needs to take action. Leaving her family behind, she travels to London to track down the killers. Not long after, three demons secretly enter the city. A monster lurks deep in the river Thames. In the midst of conflicting loyalties, how can Laura keep her magic sword out of the hands of traitors and save their victims when they call on her for help?

And how can Taliesin's prophecy come true, when all the experts of the Magician's College agree there is no magic left in his wand?

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An extract from Taliesin's Heir

William clenched his fists. "You say you are the killer of Barnard of La Rochelle. If you are really the swordswoman you claim to be, you will not refuse wager of battle!"

Laura turned pale. No doubt Sir William meant to challenge her himself. Though she knew herself to be an able swordswoman, even in her short time in London she had heard tales of his prowess with a blade. He was the favourite for the sword fighting contest in the big tournament. If she refused to fight him, she would be believed guilty of treason. If she accepted his challenge, it might be the last time she ever drew her sword.

"I accept," she said, and though her heart beat fast her voice did not falter.

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Melusine

A text adventure game in which your choices determine the outcome. What would you sacrifice to find out a secret?

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Melusine is a character in the novel Taliesin's Heir by Susan Bartholomew. The game was made by Susan Bartholomew for the Nine Worlds 2014 game jam.

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