Legend of the Winged Lion, the next in the Guardians of the Forest series, is a prequel. A standalone read, but fans of Guardians will recognise many elements contained in this new book. For readers age 9 and up – and up. As with Guardians, adults love them too.
Ilesse’s destiny is to be a powerful Sleih seer. But when a long-forgotten Evil touches her, she must battle its whispered promises–or see her world destroyed by her own hand.
Click on image for purchase link. Also available locally at Forest Books and Crafts, Coleford in the Forest of Dean.
Here’s the Prologue to Legend of the Winged Lion to tempt your appetite
The common tales, the ones young Sleih and Gryphon are told by their parents and teachers, say this:
The Sleih once dwelt on the high plains. They lived apart from the Madach, practising mild magic and working with metals, gems and woods.
One day, impressed by their artisan skills, the Gryphon flew from their caverns in the High Alps of Asfarlon to persuade the Sleih to venture there. They offered them the chance to learn much more of magic and wizardry, to grow powerful and be content.
In return, the Gryphon benefited from the artistry of these people from the high plains, who translated their poetry and songs into jewellery and beautiful objects.
There is, however, another story. A darker, sadder story carried by the Gryphon line, and held close.
In this story, the Gryphon first dwelled in the Deep Forest of Arneithe. They were guardians of the forest, ensuring the trees grew strong and healthy and the wild creatures likewise.
Now, the Gryphon would dwell there still, except a shapeless dread power came to Arneithe, carried by winds from a distant southern land far beyond the oceans. What or who made the power is lost in time. What is known is that the power was driven by a fierce consuming desire to vanquish and destroy all good in the world.
It bore within it an evil which infected the birds, the beasts, the trees, manifesting as madness.
The wild creatures fought each other, scratching, spitting, tearing fur and skin. They attacked the trees, ramming the trunks of saplings to bring them crashing to the forest floor. They shredded the bark of those too large to destroy by felling. They clawed and chewed deep into the hearts of even the most venerable trees.
The trees revenged themselves. They bent their boughs to the ground to snatch the creatures up and dash them down. They shook nests from their branches to leave chicks dying in a litter of chewed bark and gnawed leaves.
The gryphons resisted longest. They searched their spells and sorcery, seeking the means to defeat this evil. In the end, they compelled it to manifest itself as a towering cloud of stinking, oily ash. Once it became visible, it might be destroyed, or at least banished.
By then the evil had lain waste to Arneithe. The Forest could no longer be the home of the Gryphon. They fled from the maddened trees and enraged wild creatures. And from the shame of having failed in their guardianship.
One last act they undertook before they fled, in desperate hope it would survive and serve as a protection into the future.
The Gryphon strongest in magic flew to the very edge of the Forest, where the oceans stretching east and south begin. There they created a grove in a secret valley shielded by the strongest enchantments.
In the grove they planted one of every kind of tree which had bloomed in Arneithe. They set a mark around this sacred place to ensure it would be known only to Gryphon-kind, or to those whom gryphons deemed true friends. And then they too flew west, to the High Alps.
And the evil? What happened to the evil?
They brought it with them.
Guardian of the Forests is available here.