Title: The Quest for Nobility
Author: Debra L Martin
Genre: YA Fantasy
The parents of royal Otharian twins Darius and Dyla have been murdered; their cousin is stealing their throne, and they are falsely accused of murder. Their only choice is to flee to the forbidden and quarantined planet Earth, but it could turn out to be a one-way trip. To return home, they must find an ancient crystal, that once belonged to Merlin, to power the return portal. When the twins stumble upon the location of the crystal, the local crime boss sends out his assassin to retrieve it. Can Darius and Dyla use their PSI powers to open the portal home and reclaim their throne before the assassin catches up to them?
The gavel banged and the Master Clerk read the declaration.
“Let it be known that, from this day forward, off-world travel to the planet Earth is prohibited. Anyone found violating this decree shall face the punishment of death.”
Duke Rael Telkur sat unmoving in the Grand Council chamber room. The decree was final. There would be no more travel to Earth. He had lost a fortune financing the ill-fated expedition. That expedition had required four 10K crystals powering the portals to transport the hundred-plus explorers and their supplies. Normally, a 10K crystal would provide a duchy with more than three years of local planetary travel. But more importantly than the crystal expense, he had lost fifty loyal men and women to brutality. Only five of his expedition team had made it back to Otharia, but they all subsequently died of their wounds. The Vogdo team members had fared only slightly better; a mere ten of their men returned and half of their wounded died as well.
Rael glanced down the table to where his partner in this venture, Duke Jaks Vogdo, sat stone-faced. There was nothing more to be done. Their expeditions to Earth were now prohibited.
Jaks Vogdo held Rael’s attention and nodded. You naive fool, Rael. If only you knew the truth about our ill-fated expedition.
Jak’s duchy was rich in crystal mines located within the Sharellian Mountains. Everyone believed the crystal veins were bottomless, and the Vogdo family thought the same until the veins started to dry up.
Fate and fortune had shone favorably upon Jaks Vogdo when mineral-rich Earth was discovered. He eagerly agreed to form an alliance with Rael Telkur to explore this strange new world. They would share expenses for the exorbitant cost of off-world exploration and divide any potential riches evenly. It would make the coffers of both the Telkur and Vogdo duchies explode with wealth.
At least that was the plan, but greed has a way of eliminating alliances even among friends. Blinded by unimaginable wealth, Jaks had no compunction about turning on his partner and ordering the massacre of the Telkur team members.
“The crystals must be shipped back to Otharia without a trace,” Jaks told his man on Earth. “I’ll open the portal from Earth directly into my mines and transfer the foreign crystals unseen. No one will ever know the truth.”
“I told you this would work,” Merlinius Telkur said.
His partner Vivienne shook her head at his boasting. She hated this planet Earth. They had been running for days from the Vogdo hunting party and she was at the end of her patience. Their 10K traveling crystal was gone and they had no way to return to Otharia or even contact them to let them know what had transpired here and the Vogdo captain’s betrayal. There were so few of the Telkur expedition that had escaped the initial attack, and now they were stuck on this primitive planet. It was not how events should have transpired.
“Save your breath, Merlinius,” Vivienne shot back. “Just concentrate on holding your shield until those bastards out there leave and we can get out of here.”
“I know that,” Merlinius replied, exasperated at Vivienne’s curt command. “You make sure your own shield holds. If they detect our life signs, this ruse will be for nothing and we’ll have to run again.”
Vivienne sighed heavily. At the moment, she didn’t know which was worse: Merlinius’ bravado, or being stranded on Earth with a band of Vogdo killers outside the cave hunting them.
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Readers who love Arthurian mythology will enjoy this book as there is a unique spin on the magician Merlin and how he came to be on Earth.
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Debra L Martin and David W Small are a brother and sister writing team who started writing together in 2006. Writing with a co-author is challenging in itself, but when 1 author lives on the East Coast and 1 lives on the West Coast, the challenges are a bit more daunting, but because we live in an electronic world, the partnership is totally workable. They love the same types of books and that love naturally evolved into writing their own books. Their epic fantasy "Assassin's Curse" Book 1 in the WITCH STONE PROPHECY, was released in 2012. "Witch's Curse" Book 2 in the series, was released in July 2014. The final volume, THE WITCH STONE ASSASSIN, is currently under development. If you enjoy Arthurian history with a twist, they have published "Quest for Nobility" and "Crystal Facade" in the RULE OF OTHARIA trilogy. The final volume, "The King's Last Word" is forthcoming. They have also written three post-apocalyptic fiction stories in the DARK FUTURE series, "Path to Destruction," "The Right Path" and "Zia's Path." Debra blogs regularly at Two Ends of the Pen about writing, publishing, ebooks, guest posts, author interviews and book reviews. You can also find a complete list of her published books including romance titles published under the pen name, Debra Elizabeth, on the blog website, https://twoendsofthepen.blogspot.com
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Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Debra-L-Martin/e/B003Q1WLXY