With just eleven days to go until Christmas, we’re taking you on yet another journey to Celadmore through the eyes of Caslo Morgan.

2650GL 20th Spregan

When I stepped out into the duelling arena today, I had never felt more adrenaline coursing through my veins than I did at that moment. The roar of the men and women of the Order, Queen Annalia and the rest of the royal family in the city sat on a platform at the far end of the arena. Flags and music filling the air.

Such an atmosphere is something I had never known before. I felt like a conquering hero returning home victorious from some legendary battle; that I was King Leinad, Lord Rathe, Lord Queteria and both Lord Allamontos all rolled into one.

Venetia was stood at the far end of the arena already waiting. In her hand was her sword, the Clambria Yesma, a sword crafted for her that had carved a reputation for her in the last year as she had seen battle. A sword that no man could help but envy. My own blade, the Astana Drecsar, looks almost dull by comparison to it.

Her heavy armour was missing for this fight, instead she wore the same travelling armour that I had first seen the Lady Morrigan and the Lady Gekendra in. I had nothing but the leather armour that I wore for moving around, worn and tatty in places, older than the young princess I was about to face.

I could feel the eyes of Shammah burning into me from where he stood in the crowd. There wasn’t exactly hatred in his gaze but more a command to prove that I belonged as one of his men; that I was truly worthy of the mantle of the Eight.

Swordmistress Talrana moved to stand in the centre of the arena and beckoned both myself and the princess to approach. She explained that this was a simple duel; that three strikes that connected with our opponent would secure us a victory, but no blood was to be drawn. I looked at Venetia who smiled back at me and nodded. Happy that we both understood, Talrana raised her sword and brought it crashing down to stand in the arena floor to signify the start of the duel.

Venetia rushed at me before I had even registered we had begun. I managed to dodge sideways and watched the princess dart past and recover herself enough to aim backhand at my legs. I felt the blow connect and stumbled forward slightly. A roar arose from the crowd as Talrana acknowledged the hit. I knew Venetia would be quick to strike again, so I rolled as I stumbled to bring myself up to face the young princess. I managed to catch her off guard and strike her upon the shoulder before she could dodge the blow.

The crowd roared more. I was vaguely aware of the clink of gold in purses as bets were taken and paid as the bout between the young princess and I continued. Venetia grimaced as she felt her shoulder spasm under the weight of the blade. Without thinking she switched her sword arm from right to left, so I did the same.

She lunged again and missed, a feint to throw me off balance that would have worked on a less seasoned fighter. I parried her feint and knocked her backwards, her shock briefly registering before it was replaced by glee. Clearly it had been a long time since she had faced someone that she needed to apply herself to beat.

It took three hours before we each received a second blow from the other and we both were near exhaustion. Her hands were shaking and my legs felt weak beneath me. I knew that our duel was coming to an end. Venetia was becoming more determined to win the longer the duel was drawn out. To see her so focused gave me hope that the woman that would succeed her mother on the throne was so fierce at such a young age.

She came at me again, her blade moving quickly as she tried to drive strike after strike home, waiting for a crack in my defence, her eyes eagerly scanning for an opening. Her focus on my defence gave me an opening. With one swift, sweeping kick to the ankles, the young princess went flying backwards, my blade flowing to touch her in the centre of the chest.

Talrana raised her blade from the ground to signal the end of the duel. The noise of the crowd that had been blocked out by concentration reached my ears once more. The people began to file away discussing what they had seen. I reached out my hand to pull Venetia back to her feet, which she accepted.

It struck me how mature she was for one so young and yet how free spirited. She was smiling as she dusted herself down and half-laughed. She spoke to me as she left “Next time, you shouldn’t hold back because you are afraid of showing your true abilities in front of so many.”

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Shroud of Darkness Trilogy

A fantasy book trilogy that was 16 years in the making. The trilogy follows Venetia, a queen amongst her people in the fantasy realm of Celadmore. Strange occurrences in her home world have Venetia searching for answers as to whether an old evil has returned or if a new threat has arisen. Joined by a number of unlikely allies, who do not all get along with one another, Venetia has to fight against not only the darkness threatening to destroy her home world but the treachery of politicians, the fear in those around her, assassins that want to take her throne from her and those that would go to any lengths to try and prevent another war.

The Shroud of Darkness Trilogy contains the three volumes of the Shroud of Darkness trilogy in the Chronicles of Celadmore – Shroud of Darkness, Lady of Fire and End of Days

Shroud of Darkness

In the realm of Celadmore, evil is stirring. The war torn land has not recovered from the last conflict as evil rises and threatens to ensnare the world of light. Venetia, favourite daughter of Queen Annalia, must fight enemies and allies alike. She must uncover truth amidst deception to discover the source of this new threat to her world before the darkness engulfs it.

Lady of Fire

United they must stand for destruction is upon them. The realm of Celadmore faces it’s destruction as a war that none perceived is brought against them. Venetia, Queen of the Order of Anagura and Queteria, must forge a new alliance between the nations of Celadmore against the evil that Aksoth, Lord of Nether Roth, is set to unleash. The Allied Spirit of Celadmore must be raised and march once more.

End of Days

The end is here. Aksoth’s forces roam unchecked across the plains of Celadmore; the people of Celadmore have been forced to retreat to the fallen city of Grashindorph. Revolution stirs amongst the poorest of the people; Venetia seeks to restore Gruagadon to his rightful place on the throne of Nesca and will sacrifice anything to get him there. In this final bastion, they must find victory.

The Chronicles of Celadmore (in chronological order)

The Rising Empire Trilogy
1. Rising Empire: Part 1
2. Rising Empire: Part 2
3. Rising Empire: Part 3

Shroud of Darkness Trilogy
4. Shroud of Darkness
5. Lady of Fire
6. End of Days

Fading Dawn Trilogy
7. When Darkness Falls
8. Torn Allegiance
9. Fading Dawn

Ailing Light Trilogy
10. Ailing Light
11. Ill Blowing Wind
12. Shadow of the South

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