Lioness of Kell
Paul E. Horsman
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Secure in his position as the Prince-warlock's son, seventeen-year-old Basil is content with his solitary life of study and magic. He has a comfortable set of rooms in his father's tower, he has his books and scrolls, and he is perfectly happy. Until the Warlockry Council summons him, and their demands sets his whole, safe existence tottering. Scared and unsure, he decides to run, and takes the first ship out of town. On board he meets Yarwan, the handsome midshipman, who awakens feelings he never knew existed.
Maud of the M'Brannoe, at eighteen already a mighty warrioress, is about to graduate as a Lioness, a special duty officer answering to the Kell Queen and no one else. The Prince-warlock asks her to fetch a certain boy from a pirate town, who could act as a double for his son. On their way back, someone sabotages their airship and the two find themselves marooned in an ill-reputed forest. Together, the young lioness and Jurgis the lookalike battle their way to the coast and a ship home, while finding solace in each other's arms.
Then the four young people meet, and Basil learns of a spell that might help him. Only the spell's creator, the infamous Arrangh Warlock, disappeared nearly a century ago. When the four young people decide to go searching for him, they start on a path leading to an old war and unsolved mysteries that could heal the traumas of their own dysfunctional societies.
Or kill them.
A spirited fantasy story of high adventure and romantic love in a world where both magic and early modern technology flourish.