Ruarnon; Manipulator’s War
Raised in a generation of peace, sixteen year old Prince Ruarnon strives to prove himself worthy as heir, while training and studying kingship in his war hero father’s shadow. When his parents are abducted in a plot to re-ignite war with a neighbouring empire, and his uncle dies in battle, Ruarnon is left in command of a defeated army trapped in a city under siege. With doubtful advisors overseeing his rule, Ruarnon looks beyond the ancient enemy besieging his capital, to rumours of monsters landing on his enemies shores, hunting everything that breathes. His advisors hope the monsters will keep their enemies off their backs for months to come, but Ruarnon dares hope that persuading his people to ally with his enemies against the monsters could unite them, overcoming decade old hatreds and end a protracted war. Determined to seize his people’s chance for peace, Ruarnon puts his logical leadership to its greatest test, risking murder by betrayal as he leads his people into a second war alongside his enemies, against monsters of unknown origins.
His greatest ally shouldn’t be there. Vietnamese Aussie Linh is on a field trip when a sudden change in scenery marks her unwitting departure to an alternate world. A gateway lies behind, the man she and three classmates assume operated it evades them, and the only other gateways and sorcerers locals know of lie in the far west, beyond Ruarnon’s kingdom. So when locals (Ruarnon’s allies) sail to his aide, Linh and her friends sail with them, seeking a ride to another way home. En route, Linh escapes a skirmish with the monsters and enough knowledge of their senseless savagery to become key to combating them. Compassion compels her to help Ruarnon, but doing so means facing the cause of her mother’s PTSD and Linh’s greatest fear; war.
Sythe; Walking the Knife’s Edge
Raised on the wrong side of town by an abusive, alcoholic father, Rarkin believes a job at Monster Containment offers the adventure and income he needs to escape. Getting his dream job means training at Sythe, but they only take the best and gaining admission will take everything he’s got. When the high pressure of criminal and monster encounters in training exposes cracks in his toxic means of dealing with negative emotions, Rarkin realizes he’s on a path to self destruction. To escape the life he hates, he must face his fears and slay his demons. Overcome them, and he’ll find that with his fierce loyalty and love of danger; he’s born for the job.