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Copyright © 2021 by Carissa Broadbent

Cover Illustration by Ina Wong: artstation.com/inawong

Typographic & Interior Design by Carissa Broadbent

Editing by Noah Sky: noahcsky@gmail.com.

Editing by Anthony Holabird: holabirdediting.com

Proofreading by CodyAnne Arko-Omori at Fantasy Proofs.

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

For you.

The fact that you’re reading this right now is the coolest thing ever. Thank you. I hope you love it.



Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Chapter 44

Chapter 45

Chapter 46

Chapter 47

Chapter 48

Chapter 49

Chapter 50

Chapter 51

Chapter 52

Chapter 53

Chapter 54

Chapter 55

Chapter 56

Chapter 57

Chapter 58

Chapter 59

Chapter 60

Chapter 61

Chapter 62

Chapter 63

Chapter 64

Chapter 65

Chapter 66

Chapter 67

Chapter 68

Chapter 69

Chapter 70

Chapter 71

Chapter 72

Chapter 73

Chapter 74

Chapter 75

Chapter 76

Chapter 77

Chapter 78

Chapter 79

Chapter 80

Chapter 81

Chapter 82

Chapter 83

Chapter 84

Chapter 85

Chapter 86

Chapter 87

Chapter 88

Chapter 89


Ashen Son: a 4-Part Prequel


About the Author


It began with a whisper and it will end with a scream. What comes between is a dance of fate’s tangled threads.

I believed in fate once, or something like it. I believed in gods and deities and the guiding faith of a grand plan. Why did it comfort me so, to believe that I was merely one small piece of something bigger? Why did I revel in the thought of my own insignificance? Perhaps it was because I was so desperately lonely, and I treasured that innate connection — you cannot leave me, for we are part of the same path.

I no longer believe in such things. Surely if the gods existed, they would have spoken to me by now. I linger close enough to death to smell it, close enough to press my fingers against the frosted glass that separates me from their world. I peer through and see nothing but dust and bones.

I have learned that there are few certainties in life or death, but one of them is that bones do not speak. Dust does not sing.

So I sing to myself instead, in off-key fragments of forgotten lore, craving the warmth of a heartbeat.

It began with a whisper and it will end with a scream. What comes between is still to be seen.

And so I wait.

Chapter One


The air hit my chest all at once. My eyes snapped open to a pit of darkness. Sweat plastered my hair to my neck and the rough sheets to my skin. The blood rushing in my ears drowned out the sounds of the ship — the wood creaking, the ocean churning, the steady breaths of the sleeping passengers around me.

{Something is coming.}

The whisper circled my mind, flooding me with directionless panic. Every time I blinked, Reshaye’s memories assaulted me — a flash of golden hair, a room of white and white and white, and the overwhelming feeling that something unseen loomed just past the horizon, reaching for me.

For us.

Slowly, I sat up. Rising to my feet, I channeled Reshaye my calm, or at least, as much of it as I could force. I had to move very, very carefully to avoid waking anyone up. The ship was large, but it held so many passengers that we had to forego formal beds in favor of laying down bedrolls, practically shoulder-to-shoulder. Esmaris Mikov’s “estate,” after all, had really been more of a city. And that city had housed nearly a thousand slaves — soldiers and servants and maids, horse trainers and farmers, craftsmen and cooks. And dancers, of course. Like I had once been.

Some had chosen to stay in Threll, either to reunite with family members or remain in the Mikov estate, now formally under the leadership of the Orders. But most had come with us, to Ara. A country where they could be free, yes. If only because it was now the country that held my leash.

At the thought, Reshaye slithered through the back of my mind. Even that small movement was enough to make me tense.

I glanced down, looking for a clear path. Serel was snoring softly on one side of me, and even now, more than a week later, when I looked at him I felt a strange pang of disbelief in my chest. Every so often I had to resist the urge to grab him just to make sure he was real.

I had long ago stopped believing in the gods. I already lived my life under the control of so many mortal men — it brought me no comfort to think of immortal ones pulling the strings, too. But if there was anything that had ever felt like divine intervention, it was that my friend was beside me again.

The bedroll on my other side was empty.

I tip-toed over sleeping bodies and crept up creaking wooden stairs. A wall of cold air greeted me on deck, the sky opening up above me like a velvet blanket. I half-stumbled to the rail and leaned over. A blast of wind chilled the sweat on my skin, but my heart was still racing.

It was a dream, I whispered to Reshaye. You are safe. It is not real.

A hiss, caressing my thoughts.

{It is always real. In one way or another. This world or the next. Here, or what lies beneath.} A lungless breath made goosebumps rise on the back of my neck. And I could feel Reshaye’s disquiet, its fear, as my eyes lifted over the horizon.


My gaze lingered at the seam between worlds where the sky met the sea. Reshaye’s interest pulled there, reaching out into the distance, yearning, searching.

I leaned further over the rail.

I didn’t even know what I was looking for. But

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