Voice of the Just (#1)

Who do you trust?

An unjust beating leaves warrior Alex scarred and deformed, unfit for duty—until a voice calls him to the forests. He is chosen to bond with Tala, a silver wolf, and share a telepathic link. She heals his injuries, and he uses his enhanced abilities to serve his people. He just has to avoid the royal family.

Prince Donal isn’t satisfied ruling his realm. He also wants the smaller nation to the south. But Alex and the wolves stand in Donal’s way. He frames Alex for the murder of a foreign diplomat and deploys hunters to eradicate the wolves.

Now Alex is banished, and he’s the only one who knows the depths of the prince’s betrayal. Separated from those he loves and hunted by assassins, Alex again hears a voice call to him—this time to risk everything, expose Donal’s deceptions, and restore balance to the two kingdoms teetering on the brink of war.

List of characters in Voice of the Just

AaronKiaran Captain; red hair and beard; fights with an axe
Abigail (18)Kiaran trader; Rafael’s wife
AbnerKiaran bond-man
AedanDryden warrior
Alex (18)Kiaran warrior; Master Swordsman & Archer, best swordsman of the generation; bond-man of Tala; black hair, amber eyes, slight chin dimple; parents Joseph & Sarah
AlroyDryden trader; dark hair streaked with white, round face, cruel eyes
AmosKiaran warrior; loyal to Donal
Anika (23)Dryden baker; daughter of Nina; short, slender, willowy; black hair, blue eyes; wears ankle bracelets; natural scent of hazelnuts; warm hands and feet
AsaKiaran warrior; loyal to Donal
AsherDryden warrior; husband of Nina, father of Anika; killed by human
BevanDryden Lieutenant; Master Swordsman; cadet master; graying hair
BinaDryden minstrel; hazel eyes that sometimes glow, long chestnut, curly hair; tall and slim; alto voice
BoazDryden Colonel; mean eyes; huge mole on cheek
BrandonKiaran General
Bria (16)Dryden Princess
CalloughDryden archer; bond-man of Helki
Chris (27)Kiaran Master Archer; bond-man; pale blond hair, brown eyes
DeclanDryden Colonel; long white braid, 4 Mastery Cords; gold eyes
Donal (28)Prince of Kiaran; curly black hair; afraid of wolves
Eli (30ish)Kiaran Elder; dark hair, black eyes
ElijahKiaran warrior
EnyetoWild wolf; tan and lean; scars on face and shoulders
EvaDryden Healer; narrow, wrinkled face; long black hair streaked with white, golden eyes
GilKiaran warrior; loyal to Donal
HonoviWild wolf
ImalaDryden bond-wolf of Sem; feisty, gray and tan
IsaacKiaran Lord; Donal’s cousin
JoelDryden warrior
JohnDryden warrior
JohnKiaran warrior; loyal to Donal
JonasDryden Elder; short, balding with a fringe of red hair; bulging eyes
JonathanDryden tailor
JosephKiaran jeweler; Alex’s father; black hair gone white
KaliskaDryden bond-wolf of Peyton
KaneDryden Major; Master Archer; dark hair with white at temples; tall
KanielKiaran warrior; loyal to Donal
KyleKiaran warrior
LamechDryden Captain; severely crooked nose
LeahDryden barmaid; wears ankle bracelets; blonde hair, golden eyes; voluptuous build; wears a yellow dress
LeviDryden Colonel; twin of Neri; bond-man of Meli; pale blond hair, amber eyes; playful
Lew (63)Kiaran Lieutenant; salt & pepper hair, scar from left eye to chin; natural scent of garlic
LoneganDryden warrior; dark hair, golden eyes; no natural scent
MahlonKiaran archer
Mariah (17)Kiaran trader; Alex’s betrothed; auburn hair, brown eyes; natural scent of bayberry
MarkusDryden King; bond-man of Nashoba; brown eyes; slight build with slim, fine hands
Matthias (30)Dryden Elder; golden apricot-brandy voice, bronze skin, black eyes and hair; high, prominent cheek bones
MichaelDryden General; black hair streaked with white; 4 Mastery Cords; gold eyes; half a left eyebrow; 
MosesDryden Elder; failed suitor of Anika
MotegaBond-wolf of King Orin; white and brown fur, a strip of tan on his belly, blue eyes
NaraDryden bond-wolf of Queen Sabra; reddish-blonde fur on neck and shoulders; gold eyes
NashobaDryden bond-wolf of King Markus; silver with tan underbelly and scarred neck
NeriDryden Colonel; twin of Levi; bond-man of Meli; pale blond hair, amber eyes; logical
Niall (23)Kiaran warrior; dimple, short braid, tawny dark gold hair, amber eyes
NinaDryden baker; mother of Anika; tiny, plump, black hair
NoahKiaran warrior
Nolan         Dryden Elder
OrinKing of Kiaran, Donal’s father; gray hair, brown eyes
OwenDryden Lieutenant
PaulKiaran bond-man
PeterKiaran Lord; Donal’s cousin; red-gold hair; uses a whip for a weapon; natural scent of dust and buckbean
Peyton (24)Dryden warrior; bond-man of Kaliska; dark hair, high cheekbones, neatly trimmed beard, hazel eyes; calls male friends “brother”
Rafael (20)Kiaran trader; Mariah’s brother and Abigail’s husband; dark auburn hair
RamonDryden Elder; failed suitor of Anika
RavidKiaran warrior; loyal to Donal
Reuben (40)Kiaran Elder; gold hair, gold eyes
Robard (106)Dryden minstrel; white hair; colorful attire; baritone voice
RyanDryden Lieutenant; failed suitor of Anika
Sani (4)Wild wolf; silver fur, white belly, white chevrons down his front legs, silver face with tan guard hairs; gold eyes
SarahKiaran seamstress; Alex’s mother; natural scent of baking bread
SaulKiaran Lord; leader of House Justice;
SaulDryden Elder; failed suitor of Anika
SeamusKiaran warrior; slight and fair
Sem (20)Dryden warrior; bond-man of Imala; bond hair, golden eyes, natural fruity scent, no jaw definition; catch phrase “hoy”
ShannonKiaran herbalist; bond-woman to Tala; killed by a human
Shannon (3)Wolf; Tala’s daughter; silver fur, ears tipped with black; named after Shannon the Herbalist
SilvaBond-wolf of Chris
SloanKiaran warrior; loyal to Donal
StevenKiaran trader; Mariah’s father; graying ginger hair
TabithaKiaran lady from House Diligence
TackyDryden crow; Healer Eva’s friend
Tala (12)Bond-wolf; amber eyes, silver fur with a creamy patch on her cheeks and chin resembling a smile
ThomasKiaran warrior; loyal to Donal
Tray          Lorcan-born Councilor to King Orin; lanky build; smokes eel grass
WillowLorcan princess, youngest daughter
ZurielKiaran warrior; loyal to Donal

Bond-men can smell emotions. Here are some Alex encounters:

angerscorched fur
confusionsmoldering pine needles
deceitcinquefoil (fetid)
desirecampion (light, sweet, musty)
disbeliefgreen apple tart
embarrassmentfading foxglove blooms?
fearsour milk
frustrationcrabapple (sour)
greedsalal berry (tart)
happinesslavender & clover
hatredrotten eggs
hopehot, spicy hedge mustard
irritationsalt marsh
jealousyscorched milk
joyblooming clover
liecrushed peppergrass
malicesilverweed (bitter)
miserydandelion (bitter)
offendedburnt cedar
pityskunk cabbage
pridegrilled onion
relaxedvanilla leaf
romanceblooming roses
sadness/guiltfading foxglove blooms
unconditional lovebaking bread

Alex and his people, the Jeelys, live on a mountainous, rain-forest covered peninsula connected to the mainland by a narrow land bridge, cut off from all contact with humans. Now the three Jeelys kingdoms hold an uneasy peace, but it’s threatened by two power-hungry princes. And someone–or something–in the Shadow Realm is slaughtering wolves.

What is so special about this sword? Alex drew it from memory after all the trouble it caused.

Drawing of Anika

Drawing of Anika

Drawing of Mariah, colored pencil