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Book Previews - Cleansing Hunt
Book Two of The Earthsoul Prophecies

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    "It's an honor to, as it were, meet you," Pryderi said, glancing around the room. "I must say this is an odd experience. We are several hundred leagues from one another, yet I can see you all as if we truly sat at the same table."
    "It makes planning a war much easier," Gideon commented, obviously amused with the young King's amazement. "You've read the reports sent to you by Randle Fairimor detailing the nature of the danger we face?" he asked, and the five Kings nodded.
    "I realize you each face difficulties of your own," he said, gesturing to King Reiekel, "such as the Shadan'Ko attacking the Wall of Aridan." He looked at Tohan Nanda. "Or the Kunin massing along your southern border. But my heart tells me these and many other things like them are but small pieces of a larger danger." He paused and looked at each member, flesh and glowing image alike.
    "The Earthsoul is dying, and Maeon's power grows. The Shadan Cult, Kunin, Riak, the Shadan'Ko, the Con'Kumen, and every other group massing to fight against us are part of this war. All are being stirred to anger by the Dark One."
    He made a fist. "We can, and must, fight all these smaller battles -- preserving our freedom is essential if we are to address the larger fight -- but winning these smaller battles is pointless if we fail to accomplish the true task."
    There was a touch of desperation in his voice as he added, "We need to heal the Earthsoul. We must find a Talisman of Elsa."
    "What does this Talisman look like?" Lord Nanda asked.
    Jase looked up as Gideon turned to him. "My young friend here has the Blood Orb that Areth took on the failed mission twenty years ago. It was rendered useless to its true purpose by shadowspawn when we were attacked, but it remains a powerful weapon nonetheless. Show them, Jase."
    He did as Gideon asked and held it up so the red-gold orb glimmered as it spun in the gripping talons.
    "It is an orb of purest gold," Gideon told them. "Perfectly round and heavier than gold should be. It cannot be melted down or damaged in any way. This one was located in the temple here in Trian. It was in the inner sanctum in a small three-legged stand of silver, placed there by the hand of Fairimor himself after the temple was completed."
    He shook his head. "The Temple of Elderon in Andlexces had one as well, but Siamon Fairimor carried it into battle against Shadan in A.S. 1407. Some believe it was the reason Shadan was defeated, but I consider Siamon's actions to be the biggest blunder in Kelsan history. That Talisman was also rendered useless to its true purpose. It was lost a few years later." He pursed his lips. "I've been to other Old World temples -- in Chunin and Elva -- but those Talismans were missing as well, probably carried off by someone else who didn't understand their importance. Most of the temples we know about are those built after the destruction of the Old World, such as the temple in Chellum, and none of them contain a Blood Orb. They were built to worship Elderon. The Old World temples were built to facilitate the Rejuvenation by keeping the Talismans safe."
    "Are we sure these Old World temples still exist?" King Agisthas asked.
    "Yes," Croneam Eries said. "The scriptures speak of them several times." He glanced at Gideon. "May I?" At Gideon's nod he continued. "When Maeon killed Elsa, her blood mingled with the dust of the earth and sprang forth in diverse places as Talismans of great power. Wherever those Talismans were found, a temple was built; both to keep the place sacred and to hold the Blood Orb until it was needed. But remember, that happened more than six thousand years ago. The destruction of the Old World changed everything. Of the hundreds of temples built in honor of Elsa's blood mingling with the earth, only those Gideon mentioned are known to us today."

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