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Daughter of Deaths

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Deaths battle Dragons for the fate of the world in the epic conclusion to The Scythe Wielder’s Secret.
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Description

Two years ago, Susan Sarnio was brought to the World of Deaths.

Fighting sexism and bullying, the first female Death helped reinvent the College. Now, her friends journey deep into the heart of enemy territory, hoping to rescue her.

Ancient secrets come to light. The horrifying truth behind Susan's arrival in the World of Deaths is at last revealed. War erupts between Dragons and Deaths, and the fate of three worlds hangs in the balance.

The epic conclusion to The Scythe Wielder's Secret.

Title Daughter of Deaths
Author Christopher Mannino
Series The Scythe Wielder's Secret
Genre YA Fantasy
Release September 20, 2016 - releasing in ebook and paperback
Designer Eerilyfair Design
Length 467 pages
ISBN 978-1-77127-830-0
Price $6.99
Tags Grim Reaper, Death, Deaths, Dragons, Elementals, Magic, Quest, Hero, Heroine, Adventure, Epic, Fantasy
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Excerpt

She surveyed the tiny chamber. A flower nearby grew brighter, radiating a gentle white glow which filled the small room. Unadorned beige stone walls stretched from ceiling to floor all around. Aside from the bed, she had a table, chair, and chamber pot. She walked to a hole in the wall, no larger than her hand. The glassless portal extended through the foot-thick rock, offering her a view outside.

            She gazed down the side of a mountain. Across the valley, another mountain extended, followed by hundreds of other enormous peaks. The mountain range seemed deserted, though she heard the flutter of wings and scraping of claws below. A single green Dragon flew in the dim light, circling toward a cave in the opposite cliffs. A chill breeze blew through the open window, whistling against the rocks. The air smelled of snow and pine, mixed with the pungent odors of sulfur and smoke.

            Susan glanced at the door, and walked to it. She pushed against the handle-less entryway with all her might. The door didn’t move. Though somewhat comfortable, the room was still a prison.

            Grym? Can you hear me?

            The First Scythe didn’t answer. Grym, also known as Caladbolg, the First Scythe. She’d discovered him last year, and for a time he’d shown her flashes of the ancient past, when the first Deaths battled Dragons. After Sindril’s attack, they’d fused somehow. The ancient weapon now lay trapped beneath the Dragon’s coating. He couldn’t help her.

            She paced the chamber, walking to the window again. Her view of the mountains offered no clue for her friend’s location or condition.

            Not her friend. No, Will is far more than a friend.

            She remembered his drooping body, while the Dragons carried them across the continent.

            Please, God, let Will live. Let him escape and find me.

            She hadn’t prayed since elementary school, back in Maryland. A smile crept across her lips when she pictured the nine-year-old girl with pigtails saying her evening prayers after Grandma’s funeral. Would that child even recognize the woman trapped in a Dragon’s prison? How would a child who loved pizza and playing on her cell phone understand the girl who Reaped souls and used a scythe? She’d been alive for fourteen and half years, yet she was a fully-grown woman now.  

            Sindril did that. He’d robbed her of four years.  

            Yet her physical changes only shadowed the changes her heart had undergone. Grym murdered two women in front of her. Their deaths gnawed at her soul.

            I freed the monster. It was my hand.

            I killed them.

            No. She couldn’t let herself dwell on mistakes of the past. She’d find a way out of this prison.

            The door opened, and Susan jumped to her feet, startled.

            A pale, scrawny man with stubble across his chin entered the chamber with a tray. Above his eyebrows, his head was shaved clean, and the bald dome caught the glowing reflection of the flower lights. He set the tray down, walked to the chamber pot and glanced inside. The bald man left, closing the door behind him. Susan stared at the door a moment, rose and slammed her full weight against it. It didn’t budge.

            She walked to the tray, which held a small loaf of bread and a cup of water.

            Though her stomach growled in hunger, she kicked the food with all her might. The bread smashed against a wall and fell to the rocky floor. The water spilled.

            That was dumb, she thought. I need my strength.

            She studied the copper cup and bronze tray; nothing breakable. She walked to the chamber pot. It was ceramic.

            Without waiting, she threw the pot against the wall. It bounced off, and she threw it a second time. This time, the pot shattered. She clutched at a shard of pottery, and sat on the bed waiting.

            An hour or more passed before the door opened again. She forced herself to remain attentive, staring at the entryway, her body tense.

            The same scrawny bald guard entered the room.

            Susan didn’t wait. Leaping off the bed, she threw herself at the man, slashing at his throat with the shard. He knocked it aside with a bemused expression.

            “You will not escape,” he growled in a deep, thunderous voice.

            Twisting her arms behind her, the man dragged Susan into the passage.

            She saw a gash on his throat, and a lump of loose skin fell onto the stones. Beneath the skin, crimson scales flashed. With a shudder, the man’s hand sloughed off, and a large claw emerged, clamping around Susan’s waist like a vice. He dragged her through a winding corridor, pushing her into a large chamber. In front of them, icy air from the mountains blew into Susan’s eyes. The chamber opened onto a large deck, like the entrance to a cave. Three Dragons watched them.

            “Please,” she gasped.

            “You want to escape?” the Dragon snarled. “Allow me to help.”

            The guard trembled, his body writhing into a shiver of falling skin. He cast the human-looking body aside, and spread his wings. The red Dragon was far smaller than the Dragons who’d captured her and Will; each wing stretched a mere six feet from his body. His claw tightened as he flew to the open air.

            The ground tilted to one side when he lifted Susan. He glided through the open wall and into the frigid air outside.          

            The mountains stretched for thousands of feet above and below her. She couldn’t make out the ground below, and the crests of the mountain peaks lay hidden behind veils of clouds. The red Dragon soared upwards, beating his wings furiously against the wind. Susan struggled to breathe. The air grew thin, and her head spun.

            A blue Dragon circled below them, spinning away. The stench of sulfur rose up, choking Susan’s struggling lungs.

            “A little taste of freedom,” snarled the red Dragon. “Lest you desire escape again.”

            His claws opened.

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