Far from home in a ravaged world, the Birthrighters struggle for survival.
Raised in a new ark beneath polar ice, delivered by whales to a blighted surface, the young men and women of the Birthright Project have pledged their lives to a risky and redemptive mission--perserving God's original creation from the ravages of the Endless Wars and human depravity.
They've roamed the earth tracking original species. They've successfully battled sorcerers, warlords, and armies of mutants. But now a twisted new enemy is on the march. An explosive old secret lurks beneath the glitter of a decadent city. And the mysterious darkness that swallowed a mountain spreads toward an innocent mill town.
Before they can prevail, the Birthrighters must confront their most difficult challenge: overcoming their individual desires that threaten to betray the group.
The adventure draws to a dramatic close in Book Two of Kathryn Mackel's imaginative and absorbing Birthright Series...a fantasy thriller with a heart of faith.
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October 09, 2007
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Excerpt from The Birthright Project #2 by Kathryn Mackel
Chapter One TIMOTHY CROUCHED IN THE GRASS, HIS HEART hammering as he crept toward the Wall of Traxx. His attention was fixed on danger, but his heart was intent on Dawnray, the lovely village girl on the other side of the wall--held captive in the royal palace. He was ready with a plan and had almost accumulated what he needed to make it all happen. One thing stood in Timothy's way, and it wasn't the deadly wall of thorns that surrounded the stronghold. The voice of his camp leader, Brady, who was off somewhere with fellow outrider Niki, nevertheless nagged at him in his head. What most annoyed Timothy was not that the outrider's voice was imaginary, but that it told the truth. What're you doing, mate? Can't go off on your own like this . Timothy argued in his mind. But Alrod's holding her prisoner, and he intends her for his own use. You know what that use is, Brady. She needs help. We can't rescue everyone, Tim. But we save some. That's part of why we're here. You've led countless rescues, and you've taught me how to do it. Why this girl and not some other? Is it because she's lovelier than the serving lass in Alrod's kitchen? "It's because I love her," Timothy whispered, more to assure himself than to convince the voice in his head. Easier to sneak through a wall thought impassable than to deal with a leader who wasn't even here. A patrol of Alrod's strong-arms approached, and Timothy ducked out of sight, though the strong-arms never looked his way. Two of these patrols guarded the wall, riding its perimeter from opposite sides, but Timothy knew they spent more time trading barbs and spiced rum than searching out intruders. They assumed that no intruder would dare try to breach the dreaded Wall of Traxx. But Timothy knew the wall wasn't impassable. He'd been through it several times just this past week. Twenty paces high and a hundred deep, the Wall of Traxx ringed the stronghold with a vast stretch of flowers and thorns. The flowers bloomed on the outside--tiny but profuse blooms of roses, lilies, sunflowers, daffodils, and flowers even an experienced tracker like Timothy couldn't name, all infused with intoxicating fragrance. But beyond the blooms lay a maze of thorns the size of a strong-arm's lance and briar thickets that a mugged rhinoceros couldn't pass through. Many men--indeed, full armies--had been fooled by the wall's enticing exterior, only to be impaled by the thorns and die tangled in the briars. Timothy waited until the patrol was out of sight, then ran up to the wall and began to sing. Can you hear the distant thunder? Can you feel the tremble of the earth? In response, a bent-over creature shuffled out of the flowers, black eyes staring out of a leathery face. Timothy's heart ached for the little fellow--born as a man, but transmogrified by the sorcerer's potions into a turtlelike slung, destined to spend his life inside this wall. Like his many brothers, he feared open spaces and had only one love--music. "Bask! Thanks for coming." Timothy sang the words, and the little creature's eyes narrowed with pleasure at the sound. "May I enter?" The slung's answer was to turn and push into the flowers. Grabbing the back of Bask's rock-hard shell, Timothy followed him, singing the whole time. To stop singing was to be abandoned among the thorns. To be abandoned here was to die. Within three paces, the flowers gave way to woody growth. With ease, the slung broke thorns twice his size and flattened tangles of bramble that could kill any invader foolish enough to try to breach this wall. Timothy ducked low and followed closely, feeling new thorns and brambles already growing in behind him, lingering occasionally to fill his bag with globs of sticky resin that dripped from the thorn vines. The slung didn't seem to mind, just pre