Kaiya’s voice could charm a dragon.
Had she lived when the power of music could still summon typhoons and rout armies, perhaps Cathay’s imperial court would see the awkward, gangly princess as more than a singing fool. With alliances to build and ambitious lords to placate, they care more about her marriage prospects than her unique abilities.
Only the handsome Prince Hardeep, a foreign martial mystic, recognizes her potential. Convinced Kaiya will rediscover the legendary but perilous art of invoking magic through music, he suggests her voice, not her marriage, might better serve the realm.
When members of the emperor’s elite spy clan– Kaiya’s childhood friend and his half-elf sidekick (or maybe he’s her sidekick?)– discover mere discontent boiling over into full-scale rebellion, Kaiya must choose. Obediently wedding the depraved ringleader means giving up her music. Confronting him with the growing power of her voice could kill her.
As he moved, the silk bag containing the Dragon Scale Lute slipped from his shoulders. It hit the ground with a discordant groan, like the keen of a murderous beast in its death throes.
Fear crawled up Kaiya’s spine. She shuddered at the sound. Though if it did that to her, if it scared a dragon away, maybe… she reached for the bag and fumbled with the drawstrings. Pain bit where the star had cut her thumb. Still, she managed to fish the lute out.
She rose from her low squat to a level horse stance, similar to the one Doctor Wu taught for breathing exercises. Spine straight, she cradled the lute and plucked one of the treble strings.
A sound like a widow mourning her dead husband wailed from the lute, twisting in her core and then resonating into her limbs. Unlike her first attempt, it was louder. The barrage of attacks stopped and the two large men in the shadows lowered their weapons.
Kaiya strummed across all the strings. The dissonance of high and low pitches must have sounded like the chorus of souls tormented by Yanluo in the pits of hell. The would-be assassins dropped their weapons. One’s crossbow crashed onto the pavestones, sending a loaded bolt soaring toward them.
About the Author:
A Chinese Medicine Doctor and Martial Artist by trade, JC Kang would have never started writing fantasy stories save for two fluke coincidences.
In the Christmas of 2010, while cleaning out childhood junk from his mom’s house, he came across his old Dungeons and Dragons campaign world. Before relegating the binder of maps and notes to the trash where it belonged, he decided to peek back and see what his 13-year old self had created.
He couldn’t help but laugh at the silly ideas that had crossed his teenage brain. Rivers flowed uphill. Empires produced resources out of thin air. However, a few interesting premises had potential.
For the next six days, he redesigned his world, taking into account things he’d learned over the last 25 years. Advanced stuff like gravity, evolution, and supply and demand.
On the seventh day, he rested. Looking at his glorious creation, he was hit by the realization that he’d never play D&D again.
A month later, the second event occurred: three weeks of major snowstorms. Stuck indoors for days at a time, he used his skills as a professional technical writer and pumped out a 120k word novel set in this world… only to find out that fiction writing and technical writing were two different beasts.
He set off to study the craft, and learned advanced ideas like characterization, point of view and
tension. After revising the first book, he wrote a prequel. After the prequel, he wrote a sequel. And finally, he wrote the prequel to the prequel: the Dragon Scale Lute.