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Book Title:

The Unfinished Song: Taboo


Tara Maya

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Book Reviews:

"I recommend this [series] fantasy and epic saga lovers and readers who liked reading Lord of the Rings, but found the length of the book overwhelming....This book series has a unique concept—breaking down the traditionally long Epic Fantasy tale into shorter more manageable books."
—Gina, My Precious: Ramblings of a Kindle Addict

"More than a simple tale of growing up in a magical setting... a fantasy reader's fantasy."
—Anthony Pacheco

"...a world that felt as comfortably recognizable and uniquely untried as Narnia, Hogwarts or Middle Earth."
—Casee Marie, The Girl Who Stole the Eiffel Tower

Book Description:

About the twelve-book epic fantasy series, THE UNFINISHED SONG:

Love is not stronger than Death. Except in faery tales...

Welcome to Faearth. The world is still young, fairytales are real, and humans are trapped between the immortal fae and the minions of Death. The war between the fae and the Deathsworn will tear apart two lovers.

This is an epic adventure, a timeless romance, and, above all, a faery tale.

Enemy tribesmen attacked during the Initiation. Dindi used the magic of the corn cob doll to protect herself and others but at a terrible price. Now her dreams are in shambles. In despair, she decides to step into the forbidden faery ring, and dance herself to death with the fae. Then she discovers another choice that saves her life…but breaks the ultimate taboo.

After being unfairly exiled from his own people, Kavio may have found a new home, but only if he can protect it from another attack by the enemy. He gathers a small group to venture deep into the heart of enemy territory in search of the ultimate prize…peace.

But by the harsh laws of their land, they cannot both break taboos and keep the peace. They will each have to choose, what, or whom, to betray.

The Unfinished Song: Initiate
The Unfinished Song: Taboo

Book Excerpt from The Unfinished Song: Taboo:

Rthan clenched his teeth to keep from weeping at the pain. The human dancers with their black-pronged bear claw knives were terrible enough, but Yellow fae had joined the savage loop of dancers. Torture tama were primeval, one of the few that humans and fae could share with equal relish. He could not see the Brundorfae, but he could hear their growls and, mercy, he could feel them, the sting of their claws raking, ripping and peeling his skin back to raw muscle.

The worst part was that just as he or one of his comrades teetered on the precipice of blessed unconsciousness, or better yet, death, the accursed Yellow Dancers reversed the direction of their circle and began to dance healing. Once or twice during these sessions, strong liquid was forced down his throat. The Yellow Tavaedies revived Rthan and the other hapless captives back to strength and consciousness, then switched the direction of their dance again and resumed their vicious torture. Rthan yearned for Lady Death and her arrows of merciful oblivion

The leader of the Yellow Bear dancers hid his face beneath a bear head mask. His breath stank, rancid sweet, when he leaned forward to hiss taunts in Rthan’s ear.

“Beg for mercy, sharkbait, and maybe we will let you die. If you curse your mother, your father and your ancestors, we will slit your throat and end this agony.”

Bleary with pain, Rthan lifted his head to peer into the empty sockets of the bear head mask. He licked his dry lips and tried to say something, but all that came out was a rattle and cough. The bear masked man leaned closer to hear Rthan’s plea.

Rthan spit in the hollow socket of the mask.

He must have hit the man’s eye, because the Yellow Bear Tavaedi shrieked and jumped back. The masked man turned his back to lift his mask and wipe his eye, so Rthan wouldn’t see his face and know whom to hex in revenge. Rthan wheezed in laughter, despite the ache the movement caused him, until the bear masked man punched him across the face.

“You won’t die until you curse your tribe, you stinking worm!” He grabbed Rthan’s chin and forced the hot healing liquid down his throat. He slashed his bear claw across Rthan’s stomach, opening another bloody gash.

Rthan’s laughter turned into a sob. Yes, he wept with pain, but he still would not beg this filth for mercy, nor turn against his tribe.

The torture resumed, more brutal than ever. The enemy Tavaedi had it in for Rthan now. But it was one of his companions, a warrior whom Rthan did not know well, who broke down first, wailing like a baby, pleading for death. Rthan couldn’t pity him. His weakness only made it harder for the rest of them.

“I curse the womb that bore me!” screamed the pathetic coward. “I curse the fool that sired me! I curse the tribe of Blue Waters!”

“Grant him mercy,” ordered the bear masked man.

One of the dancers plunged his dagger into the Blue Water warrior’s heart. His body sagged like a deflating water skin.

“You see how easy that was?” the bear masked leader asked Rthan.

“Come closer…” rasped Rthan. “…so I can spit in your other eye!”

“All of you focus on this one!” roared the leader, infuriated. “Break him first! The others will fall after their hero does!”

The whole bunch of them, masked like terrible beasts, closed in on him. They whirled and stomped around him, the invisible fae too, he was sure of it, and he felt vigor sweep back into his limbs. Damn them seven times, they were healing him again. For once, his strong body was only a burden to him. The longer his body kept him alive, the longer he would have fight the temptation to break down and beg.

“Now…” began the bear masked leader, full of malice and glee, but before he could complete his threat, an unmasked warrior jogged up to the circle and whispered something to him. The growling of the Yellow Fae quieted, and the human dancers in their bear furs stepped back. He shook his head and snapped something back, but after a few minutes of argument (Rthan thought he heard, “Mine!” and “Hertio” and “outtriber”), the bear masked leader stalked away, evidently in disgust. A sept of warriors came to untie Rthan from the post. The way they grinned at him warned him that though the Torture Dance might be over, whatever awaited him would be no better fate.

Brena caught her breath when she saw the man forced to his knees before the stone table. Rthan hardly looked tamed. It took six warriors, two with whips, to hold him down. The pride on his tattooed face was fierce enough to shatter sugar loaves.

“I thank you for your gift, Hertio.” Kavio studied his enemy. “Prisoner! Your life is worthless now that you are a toy in the hands of your enemies. You will be kept alive only so long as it amuses the tribe of Yellow Bear to torment you.”

Rthan threw back his head, meeting Kavio’s eye challengingly. A slight smile touched Kavio’s lips.

 “You do have one other choice,” Kavio continued. “The law of light and shadows mandates that any under the penalty of death, whether criminal or prisoner of war, may opt instead to be offered as a sacrifice to the fae. If you wish, we will take you to the Tor of the Stone Hedge at midnight, and summon the fae. If you are still alive on the third night, you may live free.”

Rthan recoiled. Hate contorted his face. “I’ll not be your blood sacrifice to the demon bears of the Tors. I’m not a babe, to weep in fear of your tortures. I will die like a man.”

“As you decide. Perhaps we should do to you what you would have done.” He gestured to one of the guards with a whip. “Beat him, on my signal . . .”

Brena knew she shouldn’t pity her enemy, but she couldn’t bear to watch. Only when she heard no smack of leather to flesh did she raise her face in surprise. Kavio had converted his signal to the guard into a gesture toward Brena.

“But I do not deserve this slave,” he said smoothly. “It was actually Zavaedi Brena who delivered the victorious blow. I think you should grant this slave to her.”

Brena sat straight up. “What?”

All heads, including Rthan’s glowering one, swiveled to her.

“She’s a widow,” Kavio went on, either oblivious or impervious to her glares, “with no husband to till her fields for her. A slave husband would be a handsome reward for her courage and devotion in defending the Initiates against this vile foe.”

“I don’t need any kind of husband, certainly not a slave!” sputtered Brena.

“Naturally, if you prefer to let someone else avenge you, I’m sure many would be glad to make the prisoner suffer,” Kavio told her. “But after seeing the depth of your fury at this man during the battle, I felt certain that you would prefer to mete out your own punishment. Imagine the numerous ways you could demean him to avenge your own humiliation.”

She glanced at Rthan, worried that in his pride and fury, he would do something stupid. He rumbled like a volcano about to erupt. Their eyes met briefly, and she flinched at the loathing that scorched her. Curse you, Kavio, she thought. Do not do me any favors!

“Perhaps I was wrong,” Kavio said. He raised his hand again, and this time the leather cracked in the air and lashed Rthan across the back. He roared and almost broke free of the six warriors holding him down.

“Wait!” Brena said. “I . . . up until now I have needed no husband, but I forgot that both my daughters, who helped me before, will now be busy with duties of their Tavaedi societies.” Aware of Rthan’s ire, she refused to be intimidated. She kept her tone as callous as possible. “Perhaps a brute would be of use for brute labor.”

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