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The Road to Shanhasson: Gregar

Out of the cast of a hundred of so characters in the Shanhasson trilogy, I get the most comments about Gregar, the Shadowed Blood.  I even wrote a prequel short story from his point of view (available here as a free read), and I often joked about The Road to Shanhasson being “Gregar’s Book.”  He’s my Muse; when I think of the “still silent voice” that helps me write, it’s his voice I hear.  Even when I’m writing something different, he touches my writing. 

Let’s just say, he’s been a very, very bad influence on me, in a very good way.

What’s funny is that I created him and the rest of the Shanhasson cast long before I knew anything about “proper” character development.  Which is maybe why he’s so very, very wicked. 

So with small excerpts from The Shadowed Blood (pdf), The Rose of Shanhasson, and The Road to Shanhasson as appropriate for illustration:

Top Ten Reasons Why Gregar Isn’t a Proper Romancelandia Hero

(See explanation of proper at the bottom of this post.)

10. He has a terrible, ribald sense of humor. 


“Will you let me claim you here and now?” Rhaekhar asked.

From the heated thickness in his voice, she dreaded asking for an explanation.  “Claim?”

“Gregar, what is the proper word?” 

“Marry, wed, consummate, pleasure, mate, copulate, tup,” the dark-haired warrior replied with a wicked smile of delight.


9. Gregar is famous on the Plains for “arse competitions.” 


“Since you’re new to the Plains, you might not know that Gregar is actually very famous.” Watching the red-haired young man, she narrowed her gaze, wary of his wide-eyed innocence. “You could always ask them for an arse competition.”

She spluttered. “What?”

Dharman groaned. “That isn’t appropriate for Khul’lanna’s claiming.”

“Why not?” Sal winked at her and whispered conspiratorially. “You must like their arses rather well.”

Face hot, she started walking toward the center of Camp. Dharman still held her upper arm, walking slightly behind her and close enough he would trip over her feet if he wasn’t careful.

The lad with the wretched sense of humor walked alongside her. “Don’t you?”

“That’s none of your business.”

“At the Kae’Khul, he made quite an impression on everyone. Alea still remarks about it sometimes.”

“Only when you’re up to mischief yourself,” Dharman retorted. “Leave Khul’lanna alone, Sal. She obviously doesn’t want to talk about arses, Gregar’s, Khul’s, or yours for that matter.”

“But Alea often mutters that I could give Gregar a hard gallop for his rahke. When I’m older, of course.”

A surge of what Shannari could only call jealousy burned in her stomach at the thought of the tall sun-kissed woman getting an eyeful of Gregar’s ass, delightful or not as it might be. Through his bond, she felt only a smug silence, which actually made her madder. “Tell me about the Kae’Khul. Is that when Rhaekhar became Khul?”

“Oh, aye, it was a glorious event,” Sal replied. “Gregar and Varne were at it as usual …”

“Wait. I thought they were friends, like you and Dharman.”

“Nay, Khul’lanna,” Dharman said. “Friends, true, but there has always been an edge between them. They aren’t friends like Sal and I. We have an understanding.”

“An understanding?”

“What’s mine is his; what’s his is mine. I lead; he follows. There are no questions or doubts between us.”

“Unless it comes to mischief.” Sal leaned in close to whisper. “Then I lead Dharman where he’d hesitate to go.”

“Aye, and have led me into more trouble than I care to admit.” Although grumbling, Dharman smiled at his friend. “I shall lead you to yet greater trouble soon enough.”

“I cannot wait,” Sal breathed, his face softening with something rather like reverence.

“Me, either, my friend. Me either.”

They both looked at her with expectation, hope, and a sort of worshipful awe that embarrassed her. If they knew even half of the darkness that she carried inside … The Lady’s Lake within her resonated with a deep humming echo of power. Uneasy, she changed the subject. “So did Khul compete in this arse competition at the Kae’Khul?”

“Nay, the competition was between Gregar and Varne. It started as a friendly bet, but I believe they came close to formal challenge. I always thought they disagreed over which would lead as nearest Blood to Khul, but now …” Dharman glanced at her, his gaze considering. “Whatever the disagreement, Gregar lightened the argument with a joke, dared Varne to an arse competition—”

“Which he won, of course,” Sal added helpfully.

“Aye, and gained legendary status as a result. I’ve heard he’s even been known to flip up his memsha at kae’don to infuriate his opponents.”

She could absolutely picture it: the dark-haired Blood, laughing and winking as he flipped up the short cloth about his hips. He’d probably shout a few obscenities, too, all to better rile his opponent.

:Kiss my arse works rather well.:


8. He used to be a Death Rider, an assassin dedicated to the Great Wind Stallion.


She pointed her sword at Gregar.  “Back off.”

The Blood took a step closer, pressing the sword tip into his body.  Her jaw tightened with determination and she pushed a little harder, puncturing his chest.  Smiling with anticipation, Gregar pushed back.  A little closer, a little more steel pressing into his body.

She shifted her grip on the hilt, fully prepared to skewer him.  A coldness settled on her features that told Rhaekhar she’d killed before and often.  Very impressive.  He liked a hint of danger in a woman. 

Evidently, so did Gregar.  “Go ahead,” he taunted, his low voice echoing with amusement and his trademark wickedness.  Shannari shivered and her eyes widened.  “Run me through.  I shall greatly enjoy it.”

Her gaze flickered to the smaller wound she dealt to Rhaekhar’s neck earlier.  “Are you all crazy?”

“Gregar is… special.  He used to be a Death Rider.”  At the blank look on her face, Rhaekhar added, “An assassin.  Death Riders delight in sacrificing blood to the Great Wind Stallion.  Blood sacrifice is a very great honor among us.”

She jerked her sword away.  Gregar wiped his hand across his chest and licked the blood from his fingers.  “Would you like a taste?”


7. As a Death Rider, he can wrap himself in Shadows and disappear, lying in wait until his mark comes close enough to sacrifice. 

She stared at the feathered arrow sticking out of her shoulder. How could she have forgotten the archer? She fell to her knees and used the tall grass to shield herself, but it might not be enough.

“Khul’lanna!” Gregar roared with fury that another had hurt her. Only the Shadowed Blood was allowed that privilege. Shadow swallowed him, engulfing him whole, and Death came like a killing frost up the hill toward her.



6. He’s arguably one of the best rahke fighters on the Plains and is never without his ivory knife that he earned as a Death Rider.  Just don’t ask what the “ivory” hilt is made out of if you don’t really want to know.

“This one is Gregar, my shadowed Blood who used to be a Death Rider.”

So cold.  She opened her mouth to ask where he was, her teeth chattering harder.  A blade touched her neck and she froze.  Blessed Lady, the Blood was close enough to hold a knife to her throat while she sat here, oblivious until he touched her with steel.  As always when threatened from her blind spot, terror screamed through her body.  Muscles bunched, her fingers locking on the hilt, her heart thundering in her ribcage.  Her fear only intensified the sense of bone-chilling cold rolling off the Blood. 

Varne removed his hand from hers and stood at Rhaekhar’s side protectively.  Automatically, she started to draw the sword.  Helpless with a knife at her throat, she couldn’t just sit here and—

The wickedly sharp blade lifted her chin higher and the sudden press of bare flesh against her back scalded her.  The Blood whispered against her ear.  “Shall I draw a bit more of your sweet blood for Khul?”




Gregar hovered against her back, barely visible in thick, black shadows.  As a Death Rider, he could wrap the cold Shadow of Death about himself and disappear.  He could slit Shannari’s throat before she even knew he was there, and the knowledge shook her to the core.  Silently, Rhaekhar waited for her to look to him for assistance.

The Blood whispered something to her too low for him to hear.  Her jaw clenched and she stiffened, her fingers tight on the sword’s hilt.  Shadows draped across her shoulders, darkening her face.

Rhaekhar felt a sudden and irrational urge to drag her away from the Blood.  In his heart he knew the Blood would never hurt her, but he couldn’t ease the trepidation.  The shadows wanted to suck her down and drown her in a sea of blood and agony. 

Gregar raised his head, his dark eyes glittering like black ice in the shadows.  At his familiar smirk, Rhaekhar loosened the tension straining his shoulders. 

“Or perhaps I shall draw Khul’s blood for you.”

Her gaze leaped to Rhaekhar’s face, her eyes wide with fear and reluctant desire.  The surge of hunger through their na’lanna bond at the thought of tasting his blood very nearly sent him plunging over the cliff into raging, uncontrollable lust.  Why did she fear his disgust when he would like nothing better than to give his blood to her?

“Leave us,” he ordered, his voice thick and heavy to his own ears. 

Gregar drew his rahke up her neck, trailing the blade across her cheek in an odd, dangerous caress, but he stood and backed away.


5. Before Gregar became Blood, he very nearly assassinated the main hero of the Shanhasson trilogy.

Rhaekhar dropped his voice to a fervent whisper.  “The Rose will be mine, a love like no other.”

Those words rocked Gregar to his heels and the Shadowed Call thundered louder.

Kill him, kill him, KILL HIM!

This warrior would be Khul, any Death Rider’s greatest mark.  Nay, the woman, his woman, would be Khul’lanna, his greatest mark, his most secret heart’s desire, and Rhaekhar would take her as his own.

Gregar held himself very still, but inside, his heart raged, his stomach rebelled, and his very blood boiled in his veins in denial.  The ivory rahke came into his hand eagerly, hungry for this warrior’s blood.


4. He knows he’s going to die, and soon.  Surely that makes him poor romance hero material, right?

“While I live, no one will touch you with steel or blade again.  As long as you let me stay close, at your back, like this.”

“I can’t love again.”

“You already do.”

Gregar spoke so matter-of-factly, so calmly, while she wanted to hack and slash all about her with a sword.  “Even if I do, I can’t stay.  I know my destiny, Gregar.  I must return to the Green Lands.”

“Eventually.”  He rubbed his cheek against hers and then released her.  “I know my destiny, too, and Khul’s.  Your priest is not the only one who has premonitions.  I’ve seen the day of my death.  I’ve seen the years of happiness it will buy you with Khul.  And it’s worth the sacrifice.”


3. He loves Shannari, but she’s also his greatest mark as a Death Rider.  e.g. the temptation to kill her rides him hard.


Midnight eyes pooled with tears, she lay beneath him, trembling as his life’s blood poured out on her skin.  She had not come easily to his embrace.  She never did.  Fighting for her life, she’d enjoyed wounding him as much as he’d relished her pain.

 She fed his darkness like no other. 

“I love you.”

“Aye,” he whispered, smoothing his thumb over the pulse thumping frantically in her throat.  “My heart is yours, na’lanna.” 

My beloved.

And he buried the ivory rahke in her heart.


2. Pain and blood only turn him on.  

Shannari took a long, shuddering breath.  Her eyes flew open.  And with a low, vicious cry, she buried the rahke in Gregar’s chest. 

The dark-haired Blood with the wicked smile fell forward slowly, the knife in his chest still in her hand.  Horrified, Shannari tried to pull back, but his hands gripped hers in a vise, pressing the blade deeper.

He fell on her, staring into her eyes.  No surprise, no reprisals, no pain.  His gaze was heavy lidded, smoldering with desire, pleasure, raw hunger, death.  Blood gushed from the wound, searing her skin.

“Thank you,” Gregar whispered, his voice thick.  “You honor me.”


1. He has no limits. 

Her voice flat and cold, she admitted the atrocity of her Dream. “I let you hurt me, and I enjoyed it. I enjoyed hurting Khul by letting you hurt me. And then I killed you.”

“Shadow lies to you again, Shannari.” Gregar unsheathed the ivory rahke and laid it on the tent floor before him. “I’m tainted with Shadow, this we all know. However, my heart’s desire is not to die in your embrace.” He forced the words from his throat, and ice fisted Rhaekhar’s heart with each word. “My most secret heart’s desire is for you to die in my embrace. It’s what I dreamed for years before I became Blood. I killed you a thousand times before I ever knew your name.”

“You would enjoy hurting me,” she whispered, a question not an accusation. “You would enjoy killing me.”

“I have no limits,” Gregar replied, his voice cracking with strain. “I warned you, and I warned Khul. That’s why I refuse to participate in your claiming and why I didn’t push for you to admit your love for me. Aye, I would hurt you and enjoy it. I would kill you and enjoy it, even while I raged at myself for ending your life. I love you too much to risk you.”


Despite knowing he’ll die, that he will kill her if given half a chance, Shannari still loves him.  And yeah, so do I.

And here’s the explanation about why Gregar always puts special emphasis on proper.

“Are you up for a kae’rahke this night, Gregar?”

The two warriors rode ahead, leaving Shannari staring after them with dread pounding in her veins. A kae’rahke? Challenge? Sometimes they fought to the death.

“Aye, I’m up for many things, Khul.”

Rhaekhar laughed, a dark masculine sound of arrogance that made her grind her teeth together. “I bet you are. Good. I’ll declare you co-mate before the claiming. What do you want for terms?”

Groaning, Shannari tried to think of a way to distract them. Short of ripping her armor and clothes off, she didn’t think much would distract them from their goal of blood.

Gregar winked at her. “I would certainly enjoy another kiss. This time, I want a proper kiss.”

“Oh, aye,” Rhaekhar replied, giving her a smoldering look over his shoulder. “Do you want her tongue in your mouth, or yours in hers?”

“Preferably both.”

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The Rose of Shanhasson Excerpt

Available from Drollerie Press.

Blessed Lady above, why have You forsaken me?

Scanning the waters of Dalden Bay, Shannari looked for some sign of hope. Ceaseless prayers throughout the night, at the holiest site in the Green Lands, had been offered for naught. The silvered full moon mocked her with its silence.

The thick bayside air tasted like tears. Shannari swallowed the choking lump, her shoulders drooping with misery. Weary, she rubbed her aching, dry eyes and turned from the mist-covered waters. Power pulsed with the gentle moonlight, resonating in her blood and soul. Her skin tingled with the sweet melody, her heart aching, yearning to use that inborn gift.

If only she could find some way to restore her magic…

But no. That was another failure entirely. Her heart was dead.

Waiting at the last column, the High Priest took her chilled hands between his own. Father Aran’s snowy white hair and beard gleamed against his scarlet robes. “Our Blessed Lady has heard your prayers, Your Majesty.”

Shame clawed her chest and she dropped her gaze. She didn’t deserve the title, let alone his respect. “Please, don’t call me that.”

“I’ve known since your birth that you would be the next High Queen. I saw the Rose Crown on your head even in the cradle.”

“So you say.” Shannari jerked her hands back and clenched them into fists at her sides. “You also told me of the great power I would have as the Lady’s Last Daughter. Yet here I am, my magic crippled, my country surrounded by enemies, and betrothed to Prince Theo, the one person who most wants me dead.” Her voice broke. She would never forget the malice in the Crown Prince’s eyes, nor the suffocating horror that came over her when he’d touched her. “I’m trapped.”

The High Priest flinched. “The mistake was mine, Your Majesty, I–”

“How can I refuse to marry him now without starting a civil war?”

“Our Blessed Lady wants Her tainted son removed from the High Throne at all cost.” The High Priest stared through her, deeper, seeing beyond to some future that made his eyes flash with hope. “A way will be provided.”

Shannari refused to let that gleam of hope move her. She’d seen the same look in his eyes too many times to no avail. Seeing a possible future and knowing the Lady’s prophesy didn’t make it happen.

“Dark at times, clouded with Shadow and fraught with peril, your path is steep and treacherous with ravines on either side. If you fall, all the Green Lands will fall with you. This I know in my heart. Yet hope comes, though from where I cannot See.”

She knew all too well the dark prophesy of doom waiting for her people if she failed. Other children grew up on nursery rhymes and fairytales; she learned her destiny of blood and darkness and death. Death loomed closer than ever in these dark times.

Inwardly sighing, she joined her waiting father, King Valche. Surrounded by guards, they walked toward the village curving along the shoreline. Chittering raucously, gulls fought for scraps on the beach of sand and broken shells and the stench of rotting fish made her stomach churn.

Vessels ranging from local fishing boats to sea-worthy trading ships lined the docks. From crates full of rare spices from the jungles of Mambia, to exotic furs from the frigid ice of Jjord to the extreme north, exotic things from all over the world came through this port. Without Dalden Bay, Allandor’s tables might miss the sea’s natural bounty, but the largest blow would be felt in the merchants’ pockets.

Shannari ran through her options again and came to the same conclusion. Surely an alliance with Allandor’s greatest enemy was worth the risk to herself if it would save all the Green Lands. Shivering, she rubbed the nape of her neck. She had the nasty feeling that an invisible axe loomed over her head.

“I despise Stephan,” King Valche muttered beneath his breath. “I hate his clingy, sneaky ways, how he always cozies up to Theo, oozing snake oil promises.”

“Tell me any other way, Father, and I’ll do it.”

King Valche sighed heavily and ran a hand through his silvered hair. “We need him, slime or no.”

Dressed in Allandor’s regalia of midnight blue trimmed in gold braid, he presented the perfect image of control and regal civility. Ruefully, Shannari wondered what image she projected in her leathers and chain mail, sword within easy reach at her side. Her father had begged her to wear a court gown to emphasize her lineage and legitimate claim to the High Throne. Nevertheless, Last Daughter of the Blessed Lady or not, she went nowhere unarmed, even when escorted with a full contingent of guards. She’d learned that lesson at a very young age.

“Let’s try polite conversation first and see where we stand with Stephan,” King Valche said. “Maybe he’ll surprise us. Maybe he’ll take a stand against Theo for once and do what’s right.”

“No, I’m afraid not. Stephan knows nothing but taking. The only bargaining chip we have is Dalden Bay.” Well, that wasn’t entirely true. Lightly, she touched the hidden scar on the left side of her chest above her breast. “I’ll marry him if I must. Anyone’s better than Prince Theo.”

A silent warning shrilled in her head, and ice chilled her blood. Her heart pounded as adrenaline surged through her. Crippled and stunted her magic might be, but she knew a warning from the Lady when she felt it.

Struggling to maintain a normal demeanor, Shannari looked about them with her hand nonchalantly on her sword hilt. While the docks were busy this early in the morning, the main cobblestone street was deserted. The appointed meeting place, the best inn in Dalden Bay, towered above the smaller shops and houses of the villagers.

Flanked by guards, she couldn’t identify a visible threat, but the chill increased. Her teeth chattered and her fingers cramped on the hilt. Danger approached, but from where?

An alley opened up on her right. As they walked past, the shadow of deadly intent raised the hairs on the base of her neck. Choking back a cry, she took another step, waiting, waiting…

Behind her, steel whispered in the crisp dawn air. Shannari whirled and drew the sword. The nearest guard reached for his, too, turning too late. Slipping around him, the assassin rushed the last few steps, closing quickly so she couldn’t entirely block his thrusting blade. She fouled his aim and the knife slammed into her right side.

An iron fist of pain exploded in her ribcage. Grunting, she took a quick step back to gain some space. Thank the Lady for chain mail. Swinging the sword in a hard arc, she slit the assassin’s throat.

Blinking in shock, the man fell to his knees, his hands wrapped around the gaping wound in his neck. His mouth opened and closed wordlessly and he pitched face first onto the ground.

Eventually, she would fail. A knife would find her back, this time slicing her heart beyond repair. She would never forget the dark pool of blood spreading on the floor, her beautiful mother shattered like a porcelain doll.

I must wrest the High Throne from Theo soon, before one of his assassins succeeds in killing me.

King Valche bellowed, his face dark with fury. Shamefaced Guardsmen crowded closer, their swords at the ready. More soldiers raced down the street led by Sergeant Fenton. The baker across the way poked his head out the door.

Firm but polite, Sergeant Fenton brought the baker outside his shop. “Do you know this man? Did you see anyone about this morning?”

Shannari pushed the assassin over onto his back with her boot.

The baker recoiled and shook his head, wringing his hands in his apron. “No one, sir, other than the King when he passed right at dawn. I heard the guards about at The Slumbering Lion, but nothing else.”

Turning her attention to the body, Shannari dismissed the witness with a nod.

The assassin stared upward with glazed brown eyes. He was perhaps thirty years of age with nondescript features. She didn’t recognize him. His brown coat and breeches were clean and cut from quality cloth but not extravagant. His boots were serviceable and scuffed but well made. He wore no jewelry or insignia. Anyone could have sent him.

So many enemies, so much blood on her hands. Her ribs ached and she resisted the urge to hunch over in pain. Wincing, she bent down and wiped her sword and hands on the dead man’s coat. At least the blood hadn’t splattered her leather pants too badly.

“Are you hurt?” King Valche’s voice quivered with rage. “Should we cancel this meeting?”

She stood and sheathed her sword. “We can’t wait, Father. We need the Duke now more than ever.”

“This attempt could very well be his doing.”

“He won’t assassinate me before he learns how much we might offer. I’ll do whatever is necessary to secure this treaty.”

“I wish there were another way.” King Valche stared down the street at The Slumbering Lion, his jaw clenched. “I’ve delayed with every tactic I know. High King Rikard has every right to demand your presence in Shanhasson. If we don’t gain enough support, he’ll send an army large enough that we’ll be forced to accept his terms. Allandor is strong, but could we stand against the entire might of the Green Lands?”

He turned his tired, concerned gaze to Shannari. “I did my best. The betrothal bought us a little time, but I wish I could keep you from bartering away your life and your hand in marriage for a crown, even the Rose Crown of all the Green Lands. Your mother chose me, chose love, instead of the High Throne. I hoped you could have both. I failed you, Daughter, just as I failed to keep her safe.”

Years ago, Shannari had almost made the same mistake as her mother. She’d foolishly believed that love’s power would make her magic invincible. Instead, she now bore a vicious scar as proof that love could never be trusted. “Oh, Father, we haven’t failed. Father Aran said Our Blessed Lady will provide a way. We have to believe.”

“What I believe is that Theo would rather see you dead than beside him on the High Throne.”

The pulse of ice through her veins echoed the assassination warning and confirmed her father’s fears. Shannari hardened her voice to steel. “Then Lady help me, I’ll see him dead first.”

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Sha’Kae al’Dan


Their name means “With honor on the Sea of Grass”. Roaming the Plains south of the Green Lands, the Sha’Kae al’Dan are a horse culture that worship Vulkar, the Great Wind Stallion.


drakkar: the method of birth control on the Plains. Unmated warriors drink a cup every day to prevent conception. Women do not often drink drakkar because it’s a powerful aphrodisiac.

Had-Mangus: the formal name for the assassins, or Death Riders, that kill in Vulkar’s name. Literally, the “Right Hand” of Vulkar, or the Hand that Wields the Rahke of Sacrifice. Touch the Sky is a free read detailing how the Death Riders were first Called to sacrifice by Vulkar.

kae’al: a token of honor, typically colored beads or rings that are worn in the warrior’s hair or in bracelets about his arms or legs to symbolize the warrior’s entire kae’valda.

kae’don: battle, a chance for a warrior to increase his honor

Kae’Had-Mangus: the most honored Death Rider on the Plains, the assassin who has sacrificed the most blood to Vulkar and leads the others.

Kae’Khul: a special battle to declare the Khul of the Nine Camps

kae’rahke: a rahke challenge between two warriors. Warriors may fight simply for blood and honor, but if formal challenge is given, they fight to the death.

Kae’Shaman: the most holy, honored shaman on the Plains

kae’valda: honor. Warriors live and die by their honor, visibly displayed for all to see by the kae’als in their hair and the color of their memsha. Honor can increase or decrease on a daily basis, for everything is a competition on the Plains.

memsha: a brightly colored cloth worn about a warrior’s hips, usually the only clothing the men wear. The color is significant and unique to each warrior, often called kae’valda, which represents his honor. The color of the memsha is given when a lad becomes a warrior.

memshai: the female equivalent of the memsha, typically worn with a loose comfortable vest. A woman may wear any colors she prefers, but a mated woman typically wears her warrior’s kae’valda to honor him.

na’kindre: horse, literally “my family”

na’kindren: plural, horses

na’lanna: an endearment, literally “my beloved.”

na’lanna bond: a unique, rare bond formed between a warrior and his woman, heightened through shared blood, that ties their hearts and minds together. According to legend, a warrior will be able to find his na’lanna anywhere on the Plains if they’re separated. Few mated couples actually share a na’lanna bond.

rahke: a six-inch knife and the main weapon of honor on the Plains. Although warriors do fight with swords, the honor is less than a battle fought with rahke only.

sangral: holy blood



Vulkar, the Great Wind Stallion: He sired the Sha’Kae al’Dan with His own blood after He battled the Endless Night and drove the Shadow away from His Plains. Someday, the Endless Night will darken the Sea of Grass once more. When Vulkar Calls His people in the Last Days and leads them to battle, His Coming will burn the world.

The Dark Mare: The Great Wind Stallion’s mate, a white mare with a black mane and tail. She rose from the Silver Lake at the foot of His Mountain and healed Him after the epic battle against the Endless Night.

The Endless Night: An insiduous Shadow from the north that spreads death and corrupts all He touches. If He breaks free of His prison, the sun will never shine again.


The Nine Camps of the Sha’Kae al’Dan

Each camp is lead by a khul and roams the Plains as needed to graze the na’kindren. One khul is elected Khul through a special battle, the Kae’Khul, and leads all Nine Camps as much as possible. However, the Sha’Kae al’Dan waged war against the Green Lands generations ago when outlanders stole na’kindren, and since that time of Loss, the Nine Camps are broken. Each Khul hopes he will be the one to reunite all Nine Camps under solid leadership, a task which must be accomplished before the Last Days, or the Endless Night will destroy the Plains forever.



The Sha’Kae al’Dan are one of three major peoples in the Blood and Shadows world. I’m no cartographer, but here’s a rough hand-drawn map showing the relationship of Keldar, the Green Lands, and the Plains of the Sha’Kae al’Dan.

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Blood and Shadows Timeline

As much as possible, each story is independent of the others unless clearly stated otherwise (like the Shanhasson trilogy). The Keldari novellas do not have to be read in any certain order, but subtle references between them do exist. This document lists the explicit timeline of the world as a whole for the purist who wants to read in exactly the right order.

Title Historical Significance Setting
Survive My Fire Chanda and Jalan form tribe Tellan Keldar
The Horse Master Origination of the Shadowed blood line in Shanhasson Keldari rav’Tellan visits Shanhasson
The Fire Within Agni Comes to Keldar and issues a dread commission Shanhasson visits Keldar
Touch the Sky First Death Rider is Called by Vulkar Sha’Kae al’Dan Plains
Given In Fire A kidnapped Prince is saved by a Keldari woman Keldar and Shanhasson
The Shadowed Blood Gregar must choose between Death Rider and Blood Sha’Kae al’Dan Plains
The Rose of Shanhasson Destined High Queen finds Our Blessed Lady’s greatest gift of all Green Lands visits the Plains
The Road to Shanhasson Shannari claims the High Throne Sha’Kae al’Dan to Shanhasson
Return to Shanhasson Shannari fights to keep the High Throne Primarily Shanhasson with Keldari vistors and a trip to the Plains
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The Shanhasson Trilogy Playlist

Lots of songs inspire me for this series:

  • Faith of the Heart, or Where My Heart Will Take Me (theme from Enterprise)
  • Everything I Do, I Do It For You, Bryan Adams (especially in Rose)
  • Kiss From A Rose by Seal
  • Against All Odds by Phil Collins (especially in Rose)
  • Make This Go On Forever by Snow Patrol
  • Knights of Cydonia by Muse (especially in Road)
  • Deathzone by Apocalyptica  (especially in Road)
  • Bittersweet by Apocalyptica (especially in Road, Return)
  • Behind the Crimson Door by H.I.M. (especially in Road)
  • Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad by Meatloaf (especially in Rose)
  • Burn It To The Ground by Nickelback (especially in Return)
  • Secret by Heart (especially in Road)