The Elders remembered another life, running with the glow of the soul against bare feet, like the heat of high noon on the plains. The earth of Tien loved everyone it touched. The earth in Linan was cold and lifeless.
As Guardian of the Soul of Tien, Lord Orin has been charged with caring for the infant princess after enemies attacked the palace. Her nurse dead, he continues his journey until he comes to the village in Linan where the King said they would be safe--where she would be protected, raised as a princess should be.
The village is dead, the only things left living in it the ancient sentient trees of the forest.
The Elder Trees around the abandoned village in Linan have an oath to fulfill. Protect the Soul. Those chasing the boy and his ward don’t share that obsession.
It is time for Lord Orin to fulfill a destiny he's never dreamed of; to die and live again, to become something more than human. More than just the Guardian of the Soul. If he is to protect her, Linan itself must have a Soul.
It Takes a Village is an adult fantasy...(etc)
First 150 words
The sounds of battle in the wide stone halls jerked Lord Orin out of sleep. The silence echoed and he relaxed. He'd never dreamed of battle before. He rolled on his side, staring at the pale square of light that was his window. Not even dawn yet. Yawning, he cuddled back into his blanket, then sat up and stared toward the door.
As he came to full alertness he heard it again, the familiar sound of weapons. Something about the sound seemed wrong. No one would be practicing the swords at this hour, but the sound itself came from the wrong direction for the palace's practice yards.
He flung off the blankets and lunged for his weapon stand, turning and kicking wildly as one of the blankets stayed wrapped around an ankle.
Short sword in hand, he hesitated. The sound had stopped again. Something, some instinct, made him draw the other sword.