Trials By Tides: A Zasra Press Anthology
Publication date: April 26th 2022
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
The strangers hadn’t come for just any story. They’d come for her—the memory I’d clearly failed to bury. The one story I’d never tell… from “The Storyteller”
Somewhere down in the depths of the ocean, deeper than any light could reach, something awoke… from “Cost of the Crown”
I cannot shake the call of the ocean. It consumes me, fills my dreams, crowds my mind, and in that moment I know…I will do anything to become a mermaid… from “The Calling”
As gentle and sweet as the ocean’s lullaby can be, its waters are dark, dangerous, and full of mystery….
Dive in and explore ten original stories centered around the ocean. You’ll find something for everyone, from benevolent mermaids to powerful levjatans; stolen secrets and forbidden stories. Meet pirates and thieves, sea dragons and gods in these tales of action, grief, romance, and mystery!
The Song Thieves – Eleanor Owen
A girl who steals secrets from the sea searches for her missing sister, following clues found in the sea’s strange songs.
Manannan’s Daughter – Christiana Matthews
Mortals are all very well to use as playthings, but Cliohna’s decisions anger her father, with disastrous results.
Son of the Sea – Aisling Wilder
On an island in the West of Ireland, a lost soul rescues a dying man—or does the man rescue him?
The Delivery – Barend Nieuwstraten III
For a pair of hired hands, a simple task of escorting a coffin and its caretaker across the southern sea should make for a relaxing journey. However, as questionable things begin to happen, they find themselves more and more involved in the wild events to come.
The Storyteller – R. L. Davennor
An elderly storyteller is forced to recall the one tale she swore never to utter.
Cost of the Crown – Ine Gausel
Young prince Coral has always been told that the sea is a dark and dangerous place, but something he finds up on shore will change his life forever.
Heart of Amber – Kida Langås
After a storm brings two lost unlikely friends together after a decade apart, both of them have to make a choice: sneak away and rekindle their friendship, or risk losing each other a second time.
One More Time – A. M. Dilsaver
A young widower seeks solace from the ocean and its mysteries after his wife dies.
The Calling – A. M. Dilsaver
Torn between her true love and the ocean, Cordelia must make a choice that will change her life forever.
The Sparrow in the Ash Sea – S. K. Sayari
An unlikely hero must return the Goddess of the Sea to her temple before the ash sea overtakes all.
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From: The Song Thieves – Eleanor Owen
I’d been hearing the song for days. Its whispering voices had danced an aching beat in my mind as we’d pursued it across the waves. Though I should have known better, I still tried to make sense of it, to pick out a melody I could understand. It throbbed in my skull like a migraine.
Only when I was under the water did the song start to untangle. In the air, it was a distorted whisper scratching against my thoughts, but with the sea against my skin, I heard its voices clear. They spoke no language that had ever graced a human tongue, as much sound and feeling as it was word.
Through ink-dark water I kicked away from the shattered moonlight. Around me, streaked shadows and seaweed wove together into a darkness far thicker than the night above. All the while, I followed the song, deeper, deeper.
The strands of it, each voice within it that wove together to make something that was almost music, wrapped around me and pulled me down, yet I struggled to fall into the trance of their embrace. For as mesmerizing as this song was, I heard another, and amongst its voices, I heard my own. From distant depths it whispered a frantic litany, like a discordant thought had clambered from my head.
If you ever hear your own voice, get out of there. It was the first lesson Attarin had taught me about song hunting. He’d never cared to elaborate on why.
I gritted my teeth and focused on the song before me, the one I had been sent to salvage. I could see it now, a scrap of luminescence snagged between ribbons of seaweed. Lungs burning, I floated before it. Syllables pulsed through me with every swell of the sea.
Moments before my outstretched fingers touched it, I recognized a different voice within its chorus.
From: The Storyteller – R. L. Davennor
The tavern door swung open, stopping me mid-sentence as cold and snow scattered everywhere. The roaring fire to my left was enough to keep my old bones from feeling the sudden chill, but indignant muttering rose from the patrons seated near the back.
Several silhouettes emerged from the blackness outside. A few members of my audience raised their voices, demanding to know whether the newcomers had lost their minds; no one in their right one would dare brave a blizzard this harsh.
Unless they’d come to see me.
My fists clenched at my sides. Visitors were now a regular occurrence, disrupting the peace and constantly drawing attention. Despite my best efforts to quell them, rumors had spread far and wide by now: in the north resided not just any storyteller, but The Storyteller. Though I did have a name of my own, that was all anyone had called me for years, and I still hadn’t decided whether I liked it.
What I didn’t like were the rumors—because they weren’t rumors. They were true. I could recite any story, old or new, knew the mythos of the gods better than anyone, and adored being the vessel that kept their legends alive. I’d traveled the world and seen things that no other mortal had ever laid eyes on. But such a distinction attracted inevitable attention…and strangers.
I studied tonight’s lot. Four of them, led by a man so tall he had to duck to cross the threshold. They said nothing as they stripped themselves of their jackets and furs. Their teeth chattered and their hands shook, but strangely, they didn’t look too bedraggled, given what they’d just endured. I couldn’t even see any obvious signs of frostbite. Impressive, but I wouldn’t let it show. Raising an eyebrow, I waited until they’d crammed themselves into the only empty booth before continuing my story. Whatever the strangers had come for, they would soon leave empty-handed. I’d make certain of that.
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