The Rogue Returns Excerpt

Re’shahna do not fear the state of silence. It is a holistic place for the horse tribes, who revere the stillness as the center of self-awareness.

When I first accepted my place under my mentor, Tobiano, this act of meditation was lost on me. I squirmed through hours of silence beside the fire, staring through the flames at the old warrior on the other side as I wondered how he could sit there for so long without moving or saying a word. He would close his eyes, his horse-like ears tilted downward as if to tune out the forest around him.

But Tobiano was never unaware of his surroundings, especially not in these moments. For me, it was as if the stillness consumed everything surrounding us. Yet he was aware—keenly aware—of each crack of the fire and every movement beneath the trees. As if his already sharp senses were magnified as his spirit sank into the wilderness.

Hochaka,” he called it. Oneness. A reflection without blinders that forced a soul to see and face what resided around him; within him. It has taken me a decade to comprehend what this means. It wasn’t until I became one with the rogue inside of me that I began to understand.

My name is Jaspur Clovenhoof, though I was once known by another. A decade has transpired since I answered to my birth name, and on the rare occasion that someone mentions it, I feel nothing. To me, Prince Jaycent Connor is a stranger. Someone I knew once upon a time but who has long been separated from the person I am.

Who am I, then?

I am the rogue. I answer to no one. I have chosen my own path: to fight for those whose freedom and fate were stolen in a wash of innocent blood twelve years ago. Not for justice. I will not lie and claim to be a righteous character.

I fight because nothing more would please me than to see Nevaharday’s new king, Shadow Silverhorn, dead at the tip of my blade.

The illusionist king took Nevaharday and its throne through death, destruction and deception. He has dominated the rahee, or horse folk as some call us. My people now live like servants and slaves beneath the tyranny of an unjust and evil king.

I will strip him from his station on his streets and under his nose because this time… it is personal. When Shadow Silverhorn invaded Nevaharday, he stole all that was dear to me; a crime that has become his gravest mistake. My eyes bore the pain of my cousin as he was slain in front of me. I have endured the agony of my equine companion’s magical bond ripped from our bodies; a pain that sears both the body and mind. He has separated me from my mate, my love. But I shudder at this and more, because I know for all he has done to me, Shadow continues to do the same to countless others.

King Silverhorn knows the horse folk are angry, though he believes fear keeps their actions in check. Yet all it takes is one pawn to set a course of action; one rebel to stir a revolution.

My name is Jaspur Clovenhoof, and I am the spark that will ignite a wildfire. Others will join me, for their own dead, their own fury, their own retribution.

And I, the rogue, will lead them. For when it is all said and done, I will have my revenge.

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