The Kruorumbrae, or Blood Shadows, in Sign of the Throne are creatures that originate from Cai Terenmare, a magical parallel world. Some of these predators have found their way to Earth, inspiring many of our myths. Abby Brown has a close encounter with one of these terrifying monsters when it first appears to her as a shadowy goblin boy and then changes into a black cat.
When she meets the queen of Cai Terenmare, Abby discovers that her bogeyman is one of the Kruorumbrae, vicious monsters that feed on the fear and life force of other living creatures. They are shape-shifters, changing their form to hide in plain sight as animals. The most powerful of the Kruorumbrae can even change into someone who looks and acts familiar to you, stealing that person’s body and using it as a disguise.
These creatures serve Tynan Tierney, an evil lord aligned with the Darkness. Tierney calls himself the Kruor um Beir, or the King of Blood and Shadows. His goal is to seize the throne of the Solas Beir and rule Cai Terenmare. Queen Eulalia reveals that Abby is destined to stop him by helping David Corbin, the lost heir of Cai Terenmare, claim the throne first. To do that, Abby will have to face the Kruorumbrae.
There are several ways to keep the Kruorumbrae at bay. Sea salt or even common table salt can also be helpful in creating circles of protection or blocking passage from windows and doors. For smaller Kruorumbrae, contact with salt can be deadly. For a larger Blood Shadow, crossing a line of salt will cause burns. The longer the creature maintains contact with the circle, the more likely it is to burst into flames. Fire or silver can also be used to slay Kruorumbrae. Silver is an effective weapon because the Blood Shadows are allergic to it. If they touch it, their skin burns, and they can be killed with a silver blade.
In addition to feeding on the bodies of the living, the Kruorumbrae are parasites, feeding off psychic energy and fear. To prevent this, gifts can be presented to appease the appetites of the Blood Shadows, but not any gift will do. Traditionally milk and honey are offered because these foods are more potent than others, having been obtained from creatures who expended great energy in producing them. Abby learns that some people in Newcastle Beach have made offerings in exchange for prosperity, and that others have suffered terrible consequences for their encounters with these monsters. For Abby, saving David and the kingdom of Cai Terenmare may mean paying the ultimate price.
About the Book
Abby is an ordinary girl haunted by dreams of an ivory castle, blood-thirsty monsters, and a striking stranger. Working as a babysitter for a family of mythology lovers in wealthy Newcastle Beach, California, she struggles to define herself among the elite class while trying to make sense of her strange visions. Upon meeting David, the doppelgänger of the mysterious young man in her dreams, Abby’s life is changed forever.
Encountering the queen of Cai Terenmare, a magical kingdom in a parallel world, Abby learns of an evil lord hell-bent on usurping the throne, the murder of Cai Terenmare’s king, the Solas Beir, and the kidnapping of the Solas Beir’s infant son.
As the kingdom struggles to endure, the queen shows Abby the full extent of her destiny. She must convince her mysterious crush, David, that he is the lost heir. While braving attacks from the dark lord’s sadistic minions, David must realize his true identity and return to Cai Terenmare to claim his throne before time runs out, lest the evil that was temporarily locked away be unleashed, threatening to destroy both the kingdom and all of humanity.
An Excerpt from
Sign of the Throne
She was used to the familiar creaks and groans of the old house, and night ushered in the occasional chirp of a cricket or flutter of moth wings around theantique sconces lighting the room. Tonight she heard nothing—there was only dead silence. She felt a prickle at the back of her neck and realized she was shivering. The room had gone unnaturally cold, and she had the distinct sense that she was not alone.
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a shadowy presence, someone standing still, watching her. She turned to look, but there was no one there. She felt a terrible unease twisting in her gut. Something was wrong.
Responding to her intuition, she got up and climbed the stairs to check on thechildren. Ciaran was snoring, perfectly at peace. He had wriggled out of his covers in his sleep. Abby tucked him back in.
Leaving his room, she walked down the hall to the twins’ room. The nightlight inthe hallway began blinking erratically. She entered the room and froze. Perched monkey-like on the corner of Rowan’s crib was a shadowed figure thesize of a small boy, leaning over the sleeping child. Sensing Abby, it turned its head, blood-red eyes meeting hers.
Abby gasped with horror as the creature leapt with unnatural agility from thecrib and crouched like a spider high on the wall, staring down at her. Slowly, it smiled, revealing rows of pointed narrow teeth, sharp as razors. And then…it pounced.
Abby raised her arms to shield herself, scrunched her eyes shut, and screamed. But there was nothing. She heard a low chuckle behind her and saw the creature near the door. The shadow boy laughed and ran out. Thesmoky form changed into a large black housecat before disappearing throughthe hallway wall.
Abby ran to the twins’ light switch and turned on the lights. She checked to make sure Rowan and Siobhan were unharmed, and then hurried to Ciaran’s room, flicking on lights as she ran. Ciaran was still fast asleep—her scream had not disturbed him at all.
She jerked open his closet door and found his aluminum baseball bat. Then, scooping him and the quilt up from his bed, she ran back to Rowan and Siobhan’s room. She shut the door and nestled the five year old into a make-shift bed on the floor. Sitting against the dresser next to him, she hummed, trying to reassure herself. Armed with the bat and the adrenaline coursing through her body, she waited.
Melissa Eskue Ousley is the author of The Solas Beir Trilogy. “Sign of theThrone,” the first book of this young adult fantasy series, will be released onSeptember 14. She is currently working on the second and third novels in thetrilogy, “The Rabbit and the Raven” and “The Sower Comes.”
Melissa lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family and their Kelpie, Gryphon. When she’s not writing, Melissa can be found swimming, hiking, kayaking, scuba diving, or walking along the beach, poking dead things with a stick.
Before she became a writer, she had a number of educational jobs, ranging from a summer spent scraping roadkill off a molten desert highway to years spent conducting research with an amazing team of educators at the University of Arizona.