Home > The Shift of the Tide (The Uncharted Realms #3)

The Shift of the Tide (The Uncharted Realms #3)
Author: Jeffe Kennedy

Acknowledgements

 

 

A huge thank you goes out to Evergreen who not only gave me the insider’s tour of Epcot but helped me without knowing it by giving me the idea for dolphins killing the shark.

Thanks to my long-suffering critique partners and beta readers Marcella Burnard and Carien Ubink. A special thank you to Anne Calhoun, who served as fresh-to-the-series reader and mostly commented “What the hell is going on in this book???”

Cherished writer friends Kelly Robson and Grace Draven gave support and advice many times as I was writing. Without their sanity checks I’d be lost.

Peter Senftleben has been the developmental editor for this entire series and I’m grateful he could continue freelance and work on this book, too. You helped me sort out a major mess! Likewise, Rebecca Cremonese extended her production editing skills to this book and made it so much better. The fact that I use “suicide” as a verb is entirely not her fault. She tried to talk me out of it. She really did.

Thanks to Lynne Facer for suggesting the nicknames for the twins. Love and appreciation, too, to all my readers and especially the crew in Jeffe’s Closet on Facebook, for early feedback and eternal enthusiasm.

Much appreciation to my Santa Fe critique group for wine and conversation, along with insightful comments. Thanks to Sage Walker for a full read when I needed it most and making me put back what I took out. Also big thanks to Edward Khmara, M.T. Reiten, and Eric Wolf. Extra special gratitude to Jim Sorenson, who cried foul on an anticlimactic battle to the dragon and made it SO much better.

I’m giving a special shout-out to Ravven for the absolutely incredible cover. I looked at it for inspiration while writing, it’s that good.

I always thank David last, because he’s the one who’s there day-in and day-out for every phase of writing. This time, though, he went the extra mile—literally. I was finishing the draft of this as we, meaning he, drove through central Wyoming. He made a decision while I was immersed and he was not allowed to talk to me, pulled over at a lake and fished while I wrote the final scenes. It made all the difference and I’ll always associate that peaceful spot with the happy ending of this book. An observant man, as the quiet ones often are.

 

 

 © 2017 by Jennifer M. Kennedy

 

Kindle Edition

All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S.  Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the author.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or business establishments, organizations or locales is completely coincidental.

Thank you for reading!

Credits

Content Editor: Peter Senftleben

Line and Copy Editor: Rebecca Cremonese

Back Cover Copy: Erin Nelsen Parekh

Cover Design: Ravven

 

 

Table of Contents

 


Cover

Title Page

About the Book

Dedication

Acknowledgements

 Page

Maps

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

About Jeffe Kennedy

Titles by Jeffe Kennedy

 

 

The Shift of the Tide

 


by Jeffe Kennedy

 

 

~ 1 ~

 

 

Water streamed over my skin in a rush, responsive as it enveloped me, like music following my dance.

Around me, the shapes of coral resonated with depth, shading moving beyond the visual and into other spectrums. That was one reason I loved this form, where my echolocation gave sound nuance like a rainbow of color. The crystal waters teemed with sea life of all varieties, most of them quite tasty looking, making my stomach tingle with animal anticipation.

I exercised enough conscious control, however, to refrain from sampling the living buffet. Unless pressed into it in order to survive—which had happened more often since I undertook this quest than ever before in my life—I didn’t eat as an animal. It was one of those rules taught to Tala children early, one of the tricks and habits to forestall the worst disaster imaginable for a shapeshifter: being trapped forever in a non-human form.

With the great exception of Final Form. I’d accepted taking that as my destiny, as the only way to save my people. I would do it for my sister’s dead babies, and for the ones I would never have. I’d be lonely, perhaps, but my family was dying off one by one regardless. My mother was gone along with all my siblings but two. And if Anya kept trying to have babies, she’d soon go with them. I would live my life alone, either way, and nothing would change that.

One day, quite soon, I would become a dragon, and stay that way forever.

Though that day drew ever closer—if I succeeded in getting the invitation I sought—for the moment I savored one of my favorites of my many forms, swimming hard and working out the restlessness that plagued me. If I were given a choice of what form to be stuck in forever, I’d pick the dolphin. Its large, mammalian brain contained plenty of room to retain a good portion of reasoning and higher thought. Fast, agile, being a dolphin was simply fun. I’d learned it early and returned to it often.

Learning a new form is part instinct, part observation and study, and part gift from beyond. Some say those are the gifts of the three goddesses—knowledge of the heart from the goddess of love, dawn, and twilight, Glorianna; disciplined study from the warrior goddess of high noon, Danu; and the mysterious arcane touch of Moranu.

Most Tala look to Moranu first, and that’s largely why, because we are shapeshifters—and each shift is a leap of faith in the goddess of the moon, night and shadows. But I needed more than Moranu’s guidance to take Final Form. I needed a real dragon to teach me.

Our ancestors had found a way to shift into it, becoming the great, virtually immortal dragons of old. In that form they retained full consciousness—some said greater intelligence than human minds—along with all the magical gifts the shapeshifter had possessed. Most important, being a dragon came with the additional and priceless gift of modulating magic, something we needed desperately if the Tala, the magical and shapeshifting last remnants of the great races were to survive beyond another generation. We’d preserved so much—and yet not enough. So much knowledge the ancients had taken with them, that we failed to understand.

How it would feel to be the dragon… well, no one had been able to take Final Form in generations. So, no one could tell me if taking that irreversible final step felt like being trapped in an unyielding cage. Even if it would, much as the prospect revolted me, I would do it. And once there, I would be unable to turn back. But the reward would be worth it. I firmly believed that.

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