Ever since magic caused his mother’s death, Ha-Neul, crown prince of Balhae, hates witches and the magic they wield. He has instituted harsh laws against all magic users.
Lisa is a young witch working undercover as a servant in his palace, hoping to gain freedom for her people. The last thing the two expect is to fall in love. But when Ha-Neul learns that Lisa is not only a witch, but the daughter of the Prince of Vires, land of witches, he banishes her. Distracted by heartbreak, he is caught off-guard by a military coup.
In hiding and on the run, Ha-Neul swallows his pride and travels with his siblings to Vires, planning to beg Lisa’s aid, only to learn that she has mysteriously vanished.
Now his only hope in reclaiming his kingdom and reuniting with Lisa lies in the remote Northern Mountains, a country no one has ever penetrated and rumored home of a powerful magic source. There, Ha-Neul learns that a being powerful beyond comprehension has been carefully guiding his destiny. But if Ha-Neul can’t let go of his hatred of all things magic, and accept the new path offered to him, it will mean the destruction of his entire world.
Adam Gowans is the youngest of five Air Force brats, out of which his siblings have voted him the weirdest. He loves anything that deals with stories, including movies, novels, television dramas, music, video games, manga/manhwa, and webtoons.
In his mid-twenties, he lived and taught English in South Korea for four years before returning to the States to live, like many LDS authors, in Utah.
His first novel is On Angelic Wings, which has a planned sequel, but the sequel will be released after two other novels that are calling for his attention.
Ha-Neul stood at the corral, watching as Ha-Na ran a horse through a course of jumps. Several of her other nain stood by, watching alongside the stable master. Lisa stood a little apart from the other nain for a few minutes before breaking away to go into the stables. Intrigued that she would leave, Ha-Neul excused himself from his entourage, leaving his horse’s reins in his chamsagwan’s hand, to follow her. He watched as she bypassed all the docile horses and walked to a stall where a white-and-black-spotted mare tramped restlessly. As she approached the horse, it quieted and waited for her. She stroked the horse’s nose a few times before encircling her hands about its neck and resting her cheek against its nose. Both let out a deep sigh.
“I thought she wasn’t broken,” he said.
The mare backed away, and Lisa bolted upright, turning to face him. Then the horse went back to irritably tramping around its stall, making him wish he hadn’t interrupted the moment.
“Wangseja-Mama.” She bowed. When she rose from the bow, her eyes flitted around to his shoulders, his arms, and his chest, which stood out more prominently in his riding gear. A light heat started to bloom in his chest until she looked back up at his face, her expression hardening more than it ever had in the few times he had seen her in Ha-Na’s or Su’s company.
“So the mare is tame?” he asked to be conversational and to try to dispel the awkwardness.
“No, Wangseja-Mama. As you can see, she is not.” Her voice was cooler than usual.
“But she let you touch her,” he pointed out with interest.
Lisa’s cool, focused look slipped and a wistful smile appeared. “We just understand each other.” Her smile disappeared as the coolness returned. “Those who want their freedom will fight harder the more you try to control them.” She turned to leave after a brief bow, but her words intrigued him even more, and he stopped her with his words.
“What do you mean exactly when you say ‘want’?”
She looked back at him, then turned to face him. “I mean precisely what I said.”
… “I wasn’t entirely sure for the past couple of weeks, but now I’m convinced. You hate me,” he searched her face, looking deep into her eyes.
Lisa laughed, but it held no warmth, no amusement. “Yes, it is difficult for me to conceal it when you are in front of me.”
“Why?” His voice was a little soft, and his chest felt cold.
“Because you’re a monster.” Lisa spoke in Haeche.
He never believed he could see her countenance sour as much as it did at that moment. She no longer hid the extent of her hate for him, and it terrified him. …
“You call yourself human, yet you seek to totally dehumanize a group of people—no, not dehumanize them, but make them the lowest scum of the planet—untouchable, unworthy to converse with, something to be exterminated.”
“Really!” she laughed again. The stable was quiet. Fear hung thick in the air as fury radiated from her. “Where will you end your campaign against witches? When you have punished their supporters to the point they are too frightened to help? Once the witches have left their homeland? The one they have occupied far longer than your people occupied ancient Balhae? Please, tell me when it will end!”
His own anger surged, overcoming his fear of her hatred for him. “Those lands no longer belong to them.”
“It belongs to them, and they to it. Your claim is infinitesimal compared to theirs.”
“I am wangseja of the country!”
“You are wangseja only because the last dynasty set your gajok above theirs hundreds of years ago. You are one person—just like everyone else on Dunia—with the same potential for good or evil, and you choose evil disguised under the name of good.”
“Why do you care so much? You are nothing but a nain who wants to be a musuri!”
“I know you’ve seen my file, and I don’t care what you think of me because I know you will show no respect for me. Your view of what is human is skewed. All who live in the northern territories know it. You are a joke, Wangseja”—she spat his title with such venom he almost recoiled, even in the midst of his own fury—“among those people, and I will tell you this one thing.” She paused for the briefest of moments, her presence dominating everything around him. “The more you fight against Vires—against those witches—the more the other territories and those sympathetic with witches will rise against you.”
A sense of dread chilled his body. “You mean the northern Balhaens.”
“And you are certain of this?” His anger simmered underneath the sheen of calm about the implication that the territory and the northern Balhaens in his employ might betray him.
“As certain as I stand in front of you.”