(The Kingmaker Trilogy, #1)
Publication date: January 1st 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
“I am sixteen years old and I will die on the morning of my seventeenth birthday. As tradition dictates, I will be sacrificed and my life’s blood will determine which one of my two brothers will be King. My blood will kill one and crown one. My name is Everleigh and I am the Kingmaker.”
The legend of the Kingmaker goes back millions of years. Their magic chooses the rightful King of the Realm and they all die on their seventeenth birthday.
Except this one.
Everleigh is special.
She is the Kingmaker who will live, the Kingmaker who will rule, the Kingmaker who will be Queen.
But not everyone agrees with an age old prophecy that says that a girl will rule the Realm and soon Everleigh is locked in a deadly battle for the throne.
The first time Everleigh’s mother, Isabella, Queen of the Realm, explained to Everleigh her duty, her role as Kingmaker, her cruel fate, she couldn’t stop crying. She started with silent tears, trailing down her beautiful face, as she explained both the age-old traditions and the potent magic that combined to make Everleigh’s life so special.
Then the sobs came, her whole body shaking, as she told Everleigh how she would live a short but very special, very important life.
Finally came the deep shuddering breaths as she fought to regain some control while she tried to make her daughter understand that she would die so that one of her brothers could become King.
Her father Henry, the King of the Realm, took over, letting her mother’s lady in waiting take her away and call the doctor for a sleeping draught. She was heavily pregnant and he wanted to spare her from too much upset.
Her father sat next to her; she was only five years old, and he told her about the magic that filled her blood, the sacred traditions that all Kings must follow, and the special, special little girl that she was.
When he asked her if she understood, if she felt okay with it all, she nodded, as she always did when her father asked her anything. She always wanted to please him.
He was the most important man in the whole Realm and he loved her. He sought out her company. He tried to make her laugh. She had always felt special because of him and she wanted him to love her more. So, she always dressed prettily. She always tried extra hard at her reading. She practised sewing for hours, pricking her thumb repeatedly, just to initial clothes for his birthday. She didn’t really understand what being Kingmaker meant. But she nodded, because that was what her father, the King, wanted.
Her day to day life didn’t change after they told her. She was only five so she spent most of her days playing. A nurse looked after her and her two brothers, Macsen and Millard, and together they would splash in the river, trail through the forest and ride horses.
Her mother, Isabella, looked pained every time she saw her and didn’t spend a lot of time with the three of them, because of the baby; everyone in the castle knew she was hoping for another little girl to replace Everleigh. But with her days filled with laughter and play Everleigh wasn’t bothered that much.
The three of them were extremely spoiled because they were the royal children. That was their privilege. If they wanted something, then they got it. Macsen didn’t want for much, Millard’s demands were extreme and Everleigh’s were somewhere in between.
Their father indulged them all completely, and Everleigh always got special treats that she hadn’t even asked for. Firstly, she was the only princess in the Realm, and secondly, she was Kingmaker. She was doubly special.
A month after Everleigh turned five Queen Isabella had given birth to a perfect baby daughter and died after complications but, as it does, life went on for the family and on her tenth birthday her father gave her an important book, enormous and leather bound, called The Kingmaker.
Everleigh sat in her chamber and flicked through the pages.
It had all the information behind the tradition of the Kingmaker and it also had a page for every Kingmaker through the history of the Realm, with their likeness and story, the date they were born and the date they were sacrificed.
On the last written page was her name, the date that she was born and the day that she would be sacrificed.
She hadn’t known that word. She was only ten.
It was times like that she had missed her mother the most. Without her to turn to she asked Nurse and she had told her: it was the offering of an animal, plant or human life, usually to please the gods.
When Everleigh asked what an offering was, Nurse got a little teary eyed and had run out of the room.
And then Everleigh asked her brothers.
She could still remember the look on both of their faces.
Macsen had looked wide eyed and frightened. He bit his lip, and tears filled his eyes. He took a step towards her, he was so much taller, almost grown at fifteen, and slipped an arm around her shoulders.
Millard’s reaction was completely different. His eyes were bright, but not with tears, Everleigh was only ten and hadn’t been able to read his expression. But she knew it wasn’t sorrow. He turned his mouth down and tried to look sad, but his eyes were shining with something else.
With the sad look plastered on his face, he stepped between Everleigh and Macsen, “You’re the Kingmaker. You are the offering. You will die and one of us will be King.” Millard had been thirteen at the time.
And so, it dawned on her.
And once it dawned on her, it became the very beat of her heart.
From that day forward her first thought upon waking was that she was going to die. Her last thought before going to sleep was that she was going to die – but not naturally or at the random hands of fate like other people. Her death was decided when they announced she was a girl born and not another boy. She would die at the hands of someone on the morning of her seventeenth birthday. It was decided.
Everything was coloured by her role as Kingmaker.
When her father disclosed the girls that her brothers would be betrothed to – should they live and rule, she couldn’t stop thinking that she would never be matched, that she would never dance in the arms of the man that she loved while he gazed lovingly in to her eyes.
Her role and her duty defined her so completely.
And now the countdown had really begun, less than one week left of her short, special life.
Gemma Perfect loves to write. She’s been doing it since she was nine. After a few false starts – self publishing children’s books, and being traditionally published with her romance novella, she has finally found her feet writing young adult historical fantasy books. She is currently writing The Cursed Princess, set five years after The Kingmaker Trilogy finishes, following the adventures of Everleigh’s sister, Addyson.
Gemma lives in Wales with her husband Craig and their three boys, Sam, Corey and Oliver. She is happiest when writing, day dreaming and eating smelly blue cheese.