For Ages
12 to 99

Untethered is a part of the Shielded collection.

For fans of Sorcery of Thorns and Furyborn comes the thrilling sequel to Shielded about a world in a deadly magical war and the newly crowned king and feisty princess who must defeat the deadliest of foes before there's nothing left to save.

Although King Atháren's sister, Jennesara, saved Hálendi from the Gray Mage, the reprieve came at a steep price--the life of their father. Now Ren rules over a divided kingdom, with some who want him dead, and a Medallion that warns of worse trouble brewing in the south.

As second born, Princess Chiara is the perfect Turian royal--perfectly invisible. She longs to help restore peace on the Plateau, but with no magic and no fighting skills, she doesn't stand a chance against a mage. So when a member of the Turian royal family goes missing and Chiara finds a clue about the rumored resting place of the mages' long-lost artifacts, she decides it's time to be seen.

As Ren's and Chiara's paths cross, they find the depth of the mages' hold on the Plateau is more powerful than anyone suspected, and that they must learn to trust themselves, and each other, before the mages retrieve their artifacts and become too powerful to ever defeat.

An Excerpt fromUntethered

Chapter One 

Ren 

The flowers on my father’s tomb had withered and died two months ago. And though it was my duty to replace the flowers, to remember my father’s life, those dried husks remained. 

The white entrance to the castle’s crypt arched over my head, beckoning me in as it did at least once a day since I returned to Hálendi. 

I clenched a cluster of the season’s last blooms in my fist, their fragile stems already broken. 

This was my duty. Whether or not I accepted my father’s death, or wished I’d never left for North Watch to protect the border, or taken the Medallion from him when he’d offered it, this was my duty. To care for his tomb. To honor his life. 

Black ash stained the stone walls above the dimly lit sconces on either side of the archway--the perpetual flames standing guard to the tombs of the kings. They’d started carving my section of the crypt the day after my coronation. 

Down here, the crash of light and sound from the dining hall were a distant memory, though my stomach still swirled with cider. After a full month of parties and dinners to celebrate the commencement of my reign--festivities the kingdom couldn’t really afford--one would think I knew my limits. Yet here I stood, swaying. 

I took a few deep breaths, hoping the cool air would clear my head. The Medallion rested against my chest, right over my heart. It had warmed during dinner, a tingling sense of foreboding that was gone before dessert had been served. 

The Medallion had been like that ever since I’d left Turia. Warm, then cool. Warning, then nothing. It had been nudging me for the past two weeks, but toward what, I couldn’t decipher. It was a key to the Black Library, but my father hadn’t told me about that. He’d said the Medallion would guide me, help me detect deceit. He was supposed to teach me more, but . . . we’d run out of time. The last advice he’d given me was to trust it. But how could I if I didn’t understand it? 

My stomach lurched again, like it couldn’t decide if it should eject its contents. The Medallion warmed again. If it was poison coursing through my system and not cider, deep breathing wouldn’t exactly help. But my magic would protect me. 

It was time to pay my respects. 

Orange petals shook to the perpetually cold ground, and a puff of breath escaped as I relaxed my grip on the flowers and stepped into the crypt. 

I’d slipped away from my ever-vigilant guard and left the party because I couldn’t pretend to laugh and charm anymore. I was too tired to carry my father’s kingdom tonight. 

The rough ceiling arched from one stone column to the next, and with each step I took past the kings of old, their stone coffins tucked away in the shadows, the columns trapped more light behind me until everything was more shadow than flame. 

My parents lay side by side now, and would evermore. Both entombed in coffins of the whitest stone, casting an unearthly glow in the dim, wavering light. 

The little stool I’d hidden behind my mother’s tomb fourteen years ago remained untouched in its alcove. The jumble of emotions inside me pushed for release, but I couldn’t sit and chat. Not tonight. 

Although I’d been training to become king my whole life, I couldn’t seem to manage anything. I’d thought it would be easy to step into my father’s role and lead our people. But his assassination and Leland’s betrayal had left the council in shambles. Leland’s war with Turia fractured the peaceful relations we’d maintained with them for centuries. We’d signed treaties, but the damage would take much longer to heal. 

Jenna had had to remain in Turia--her wedding to Enzo a promise of peace. I clutched the poor flowers tighter. She could handle herself there, but I wished she were here next to me. Wished my sister could help me with this burden. 

Two months since burying Father. One since my coronation. Yet nothing was secure--not the council, not the kingdom. My stomach heaved. Not even my own castle, apparently. 

I stood silently in front of my parents’ tombs. I couldn’t ask why or how or what to do next. Not again. Not when the answer was unending silence. 

While I had brought countless bundles of flowers to the crypt, I hadn’t laid a single petal of my own on his tomb. It had been two months of unanswered questions and broken flowers tossed away. 

Tonight, instead of pleading for guidance, my gaze slid from my father’s tomb to my mother’s. She used to ruffle my hair whenever I’d run by her, and I still remembered the bright sound of her laugh. If I’d been there when she passed, she wouldn’t-- 

Gravel crunched behind me. One step, then two. 

The fresh air hadn’t cleared my head as well as I’d thought, because as I spun, I didn’t quite dodge the knife slashing toward me. It tore through my dress jacket and tunic, then through my skin. 

I slammed my forearm into my assailant’s arm as a burning trail blossomed across my stomach. Someone else reached around my neck from behind, choking my airway. I leaned back into him and brought both legs up, kicking the knifer as hard as I could in the chest. He grunted and rolled away. My lungs screamed for air. 

I tucked my leg up and slipped a knife out of my boot, then jammed it into the thigh of whoever had been stupid enough to attack me in the land of the dead. 

This is the closest I’d ever be to my parents now, and at least here, in this place, I wouldn’t let them down. 

The arm around my neck fell away. I yanked my dagger from his thigh, then forced my elbow into his gut. I had time for one gulping breath before the kinfer’s blade slashed at me again. I jumped back, tripping over the man who’d tried to choke me. My backside hit unyielding stone and a spasm shot up my spine. I rolled to my feet and deflected his next attack, slicing my blade through his forearm, then shoving my elbow into his face. He spun into a kick. But my knife was there first, slashing through his calf muscle before he could connect. 

He fell to the ground, his scream rattling in my aching head. I kicked his weapon, and it spun into the shadows. My chest heaved and dark splatters of blood marred my once-fine jacket. Both attackers wore the gray uniform of the king’s guards--my guards. 

I pressed my hand against my sputtering heart--the Medallion had fallen out from its hiding spot. I tucked it back under my tunic, hoping neither of my attackers had seen it. 

“Arrest him!” a high-pitched voice yelled, adding to the banging in my head. 

Lady Isarr stood under the crypt’s arch, one long fingernail pointed directly at me. A whole troop of people crowded around her, pushing their way in, with gasps from the wide-eyed courtiers, shock and anger from the guards she’d conveniently brought along. 

Well, this complicated things a bit. My opposition was moving openly. 

“Do not screech at your king, Lady Isarr. My head is already pounding, and I need to think,” I said, rubbing my temple.

“What have you done, Your Majesty?” Isarr breathed out, oil dripping from her words like I’d never heard before. “You’ve murdered them!” she accused, spreading her arms to indicate the two groaning men sprawled at my feet. The men who clearly weren’t dead. But who’d clearly wanted me dead. 

The Medallion warmed against my chest, but I didn’t need its help to sense her lie. 

My dagger hung limp at my side, dripping blood into the cracks in the stone. The guards Isarr had brought in her entourage rushed to their fallen comrades. 

“May I ask, Lady Isarr, why you and your associates are visiting the crypt at this hour?” I asked as I wiped my blade on my trousers. I’d known most of these people my entire life, yet they would charge me with murder? 

Her hand flew to her chest. “We heard yelling and came at once!” 

My eyebrows shot up and I stared down her entourage. “You heard yelling through all this rock?” I shook my head. “Try again.” 

Some in the crowd shifted. Others watched Isarr, to see how she would respond. The man on her immediate left and the woman on her right--her best friend and her known lover--didn’t flinch. Loyal to Isarr, then.

Under the Cover