Why is this only 30+ pages long???? I loved it and wanted more, more and more! Were's my damned .5 star because I want to give this 4.5 stars. :) I had picked this up as a part of a bundle sale from Riptide Publishing in my quest to broaden my author base and really had no idea what it was about. What a terrific surprise! So much crammed into a short story - I was certain that it was a prequel story or a .5 story for some established universe and as soon as I was finished, went on the hunt to acquire more. Imagine my shock to find that this is the author's first work! There's been a war. There have been wild elves and a menaced kingdom. There has been sacrifice and love and hotness and magic and power. The characters are fascinating from the get-go. And the writing itself? Magical. Tal Valante, you MUST WRITE MORE!!!!