The Ashes by Kyle Prue

His fate has been foretold. Unless he can accept his fortune, his nation will fall to its doom.

Teenage warrior Neil Vapros strives to live up to his destiny. Imprisoned at the hands of the Empire, to return to his family and sweetheart, he’s forced to stage a daring breakout. But as he smashes the chains, he uncovers a shocking truth…

On the run and desperate to fight back, his valiant efforts against the rising forces only result in more tragic deaths. And now Neil understands that the only way anyone will live is if he embraces his own demise.

Will Neil pay the ultimate price to prevent freedom’s annihilation?

The Ashes is the thrilling conclusion to the award-winning Epic Feud YA fantasy trilogy. If you like edge-of-your-seat action, gripping suspense, and explosive battles, then you’ll love Kyle Prue’s riveting finale.

Read an Excerpt:

Every time Neil awoke, he awoke angry. He hadn’t asked to be a prophet or a chosen one, and it wasn’t exactly convenient. Not only had he been pushed from bloody conflict to bloody conflict, but if his new intel was right, then he was also marked for dead. And the man he trusted most in the world had been lying to him for months.

Neil drifted in and out of consciousness for days. When he finally awoke, his mouth had never felt drier and every part of his body ached, especially his ribs. When he leaned up to survey his surroundings, he realized his chest was bandaged tightly. So were his knees and wrists. He’d been confined to a small military cot in what he could only assume was one of the Wolf’s military tents.

As if summoned by Neil’s angry thoughts, the leader of the rebel army promptly entered the tent.  “Neil Vapros, my good man,” the Wolf said with a large grin. “It’s been quite a while. You look shockingly alive.”

“You’re shocked?” Neil countered. He could see the Wolf was slightly set off balance by his tone. “Aren’t I the chosen one? I can’t die.”

“Ah,” the Wolf said, “well, yes.”

The Wolf looked as Neil remembered him. He was handsome, resolute, and strong with a straight spine and iron jaw. His beard had grown out a bit, making him look gruffer and younger.

The Wolf approached slowly. “You’ve taken quite a beating.  Want a drink?”

“Have any water?”

The Wolf pulled his personal canteen from his belt and passed it to Neil. He took a swig. “When we have the time I’d like to hear absolutely everything about how you came to be here,” the Wolf said.

“Oh, we’ll discuss,” Neil said. “You wouldn’t believe the things I’ve learned.”

This one was a barb and the Wolf sensed it. “Feeling all right, Neil?”

“After Josephine’s funeral you told me something that really stuck with me.” Neil sat up. He was fuming.

“I told you that you were burdened with purpose,” the Wolf said.

“You did. And you told me that the only way out of this nightmare was through it. That if I wanted to be with Bianca, I could fight my way through this war and be with her.”

“Yes.”

“And then you told me the prophecy. You used that prophecy to get me to join your band of rebels.  You said it was my destiny.” Neil was on his feet, despite the pain. “A Lightborn will bring forth a new Altryon.  The Lightborn will be like a Phoenix. Reborn in Fire. Forged in fire. My life will bring about the new nation.”

“Yes,” the Wolf said.

“That’s what you said to me.”

“Yes.”

“And that’s how it was told to you? Verbatim?”

The Wolf clenched his fists. He lowered his head and Neil saw shame in his eyes. “Ah,” the Wolf said, “I see.”

“My life?” Neil said again, begging now. “My life? Because others have also heard the prophecy, but they tell it a little differently. They seem to think my death will bring about the new nation. But you heard it from the Man with the Golden Light.  So they must be mistaken.  It’s my life, right?  Because that’s what you told me.  You who are my friend, my mentor, my General. You wouldn’t be the one lying to me, right?”

The Wolf was silent, and Neil could see those eyes again. Dissecting him. Looking for a strategy. Looking for a way out. “Do you know how much I’ve sacrificed?” he finally asked. “What I would give?”

“It’s very clear what you would give.” Neil’s hands were smoking. “My. Life.”

“May we speak with some civility?” Neil had never seen the Wolf afraid before.

“No,” Neil said. “Civility landed me here. I don’t want to be figurehead of a cause that’s going to kill me. I don’t want to be a pawn of a man who is leading me to slaughter. Speak with a little honesty.”

“Fine,” the Wolf said, pivoting now. “Do you know how many men I see die every year?” Neil didn’t respond in time. “More than you could possibly imagine. Last year it was thousands. I see killing fields and hardly anything else. Do you know what I would do to see that stop? Do you know what I would do to protect these men and women?”

“What?” Neil spat.

“Anything. Anything short of surrender.”

“You’re not sorry?” Neil’s ribs ached and he was wheezing. “No apology? You just do what you have to do?”

“I am sorry,” the Wolf said. “I am sorrier than you could possibly know. I have an immeasurable amount of blood on my hands. More than anyone else you know, I’d say. And nothing has gutted me more than this lie.”

“More deception.” Neil hobbled back in the direction of his bed. “More lies.”

“Neil you must understand.” He took a step forward, and Neil’s hand ignited. The Wolf took the step back. “I’m not even sure if I believe in the prophecy. Or if it’s you that it describes.”

“The Empire believes it,” Neil said. “They want to kill me for Altryon and you want to kill me for Volteria. What’s the difference between the two of you?”

“I gave you a choice.”

“No. No, you did not.”

“Well, I’m giving you one now. You want to leave? Leave. I won’t hold it against you. You want to hide? Hide. That’s not cowardice. It’s understandable. But if you want to stay, stay. This is not my rebellion. I just happen to be in charge of it. This is a rebellion of thousands of good people who want to be heard and treated like human beings. You can fight for them without fighting for me. But if you leave, you are fighting for nothing and no one.”