Marie Bilodeau is an Ottawa-based author and storyteller. Her speculative fiction has won several awards and has been translated into French (Les Éditions Alire) and Chinese (SF World). Marie is also a storyteller and has told stories across Canada in theatres, tea shops, at festivals and under disco balls. Find out more at

Princess of Light by Marie Bilodeau

The Wall of Loss separating the lands of light and darkness is failing.

Despite her attempts to stop them, dark creatures invade Princess Cassara Edoline's small and almost forgotten kingdom, murdering her family and taking her younger brother captive. Torn by guilt and clutching an amulet of powerful magic, she vows to rescue her brother and save as many as possible from the invading hordes.

But first, she must find out what is causing the thousand-year-old magic of the Wall to fail and stop it, if she can.

As Cassara's resolve and strength are mercilessly tested and her shaky alliances begin to crumble, she must find a way to master her newfound powers which promise both salvation and destruction, or watch her beloved land be consumed by darkness and death.



  • "From the first page, this tale grabbed me. Cassara and everyone she met came alive on the pages, and I couldn't stop turning them. And found myself thoroughly enjoying a tale told with humour despite its dark moments, with twists and turns that kept me reading long after bedtime. And kept bringing me to a halt to re-read moments that bit hard, and took my breath away. Remember that when you get to the end, and know that there are sequels. You're going to love this book."

    – Ed Greenwood Internationally-bestselling author of SPELLFIRE and creator of The Forgotten Realms®
  • "…having such a wonderful read with such a great ending means I can wholeheartedly tell everyone that you should definitely, absolutely and without question read all three books in the Heirs of Broken Land series. […] All in all, a perfect fantasy adventure!"

    – Sequential Tart
  • "This is the fantasy epic I've been waiting for, with original magic, found family, and fully-realized, powerful female characters. That it's fast-paced yet breathes wonder in every setting is a fit tribute to Bilodeau's strengths as a writer. Highly Recommended. (I cannot wait for the next in the series.)"

    – Julie Czerneda, author of "The Gossamer Mage"



The clouds covered the moon, leaving Cassara with little light by which to navigate. She cursed silently for letting herself get caught in her music and not leaving earlier. But it had felt so good to be free, if only for a moment. The sea shimmered as the clouds parted from the moon once more, only to be quickly covered again.

Cassara walked silently, brooding over the day's events. It was getting harder and harder to escape the manor now, since her father had doubled her security. If it wasn't for Kaden's and Carsyn's help, she knew she would never escape to visit the land and play her music for her people.

Of course, the only reason they agreed to it was to make sure she wouldn't run away on her own and be impossible to find. She kicked a rock and watched it roll before her.

Her planned escapes were best for everyone concerned, really. She was still able to do what she loved, and her guards still knew her whereabouts. When they didn't fall asleep, anyways. And she knew that were she ever to run away, something she never seriously considered doing, Kaden and Carsyn would be made to pay, and they were like family to her.

All they needed was a good retirement, which they refused to take as long as she was under their care. She exhaled loudly into the night and filled her lungs with the fresh sea air.

The sound of her breath filled her ears before she slowly released it. At that moment, her ears felt empty and ached for sound. No cricket sang. No owl broke the night with its haunting cry.

The wind had died down, so no leaf rustled and no wave struck the cliffs. The apple blossoms were eerily still as they caught what little light the moon offered.

A pungent smell overtook the air, sending a shiver through her entire body. Her steps faltered as her stomach lurched.

Cassara looked back towards the village. She was halfway to the manor.

She cast another wary glance about her, trying to convince herself the smell came from the sea, where a whale must have perished. But she knew that it was not the season for whales to be migrating, nor was there any wind to carry the smell so quickly and efficiently.

Cassara hastened her steps. The orchard was starting to feel like uncharted territory to her.

The sound of a twig breaking shattered the stillness. Cassara stopped and looked towards the dark trees. The weak moonlight revealed nothing.

"Kaden?" she whispered in the trees, trying to summon the courage to continue walking.

It can't be Kaden, you fool! her mind screamed. He's too slow to catch up to you!

She bit her lower lip and forced herself to keep moving. Another noise broke the night, this one louder, like a growl. But it sounded nothing like the few wolves that frequented the area near the borders of Kosel.

Her hands numb, she fumbled for the dagger she kept at her waist, at Kaden's insistence. The weight felt inadequate in her hand but she was still grateful for the presence of a weapon.

A figure moved within the woods, barely ten feet from where she stood. She backed away quickly, towards the cliffs, before thinking better of it. The air around her turned cold, and Cassara wished she could be anywhere but here, alone at night.

The growl grew louder and the creature came closer. Something suddenly burned against her chest, and Cassara touched her mother's amulet. Her heart raced below it, the metal warm on her flushed skin.

"Come out!" Her scream fell weakly into the night. "Come out and face me!" She screamed again, this time with more force.

As if she had recited the words to some great spell, three creatures emerged from the woods. Something in their clunky walk, crooked posture and guttural sounds led her to believe these were not mere thieves. Cassara gasped and dropped her knife as the moon broke free of the clouds.

If they had been human at one point, some force had robbed them of any grace and warmth. Their faces bore human features, now twisted and grotesque. Skin tight against bone and muscle, tattered clothing clinging to them, veins dark red and blue, pushing against the greying skin, movements not quite human, like something else moved their limbs. Hands like claws. Teeth like daggers.

Despite all of that, it was their eyes that terrified her the most. Deep black, bottomless wells riddled with grief and deep yearning. But hatred as well, and in that instant Cassara knew that she could not fight these creatures.

She had to run or she would die. Her chest burning more intently, Cassara was running before she had even realized her feet were moving. She kept close to the shore and ran for the manor. Her breath became ragged and fear robbed her of it while pushing her to go faster.

She heard something behind her, but dared not look back. More twigs snapping, feet falling on the earth, grunts. They were chasing her! How could these creatures even be capable of running with their misshapen bodies!?

A creature knocked into her. She kicked it off and began running again before she fully fell. The second one came shortly afterwards, and this time her luck did not hold out. She stumbled hard, her left arm folding under her body, her face scraping the earth and her legs flying above her.

Strong, leathery hands grabbed her and turned her onto her back, pinning her down. Cassara's head swam but she forced herself to stay conscious, the smell almost more than she could bear. One of the creatures was on top of her, its teeth, still surprisingly white in contrast to the rest of its body, were sharper than any wolf she had ever seen. Cassara fought weakly as dizziness clutched her but her limbs were paralyzed by fear.

It was going to eat her!

The creature's head lowered towards her. There was no hint of victory flickering in its eyes, only the same look of pain. A sound escaped Cassara's lips, a useless protest against the destiny fate had provided her this night.

Teeth met her neck and she screamed more out of fear than pain. In that instant, the night sky exploded with light, and Cassara wondered if the moon had come from the shadows, or if she was joining her mother in the Afterfate.

A scream jerked her back to her senses, and she realized that the creature had fallen off of her and was writhing in agony. Cassara sat up, searching the origin of the strange light, a light that kept the other two demons at bay.

Looking down, she saw a glow coming from her chest. Slowly, warily, she reached inside her tunic and pulled her mother's amulet free.

The metal that had been dull all her life suddenly glowed brilliantly white. It was warm, but it did not burn her. Its light reached deep within the orchard, casting dark shadows as far as the manor.

But the other two creatures seemed unaffected by the light, except for needing to crouch and cover their eyes protectively. Summoning what little courage her bewildered mind had left, Cassara resumed walking towards the manor, holding the amulet protectively in her hand.

She only took a few steps when, without warning, the light vanished. Cassara stopped and stared at her amulet. Couldn't the light have flickered first and given her fair warning?

She looked up to see the two creatures already straightening, their teeth bared for the kill or to avenge their fallen comrade. Her legs would not move.

Maybe if she stood her ground, the amulet would stop them a second time. But her arm refused to remain extended. Her whole body tingled with deep fatigue and no more power emanated from the metal.

She forced her knees to stay straight, refusing to let them buckle below her and leave her prostrate on the ground, ripe for the picking. She was still a daughter of the House of Edoline and if she was to die in battle, she would at least try to face death standing.

The two creatures surrounded her, taking their time, apparently feeling that she would not try to escape. Cassara tried to keep her head high, but tears were soon clouding her vision and she closed them, concentrating on at least remaining standing.

She realized she had stopped breathing. Sweat poured down her back, and every sound became her enemy, every small sensation against her skin foretold incoming death.

The smell of the creatures grew stronger. She knew they were now right beside her, and she was about to die, alone, in the orchard of her youth.

Then someone screamed: "Get down!" A flash of light broke the darkness.

Kaden? No, it was a woman.

"I said get down!" The woman screamed again. Cassara felt her knees easily give way as she threw herself to the ground, willing to trust this last chance at life. She looked up, to see one creature fallen, and a woman wielding a sword expertly against the second one. The sword flashed with light every time it met the creature, which soon lay dead, the smell of charred flesh was slow to spread in the windless night.

Stunned, Cassara remained seated, looking up at the woman, who was cursing softly. She was tall, which was about the only feature Cassara could make out in the dark night.

"Ruined my last good shirt," the woman grumbled as she approached Cassara, who struggled to get to her feet to thank the woman properly.

"Thanks," she said, her voice barely more than a squeak. The woman nodded and offered Cassara her water skin, which she accepted gratefully, drinking deeply.

"You know you're bleeding, right?" the woman said casually as Cassara handed her back the skin. Her hand automatically went up to her neck, feeling the warm blood in the shallow wound. She could deal with it back home.

"What were those things?" Cassara asked, looking back at the corpses of the creatures, her hand shaking as she pointed to them.

"Eloms," the woman said as she cleaned her blade and sheathed the sword on her back.

"Eloms?" Cassara repeated, not recognizing the term.

The woman nodded. "Where do you live?"

"The manor, up ahead," Cassara said, not caring if the woman knew she was the princess. Edoline was not worth anything to anyone, and so neither was its royalty.

The woman's eyebrows shot up. "The royal manor? What's your name?"

Cassara was too tired to care if the woman intended to kidnap her after all. At least she was fairly sure the warrior wouldn't try to eat her.

"Cassara Edoline," she said, a twinge of pride returning to her voice. It might be a small kingdom, but it was one to be proud of nonetheless.

"That explains a bit," the woman said, looking contemplative.

"And your name?" Cassara snapped. She didn't enjoy being taken at a disadvantage by so many events in her own land. Surely she had the right to know what was happening! The warrior grinned at her, apparently amused by Cassara's outburst.

"Avarielle," was all the woman offered. "You can head home, now. You'll be fine."

Without another word, Avarielle walked away, towards the cliff, the moon breaking free of the clouds once more, its light reflecting on the tall woman's auburn hair. Cassara watched her walk a few steps, tempted to follow her and find out more about these Eloms. But one look at the burnt, twisted bodies that had almost eaten her made her consider otherwise.

Without further hesitation, her legs feeling numb and clunky, Cassara did her best to continue walking.

By the time the moon clouded over a few moments later, she was running.